Number: 12991


Label: Bomba-Piter, Gallery of Classical Music, 2002.
Weight: 90 г.
Short description: Jewel box.

Christoph Villibald Gluck (1714-1787) is one of the greatest opera reformers, a representative of the Viennese classical school. Born into a peasant family in rural Bohemia, Gluck became well known in leading European musical centres early in his life. Work in Vienna and Italy, tours of England, France and other European countries brought Gluck a wide recognition as an opera composer and greatly broadened his musical horizons. A successful author of the Italian opera seria (the leading opera genre at the time) he also wrote French comic operas and music for ballet productions.
Bold creative ideas and a gift to combine the best in contemporary art allowed Gluck by his 48 years of age to reassess the operatic canons and create a new genre, that of musical drama. In collaboration with Calzabigi, a playwright, he created reformist works with librettos free of artificiality and verbosity. The composer transforms secco ("dry") Italian recitatives, the main content conduits in an opera. Instead of traditional "talking" singing he uses various types of musical reciting and arioso singing accompanied by the orchestra (rather than the harpsichord). The same intonational styles determine the musical language of the arias, ousting the common virtuoso style. His recitatives can as convincingly convey the depth and psychological authenticity of the characters' feelings in the drama as the arias following them. Aiming at continuity of dramatic action Gluck freely combines solo, choral and orchestral pieces to create long "through" musical dramatic scenes. The composer's attitude to the orchestra as one of the most important means of dramatic expression accounts for the brilliance of his overtures and his music for ballet scenes.
After Viennese productions of his first musical dramas "Orfeo ed Euridice" (1 762), "Alceste" (1767) and "Paride ed Elena" (1 770) Gluck continued to develop his innovative ideas in Paris where the best known were "Iphigenie en Aulide" (1 774) and " Iphigenie en Tauride" (1 779). The Paris premieres of his operas had great repercussions in the cultural circles of the French capital. A bitter debate ensued about the future of opera. It was called "the war of the Gluckists and the Piccinists" (Piccini was an Italian opera composer visiting Paris at the same time as Gluck). Gluck managed to overcome the resistance of performers, the distrust of influential admirers of traditional French opera and the rejection of belligerent lovers of Italian comic opera. Having received wide recognition, including that of the Encyclopaedists, the composer became the leader of the contemporary musical theatre. His proclaimed principles of "simplicity, truth and naturalness" were adhered to by many French and other composers of the late 18-th and early 19-th century.
This CD includes music from three best known operas of Gluck's reformist period. Selected solo, choral and orchestral pieces show the variety of artistic means of expression, the depth and richness of musical imagery based on the myths of antiquity created by a great composer.

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