Compact Discoveries®
a series of one-hour radio programs produced, written, hosted, and edited by Fred Flaxman
©2007 by Fred Flaxman

Program 119
"Tantalizing Thuille"


MUSIC:
Thuille: excerpt from opening of the Piano Quintet in G Minor, performed by the Falk Quartet [ASV CD DCA 1171, track 5] [under the following]

Ludwig Thuille died of a heart attack when he was only 45, which explains why you may not have heard of him before. But he wrote some absolutely gorgeous music in his short life. Stay with me for the next hour and you’ll hear what I mean. This is Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman, and we’re going to listen to “Tantalizing Thuille.”

MUSIC: fades out

Ludwig Thuille lived from 1861 until 1907. According to the fifth edition of Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians, he was born in Bozen, which was then in Austria but is now Bolzano and is now in Italy. Other sources list him as a German composer. One source, supposedly an expert on the subject, said he was born in the French part of Switzerland but was moved as an infant to Bozen.

I have been told that Thuille’s last name is French, and most German-speaking people would recognize it as such and pronounce it in the French manner, as I am doing. But others would pronounce it in the German fashion as “Thuill-e.” The name is spelled T-h-u-i-l-l-e. The final “e” would not be pronounced in French, but would be in German.
As no one I spoke to, even those German-speakers who love classical music, had ever heard to Thuille, no one could be certain of the correct pronunciation of his name. Nevertheless, as most of the people I asked selected “Thuille” as the correct pronunciation, that’s what I have decided to go with, although it reminds me of a situation I heard about many years ago when a teacher brought a live bunny to show her third-grade class. No one knew whether the rabbit was male or female, so the highly democratic, American class decided to take a vote on it. The result of the vote, whatever it was, had no connection to the truth of the matter, and the same may be the case with the pronunciation of “Thuille.”

In any case, Thuille lost both of his parents when he was very young, and was sent as a chorister to a Benedictine abbey in Upper Austria, where he received his elementary education. Later he studied in Innsbruck, where he met the young Richard Strauss, who became a lifelong friend. Thuille then moved to Munich where he studied with Josef Rheinberger and others. Thuille became a professor of music theory and composition there.

Thuille also became a prolific composer, concentrating on chamber music. He is remembered principally for his Sextet for Piano and Wind Instruments by those few who remember him at all. It was written between 1886 and 1888, and we’re going to hear this true compact discovery now as performed by the Appalachian Wind Quintet with Noel Lester at the piano.

MUSIC: Thuille: Sextet for Piano and Wind Instruments, Opus 6, performed by the Appalachian Wind Quintet [Appalachian Wind Quintet recording, tracks 10, 11, 12, 13] [29:48]


Ludwig Thuille’s Sextet for Piano and Wind Instruments, Opus 6. You heard the Appalachian Wind Quintet with pianist Noel Lester. Do you agree with me that this piece is a true compact discovery? I hope so!

You are listening to Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman, and this hour is devoted to “Tantalizing Thuille.”

[optional one-minute break not included in total timing]

We have time for one more piece by Thuille: his three-movement Piano Quintet in G Minor. It is performed on an ASV recording by the Falk Quartet with Tomer Lev at the piano.

MUSIC: Thuille: Piano Quintet in G Minor, performed by the Falk Quartet with Tomer Lev, piano [ASV CD DCA 1171, tracks 5, 6 and 7] [23:19]

Ludwig Thuille’s Piano Quintet in G Minor. You heard the Falk Quartet with Tomer Lev at the piano.

That brings to an end this hour of Compact Discoveries, which I called “Tantalizing Thuille.” We heard his Sextet for Piano and Wind Instruments and his Piano Quintet in G Minor.

MUSIC: clip from Thuille: Sextet for Piano and Wind Instruments, Op. 6, performed by the Appalachian Wind Quintet with pianist Noel Lester [under the following]

I’m Fred Flaxman hoping also that you enjoyed these selections and that you’ll let me hear from you about this or other Compact Discoveries programs. I can be reached through the Compact Discoveries website: www.compactdiscoveries.com. The website is the place to go for complete information on these programs, including scripts with playlists. You’ll also find there lots of Compact Discoveries articles, a list of public radio stations carrying the program, links to those stations’ websites, and listener reaction.

I’d like to thank ArkivMusic.com for supplying the recording of Thuille’s Piano Quintet in G Minor, and Noel Lester and the Appalachian Wind Quintet for furnishing their recording of Thuille’s Sextet. Thanks, as well, to the Austrian and German Embassies and Patrick Jaeger at the Austrian Cultural Forum, the Goethe Cultural Institute and the German Information Center, all in Washington, D.C., and Simon Corley and the French Classical Music List in Paris, for their help in researching pronunciations.

Compact Discoveries is distributed internationally by the Public Radio Exchange, and Compact Discoveries programs can be streamed on demand at their website: www.prx.org. This program was produced in Weaverville, North Carolina. It was made possible by the financial support of members of public radio station WXEL-FM, West Palm Beach, Florida.

MUSIC: fades out at 58:00

PROGRAM ENDS AT 58:00


 
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