Orfeo ed Euridice marked the beginning of Gluck’s efforts to reform opera. Refocusing the genre on action and the orchestra, he managed to shift power away from sometimes dictatorial singers. In this suite of dances from the opera, Gluck’s new emphasis on musical storytelling is highlighted by the contrast between the marked rhythms of the “Dance of the Furies”, which depicts the scene in which Orpheus calms Hell’s denizens, and the beautiful serenity “Ballet of the Spirits” that follows.
It was in 1811–1812, when Beethoven was waiting for news about an official post with a large orchestra, that he composed his Symphony n°7. This explains the imposingly large orchestra and solemn atmosphere. Rhythm is the cornerstone of this work, and is used to bind the four movements together. The Allegretto was performed multiple times at the 1813 premiere!