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July 2 composer birthday: Christophe Willibald von Gluck

July 2 composer birthday: Christophe Willibald von Gluck featured image

A depiction of Gluck’s “Dance of the Blessed Spirits”

The opera, “Orfeo ed Euridice” was composed by Christoph Willibald Gluck, was based on the myth of Orpheus and set to a libretto by Ranieri de’Calzabigi (say that ten times fast). It belongs to the genre of opera called “azione teatrale”, which is a type of opera depicting mythology with choruses and dancing. To this day, “Orfeo ed Euridice” is one of Gluck’s most popular works. To suit French tastes in dance, the “Dance of the Blessed Spirits” for flute and strings was later added, and is a favourite encore selection for flutists after a concerto appearance (especially if the concerto was really fast and loud). It is one of the loveliest and calm, pastoral works I’ve ever heard. Trust me, after a long or difficult day, this is the piece of music to soothe your nerves, played here by star concert flutist Emmanuel Pahud.

Christoph Willibald Gluck was baptized July 4, 1714 in Upper Palatinate of what was then Bohemia, and died November 15, 1787, Vienna, Austria.

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