Music Theory and Composition : Music Theory and Composition

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

Composers – Christoph Willibald Gluck

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Composers – Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714-1787)

Christoph Willibald Gluck

Christoph Willibald Gluck

Nationality – German

Born – July 2, 1714

Died – November 15, 1787

Major Works

French and Italian Operas; Orfeo ed Euridice (1762); Alceste (1767); Iphigenie en Tauride (1779); Iphigenie en Aulide (1774); Paride ed Elena (1770)

The Opera, drama set to music, and the Oratorio, a music setting based upon Religious or philosophical subject matters, are the genres most influenced by the compositional artistry of Christoph Willibald Gluck.

He was born in 1714 in a small town in Upper Palatinate, Erasbach, to a gamekeeper working at the Bavarian Estate of Prince Eugene Lobkowitz. In 1750 he married Maria Anna Bergin. He lived to be 73 years old.

Gluck was a reformer of the opera, daring, courageous, intolerant and often tyrannical. Although of this nature, he is also known as one of the worlds foremost Orchestral Conductors.

This excerpt from Orfeo ed Euridice are provided by Marion Deloch’s Channel on YouTube. The musical work was originally written by Gluck in 1762. The Opera is one of Gluck’s most famous operas.

To me there are two important ideas Gluck brought to the Opera. First, the orchestra was placed in equal value to the overall operatic performance rather than as a subordinate part of the opera. Secondly, because the historical use of opera was to demonstrate drama Gluck altered this idea to include resolution of the drama as an important advance to this genre. Together these influences altered how the opera has been used and how much improved society reveres the opera as a result.

Please enjoy this rendition of Paride ed Elena – the aria “O del mio dolce ardor” an excerpt from within the five act opera. The aria is sung by the soprano Diletta Rizzo Marin. The video is being used under the YouTube policies of embedding videos for non-commercial and educational use.

We hope you have enjoyed this brief presentation about another of the most influential composers – Christoph Willibald Gluck. Please feel free to visit our article on Composers – An Overview of Music History.

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