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date: 03 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter traces Orff’s musical medievalism along several trajectories. Against the backdrop of “official” medievalism espoused under Wilhelmine Germany and under the National Socialists, the chapter examines the influence of medieval organum and paraphony on Orff’s compositional idiom. It also distinguishes this influence from a form of medievalism that can be described as style, where sacred medieval musical forms are imitated for their associative meanings. Though these styles are altered somewhat to fit Orff’s compositional purpose, they are by and large recognizable as pastiche and, as such, provide another level of interpretation for the poetry. Pastiche is also apparent in Orff’s use of two-storied medievalism, in which the primary reference is not to medieval materials per se, but rather to an intermediary form of medievalism, namely, to familiar musical styles associated with medievalism in nineteenth-century Germany. Examining Orff’s allusions to various medieval musical styles against an interpretation of the poetry, the chapter suggests that Carmina Burana voices a parody of the romantic, imperial, and idealistic medievalism of the late nineteenth century.

Keywords: Carl Orff, Carmina Burana, National Socialism, pastiche, Wilhelmine Germany, two-storied medievalism

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