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Orff, Carl

Born: 1895 AD
Died: 1982 AD
Nationality: German
Categories: Composers

1895 – He was born on the 10th day of July of this year in Munich, Germany. He came from a Bavarian family that was very active in the German military. His father’s regimental band supposedly had often played the compositions of young Orff.


1914 – Moser’s Musik Lexicon affirms that Orff studied at the Munich Academy of Music until this year. He then served in the military during World War I. Afterwards, he held various positions at opera houses in Mannheim and Darmstadt, later to return to Munich to pursue further his music studies.


1925 – Orff was the head of a department and co-founder of the Guenther School for gymnastics, music, and dance in Munich, where he worked with musical beginners.


1930 – He is probably best remembered for his Schulwerk (1930-35), translated into English as Music for Children. Its simple musical instrumentation allowed even untutored child musicians to perform the piece with relative ease.


1937 – He became famous for Carmina Burana in Nazi Germany after its premiere in Frankfurt in this year, receiving numerous performances. He became influential in the field of music education.


1939 – His composed “Der Mond” (The Moon) in this year. In addition, in 1943 he composed Die Kluge ("The Wise Woman").


1949 – His “Antigone”, Orff said in particular that it was not an opera, rather a Vertonung, a "musical setting" of the ancient tragedy. The text is an excellent German translation, by Friedrich Hölderlin, of the Sophocles play of the same name.


1964 – Carmina Burana was in fact so popular that Orff received a commission in Frankfurt to compose music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which was supposed to replace the banned music by Mendelssohn. After the war, he claimed not to be satisfied with the music and reworked it into the final version that was first performed in this year.


1973 – Musica Poetica, which Orff composed with Gunild Keetman, was used as the theme music for Terrence Malick’s 1973 film Badlands. Orff’s last work, De Temporum Fine Comoedia ("A Play of the End of Time"), had its premiere at the Salzburg music festival on the 20th day of August of this year, performed by Herbert von Karajan and the Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.


1982 – He expired on the 29th day of March of this year in Munich, Germany.