Orchestral Music: Ballet Suite No. 1 (Christoph Willibald von Gluck (arr. Felix Mottl))

(Born July 2, 1714, in Erasbach; died November 15, 1787, in Vienna)

The Ballet Suite No. 1 includes selections from three of Gluck's greatest operas. It begins with an Air Gai and Lento from Iphigenia in Aulis. Familiar Orpheus music, taken from Gluck’s most frequently performed and famous opera Orfeo ed Euridice, follows the initial movement. This well-known music is arranged in a three-part form in which the graceful Dance of the Blessed Spirits, coupled with the eternally beautiful interlude for solo flute, one of the most poignant and memorable of all of Gluck’s melodies, becomes the centerpiece of the suite. The suite concludes with two excerpts from the opera, Armide, a Musette and a Sicilienne.

A brilliant late nineteenth century Austrian conductor and composer who occupied an important place in German opera production for many years, Felix Mottl created this suite. Internationally acclaimed, Mottl was Wagner's assistant at Bayreuth, and he also conducted at the New York Metropolitan Opera. Now, music lovers do not find his name except for here, in the creation of this present arrangement of Gluck’s music. His version of Gluck’s ballet music is faithful to the music's values and quite untouched by the enthusiasm for largeness that has dominated so many arrangements of earlier music for modern orchestra.

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