From the six works recorded here, it is hard to pin down the music of the 38-year-old, Tyrolean-born Thomas Larcher. The historical models he draws upon are so diverse – from the Second Viennese School and its precursors to Morton Feldman and the minimalists – and the way in which he juxtaposes them all so bald and undisguised, that the switches can be disconcerting. Aesthetically, Larcher has something in common with Wolfgang Rihm; both grew up in a post-dogmatic musical world, and celebrate that compositional freedom in their work, but Larcher does it in a much less homogeneous and convincing way.
Sometimes his music is genuinely striking – the whistlings, rustlings and scrapings of the three aphoristic pieces in Antennen-Requiem für H (1999), in which the piano is never played conventionally at all, the underpinning of the cello and violin in Kraken (1997) with prepared-piano sounds, the sheer incongruity of building the solo-cello Vier Seiten (1998) on the slow-motion images of Ayrton Senna’s fatal motor-racing crash. Otherwise, though, the essentially dour atonal language is not rewarding, and the rhythmic patterning rather undistinguished, while the stylistic lurches are irritating rather than provocative
or intriguing. Andrew Clements