Only gradually has the music world come to realize how individual George Perle's music is, what a flexible musical language he has developed, and how different that language is from serialism. Perle never writes down to an audience and never worries about "accessibility," but he is a firm believer that "a piece that 'makes sense' will reach one, at some intuitive level, even at first hearing." Perle's divergence from mainstream twelve-tone music came early. In 1937 he borrowed the score to Alban Berg's Lyric Suite through which he discovered Schoenberg's twelve-tone system; but instead of regarding the row as an inviolable ordering of the twelve pitches, he considered it a modified scale that the composer could move around in at will. By the time he realized his mistake, he had discovered so many possibilities in his own, more flexible system that, as he said, "Schoenberg's idea of the series seemed so primitive compared to mine." Perle persevered in developing a "twelve-tone tonality," method of using the entire chromatic spectrum that corresponds closely to the major/minor system of traditional tonality.
Sigiswald Kuijken was born in 1944 close to Brussels. He studied violin at the conservatories of Bruges and Brussels, completing his studies at the latter institution with Maurice Raskin in 1964. He came into contact with early music at a very young age, together with his brother Wieland. Studying on his own, he gained a thorough knowledge of specific 17th- and 18th-century performance techniques and conventions of interpretation on violin and viola da gamba This led to the introduction, in 1969, of a more authentic way of playing the violin, whereby the instrument was no longer held under the chin, but lay freely on the shoulder; this was to have a crucial influence on the approach to the violin repertoire and was consequently adopted by many players starting in the early 1970s.
The young Thalia Ensemble erupted into the public spotlight with their being chosen as winners at the prestigious biennial York Early Music International Young Artists Competition. Their debut release spotlights the compositions of Antoine Reicha. Regarded as a pre-eminent composer for winds, Reicha , a flautist had an uncanny gift of melding the various wind instruments into a rich sonic tapestry in his compositions and the Thalia Ensemble’s inspired and dynamic playing proves to be a perfect match with the lively Wind Quintets.