MUSIC: Thuille: excerpt from opening of the Piano Concerto in D Major, performed by the Orchestra Haydn di Bolzano e Trento conducted by Alun Francis with Oliver Triendl at the piano [CPO 777 008-2, track 1] [under the following]
Hello and welcome to Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman, and for the next hour we’re going to listen to “More Tantalizing Thuille.” That’s the opening of his Piano Concerto which you hear in the background.
MUSIC: fades out
In the first hour of music that I presented by Ludwig Thuille, I mentioned that he lived from 1861 until 1907. He lost both of his parents when he was very young and moved to Innsbruck, Austria to stay with an uncle and study. There he met Richard Strauss, who was three years younger than he was. Strauss became a lifelong friend, and later dedicated one of his most famous tone poems, Don Juan, to Thuille.
MUSIC: very short clip from Richard Strauss’ Don Juan with the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Zdenek Kosler [Naxos 8.550250, track 1] [fades out under the following]
The two composers corresponded for 30 years, and these letters have been published in Germany.
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, but writing nearly 100 songs and six operas. He also collaborated on a music textbook, which was published in the year of his death, and which remained a standard reference work for several decades afterwards.
As for his chamber music, he is remembered principally for his Sextet for Piano and Wind Instruments, which I featured in the first hour. But he also wrote several other absolutely gorgeous pieces for small ensembles. One of my favorites is his Sonata for Cello and Piano, Opus 22, which we’ll hear next. It was written in 1902, and is the first piece on a Centaur compact disc called “Splendors of the 20th Century,” although it sounds much more as though it belongs in the 19th.
The cellist is Antony Cooke. The pianist, Armin Watkins.
MUSIC: Thuille: Sonata for Cello and Piano, Opus 22, performed by Antony Cooke, cello, and Armin Watkins, piano [Centaur CRC 2723, tracks 1, 2, and 3] [30:29]
Ludwig Thuille’s Sonata for Cello and Piano, Opus 22. The cellist was Antony Cooke. Armin Watkins was the pianist. I hope you agree with me that this piece is another true compact discovery by the undeservedly forgotten Austrian romantic composer, Ludwig Thuille.
In an old edition of Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians, written shortly after Thuille’s death, it said that this cello sonata “has been considered one of the most important works for the violoncello since the time of Beethoven.” This was a strong recommendation for a piece of music that has since, most unjustly in my opinion, almost disappeared from the repertoire.
You are listening to Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman, and this hour is devoted to “More Tantalizing Thuille.”
[optional one-minute break not included in total timing]
Although Thuille may be best known for his chamber music now, to the
extent that he is known at all, he did compose a symphony and a piano
concerto during his heart-attack-shortened, 45-year life. We’re only
going to hear the final movement of his piano concerto now, not because
I don’t care for the rest of the piece, but because we don’t have time
for it all in this hour, and, also I would like to fit in the third
movement of Thuille’s Piano Quintet in E-flat, to let you sample one of Thuille’s other outstanding chamber music works.
PROGRAM ENDS AT 57:30
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