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Carl ORFF (1895-1982)
Orpheus – free adaptation of Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo (1923)
Carl Orff (speaker)
Hermann Prey (bass baritone) – Orpheus
Lucia Popp (soprano) – Eurydice
Rose Wagemann (mezzo soprano) – Die Botin
Karl Ridderbusch (bass) – Der Wächter der Toten
Choir of Bavarian Radio
Munich Radio Orchestra/Kurt Eichhorn
Recorded Munich, 1972
ARTS ARCHIVES 43003-2 [66.07]

 

Orff based his performing realisation of L’Orfeo on the 1607 production. It was first staged in Mannheim in 1923 and was an experiment at revivifying baroque opera through the medium of modern orchestral perspective. It was a process to which he was return several times, lastly in 1940 (in the performing edition heard on this disc) when compression and operatic intensity were at the forefront. Orff employed two basset horns, two harps and three double strung lutes and the sonorities generated are rich and freely expressive.

That said, given the nature of the realisation, this is really a curio that will be of most interest to devotees of the development of Orff’s vocal and theatrical powers. Another inducement for them is that Orff takes the part of speaker. It’s sung in German and the modern instruments are rich and warm; the overlapping strings and antique colour are evocative and sensuous and the romanticised perspective gives weight to the drama.

The cast is obviously top notch. Prey is ardent though there are times when he sounds strenuous (in the middle of the First Act in particular). Orff is especially keen to promote the winds; by means of underpinning orchestral pizzicati and wind interjections he cultivates a sprung rhythm that suits his purpose; sample Act II’s Weh, dunkles Schicksal! [Track 9] where Elysian winds coalesce with muted strings producing a painterly veil, albeit one rudely interrupted by brass rasps. Popp has less to do though she rises to the Act III duet with touching simplicity. Wagemann and Ridderbusch are both commanding. Kurt Eichhorn directs his forces were assurance and the sound has come up vividly. The libretto is in German only – but familiarity with the original will ease that (relatively light) burden.

Jonathan Woolf

Carl ORFF (1895-1982) Carmina Burana (1935-36) Ruth-Margaret Pütz (soprano) Michael Cousins (tenor) Barry McDaniel (baritone) Roland Hermann (bass) Cologne Radio Choir Tölzer Childrens Choir Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra/Ferdinand Leitner Recorded by West German Radio, Cologne, 1973 ARTS 43001-2 [60.29][JW]

One can see why this ceded ground to the Jochum but it does have attractions of its own ... see Full Review

Carl ORFF (1895-1982) Catulli Carmina (1943) Donald Grobe (tenor) – Catallus Ruth-Margaret Pütz (soprano) - Lesbia Trionfo di Afrodite (1950-51) Enriqueta Tarrés (soprano) – Sposa Donald Grobe (tenor) – Sposo Hans Günter Nöcker (bass) – Corifeo Brigitte Dürrler (soprano) – Corifea Horst R Laubenthal (tenor) – Corifeo Cologne Radio Choir Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra/Ferdinand Leitner Recorded Cologne, 1974 ARTS ARCHIVES 43002-2 [75.00] [JW]

Tremendously involved and involving. The restoration sounds first class. ... see Full Review

Carl ORFF (1895-1982) Orpheus – free adaptation of Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo (1923) Carl Orff (speaker) Hermann Prey (bass baritone) – Orpheus Lucia Popp (soprano) – Eurydice Rose Wagemann (mezzo soprano) – Die Botin Karl Ridderbusch (bass) – Der Wächter der Toten Choir of Bavarian Radio Munich Radio Orchestra/Kurt Eichhorn Recorded Munich, 1972 ARTS ARCHIVES 43003-2 [66.07] [JW]

A curio that will be of most interest to devotees of the development of Orff’s vocal and theatrical powers. ... see Full Review



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