“Welcome to the world’s greatest place to hear music,” cried Geoff Nuttall after he bounded onto the Dock Street stage to introduce his incredibly varied and generous third festival program. Then, to set the scene for the afternoon’s first selection, he confessed (head hung low) to his personal “addiction”: namely his helpless compulsion — ever since his early youth — for hoarding old analog LP recordings (around 15,000 of them, at last count). And among them, one of his long-standing faves is his LP of the deep and shimmering Requiem by the twentieth-century French composer Maurice Duruflé.

Duruflé was an compulsively finicky perfectionist when it came to his music: he destroyed most of what he wrote. The remaining handful of published compositions, mostly choral and organ music, fills up maybe three CDs, max. And every work he left us is a masterpiece. But Geoff was never aware (neither was I) that the young Duruflé, at age 26, had also composed Prelude, Recitatif et Variations : a remarkable chamber piece for flute (Tara Helen O’Connor), viola (Carolyn Blackwell) and piano (Anne-Marie McDermott). O’Connor brought the piece to Geoff’s attention, piquing his interest by describing it as a blend of “sensuous and psychotic.” Well, I don’t know about the psychotic part, though I certainly heard some passages of dark, intensely neurotic agitation. But those were interspersed among prevailing episodes of sweet and dreamy lyricism, suggesting a blend of Fauré and Debussy. It was a remarkably effective piece, beautifully played — and it stands as my number-one musical discovery in this series thus far. I wonder if there’s a good recording (hint, wink, hint, Geoff)?

Next up — glory be — was an old and cherished musical friend: the last of Ludwig van Beethoven’s five wonderful sonatas for cello and piano. This is fairly advanced Beethoven: poor Ludwig had been stone-deaf for some time by the time he wrote it (1815), and his health was taking a nosedive. Thus this heady, emotionally intense music presages works like his ultra-profound and cosmically cerebral late piano sonatas and string quartets: the end result of composing in a total sonic vacuum. As Geoff described it, “It’s not sing-along music.” The opening movement is fairly typical, alternating between brusque drama and radiant lyricism; the finale is a dandy, upbeat fugue with some brain-teasing complexities thrown in.