Thomas Larcher!

Music of Thomas Larcher! 

Recently I have become more acquainted with the music of Austrian composer Thomas Larcher. I found that his style got my immediate attention, because it is unconventional and frequently uses either slightly altered instruments or unusual groupings.

Thomas Larcher was born in Innsbruck, Austria in 1963. He studied piano and composition in Vienna, and his music to date includes a violin concerto, a piano concerto, and also some chamber music and orchestral music.

After his studies, Larcher embarked on a successful career as a concert pianist with a particular focus on new music. Heinz Holliger, Dennis Russell Davies, and Manfred Eicher were amongst the friends and colleagues who encouraged Larcher to pursue composition further. Following early compositions for piano – some of which he performed himself on the CD “Naunz”– he moved on to larger items of chamber music, including “Ixxu” in 2006, which in turn have led, over the years, to orchestral music. Last autumn Larcher’s piano piece “What becomes” attracted wide-spread attention when premiered by Leif Ove Andsnes. 

Larcher’s recent pieces are marked by amazing sound imagination and great rhythmic energy. This recording features “Böse Zellen” and “Still”, respectively; as well as piano and viola concertos performed by Till Fellner and Kim Kashkashian with the Munich Chamber Orchestra conducted by Dennis Russell Davies. The CD also contains Larcher’s third string quartet “Madhares” which is played by the youthful French Quatuor Diotima.

Here is what the Press has said recently about Larcher’s music:

 “Larcher ranges very widely in his influences, and most often well away from the mainstream of European music in the last 30 years…The romantic gestures and moments of frenzied activity of the viola work still recall Schnittke and Kancheli rather than anyone closer to home. Madhares is different again, yet far more distinctive in its unlikely blend of styles.” The Guardian, 6th May 2010 ***

“[Larcher’s] extraordinary, arresting, communicative music is one of this century’s wonders…[Madhares is] a work of haunting landscapes and dreams, stylistically disparate but fused by the composer’s astonishing ear and quizzical attitude to traditional forms.” The Times, 7th May 2010 ****

“[in Böse Zellen] it’s as if the piano is struggling to break free of its restrictions, until the tape is finally pulled off effecting a huge, unfocused polyphonic cluster which overwhelms the entire piece. The Madhares are less architecturally intriguing, but no less gripping.” The Independent, 13th May 2010 ****

Click below to hear Thomas Larcher in a conversation about his music:

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