I expect that any listener unfamiliar with the music of Ludwig Thiulle will be as pleased as I was to make his musical acquaintance. An excellent place to start is this delightful program of Thuille’s music for violin and piano from Naxos, especially given the inexpensive asking price.
Ludwig Thuille (1861-1907) achieved considerable success writing for the stage; he completed four operas, the second of which was heard from Riga to Vienna and New York. However, it was chamber music that occupied him most extensively. If there is any single work in his entire output that has retained a place in the repertoire, it is his Sextet for Piano and Wind Quintet in B flat major, Op. 6 (available on Naxos 8570790).
When he was sixteen years of age, Thuille met Richard Strauss, who was three years his junior, and the two remained friends for life. Despite the influence of Strauss and the important place that music-drama held for him, Thuille’s writing remained, to a large degree, conservatively romantic, as can be heard here, in his Violin Sonatas Nos. 1 & 2, and the Allegro Giusto, Op. 39. Although his use of harmony is sometimes adventurous, it never unsettles the beauty and flow of the music. Its formal clarity and endless melodic invention will quickly ingratiate any music lover and soften any ill-tempered mood.
The playing of violinist Marco Rogliano and pianist Gianluca Luisi is technically and musically superb. Naxos provides great sonics. There’s really nothing more to consider; you are going to thoroughly enjoy this.”
Rogliano and Luisi play with commitment, a good sense of style, and an appropriate…level of passion. The recording is clear…The notes are detailed and informative.
In lesser hands, I’m not sure how much of an impact Thuille’s works for violin and piano would make, for first-rate masterpieces they’re not; but the playing of them by violinist Marco Rogliano and pianist Gianluca Luisi elevates them to something quite memorable. Rogliano’s 1790 Nicola Bergonzi violin—with modern setup, of course—is a real beauty from which the violinist draws a clean, bright, sweet tone across the instrument’s range, never once tested by the music’s technical challenges, and never once straying off pitch or producing a hardened tone or abrasive sound. Rogliano has accumulated a fairly impressive discography, much of it devoted to little known Italian composers, though he’s also recorded works by Beethoven, Berwald, and Sinding, as well as works by well-known Italians such as Paganini, Tartini, and Vivaldi. To this list, he now adds Ludwig Thuille. Who knows? Perhaps with musicianship of this caliber Thuille may actually catch on. But even if not, the composer is posthumously blessed to have artists like Rogliano and Luisi championing work.
Rogliano, too, is blessed to have as his partner in this enterprise pianist Gianluca Luisi…his Goldberg Variations received high praise from her and from Scott Noriega.
Thuille’s ouput in general may not be the work of a truly inspired composer, and his violin sonatas in particular may not be the most inspiring examples of their genre, but they do nonetheless expand the repertoire of the violin-piano duo between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, which makes them a must for completists, and in performances as fine as these, a must for anyone who appreciates violin and piano playing at its best.
Ludwig Thuille (1861–1907) fue un músico alemán, amigo de Richard Strauss, que estudió en el Conservatorio de Munich, en el que se graduó en 1883. Ostentó también el cargo de director de la Escuela de Compositores de la ciudad. Su catálogo es amplio y diverso y su música tiene influencias de Liszt, Wagner y de su profesor Rheinberger. Se nos ofrece aquí su obra completa para violín y piano: dos Sonatas y un Allegro giusto. La Sonata n. 1, hermosa y delicada, la compuso con tan sólo 19 años y en ella escuchamos texturas y melodías que recuerdan al más puro Schumann. La Segunda Sonata fue dedicada a Henri Marteau, uno de los más afamados violinistas de la época, y goza de momentos tensos, ansiosos y arrebatadores que demandan un instrumentista sólido y virtuoso como Marco Rogliano. Así es, el violinista no sólo posee una técnica más que suficiente sino que sabe delinear con sutilidad las más dulces y soñadoras frases del adagio junto a su acompañante el impecable pianista Gianluca Luisi. Ambos hacen gala de un entendimiento encomiable y consiguen un equilibrio perfecto. Una música de bella factura que nos es familiar en todo momento y que apreciamos y valoramos como se merece.
Writing here in August 2009, I wrote of Ludwig Thuille’s Piano Quintet, ‘if Brahms had composed the work, this big and powerful score would have been acclaimed’. Having lost both of his parents, he had relied on the generosity of friends to secure an education. Yet against the odds he eventually became professor of composition at Munich’s Royal School where he succeeded his mentor, Rheinberger. He was to write in many genre, including opera and symphonic scores, his contribution to chamber music being described as ‘significant’, though the present disc contains his complete output for violin and piano. The first of the two sonatas date from 1880, at the age of nineteen, and is dedicated to Rheinberger, though it comes straight from the world of Brahms. It has a catchy tune in the short scherzo and a bustling finale, the work, as a whole, at least worth our acquaintance. The Second from twenty-four years later is a much different affair, and speaks of the composer’s familiarity with the changing world around him, and particularly of those who had discovered the sensual quality of the violin, Chausson springing to mind. In three substantial movements, the strong piano part forming the backdrop against which the violin weaves its web of erotic beauty. I am not about to declare a masterpiece, but would urge anyone interested in violin music of that era to hear the work. It finds a ready disciple in the Italian violinist, Marco Rogliano, who plays it with the passion it deserves, his 1790 Bergonzi violin having the power to serve him admirably. In Gianluca Luisi he has a superb partner, rhythmically at one with him throughout, and when required commands the music with considerable potency. Superb recorded sound, the Allegro giusto becoming a pleasing short ‘encore’.
Violinist Marco Rogliano and pianist Gianluca Luisi play up a storm giving technically matchless, rousing performances. There’s a joie de vivre in their delivery that turns these pieces into something extra special, and one couldn’t ask for a better account of this unjustly neglected music!
…the recordings are good, projecting a soundstage suitably sized for a two-man ensemble. The surroundings are warm and very spacious, but at no time cloud the music. The violin tone is natural and the piano well captured…
…the playing of [Thuille’s works for violin and piano] by violinist Marco Rogliano and pianist Gianluca Luisi elevates them to something quite memorable. Rogliano’s 1790 Nicola Bergonzi violin…is a real beauty from which the violinist draws a clean, bright, sweet tone across the instrument’s range…and never once straying off pitch or producing a hardened tone or abrasive sound…the composer is posthumously blessed to have artists like Rogliano and Luisi championing his work.
Rogliano, too, is blessed to have as his partner in this enterprise pianist Gianluca Luisi…
…in performances as fine as these, a must for anyone who appreciates violin and piano playing at its best.