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Adolf Bernhard Marx (1795-1866), the music critic and composer, spent much of his career as professor of music in Berlin and was a friend and mentor of Mendelssohn. His publications included an influential textbook on composition and a biography of Beethoven. The preface to this two-volume study, published in 1863, ranks Gluck (1714-87) wtih Handel, Mozart and Beethoven at the pinnacle of musical achievement. Marx describes Gluck's radical innovations in operatic composition in the context of the wider European tradition, and sets them in a chronological account of the composer's life. Volume 1 covers Gluck's education, his early successes in Italy and travels in Europe, and his prolific output from 1750 to 1770, including the major, reformist works Orfeo, Alceste, and Paride ed Elena, all premiered in Vienna. Marx illustrates his analyses of plot, libretto and orchestration with numerous music examples, and quotations from Gluck's writings.