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(1714-1787). Gluck stands as one of the pivotal figures in the history of Opera. He insisted that opera was neither a play nor a musical form, but music drama. Gluck stipped away the excesses of baroque opera, laying down principles which had a lasting influence and impact on the thinking of Berlioz and Wagner. Both men, after having seen Gluck's Iphigenie en Tauride, dedicated their lives to music.

Composer, teacher, and writer Sir Charles Villiers Stanford gives us one of the most eloquent assesments of the musical life and work of Gluck:

[Gluck] was destined to rank with Weber and Wagner as a monarch of modern opera, and to be the first reformer and leader in the movement which led to its development in the present day ... 

He went to Vienna in 1746 and after producing several operas, all now forgotten but all showing unmistakable signs of his tendencies, he blossomed out after sixteen years of unceasing activity into a master-work, which will endure to the end, Orpheus and Eurydice. He had assimilated all the vital points of Greek tragedy, and applied them to the needs of his own time, not without a prophetic conviction of the prime necessity for the purposes and products of the future. The chorus became as important as it was in the days of Aeschylus, and its counterpart and assistant in modern opera, the orchestra, ceased to be a mere vehicle of accompaniment, and added tone-color to the scheme, to balance the visual color on the stage ... 

In a word, opera, instead of being a mere mannequin to show off the airs and graces of the performers, became a living entity in which the language, the action, the scenery, and the music went to make an artistic whole ... 

From - A History of Music by Charles Villiers Stanford and Cecil Forsythe (MacMillan, 1915, 1937)

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steven - 30 Jun 2011
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steven - 26 Jun 2010
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steven - 26 Jun 2010
steven - 26 Jun 2010
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steven - 26 Jun 2010
steven - 26 Jun 2010
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