GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: Great Gable on December 20, 2007, 05:01:05 AM

Title: Gluck's Glory
Post by: Great Gable on December 20, 2007, 05:01:05 AM
It's high time that we had a thread dedicated to Christoph Willibald Gluck - so here it is.

My favourite operatic composer is much neglected in my opinion, certainly on this forum. For many years I only had the one opera - that of Solti's "Orfeo ed Euridice". I have recently suplemented that with four more versions of Orfeo (one still in the post). I also have got 2 versions of "Alceste", one "Iphigénie en Tauride", one "Iphigénie en Tauride", the short operatic piece "Chinoises, Les" (aka "Le Cinesi") (which is barely an opera). Also the ballet music "Don Jaun" plus the trio sonatas. The more I hear the more I want. I still have on order more operas and hope they turn up for the holiday.

What's the consensus amongst those who love his works? Any particular favourites?

Title: Re: Gluck's Glory
Post by: Hector on December 20, 2007, 07:08:17 AM
Love him but I do not know why.

He composed during a period for which I have little sympathy  but he presses all the right buttons.

Berlioz adored him. I adore Berlioz. Perhaps that is why.

An example of his extraordinary music is Orpheus' taming of the Furies. Never ceases to raise the hairs on the back of the neck!

Title: Re: Gluck's Glory
Post by: Anne on December 20, 2007, 09:23:28 AM
Just this fall I have begun to listen to him.  My favorite so far is Orfeo et Euridyce DVD with Janet Baker.  I could listen to that over and over again.  The Dance of the Blessed Spirits is so beautiful.

I also have these: Alceste, Iphigenie en Tauride, Armide, Iphigenie en Aulide, and Paride ed Elena.  I read that Iphigenie en Tauride could be called his masterpiece but I have not listened to it yet.  I also read that Paride ed Elena was not very good.  Again I have not heard it yet.  I think the first three he wrote were reform operas.
Title: Re: Gluck's Glory
Post by: Great Gable on December 20, 2007, 09:26:29 AM
I just ordered a live version of "Paride..." so can't comment on it. I've also got "La Corona" and "La Danza" on order. I have not heard anyone comment on either and reviews on the net are as rare as hen's teeth.
Title: Re: Gluck's Glory
Post by: Drasko on December 25, 2008, 12:49:03 PM
When not being dissmised as boring and stale (seen it happen), Gluck is mostly (and rightly) famous for his operas, but I've been listening lately to his ballet-pantomime Don Juan and beside being historically important (as usual with Gluck) it's quite fine piece itself.
Don Juan is a ballet of thirty-one entrees first given in October of 1761. The choreography was done by the great Gasparo Angiolini. Angiolini also wrote the introduction which includes a manifesto for the revolutionary . It was Gluck's introduction to Angiolini that began him on the road to the reform of the opera seria, for Angiolini was involved in similar reforms of contemporary ballet. In eighteenth century Vienna ballet was an important and highly regarded art form. This was in part due to the influence of Franz Hilverding who had choreographed several full length ballets. Hilverding used classical subjects and brought the ballet closer to the dramatic arts. Angiolini believed, however, that the music should come first, and that the dance should be choreographed to the composer's work. This left Gluck plenty of freedom. The ballet is composed of three orchestral suites, the third of which involves a dance of the spirit infernales as they take the impenitent Don Juan down into hell. Don Juan is and was then a well worn subject, but Gluck's and Angiolini's work was found startling and even shocking to eighteenth century audiences. It influenced both Figaro and Don Giovanni of Mozart in later years. Count Zinzendorf, who wrote tepid reviews of Mozart's productions, gives an almost electrifying review of this one. He describes the furies and the fireworks and the devils leaping with Don Juan into the "flaming pit".

The orchestra is notable for its use of the trombones, the instrument often used in scenes depicting hellfire, and expressions of contrary emotions through the use of dynamics. Gluck also uses different string effects to describe a scene; staccato, tremolo, pizzicato. The final scene uses bold harmonies and trombones which alternate with a solo horn and a solo oboe. The final entree is a perpetuo mobile for the dancing demons. Although a chaconne, it is wild and energetic. After the earthquake that ends the opera, the opera ends with trombones and trumpet in pianissimo.

~ All Music Guide

I've been listening to Tafelmusik/Weil recording on Sony to which only choice is Gardiner on Erato/Apex.
Here are few interesting moments:
Andante (track 3) souding very similar to Stravinsky's Serenata from Pulcinella, up to both having the tune in oboe. Did Stravinsky pick it up from Gluck or both did from Domenico Gallo ...
...very lovely Gavotte (track 8 ) which I think Gluck reused in Orphee (not sure without checking though) ...
....imperious fandango marked Moderato (track 20), pre-echoing Boccherini's big success...
....and of course grand finale (track 32) with trombones which will be big influence for Mozart and his Don Giovanni
Title: Re: Gluck's Glory
Post by: Gabriel on January 30, 2009, 04:33:29 AM
Gluck is essential to the history of opera. Iphigénie en Tauride can easily be considered not just as his masterpiece, but as a fundamental work in music. Last year I had the oportunity to attend a performance in the Palais Garnier in Paris, with Mireille Delunsch in the main role, and in spite of a horrible mise en scène, the opera sparkled with all its beauties. Perhaps Gluck doesn't have the melodic charm of Mozart (who, in any case), but his dramatic drive is simply unsurpassable, at least in this opera. A truly breathtaking spectacle.

On Don Juan's recordings, if I had to choose, I would choose Gardiner's. (But Weil's CD includes Semiramis, while the other just Don Juan).
Title: Re: Gluck's Glory
Post by: Moonfish on October 25, 2014, 02:18:11 PM
Any recommendations of performances of Gluck's operas on DVD/Blu Ray?

Any feedback on these performances?  :-\

Title: Re: Gluck's Glory
Post by: Moonfish on October 25, 2014, 06:53:58 PM
I have been listening to Jacob's rendition of "Orfeo ed Euridice" and find it fantastic in every way. The singers, the orchestra, the choir, the sound quality. I am blown away! How does it compare to other versions of the same opera? Do you have any specific favorites of "Orfeo ed Euridice"?

Gluck: Orfeo ed Euridice       Fink/Cangemi/Kiehr/Freiburger Barockorchester/RIAS Kammerchor/Jacobs

Title: Re: Gluck's Glory
Post by: jlaurson on July 29, 2016, 11:27:02 AM

Classical CD of the Week: Orfeo And Counter-Orfeo

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