Carl Orff

Carl Orff (ôrf), 1895–1982, German composer and educator. After studying at the Academy of Music at Munich, he helped to found the Günter School there in 1924. As a composer Orff wished to simplify music, to return to its primitive components. He attempted to adapt old monodic forms to modern tastes, employing dissonant counterpoint and vigorous rhythms. His most famous work is the Carmina Burana (1937), a scenic oratorio derived from a group of medieval poems in German and Latin (see also Goliardic songs). This oratorio forms part of a trilogy that includes Catulli Carmina (1943), a scenic cantata based on the works of Catullus; and Trionfo di Afrodite (1953). Orff's other works include the operas Der Mond [the moon] (1939) and Die Kluge [the wise woman] (1943). From 1960 he was head of the Orff School for Music in Munich. His work in music education has attracted a considerable following in the United States.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Composers of the Nazi Era: Eight Portraits
Michael H. Kater.
Oxford University Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "Carl Orff"
Twentieth-Century Music: A History of Musical Style in Modern Europe and America
Robert P. Morgan.
W. W. Norton, 1991
Librarian’s tip: "Germany: Orff" begins on p. 258
Revealing Masks: Exotic Influences and Ritualized Performance in Modernist Music Theater
W. Anthony Sheppard.
University of California Press, 2001
Librarian’s tip: "Primitive Classicism: Orff's Music Theater of Minimal Means" begins on p. 51
Teaching Music in Secondary Schools: A Reader
Gary Spruce.
RoutledgeFalmer, 2002
Librarian’s tip: "The 'Progressive' Approach: Orff-Schulwerk" begins on p. 14
The Twisted Muse: Musicians and Their Music in the Third Reich
Michael H. Kater.
Oxford University Press, 1997
Librarian’s tip: "The Ambiguities of Dissidence: Orff, Wagner-Regeny, and Furtwangler" begins on p. 188
The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Opera
John Warrack; Ewan West.
Oxford University Press, 1996 (3rd edition)
Librarian’s tip: "Orff, Carl" begins on p. 379
The Politics of Music in the Third Reich
Michael Meyer.
Peter Lang, 1993
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Carl Orff begins on p. 199
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