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Gluck, Christoph Willibald -

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Christoph Willibald Glück (1714-1787) was the son of a forester in the Upper Palatinate (now the western extreme of Czechoslovakia); Czech was his native tongue. At about 14 he left home to study in Prague, where he worked as an organist. He soon moved to Vienna and then to Milan, where his first opera was performed in 1741. Other performances followed, in Italy and in London, where he became acquainted with the music of Handel.



After further travel (Dresden, Copenhagen, Naples, Prague) he settled in Vienna in 1752 as Konzertmeister of the Prince of Saxe-Hildburghausen's orchestra, and then as Kapellmeister. He also became involved, as arranger and composer, with performances at the court theatre of French opéras comiques, and he wrote Italian dramatic works for court entertainments.



His friends tried, at first unsuccessfully, to procure a court post for him; but by 1759 he had a salaried position at the court theatre and soon after was granted a royal pension.



He met the poet Calzabigi and the choreographer Angiolini, and with them wrote a ballet-pantomime Don Juan (1761) embodying a new degree of artistic unity. The next year they wrote the opera Orfeo ed Euridice, the first of Gluck's so-called "reform operas".



In 1764 he composed an opéra comique, La rencontre imprévue, and the next year two ballets. He followed up the artistic success of Orfeo with a further collaboration with Calzabigi, Alceste (1767), this time choreographed by Noverre; a third, Paride ed Elena (1770), was less well received. Gluck now decided to apply his new ideals to French opera, and in 1774 Iphigénie en Aulide (as well as Orphée, a French revision of Orfeo) was performed in Paris. It was a triumph, but also set the ground for a controversy between Gluck and Italian music (as represented by Piccinni), which flared up in 1777 when his Armide was given, following a French version of Alceste (1776).



Iphigénie en Tauride followed in 1779, which was his greatest success, along with his greatest failure, Écho et Narcisse. He now acknowledged that his career was over.
He revised Iphigénie en Tauride for German performance, and composed some songs, but abandoned plans for an opera tour to London.



He died in autumn 1787, widely recognized as the doyen of Viennese composers and the man who had carried through important reforms to the art of opera.



Gluck's opera reforms - they are not exclusively his own, for several other composers (notably Jommelli and Traetta, both, like Gluck, French-influenced) had been working along similar lines - are outlined in the preface he wrote, probably with Calzabigi's help, to the published score of Alceste. He aimed to make the music serve the poetry through its expression of the situations of the story, without interrupting it for conventional orchestral ritornellos or, particularly, for florid and ornamental singing; to make the overture relevant to the drama and the orchestration apt to the words; to break down the sharp contrast between recitative and aria: in short, "to abolish all the abuses against which good sense and reason have long cried out in vain".
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Total 56 Compositions Pages: 1 2 >
Notes
Series: Songs (spiritual), Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Choir>SATB, Difficulty: easy to medium
Notes
Series: Operas, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Solo>ten+Piano, Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: Songs (secular), Theme: Wedding
Orchestration: Choir>SATBX, Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: Operas, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Choir>SATB, Difficulty: easy to medium
Notes
Series: Operas, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Choir>TTBB, Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: Operas, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Piano, Difficulty: easy to medium
Notes
Series: Chamber Music, Theme:
Orchestration: Violin+Basso continuo, Difficulty: easy to medium
Notes
Series: Operas, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Choir>SATB+Piano, Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: Songs (secular), Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Choir>SATBX, Difficulty: easy to medium
Notes
Series: Operas, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Choir>SATB, Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: Songs (spiritual), Theme: Christmas/Advent
Orchestration: Choir>SATB, Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: Operas, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: orchestra, Difficulty: medium to hard
Notes
Series: Operas, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Choir>TTBB, Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: Songs (secular), Theme: Summer
Orchestration: Solo>ten+Piano, Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: Songs (spiritual), Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Choir>SATB, Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: Songs (spiritual), Theme: Christmas/Advent
Orchestration: Choir>SATB+[Org+Pf], Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: Ballet, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: orchestra, Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: Concerts, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Flute+[Vln2+Vla+Vlc], Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: Concerts, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Flute+[Vln2+Vla+Vlc], Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: Songs (spiritual), Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Choir>SATB+Harpsichord, Difficulty: easy
Notes
Series: Concerts, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Flute+[Vln2+Vla+Vlc], Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: Operas, Theme: Love
Orchestration: Solo>alt/bass+Pf, Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: Operas, Theme: Humor
Orchestration: Solo>alt+Fl2+Cnt+Vln2, Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: Chamber Music, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Guitar+Accordion, Difficulty: easy
Notes
Series: Operas, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Solo>sop+Choir>SATB, Difficulty: easy to medium
Notes
Series: Songs (secular), Theme: Spring
Orchestration: Solo>alt+Piano, Difficulty: easy to medium
Notes
Series: Operas, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Solo>sop+Piano, Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: Opera: The Pilgrims from Mecca, Theme: Spring
Orchestration: Solo>alt+Piano, Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: Operas, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Solo>sop+Piano, Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: Operas, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Solo>sop+Piano, Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: Songs (spiritual), Theme: Christmas/Advent
Orchestration: Choir>SAB, Difficulty: easy to medium
Notes
Series: Operas, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Solo>bass+Piano, Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: Operas, Theme: Love
Orchestration: Solo>alt+Piano, Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: Songs (spiritual), Theme: Christmas/Advent
Orchestration: Choir>SATB, Difficulty: easy
Notes
Series: Songs (secular), Theme: Humor
Orchestration: Solo>ten+Piano, Difficulty: medium to hard
Notes
Series: Songs (spiritual), Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Choir>SATB, Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: Operas, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Solo>alt+Piano, Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: Operas, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Solo>bass+Piano, Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: Operas, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Solo>sop/ten, Difficulty: easy to medium
Notes
Series: Operas, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Choir>SATB, Difficulty: easy to medium
Notes
Series: Operas, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Choir>SATB, Difficulty: easy to medium
Notes
Series: Operas, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Solo>bass+Piano, Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: Operas, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Solo>alt+Piano, Difficulty: easy to medium
Notes
Series: Operas, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Solo>sop/ten/bass, Difficulty: easy to medium
Notes
Series: Operas, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Solo>bass+Piano, Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: Operas, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Solo>sop/ten, Difficulty: easy to medium
Notes
Series: Operas, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Solo>alt+Piano, Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: Operas, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Solo>bass+Piano, Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: Operas, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Solo>bass+Piano, Difficulty: medium
Notes
Series: Operas, Theme: miscellaneous
Orchestration: Solo>sop/ten/bass, Difficulty: easy to medium
Total 56 Compositions Pages: 1 2 >