thumbnail of Music in the making; Gluck's reform of opera
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
Music in the making. Produced by Milliken university under a grant from the Educational Television Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. The Milliken School of Music presents a professor who would know of all in a recorded consideration of reform in opera by Gluck Professor Norval opera has been called the art form of complete unreality and yet the history of the evolution of opera reveals a strong and constant current towards reality at least in the sense of true human expression. The so-called reform of opera by Luke in the 18th century is one of the most important milestones in the history of opera. Just what was this reform. What were its fundamental issues. We read facile answers to these questions in conventional histories of music and in books of reference. But let us not be satisfied to pin a conventional label on a critic as a reformer who brought opera back to a realisation of the basic idea of its already John
drama music out. Drama with music. It would be impossible to believe that any genius no matter how great who came into the world before the advent of Gothic architecture could have immediately succeeded in building a great Gothic cathedral and every art a period of evolution has preceded the greatest manifestations of particular forms and types. Sometimes the great genius of the innovator type curtails is period. But as a rule the greater the art form the longer the evolution before creative spirits have perfected ideas and pools to use every creative artist must have his means of expression. No artist of any type has ever created these mean singlehanded. Let us now consider briefly two important factors in understanding the significance of his life work in the evolution of musical art. 1 the stage of evolution of music to contributory causes in life and taste of the period.
At the time I was born more than a century had passed since the birth of opera in Italy and 16:00 it is interesting to know the early development of opera occurred within the first two decades of the 17th century. The first great reformer of opera cloak was born within the first two decades of the eighteenth century and the second great reformer of opera Wagner was born within the first two decades of the 19th century. Perhaps the next great reformer was born within the first two decades of the 20th century and has now approached manhood. He may use the limitless possibilities of the sound of film in a new thrilling type of opera such as we scarcely dream of. Whenever a new art form comes into being two things are bound to happen. One during the inevitable period of experimentation. All sorts of undreamt of possibilities enter the picture and sometimes tempt creative spirits
in directions for which are far removed from the original objective. The expanding possibilities are usually exploited by a mercenary and mediocre artists for their own profit thus degrading the artform in question. These things have happened in literature in the drama in painting sculpture and architecture as well as music. One striking example of a new development undergoing such a visit to use in our own modern life is the film possibly someday a lecture on the art of the screen will show a slide of cycles and explain the reforms of twenty four hundred a De l'Isle and large ing upon the absurdities the vulgarities and and the blushing commercialization of Hollywood in the 20th century. Already if one observes the production of films or speaks with experienced producers in Hollywood one finds that every
department involved scenario writing film cutting stage costuming directing and shooting bristles with formulas. The conditions of opera in the 17th century and early 18th century presented although in a quite different ways similar problems to the creative artist formulas for the construction of opera multiplied during this period. Mediocre and unimaginative composers created a low standard of taste. Strange customs are always had none more comprehensible to us than the phenomena of the male singer who sang in a high soprano voice. This type of voice dominated opera for a long time. We can only realise the absurdity is by imagining the role of a bearded Hercules son by a man in a high piping soprano voice. We cannot understand to the full what necessitated reform without a consideration of this type of voice in the very beginning.
However as we hear a lot of faith today we witness the last vestige of the male singer the role of Orpheus written for a male out who has now sung by a woman. We will now hear the aria from author Faye. Oh no. Sure.
Goodluck saw the necessity to change certain absurdities which took place in the world of
opera. He realized that the unity of music drama and human emotion should manifest itself in a truer picture. I shall now sing the town are you from if again in this opera critic the reformer had the leading road song natural voices. I have been a good writer. Oh you know if god.
Was. Was neat. First week to week.
Oh my. God I eat. Oh no no no. Thus we have much more back of klicks reform than I mere interest to purge the author
of under matic obscenities and restores the original premise that the integration of drama and music. Professor Hubert Norval has brought to you a record of consideration of reform in opera by Gluck. Music in the making was produced by Milliken university under a grant from the educational television and radio center. This program is distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the end E.B. tape network.
Please note: This content is only available at GBH and the Library of Congress, either due to copyright restrictions or because this content has not yet been reviewed for copyright or privacy issues. For information about on location research, click here.
Music in the making
Gluck's reform of opera
Producing Organization
Millikin University
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-6t0gzc0w).
Episode Description
This program focuses on the major changes that composer Christoph Willibald Gluck brought to opera in the 18th century.
Series Description
Instructional comments and musical illustrations using faculty and students from the Millikin University School of Music. The first thirteen programs in the series focus upon historical aspects of music. The second half of the series explores music's technical side.
Broadcast Date
Gluck, Christoph Willibald, Ritter von, 1714-1787. Orfeo ed Euridice.
Media type
Producing Organization: Millikin University
Speaker: Norville, Hubert, 1905-1986
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 56-8-6 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:14:20
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Music in the making; Gluck's reform of opera,” 1956-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed October 1, 2023,
MLA: “Music in the making; Gluck's reform of opera.” 1956-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. October 1, 2023. <>.
APA: Music in the making; Gluck's reform of opera. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from