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REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

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Ludwig THUILLE (1861-1907)
Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949)

Ein Jugendfreundschaft - Lieder
Sabina von Walther (soprano)
Helmut Deutsch (piano)
rec. Gustav Mahler Saal, Grand Hotel, Toblach, 2011
DUX 1217 [69:19]

The title of this disc, Ein Jugendfreundschaft, which is translated here as A Meeting of Young Minds, refers to the first meeting in 1877 of Ludwig Thuille and Richard Strauss and the formation of their friendship, one which was to last until Thuille’s tragically early death at the age of 45.

Whilst the music of Richard Strauss is well known that of Ludwig Thuille is only now finally becoming better known, mainly due to the pioneering recordings made by ASV, but now also through the fine discs from CPO (review ~ review), Champs Hill (also here), Capriccio and Naxos (chamber music: 8.572870 and 8.570790). This latest disc from the Polish Dux label is a welcome addition as it only serves to show what an accomplished composer he was. Thuille was born in the Tyrolean town of Bosen, which is now in Italy, but at the age of 11 both his parents died and he moved to Kremsmünster in Austria to live with his step-uncle. There he showed his ability as a musician and it wasn’t long before he was sent to Innsbruck for further study. It was in Innsbruck during the summer of 1877 that he first met Strauss.

Although the booklet notes points to the recording being dedicated to “Lieder that mostly remains unknown.” most of the Thuille and all of the Strauss have been recorded before. Whilst it is a nice idea to build the recording around the friendship between the two composers and their songs, it would have been, for me, better if they had stuck to a single composer, although it is understandable why they have a mixed programme, as the addition of the Strauss certainly makes this disc more commercially attractive.

This is an intelligent Lieder programme - one that shows both composers at their best as well as a wealth of fine music, and not just from Strauss. Indeed there were times that I had to check that Thuille’s songs were not those by Strauss. In fact my favourite songs here are not those by the more famous composer.

Sabina von Walther and Helmut Deutsch prove themselves wonderful interpreters of this music. There seems to be a real understanding in their partnership which can be seen in the apparently effortless beauty of these recordings. I would have no hesitation in commending this recording to anyone seeking to investigate the songs of Thuille or even Strauss. It would make an excellent introduction.

The recording is well done, crisp yet sympathetic to the artists and the music. It is accompanied by a well thought out and helpful booklet, which although it contains the full German texts of the songs sadly there are no translations. There are however translations readably available in various books and websites and it doesn’t take long to track them down.

Stuart Sillitoe



Contents List
1. Thuille: Waldeinsamkeit Op.12 No.1
2. Strauss: Die erwachte Rose
 3. Thuille: Nächtliche Pfade Op.7 No.5
 4. Strauss: Waldesgesang
 5. Thuille: Ich wollt ein Sträusslein binden Op.24 No.3
 6. Thuille: Spinnerlied Op.19 No.5
 7. Strauss: Das Rosenband Op.36 No.1
 8. Strauss: Rote Rosen
 9. Thuille: Gruss Op.4 No.1
10. Thuille: Sommermittag Op.19 No.2
11. Strauss: Begegnung
12. Thuille: Die Kleine Op.19 No.1
13. Strauss: Wir beide wollen springen
14. Thuille: Es klingt der Lärm der Welt Op.5 No.3
15. Strauss: Heimkehr Op.15 No.5
16. Strauss: Schlagende Herzen Op.29 No.2
17. Thuille: Lied der jungen Hexe Op.15 No.3
18. Strauss: Meinem Kinde Op.37 No.3
19. Thuille: Sommermorgen Op.5 No.2
20. Strauss: Wie sollten wir geheim sie halten Op.19 No.4
21. Thuille: Am Heimweg Op.7 No.7
22. Strauss: Nebel
23. Thuille: Die Verlassene Op.4 No.2
24. Strauss: Madrigal Op.15 No.1
25. Thuille: Klage Op.5 No.1
26. Strauss: Weihnachtsgefühl
27. Thuille: Mein Engel hüte dein Op.36 No.1
28. Thuille: Allerseelen Op.4 No.4
29. Strauss: Wer hat’s getan
30. Thuille: Komm, süßer Schlaf Op.36 No.3


 



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