Music: Orff's Oedipus

"Eight hours of Orff is simply too much!" The speaker, a tall, lank-haired man in tweed jacket and maroon wool shirt, was none other than rehearsal-weary Carl Orff, Germany's most famed modern composer. Hours, or even minutes, of Orff have indeed often proved too much for some tradition-minded audiences in Europe and the U.S. But last week crowds were thronging to the Stuttgart Opera House for a solid week of Composer Orff's works, including his latest: Oedipus der Tyrann, a highly individual dissertation on the Sophocles tragedy.

The long-awaited score proved to be typical...