Revisiting the Classics: Orpheus de Euridice #2

“Orpheus and Eurydice” was originally a Greek tragedy, where the characters’ fates were full of twists and turns, relying on dialogue to convey their actions. The plot also includes a chorus narrating the scene transitions. Gluck’s brilliance in his creation lies in his abandonment of the pursuit of flashy techniques. He transformed the different tensions and dramatic elements between the plot into various symbols, which he then incorporated into suites of different styles, using music to create a sense of drama in the composition.


What does the so-called “dramatic sense of music” mean? We are accustomed to using our eyes and brains to see and understand the different events that happen around us. Even though drama is a full sensory experience, audiences tend to experience the story through dialogue, scenes, and the appearance of characters. However, our eyes and brains are rational, whereas sound satisfies our sensory needs, allowing us to feel various levels of delicate emotions. In the famous “Dance of the Blessed Spirits” from “Orpheus and Eurydice,” which appeared in the middle of the second act, the melody is led by the flute solo, with the gentle and beautiful Eurydice as the perspective. The melody is gentle, the rhythm is steady, and the string ensemble plays a similar melody in harmony, like the voice of an angel blessing Eurydice and Orpheus with eternal happiness. The flute’s sound is softer and has a unique feminine beauty. When different instruments play the composition, they each interpret their own version of Eurydice in their hearts.


Readers can compare different versions of the “Dance of the Blessed Spirits,” such as the version played by flutist Patrick GALLOIS with the Paris Chamber Orchestra

The adapted version by cellist Camille Thomas

And the oboe version by Francois Leleux

Pay attention to the following points:

1. How does each instrument lead your imagination of the character?
2. What experiences does the character go through, and what are their feelings?
3. What resonance do you have with the character?

Feel free to share your thoughts with us!

Photo credit:
Suncheep Vidayanakorn Youtube Channel
Deutsche Grammophon – DG Youtube Channel
Norwegian Chamber Orchestra Youtube Channel

Leave a Reply