Carl Orff - Carmina Burana - The wheel of fortune
Type of Spiritual Experience
Carl Orff (July 10, 1895 – March 29, 1982) was a 20th-century German composer, with a Jewish background, best known for his cantata Carmina Burana (1937). In addition to his career as a composer, Orff developed an influential approach toward music education for children.
In 1911-1912, Orff wrote Zarathustra, Op. 14, an unfinished large work for baritone voice, three male choruses and orchestra, based on a passage from Friedrich Nietzsche's philosophical novel Thus Spake Zarathustra. The following year, he composed an opera, Gisei, das Opfer (Gisei, the Sacrifice). Influenced by the French Impressionist composer Claude Debussy, he began to use colorful, unusual combinations of instruments in his orchestration.
In the mid-1920s, Orff began to formulate a concept he called "elementare Musik", or elemental music, which was based on the unity of the arts symbolized by the ancient Greek Muses and involved tone, dance, poetry, image, design, and theatrical gesture. He also began adapting musical works of earlier eras for contemporary theatrical presentation, including Claudio Monteverdi's opera L'Orfeo (1607). Orff's German version, Orpheus, was staged under Orff's direction in 1925 in Mannheim, using some of the instruments that had been used in the original 1607 performance. The passionately declaimed opera of Monteverdi's era was almost unknown in the 1920s, however, and Orff's production met with reactions ranging from incomprehension to ridicule.
In 1924 Dorothee Günther and Orff founded the Günther School for gymnastics, music, and dance in Munich. Orff was there as the head of a department from 1925 until the end of his life, and he worked with musical beginners. There he developed his theories of music education, having constant contact with children. In 1930, Orff published a manual titled Schulwerk, in which he shares his method of conducting.
A description of the experience
Carmina Burana is these days one of the most popular pieces of the classical music repertoire. Here the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra, the University Chorus and Alumni Chorus, and the Pacific Boychoir perform at the Mondavi Center at UC Davis. Series: "Mondavi Center Presents" [6/2007] [Arts and Music] [Show ID: 11787]