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Overture, part 3

We've been discussing overtures this week and yesterday I talked about the development of the one-movement Italian overture form that by the late 18th century had become the most popular type of opera overture. But, although these Italian overtures were effective curtain raisers, they generally had nothing to do musically with the operas that followed.

It was an 18th century German composer, Christoph Willibald Gluck, who developed a different model writing opera, first in Italian and then in French operas. such as Orpheus and Eurydice and Iphigenia in Tauris. Gluck composed overtures that were closely linked musically and dramatically with the operas they introduced.

Gluck’s ideas later found brilliant expression in Mozart's opera overtures and in the works of Beethoven, Carl Maria von Weber, and virtually all the other important opera composers of the 19th century.

This has been A Minute with Miles - a production of South Carolina public radio made possible by the JM Smith Corporation.

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Miles Hoffman is the founder and violist of the American Chamber Players, with whom he regularly tours the United States, and the Virginia I. Norman Distinguished Visiting Professor of Chamber Music at the Schwob School of Music, in Columbus, Georgia. He has appeared as viola soloist with orchestras across the country, and his solo performances on YouTube have received well over 700,000 views.