Music Composers

Christoph Willibald (Ritter Von) Gluck

Gluck was born July 2, 1714, at Weidenwang, in the Upper Palatinate, on the estate of Prince Lobkowitz, and died in Vienna, November 15, 1787. He learnt his first lessons, musical and otherwise, at the Jesuit school of Kommatau. In 1732 he went to Prague and studied under Czernohorsky. In Vienna, 1736, he met Prince Melza at the Lobkowitz residence, who took him to Milan, where he studied further under Sammartini. At this period he wrote some half dozen Italian operas, which were successful enough to win him an invitation to London. Here the justly contemptuous criticism of his work by Handel brought failure to him. However, he had sense enough to realize that Handel was right and set to work to improve his methods. The operas of Rameau in Paris set Gluck thinking. In 1755 he established himself in Vienna. "Alceste" was the first opera written in accordance with his new theories, and the adverse criticisms it provoked drove him to Paris. Here the patronage of Marie Antoinette, a former pupil, served to uphold him against opposition, and with his "Iphigenia in Aulis", "Orpheus and Eurydice" and "Armide" he finally won success. A bitter feud existed between Gluck and Piccini, and eventually both set the same opera libretto, "Iphigenia in Tauris". It resulted in a complete victory for Gluck. "Ritter" is the title of nobility bestowed on Gluck.

The Etude Magazine November 1909





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