Madhares – String Quartet No.3

Composer: Thomas Larcher (b. 1963)
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Composer: Thomas Larcher (b. 1963)

Performance date: 30/06/2011

Venue: Bantry Library

Composition Year: 2006 rev. 2007

Duration: 00:22:12

Recording Engineer: Anton Timoney, RTÉ lyric fm

Instrumentation: 2vn, va, vc, pf

Instrumentation Category:String Quartet

Artists: Quatuor Diotima (Naaman Sluchin, Yun Peng Zhao [violins], Franck Chevalier [viola], Pierre Morlet [cello]) - [quartet]

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.