Tirolian composer Thomas Larcher has always struck me as a musician in the mold of that great Austrian stylistic dabbler, Ernst Krenek. A great deal of the twentieth-century finds itself reflected in Krenek, who rode the wave of numerous landmark ‘-isms’, a master of all (and his twelve-tone opera Karl V, the first full-length instance of operatic serialism, is a masterpiece) and exemplar of none. It wasn’t so long after his experiments with electronic music, contemporary with Stockhausen’s Gesang der Jünglinge, that he sank into musical obscurity, having attempted in his little-known later works some enforced union of the various styles he had served. Unlike Krenek, Larcher enjoys the postmodern inalienable right to wander freely among musical traditions – and yet, in the order he imparts to his eclecticism, he picks up, in a sense, where Krenek left off.
I push the Krenek parallel quite far, as I tend to do with Larcher, but then his Padmore cycle is practically modelled after the Reisebuch aus den österreichischen Alpen. The other influences I mention were discussed at length in a pre-concert Gespräch between Larcher and Till Fellner, whose questions were so intelligent it made you weep at the sorry state of Austrian music journalism. Incidentally, this was the first time I’ve been overwhelmed by Mark Padmore. For more, see here.