I’ve been listening to music from Gluck’s opera, “Iphigénie en Tauride” recently.  It’s not a well known opera and it’s not one that I am much acquainted with. It is going to be telecast live in HD from the Metropolitan Opera, on Feb 26th in select movie theatres all over the world.  I am definitely going to see it!

Gluck is considered one of the pioneering composers of the Classical period (1750 – 1830). During the Classical period, composers were discovering ways of bringing a new depth of feeling to their music, through the use of melodies, rhythms and dynamics. Gluck cut the ornate layers of the grandiose Baroque style and focused instead on bringing depth of dramatic tension and feeling to his operatic music.   Despite this, his operas are rarely performed today.  This is largely due to the fact that much later on in the Classical period, the operatic works of one of the greatest composers in history, Mozart, were to outshine those of his predecessors, and bring opera to a whole new level of sophistication and brilliance of sound.   Still, listening to Gluck’s meltingly beautiful aria, “Ô malheureuse Iphigénie”, I can’t help but wonder how Gluck’s audience must have felt upon hearing this [then] completely new style of music.  Music that was far more layered, more sensitive and more emotionally honest than any music written before.