Gunild Keetman (1904-1990, German)

I discovered Gunild Keetman while reviewing what was presented as a CD of Carl Orff’s music, Christmas Story and Christmas Songs on Deutsche Harmonia Mundi. Keetman was very discreetly – and wrongly – credited as the author of the music of the Christmas Songs. Researching the sources of that CD, I discovered that the early LPs from which the CD had been culled, published by Harmonia Mundi between 1963 and 1975, were more precise: Keetman was apparently the sole composer of Christmas Story, of which Orff was only the librettist, and co-composer with Orff of the Christmas Songs, all part of Orff’s great pedagogical work Orff-Schulwerk. The Orff-Schulwerk was Orff’s method of music teaching. Re Wikipedia, it “uses very rudimentary forms of everyday activity for the purpose of music creation by music students. The Orff Approach is a ‘child-centered way of learning’ music education that treats music as a basic system like language and believes that just as every child can learn language without formal instruction so can every child learn music by a gentle and friendly approach”. Keetman was a former student of Orff in the Orff-Schulwerk method, and after the war she became his collaborator, spreading the word and the method to the education of even younger children than those initially targeted by Orff.

So give back to Keetman what is Keetman’s.