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Drei Tänze aus "Der Mond"

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Carl Orff

Carl Orff (arr. Friedrich Wanek)

The title translates from the German, and may be found under, The Three Dances and Final Scene of Der Mond.

General Info

Year: 1939 / 1986
Duration: c. 5:00
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: Schott
Cost: Score and Parts - Rental


1. Dance 1
2. Dance 2
3. Dance 3
4. Final Scene


Full Score
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Trumpet
Horn in F I-II


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

After the successful premiere of his Carmina Burana in 1937, Carl Orff’s next major work for the stage was Der Mond (The Moon), for which he wrote his own libretto, inspired by a Brothers Grimm tale from their Book of Children’s and Home Tales. The premiere occurred on February 5, 1939, in the composer’s home city of Munich. The staging, which features scenes both on earth and in the underworld, caused great difficulties for the composer, who revised his work three times over the course of the next thirty years. Nevertheless, he said that Der Mond always had a special place in his heart.

Der Mond tells the tale of Petrus (whom Orff specified is not quite the same as St. Peter) restoring cosmic equilibrium between the living and the dead. A narrator tells us (primarily in the words of the original Grimm tale) that, when the world was created, there was a lack of sufficient night light for all parts of the Earth, and a portion of the land lay in the darkness. Four village louts, as they pass through another village, discover the moon, which they see hanging from an oak tree. They are told that this other village’s mayor had purchased it. They decide to steal this new source of light and bring it back to their home, leaving the other village lamenting the darkness and cursing their bumbling mayor (the disappearance of light and negative portrayals of authority are both major themes in Orff’s output, and the villagers’ lament is echoed in his later Die Bernauerin and his final work for the stage, De temporum fine comoedia). Upon returning to their village, the four louts acquire significant wealth and fame (they do not give away the light of their stolen moon for free). These four characters waste their respective fortunes frivolously on earthly pleasures. In utter despair, the four stand on the threshold of their grave with only one possession, the moon on the oak, which they have tended to most of their lives. Each has a quarter of the moon buried with him. Upon the last one’s death, the now complete moon shines within their grave, illuminating the underworld and awakening the dead. The inhabitants celebrate their new circumstances uproariously, but eventually descend into the same turmoil and chaos that had plagued them in life. Petrus, the one responsible for maintaining order in Heavens and on Earth, travels to the underworld to retrieve and replace this mystical moonlight to its rightful place in the Heavens, putting the dead back to sleep (he is perhaps the most beneficent of any authority figure in Orff’s works). He hangs the moon in the sky where all can benefit from its light. Peace and quiet are restored to the kingdoms of the living and the dead, with sweet folk melodies played on zither and tuned water glasses (struck with mallets) -- but the dissonant groans of the dead may be heard beneath the earth.

As in Carmina Burana, much of Orff’s music is characterized by diatonicism, folk music, and Bavarian dances (including one called the Zwiefach), as he collected traditional Bavarian music with his colleagues Kurt Huber and Hans Bergese. The Three Dances and Final Scene of "Der Mond" were arranged for twelve winds by the composer’s friend and editor Friederich K. Wanek, in the tradition of transcribing operatic material for small groups of wind instruments, called harmonie, dating back to the eighteenth century.

- Program Note from University of Michigan Symphony Band Chamber Winds concert program, 12 February 2021


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State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) Symphony Band Chamber Winds (JoAnn Wieszczyk, conductor) - 12 February 2021

Works for Winds by This Composer