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2016/02/09

Work of the Week – Thomas Larcher: Ouroboros

On 11 February, Thomas Larcher’s new cello concerto Ouroboros, written for cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras (photo), will be premiered at Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ with Amsterdam Sinfonietta. The work was jointly commissioned by Amsterdam Sinfonietta and Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ, Swedish Chamber Orchestra, Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, Munich Chamber Orchestra and Hong Kong Sinfonietta.

This new work was named after the ancient Greek symbol, the Ouroboros, which Larcher came across while reading about Brahms’ symphonies. A series of repeated motifs give the music a sense of circularity as the ideas progress and then return to the original motif.

Written to be played with or without a conductor, the rhythmically complex textures of the work require the orchestra to listen and play as a much smaller ensemble. The solo cello is an initiator of processes more than a virtuosic centrepiece. Ouroboros is constructed in three movements, the second of which is an extended cadenza for the solo cello and piano.

I love to write for individual players and singers. I love working with people who are going to play my music. Knowing what kind of music they like and what they can do has never been something that gives me boundaries – on the contrary, it is something that forces me to stretch myself and give each artist a piece which fills out their possibilities. This is also in an emotional sense – how they see the world. – Thomas Larcher

Following the premiere, Queyras will perform the work again with Amsterdam Sinfonietta between 13 and 19 February and with Lausanne Chamber Orchestra on 4 and 5 April. Further performances will take place in future seasons with Swedish Chamber Orchestra, Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, Munich Chamber Orchestra and Hong Kong Sinfonietta.

Photo: Marco Borggreve