The Falk Quartet / Tomer Lev / London Conchord Ensemble

Ludwig Thuille: Piano Quintets; Sextet; Trio

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If Bavarian fin de siècle composer Ludwig Thuille lives on at all, it will be through his chamber music, and this two-disc set reissues four of the better performances of his better known works. The first disc includes what is probably Thuille's best-known work, the Sextet for piano and winds, and his Piano Trio, both in cracker-jack performances by the London Conchord Ensemble. The second disc features his two piano quintets in dedicated performances by the Falk Quartet and pianist Tomer Lev. Thuille was a conservative composer whose harmonies are tonal, melodies are hummable, and forms are classical; the sextet, for example, contains a Gavotte. He also opted for restraint, and his music entertains but rarely involves the listener; it sounds like a cross between a less ardent Fauré and a less passionate Brahms. Listeners who want to explore European art music of the late 19th and early 20th centuries with extraordinary thoroughness may want to try him out, and this two-disc set would be a fine place to start.

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