Christoph Willibald Gluck

German composer, 1714-1787

Gluck was one of the most eminent composers of the early classical period. His musical legacy includes approximately 35 complete full-length operas plus around a dozen shorter operas and operatic introductions, as well as numerous ballets and instrumental works. His reforms influenced Mozart, particularly his opera Idomeneo (1781). Gluck left behind a flourishing school of disciples in Paris, who would dominate the French stage throughout the Revolutionary and Napoleonic period. Though Gluck wrote no operas in German, his example influenced the German school of opera, particularly Weber and Wagner, whose concept of music drama was not so far removed from Gluck's own.

Source: Wikipedia

Gluck, Christoph Willibald

Komponist (1714-1787). Autograph letter signed ("Gluck"). Wien. 1 S. auf gefalt. Doppelblatt. 4to.
$ 38,703 / 35.000 € (934214/BN934214)

To his friend Franz Kruthoffer (1740-1815?), secretary at the Imperial Embassy in Paris and Gluck's de facto private secretary: a fine document of Gluck's shrewd business sense as well as of the high demand among librettists for music by the foremost composer of his age. For Kruthoffer's sake, Gluck promises to accomodate his publisher Peters with regard to royalties, but he makes it clear that in turn he will be asking extra voucher copies and will not let this one-off concession establish a precedent for future negotiations.

Also, Gluck complains of the unsolicited opera librettos with which he is swamped by poets, and he forbids Kruthoffer to accept such submissions for him: "Wertester Freyndt / Ihren brief von 17 october habe rechtens Erhalten, in dem letzten Ersehe das begehren des Mr. [Johann Anton de] Peters, welches, weilen Er Ihr gutter freyndt ist, ich vor dieses mahl annehmen wiel, aber Etliche partitionen werde mir vor behalten, wie auch, das auß diesen wenigen, was Er geben wiel, keine consequentz vor zukünfftige opern gemacht wer den soll; der Courrier wiel abgehen, ich kan ihnen nichts mehr schreiben als Unser Compliments tres sinceres de la part de ma femme et de moi a vous, et a Mr. [Franz] de Blumendorff. Ich bitte ihnen auch kein pacquet an mich an zu nehmen Wo man mir wiel poesie schicken umb opern zu machen, dan ich werde grausamb desentwegen bombardirt [...]". - Folded horizontally, without an address: as mentioned in the text, the thrifty Gluck sent this letter - as most of his communications with Kruthoffer - by way of the diplomatic courier service just leaving Vienna for Paris. Kruthoffer has noted his response in the upper margin: "Beant. Paris am 18ten Dezember 1776". - Extremely rare, especially when signed (as Gluck, using the diplomatic mail, usually omitted his signature from his letters to Kruthoffer). Kinsky's 1927 edition of Gluck's correspondence with Kruthoffer noted the loss of a letter of this date; it was not published until 1932. - Provenance: in the "autograph collection of Mrs E[milie] Sch[aup] in Vienna" (cf. Komorn, p. 674) in 1932; in an unidentified "private collection" (cf. Badura-Skoda) in 1963. Includes old collection folder..

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