Welcome to Hyperion Records, an independent British classical label devoted to presenting high-quality recordings of music of all styles and from all periods from the twelfth century to the twenty-first.
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That is amply demonstrated in his transcription of the ballet music that Gluck added to his opera Orfeo ed Euridice in 1744 when it was first presented in Paris. The Dance of the blessed spirits opens Act II and is scored for solo flute and strings. I’ve included it as a love song because the legend of Orpheus and Eurydice is of course one of the great love stories of all time. Unlike the original, which begins with the F major minuet-like section, Kempff jumps right in with the D minor flute solo (a true lament), before making the transition to F major for the final page. Another transcription of this lament, by Sgambati (played perhaps more frequently than Kempff’s), leaves out the F major section altogether, which I feel is a shame as it’s so beautiful and calming. Gluck always searched for ‘a beautiful simplicity’, and here he certainly found it. The ballet in the opera is staged in the Elysian Fields—the final resting place of pure souls.
from notes by Angela Hewitt © 2021