In between two of our Beethoven programmes we are enjoying a new and very different challenge. Next week we will give the world premiere of a new piano quintet written for us and our friend the Romanian pianist Mihaela Ursuleasa by the renown Austrain composer Thomas Larcher. The Wigmore Hall premiere will be followed later in the week by further performances in Vienna and Dortmund.
The last few days we have spent in Basel rehearsing the new work with Mihaela and Thomas. As always with a new work it is very difficult to know what to expect before we attempt to play it for the first time. Thomas only completed his work a week ago or so, so we could say that this time the suspense was even greater than usual. Luckily for us, the music we received is very compelling.
Thomas is a very fine pianist himself and a very expressive performer, which makes his vision of the piece very clear to us. The sound world of the quintet is very striking, it has strong character and rhythmic drive but also a very haunting harmonic language. Mihaela has not only to negotiate the traditional pianistic difficulties but also to hit the piano with a screwdriver and roll billiard balls inside its frame (to a surprisingly beautiful effect!).
It is a welcome distraction from our almost-total immersion in Beethoven! Come and hear Thomas Larcher's piano quintet next week: 12 November London's Wigmore Hall (as part of a day-long celebration of Thomas Larcher's Music,) 14 November Konzerthaus Wien and 15 November Konzerthaus Dortmund.
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