The Book of Musical Knowledge: The History, Technique, and Appreciation of Music, Together with Lives of the Great Composers, for Music-Lovers, Students and Teachers

By Arthur Elson | Go to book overview

IX
GLUCK

CRISTOPH WILLIBALD GLUCK was born at Weidenwang, in Bohemia, in 1714. He studied in a Jesuit school at Komotau, where he learned something of the clavier, the organ, the violin, the 'cello, and singing. At the age of eighteen he went to Prague, where he gave lessons and played at rustic gatherings. Four years later he came to the notice of Prince Lobkowitz in Vienna, and through that prince he became known to Count Melzi, who took him to Milan for lessons with Sammartini.

Gluck's first opera was brought out at Milan in 1741. Although in the conventional style, or perhaps because of that fact, it was popular enough, and resulted in his obtaining many commissions, A London trip in 1745 was not successful, because Handel held the public notice. Visits to Hamburg and Dresden brought Gluck at last to Vienna, which he made his home. Yet he continued to make trips, which ranged from Copenhagen to Naples. At Rome the Pope made him a Chevalier of the Golden Spur; and for this reason he became known as "Ritter von Gluck."

Many of his works at this period were on texts by Metastasio. These were poetic enough at times, but always cast in the conventional mould of the day. Even in setting these, however, Gluck began to show a gradual departure from ordinary models and a vein of originality. Such works as his "Telemacco" and "Il Re Pastore" contained hints of growing individual genius, and the overture of the latter proved especially effective. Gluck was also successful in light comedies, such as "La Rencontre Imprevue." But now he turned to more serious paths, with Calzabigi as librettist.

The first example of Gluck's new style was "Orfeo ed Euridice," which appeared in 1762. There was still some degree of conventional melodic utterance, which may be seen even in the famous solo "I have lost my Eurydice." This is so smooth in character that it might equally well have been set to the words, "I have found my

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The Book of Musical Knowledge: The History, Technique, and Appreciation of Music, Together with Lives of the Great Composers, for Music-Lovers, Students and Teachers
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations xi
  • Part I - The Evolution of Music 1
  • Part I the Evolution of Music 2
  • I - Primitive and Savage Music 3
  • II - Greece and Rome 13
  • III - Early Christian Music 23
  • IV - The Minstrel Knights 31
  • V - The Schools of Counterpoint 42
  • VI - The Harmonic Style 58
  • Part II - The Great Composers 67
  • Part II the Great Composers 68
  • VII - Bach 69
  • VIII - Handel 77
  • IX - Gluck 85
  • X - Haydn 91
  • XI - Mozart 98
  • XII - Beethoven 108
  • XIII - Schubert 120
  • XIV - Weber and Romanticism 128
  • XV - Mendelssohn 135
  • XVI - Schumman 143
  • XVII - Chopin 151
  • XVIII - Italian Opera 158
  • XIX - Cherubini and French Opera 170
  • XX - Berlioz and Other Frenchmen 179
  • XXI - Liszt and His Circle 188
  • Part III - Musical Form 307
  • XXXI - Melody and Appreciation 309
  • XXXII - Figures and Phrases 317
  • XXXIII - The Song-Forms 324
  • XXXIV - The Rondos 331
  • XXXV - The Sonata-Allegro Form 336
  • XXXVI - Other Sonata Movements 341
  • XXXVII - The Orchestral Forms 345
  • XXXVIII Dances and Piano Styles - Dances and Piano Styles 351
  • XXXIX - The Vocal Forms 360
  • XL - The Contrapuntal Forms 366
  • Part IV - The Instruments 376
  • XLI - The Piano and Its Predecessors 377
  • XLII - The Organ 384
  • XLIII - The Voice 391
  • XLIV - The Violin 398
  • XLV - Other Bowed Instruments *
  • XLVI - Plucked-String Instruments 413
  • XLVII - Flute and Piccolo 420
  • XLVIII - Oboe and English Horn *
  • XLIX - The Bassoons 433
  • L the Clarinets 438
  • Li Horns, Trumpets, and Cornets 444
  • Lii Trombones and Tubas 450
  • Liii Instruments of Percussion 456
  • Part V - Special Topics 463
  • LIV - Some Famous Pianists 465
  • LV - Some Famous Singers 474
  • LVI - Violinists and Violin Music 483
  • LVII - Orchestration 491
  • LVIII - Conducting 496
  • Lix Acoustics 503
  • LX - How to Read Music 515
  • LXI - Modern Music 538
  • Appendix 569
  • Index 581
  • Index to Supplementary Chapter 606
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