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Madhares – String Quartet No.3

Thomas Larcher (b. 1963)

Quatuor Diotima

Quatuor Diotima

Composer
Thomas Larcher (b. 1963)
Composition Year
2006, rev. 2007
Work Movements
1. Madhares
2. Honey from Anopolis
3. Sleepless 1-
4. Sleepless 2-Madhares
5. A Song from ?
Artists
Quatuor Diotima (Naaman Sluchin, Yun Peng Zhao [violins], Franck Chevalier [viola], Pierre Morlet [cello])

Programme Note Writer:
© Francis Humphrys

The Madhares is a region in the White Mountains in western Crete, while Anapolis is a village in the foothills. On a visit to the island, Larcher frequently heard talk of the region but never managed to get there so for him the Madhares took on in the imagination that aura of the unattainable, which in turn can absorb other longings and anxieties. This is reflected in the music along with the impressions of a landscape shimmering in the heat haze. 

 The music begins on the verge of the inaudible with almost hallucinatory effects and mere whispers of themes, eventually building to a vicious climax before fading back again. Larcher achieves a strange acoustic effect by asking the musicians to place coins on the strings to produce sliding tremolos that in turn release delicate, stratospheric cantilenas. Honey from Anopolis sings a quiet song over a gentle rocking motion; this short movement but a peaceful interlude before insomnia takes over with its biting and dissonant attack. This comes in waves of increasing intensity. A cello pizzicato acts as a signal for growing insomniac disturbance. When the cello pizzicato returns relentlessly pounding, sleeplessness seems to turn to nightmare and the black angels move in with their devil’s music. The second Sleepless movement arrives without a break and the waking nightmare continues until we are released by the return to the pianissimo image of the White Mountains where the work began leading to a brief consolatory and concluding chorale.

The Finale, A Song from ? is from another world. In a Lydian melody a half-remembered Nepalese song is recalled, different mountains and different music. Larcher himself was brought up in the Austrian Tyrol mountains and the calling up of the Himalayas seems to inspire a mood of calm and joyful delight before the music gradually returns to silence.

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Madhares – String Quartet No.3

Composer: Thomas Larcher (b. 1963)
Performance date: Thursday 30th June 2011
Venue: Bantry House Library, Bantry, Co. Cork, Ireland,

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Composer Thomas Larcher (b. 1963)
Work Title Madhares – String Quartet No.3
Composition Year 2006, rev. 2007
Work Movements 1. Madhares
2. Honey from Anopolis
3. Sleepless 1-
4. Sleepless 2-Madhares
5. A Song from ?
Artist(s) Quatuor Diotima (Naaman Sluchin, Yun Peng Zhao [violins], Franck Chevalier [viola], Pierre Morlet [cello])
Performance Date Thursday 30th June 2011
Performance Venue Bantry House Library, Bantry, Co. Cork, Ireland,
Event Main Evening Concert
Duration 00:22:12
Recording Engineer Anton Timoney, RTÉ lyric fm
Instrumentation Category String Quartet
Instrumentation 2vn, va, vc
Premiere Irish Premiere
Programme Note Writer © Francis Humphrys

The Madhares is a region in the White Mountains in western Crete, while Anapolis is a village in the foothills. On a visit to the island, Larcher frequently heard talk of the region but never managed to get there so for him the Madhares took on in the imagination that aura of the unattainable, which in turn can absorb other longings and anxieties. This is reflected in the music along with the impressions of a landscape shimmering in the heat haze. 

 The music begins on the verge of the inaudible with almost hallucinatory effects and mere whispers of themes, eventually building to a vicious climax before fading back again. Larcher achieves a strange acoustic effect by asking the musicians to place coins on the strings to produce sliding tremolos that in turn release delicate, stratospheric cantilenas. Honey from Anopolis sings a quiet song over a gentle rocking motion; this short movement but a peaceful interlude before insomnia takes over with its biting and dissonant attack. This comes in waves of increasing intensity. A cello pizzicato acts as a signal for growing insomniac disturbance. When the cello pizzicato returns relentlessly pounding, sleeplessness seems to turn to nightmare and the black angels move in with their devil’s music. The second Sleepless movement arrives without a break and the waking nightmare continues until we are released by the return to the pianissimo image of the White Mountains where the work began leading to a brief consolatory and concluding chorale.

The Finale, A Song from ? is from another world. In a Lydian melody a half-remembered Nepalese song is recalled, different mountains and different music. Larcher himself was brought up in the Austrian Tyrol mountains and the calling up of the Himalayas seems to inspire a mood of calm and joyful delight before the music gradually returns to silence.