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Sextet Piano Quintet
Chantily Quintet Gigli Quartet Gianluca Luisi, Piano

Ludwig Thuille (18611907)

Sextet in B flat major, Op. 6 Piano Quintet in E flat major, Op. 20
The German composer and teacher Ludwig Thuille seems to have been unjustly relegated to a footnote in accounts of the early life of his friend Richard Strauss. Thuille was born in 1861 in Bozen (Bolzano), the son of a book and art dealer, but was orphaned in childhood, with the death of his mother in 1867 and of his father in 1872. He had his early piano lessons from his father, and became a chorister at the Benedictine foundation at Kremsmnster, assuring him a free place at the associated gymnasium, where he studied the piano and violin, and developed his early interests in composition. In 1876 he settled in Innsbruck with his married half-sister. Here he received encouragement from Pauline Nagiller, widow of the musician and composer Matthus Nagiller, and was able to study with a pupil of Bruckner. The following year, through Josepha Strauss, mother of Richard Strauss, and her husband Franz, on holiday in Innsbruck, Thuille met Richard Strauss, with whom he struck up an important friendship, and it was through Franz Strauss that he later found a place at the Royal Music School in Munich. Three years Richard Strausss senior, Thuille continued to correspond from Innsbruck with Richard Strauss, and their correspondence has been much quoted as evidence of the young Strausss early conservative tendencies and prejudices, with only the letters of Strauss surviving. In 1879 Thuille moved to Munich, studying there at the Royal Music School under Rheinberger and Karl Brmann. At the same time he was influenced, as was Strauss, by contact with the Wagnerian Alexander Ritter, whom Strauss had first known in Meiningen. On graduation Thuille started work as a private music-teacher, before his appointment in 1883 to the Royal Music School as a teacher of piano and harmony. In 1890 he was appointed professor and in 1893 succeeded his teacher Rheinberger as professor of composition. Thuille enjoyed an early career in Munich as a pianist, particularly in chamber music, and from 1889 won a reputation as conductor of a mens choir, Liederhort, while earning distinction as a composer and as a teacher. It was in the latter capacity that he was chiefly remembered, his academic position tending to develop the more conservative aspect of his composition, distancing him from Strauss, with whom, nevertheless, he remained on friendly terms until his early death in 1907. A leader of the socalled Munich School that reflected the influences of Rheinberger and of Liszt and Wagner, Thuille wrote choral music and songs. His operas included two fairy-tale works, Lobetanz and Gugeline, with libretti by the writer and editor Otto Julius Bierbaum that had originally, it seems, been intended for Strauss, and his orchestral works include a piano concerto, a symphony and a Romantic Overture. At the same time he made a then significant contribution to chamber music and to a lesser extent to solo piano music. At the time of his death he was preparing for publication his important Harmonielehre, a collaboration with Rudolf Louis, a work later edited by his former pupil Walter Courvoisier, who married Thuilles daughter. Thuille wrote his Sextet in B flat major, Op.6, scored for flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon and piano, in the years 1886-88. The sonata-form Allegro moderato entrusts the principal theme first to the horn, which enters over the discreet murmur of the piano, to be followed by the clarinet and then the flute and bassoon, before the emphatic statement of the theme by the piano. The second subject is given first to the clarinet, followed by the flute, continued by the oboe. The instruments are further deployed in contrast and in conjunction, handled with the greatest technical skill, before the bassoon and horn return to the main theme in recapitulation. The horn in E flat, replacing the earlier F horn, proposes the main theme of the slow movement, accompanied by the chords of the piano, which then continues the theme, soon to be taken up by the clarinet. A more sombre passage follows, in E flat minor, with an expressive link to the return of the main theme. The third movement, a G minor Gavotte, marked Andante, quasi Allegretto, entrusts its theme first to the oboe, followed by the flute and bassoon, to be continued by the oboe and clarinet and then the piano. The trio section is in G major, its theme given first to the oboe, with a bassoon accompanying ostinato later to be shared with other instruments. The piano returns with its own version of the


Gavotte theme, the original key restored. In the Finale the piano states the lively principal theme, over the repeated notes of flute, oboe and clarinet, with flute and clarinet then taking over the melody. The horn offers a secondary theme and the material is developed, before its due recapitulation, the varied instruments always handled with deft mastery. Thuilles Piano Quintet in E flat major, Op. 20, his second attempt at the form, dates from the years 18971901 and was dedicated to the composer and conductor Max Schillings, by then a figure of some importance in the musical life of Munich. The work was eagerly anticipated and won general approval from Thuilles immediate contemporaries. The extended first movement, marked Allegro con brio, is broadly in sonata form, with innovative modifications to the structure of the recapitulation. The music is compelling in its sweep and dramatic contrasts and masterly in its use of instrumental resources. The piano duly opens the B major Adagio assai sostenuto, followed
Photo: David M. Peters

meditatively by the strings, the first violin con gran espressione, with a theme that is developed before a central B minor passage marked agitato, but moving through music of greater tranquillity. The main theme gradually makes its return, at first in the key of B flat, leading to the re-establishment of the original key and the emphatic statement of the melody. The movement ends with a gentle coda. The C minor third movement is a scherzo in all but name, with a more lyrical trio section marked Poco meno mosso. The ending brings its own surprising dynamic contrasts. The piano starts the Finale with a cadenza, before the sonata-form movement is launched. Its development introduces a fugato, played pizzicato, and started by the viola, followed by the second violin, the first, the cello and finally the piano, the right hand and then the left. A further fugal passage leads to the recapitulation and a triumphant conclusion. Keith Anderson

Gianluca Luisi Gianluca Luisi studied with Franco Scala at the Academy of Music in the Italian city of Imola. He has won many national and international piano competitions, including the Casella International Competition in Italy, and the J.S. Bach International Piano Competition in Saarbrucken. He has given many solo performances in some of the greatest concert halls and leading international music festivals, including Carnegie Hall, New York, the Musikverein, Vienna, and the Schleswig Holstein Music Festival, Hamburg. He has played also with famous orchestras. He has a very wide and interesting repertoire, which includes the complete cycle of The Well-Tempered Clavier of J. S. Bach. He recently played in Neuhardenberg, Berlin, the complete cycle of the nine Beethoven Symphonies in the Liszt transcription for two and four hands, with the pianist Konstantin Scherbakov. Gianluca Luisi is a Bsendorfer artist.


Chantily Quintet At the ARD International music competition in Munich in 2006 the Chantily Quintet was awarded second prize, the special prize for the best interpretation of the commissioned work and the Audience Prize. Since then the ensemble has rapidly risen to a leading position in its field. Its members hold solo positions in the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, the Konzerthaus Orchestra in Berlin and the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Berlin, and the work of the ensemble has been much influenced by the conductor Marek Janowksi. Performances by the Chantily Quintet at the Konzerthaus and the Philharmonie in Berlin were received with enthusiasm and the ensemble has performed at the ARD Chamber Music Festival at Schloss Elmau and in the Winners and Masters concert series in Munich and Berlin. At the invitation of the Goethe Institute, the Chantily Quintet gave a gala concert during the millennium celebrations in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, and has held workshops and performed in several countries of Eastern Africa. The quintet has also earned a reputation for its master-classes at various European Academies of Music. The Chantily Quintet released its first recording, in collaboration with Bavarian Radio, in 2008, with works of Mozart and Beethoven, for the Profil Edition Gnter Hnssler label, for which further recordings have been planned. Gigli Quartet The Gigli Quartet owes its name to the famous tenor Beniamino Gigli. The first violin is Marco Rogliano, one of the most distinguished violinists of his generation. He has won many international awards and played in leading concert halls, including the Moscow Tchaikovsky Hall, Carnegie Hall in New York and La Scala in Milan, collaborating with major orchestras. Judith Hamza, who plays second violin has for more than twenty years been a member of the Italian chamber orchestra I Solisti Aquilani, where, since 1999, she has served as concertmaster. The violist Luca Sanz has played in major concert halls throughout the world. He is a member of the Freon Group, Italy, specialising in the music of the twentieth century. The cellist Sabine Krams is principal cellist of the Frankfurt Opera. She is member of the Grneburg Trio and of the Ensemble Concertant Frankfurt.

Photo: Bruno Mazzocchetti

Photo: Catherina Hess


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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, Thuilles Sextet also recalls Brahmss deft mastery, particularly with regard to his arching melodies, scrupulous handling of instrumental textures and technical skill. His second Piano Quintet, likewise notable for its formal mastery and dramatic contrasts, boasts many passages of thrilling intensity, counterpoint and surging lyricism.


THUILLE: Sextet Piano Quintet


THUILLE: Sextet Piano Quintet

Playing Time




Sextet in B flat major, Op. 6*

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

10:25 7:48 3:45 6:11
& 2009 Naxos Rights International Ltd. Booklet notes in English Disc Made in Canada Printed & Assembled in USA

Allegro moderato Larghetto Gavotte: Andante, quasi Allegretto Finale: Vivace Allegro con brio Adagio assai sostenuto Allegro Finale Allegro risoluto

Piano Quintet in E flat major, Op. 20** 43:19

12:30 15:50 6:39 8:10

* Chantily Quintet
Pirmin Grehl, Flute Florian Grube, Oboe Johannes Zurl, Clarinet Dmitry Babanov, Horn Bence Boganyi, Bassoon

** Gigli Quartet
Marco Rogliano, Judith Hamza, Violins Luca Sanz, Viola Sabine Krams, Cello

Gianluca Luisi, Piano

Recorded at August-Everding-Saal, Musikschule Grnwald, Germany, 2730 April 2008 Producer & Editor: Bernhard Albrecht Engineer: Karl-Heinz Jungwirth Sound Technician: Ulrich Oberleitner Publishers: Breitkopf (Sextet); Kistner, Leipzig (Quintet) Booklet notes: Keith Anderson (English) & Eckhardt van den Hoogen (German) Cover photo: Bavarian landscape ( Sebastian Czapnik /