Carl Orff: The moon

Carl Orff’s opera Der Mond was premiered on February 5th, 1939 at the Bavarian State Opera under the musical direction of Clemens Krauss in a production by Rudolf Hartmann. The composer wrote the libretto himself and in doing so took over literal text passages from the fairy tale of the same name by the Brothers Grimm. Orff’s description of this “small world theater” is based on the three scenes of heaven, earth, underworld and the view of a little boy on it. Orff thought about his opera as “a thoughtful parable of the futility of human efforts to disturb the world order and at the same time a parable of being safe in this world order”. The composer himself described the music as his “farewell to romanticism”. Critics were enthusiastic, for example the musicologist Fred Hamel: “So you encounter a creation that has been desired for the opera stage for a long time […] It’s great how Orff’s music also fully expresses this power here the elementary means of rhythm and song form […] With this economy of means, Orff’s melodic invention is so powerful, his rhythmic imagination so inexhaustible, that they evoke a sheer abundance of changing impressions of pictorial power.”

Photo credit: Hanns Holdt