Notes & Reviews:
July 2, 2014 marks the 300th anniversary of early Classical opera composer Christopher Willibald Gluck. Featuring SEVEN full operas, and a special disc of historical recordings and rarities, this set pays homage to the key role of this composer in the development of opera as an art form.
Italian poet and librettist Calzabigi, described Gluck's operas as 'mighty passions at boiling point', yet it was his purified expressive style shaped by dramatic dialogues and solemn choruses, that was hugely respected by those who followed. He influenced generations of composers - most famously Mozart and Berlioz - yet he has also inspired 300 years of commitment by top conductors and singers.
The special disc of Historic Recordings & Rarities which completes the set features some of today's greatest exponents of Gluck's music such as Cecilia Bartoli, Magdalena Kozená, Andreas Scholl and Juan Diego Flórez. It also features some of the greatest recording artists of generations past, such as Dame Janet Baker, Marilyn Horne and Kathleen Ferrier.
This set includes two recordings of Gluck's most famous opera Orfeo. The original Orfeo ed Euridice composed for Vienna in 1762 (John Eliot Gardiner), and the 1774 Paris revision Orphée et Eurydice, for which the opera was recast in French and new music was added (Mark Minkowski).
As a total interpretation of the work, Gardiner's Orfeo is more penetrating than any other in the catalogue.
The Sunday Times
What makes the set indispensable is the thrilling direction by Minkowski and the exhilaration of his orchestra.
Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, July 2014
This new boxed set from Decca - released last month to commemorate the tercentenary - is an excellent way to acquire the major works in definitive performances: highlights include John Eliot Gardiner's IphigTnie operas and a splendid Armide under Marc Minkowski, and there's a lovely bonus disc which includes some glorious historical recordings of individual arias.
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