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Sextet Op. 6 Piano Quintet Op

Luisi; Chantily Quintet; Gigli Quartet , Thuille Ludwig Audio CD

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One of the leading members of the Munich School, most famously represented by Richard Strauss, Ludwig Thuille was a prolific composer whose Sextet today remains the best known of his many chamber works. Influenced by Rheinberger, Liszt and Wagner, T

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Sextuor op.6 - Quintette op.20 / Quintette Chantily - Quatuor Gigli - Gianluca Luisi, piano

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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In Praise of the Second-rate June 10 2013
By Woodduck - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
James H. North, quoted above in Fanfare magazine, claims to be "amazed" that so many recordings of the music of Ludwig Thuille have come along in recent years. If Thuille's long-neglected works were in fact as feeble and tedious as Mr. North finds them to be, the many superb musicians who are finding them worth playing and recording would doubtless be amazed at their own propensity to waste their, and our, time with the stuff. But, luckily for us, Mr. North is not making decisions for the record companies. Thuille may not be a forgotten Brahms (the composer his Sextet brings most to mind); but it is worth remembering that not everything by that, or any other, recognized master is a supreme masterpiece. Thuille died, prematurely at forty-six, highly regarded by many first-rate musicians of his day, including his lifelong friend Richard Strauss; and he left behind a number of beautiful works exhibiting no little craft and inspiration, of which the two on this recording are among the best. Thuille was a respected teacher of composition - which fact, though no guarantee of absolute perfection in his own creative products, is at least indicative of an understanding of what constitutes effective musical content, shape, and progression. If his formal structures do occasionally (and only occasionally) threaten to lose sight of the forest for the trees, the trees themselves - the melodic ideas, the harmonic turns, the instrumental colorings - are constantly interesting and lovely. The bucolic first movement of his Sextet, for example, takes us on a more leisurely and casual journey, structurally, than a movement of Brahms. But the landscape through which we pass is a delight to the mind and senses; with lovely, memorable melodies and a wide range of ravishing instrumental colors and textures (wider than anything in Brahms, be it noted), the excursions are always pleasant, never dull, and never so disorienting that we are in doubt of finding our way home. And what is true of this movement I find to be true of Thuille's music in general.

An analysis of the genuine achievements of this fine composer may be due. I am not the one, and this is not the forum, for that analysis. But I would at least suggest that his works deserve to be better known, and this will require listeners and critics more open-minded and open-hearted than Mr. North. The enterprise of musicians and record companies is lately demonstrating the worthiness of much second-rate music, esteemed in its time but since buried under the whims of cultural and academic fashion, to which the world of the fine arts is more subject than its arbiters and acolytes would care to admit. The commonly asserted view, glibly parroted by Mr. North, that "history" decides what artistic products deserve the attention of posterity, is simplistic and only partly correct. There are in fact many reasons for the renown or obscurity of a work of art, both in its own day and thereafter. I can attest that to undertake the project of recovering the forgotten beauties of our musical past is to be astounded by its extent and richness, as well as saddened that the often arbitrary judgments of "history" have deprived us of so much beauty and delight.

For anyone interested in exploring the neglected byways of late German romantic music, I would enthusiastically suggest the music of the distinguished Professor Ludwig Thuille as a good place to start.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thuille's Best Chamber Music Works Aug. 31 2009
By J Scott Morrison - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
The all-but-forgotten Ludwig Thuille (1861-1907) was a classmate of Richard Strauss's and remained his friend until his early death. He succeeded his teacher, Josef Rheinberger, as professor of composition at the Royal Music School in Munich. And although he was early influenced by Liszt and Wagner, his Sextet sounds more like Brahms. Thuille was a master of memorable melody and Brahmsian formal construction. Thuille had French ancestry and there is more than a soupçon of Gallic wit in this music, particularly in the first and third movements. I have loved the Sextet for Piano and Wind Quintet ever since I got a limited edition pressing of a performance by members of the Boston Symphony more than twenty years ago. I have also liked a recording by the Ensemble Wien-Berlin and pianist Stefan Vladar which is, as far as I know, no longer available. There is also a fine recording of the Stuttgart Wind Quintet with pianist Dennis Russell Davies, nla. This present performance is by pianist Gianluca Luisi and yet another German group, the Chantily Quintet whose home, fittingly, is Munich where they are principals in the Munich Philharmonic. I quite like this new performance and believe it stands alongside those earlier recordings. Indeed, I think they catch the French insouciance of the music better than the other ensembles.

The Piano Quintet, played here by Luisi and the Gigli Quartet (named, oddly enough, for Golden Age tenor Beniamino Gigli), is a more mature work, Thuille's Op. 20, with somewhat more chromatic harmonies and more complex construction. The work's counterpoint and harmonic complexity are particularly skillful. It is actually Thuille's second piano quintet; the first is a student work which has been recorded along with the second quintet by Oliver Triendl and the Vogler Quartet Ludwig Thuille: Piano Quintets. I slightly prefer Triendl's and the Vogler's recording which seems more natural and spontaneous, hence my four-star rating. But I am pleased that these two works, Thuille's best chamber works, are for the first time together on one budget-priced CD in fine performances.

Scott Morrison

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