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Carl Orff

Orff, Carl (ôrf) [key], 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 Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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