The legacy of great symphonies is a burden for some composers looking for new forms of music that provide avenues for exploration. Others see it as a challenge to renew the old forms for today’s audiences.
In his recent music, Thomas Larcher joined group two. Now 58, Larcher has started writing mostly for piano and it is only in the last decade that he has fully mastered a large-scale orchestra.
He is now the proud composer of three symphonies. Symphony no. 2 came unusually as an instruction from a bank, when the National Bank of Austria wanted to celebrate its two-hundredth anniversary in 2016. It is a true symphony, powerfully argued, and the title, “Kenotaph”, commemorates the deaths of refugees crossing the crossing. Mediterranean.
From the opening it explodes into life and the symphonic driving force rarely leaves. The music is like a coiled wire, so intense in compression that it feels electric to the touch. Larcher says the symphony “is about different forms of energy: bundled, scattered, smooth, kinetic or furious”. The closest classical precedent should be Beethoven’s wildfire Symphony No. 7.
This disc is an ideal introduction to Larcher’s highly tense and gripping music world. The accompaniment on the disc is the extremely dark orchestral song cycle The night of the lost, beautifully sung by Andrè Schuen, and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra under Hannu Lintu is in top form.
‘Thomas Larcher: Symphony No. 2 “Kenotaph”‘released by Ondine