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Ludwig Thuille (1861 - 1907)

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 Kremsmünster, 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 Matthäus 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 Strauss’s senior, Thuille continued to correspond from Innsbruck with Richard Strauss, and their correspondence has been much quoted as evidence of the young Strauss’s 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 Bärmann. At the same time he was




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