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Album Review

The music of Austrian composer Thomas Larcher defies easy categorization. He is clearly an adherent of the tenets of European modernism, but he is more overtly concerned with touching the emotions of his listeners than some of his contemporaries. He has written, "My music is communicative: it challenges the attentive listener but is meant to be readily intelligible in concert,” and that assessment is borne out, with varying degrees of clarity, in the music on this disc. At its most expressive, as in the passionate Still, for viola and chamber orchestra, performed by the soulful Kim Kashkashian, his music is unambiguously direct and emotionally gripping. Böse Zellen (Malign Cells), a four-movement work for piano and orchestra, begins with an uncompromising severity so that the occasional introduction of familiar elements, such as a simple triad, take on a surprising emotional significance, but by the final movement (a familiar pattern in Larcher's work) the music blossoms into an austere luminosity not unlike that of Pärt or Silvestrov. He describes his third string quartet, Madhares, as evoking the White Mountains of Crete, and the work conjures up imagery of light, purity, and distant mystery. The moments where unencumbered tonal clarity breaks through resonate with a serene melancholy and are a reminder that, for all his sophistication, Larcher can write with a disarming, transparent simplicity. The performances are all superb: compelling, urgent, and utterly committed. Dennis Russell Davies leads the Münchener Kammerorchester in accompanying Kashkashian and pianist Till Fellner, and Quatuor Diotima performs Madhares with complete assurance. ECM's sound is characteristically immaculate and lively.~Stephen Eddins, Rovi


Born: 09 March 1972 in Vienna, Austria

Genre: Classical

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Till Fellner gained international recognition when he captured first prize at the 1993 Clara Haskil Competition in Vevey, Switzerland. Since then he has steadily developed a loyal following across the globe, both from his critically acclaimed concerts and his dozen or so recordings of repertory ranging from Bach to Birtwistle. It is perhaps the music by composers falling in between this iconic pair that has drawn the most attention for Fellner, particularly performances of the complete Beethoven...
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Larcher: Madhares, Till Fellner
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