"Dance of the Blessed Spirits" for Flute and Piano
Uploaded on Apr 22, 2012
The "Orfeo ed Euridice" (Orpheus and Eurydice) is an opera composed by Christoph Willibald Gluck based on the myth of Orpheus and set to a libretto by Ranieri de' Calzabigi.
Gluck's "Orfeo and Euredice", one of the turning points in the history of opera, received its premiere in Vienna on 5th October 1762. "Beautiful simplicity" was the phrase used by Gluck and his librettist Ranieri de Calzabigi for what they had set out to achieve, and the work without doubt offered the clearest challenge yet seen or heard to the moribund conventions of Italian "opera seria". Musically it proved to be a work of unparalleled directness, concise in its effects, plain in its speech, overwhelming in its impact.
The subject of the opera is the Orpheus of Greek mythology, the famous poet and singer who could charm wild animals with his music. When his wife Euradice died he followed her to Hades and won her back by his art with the condition that he should not look at her until he reached the world again. (He did, with predictably disastrous consequences!)
The Dance of the Blessed Spirits occurs in Act 2 of the opera, and consists of a 'roundelay' for strings with two flutes floating above the melody, a tune which nobody who has once heard it is likely to forget. The calm contemplative beauty of the Elysian Fields is perfectly captured by this music which is both tranquil yet at the same time seems to be somehow threaded with melancholy.
Although originally written for opera, this arrangement highlights the haunting elegance of the flute.
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