Here are some program notes for Gluck’s Dance Of The Blessed Spirits written by my student Alicia McGorlick for her recent honours recital. Might be of use to anyone learning or performing this piece. Notes for Hue Fantasie, Reinecke’s Undine Sonata and Takemitsu Voice to follow shortly.
Minuet and Dance of the Blessed Spirits, Orfeo ed Euridice
Christoph Willibald Gluck
Up to the age of twelve, Gluck lived a rural life, wandering around the forest and countryside of his home in Lobkowitz estates at Eisenberg. He was then sent to school where he learnt to play both piano and organ and continued on to study music in Prague in 1732. In 1736 Gluck travelled to Vienna where he found his passion for composing operas. This famous solo for flute comes from Gluck’s famous opera “Orfeo ed Euridice”. Listeners may be surprised to hear that this tranquil music comes from the moment when Orpheus journeys to Hades, the underworld, to find his departed wife Euridice. He is told that he may journey there and return with his wife on the condition that he not look back at her figure till they have returned to earth, but alas he looks back at her and she is unable to return to the realm of the living with him. The Minuet has a light-filled serenity depicting blessed spirits in their elegance as he journeys through the underworld. By contrast the Dance is filled with deep sorrow and a sense of mourning. This particular arrangement includes flute and guitar accompaniment.
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