To the question “what does Gluck represent today”, one might retort that the composer is both the victim and the beneficiary of the debates to which his name is associated, and to anyone interested in the theoretical issues of reception, the study of Gluck’s posterity will be of exemplary value. After a brief account of the reasons why Gluck remains an interesting object of study, we shall expatiate on three literary “scenes” which helped construct antithetical and complementary aspects of the musician’s aura. Our first point will be an examination of Gluck as the embodiment of the Enlightenment. We will then show, with Hoffmann, how his persona came to incarnate the most essential aspirations of German romanticism. We will eventually assess how Dominique Fernandez uses Gluck to illustrate an historical caesura after which baroque Europe entered into a stage of decadence. Whether they are called classical, romantic or baroque, all the categories referred to are hardly an invitation to take fictions and discourses at face value. However, the example of Gluck also demonstrates both the impact that fiction and discourses can have on the destiny of musical works, and the necessity to take them into consideration if one is to account for the complexity of musical phenomena.
Les Lumières et la culture musicale européenne :
Université de Rennes 2, CELAM, groupe Phi
Pris dans la toile des discours sur la musique : Gluck, scènes littéraires