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Thomas Larcher's Love and the Fever Premiered at the Gewandhaus Leipzig with Dennis Russell Davies Leading the MDR Rundfunkchor and Sinfonieorchester

Mar. 06, 2024

On March 10, under the baton of Dennis Russell Davies, the MDR Rundfunkchor and the MDR Sinfonieorchester will perform the world premiere of Thomas Larcher's Love and the Fever for choir and orchestra at the Gewandhaus Leipzig. The piece was commissioned by MDR, the Bregenz Festival, the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra and the NTR Zaterdag Matinee. 

The 45-minute choral-symphonic composition is based on eight poems by the Japanese poet, Kenji Miyazawa (1896-1933). Larcher sets them to music in eight movements, which merge into one another attacca. One exception is the end of the sixth movement, The Morning of Last Farewell, where the music comes to a close before the seventh movement, Strong in the Rain, begins.

Miyazawa recorded his poems in small notebooks while walking through the woods. In them, he not only expresses his passion for the harsh landscape of northern Japan, but also explores the death of his sister from tuberculosis. This illness was also to be his undoing, and he perished at the tender age of 37. The composer notes:

"Outside his home country, Miyazawa's works remain virtually unknown. I came across the English translations a few years ago and was fascinated by Kenji's meditations on mortality, which are reflected in his observations on nature. I dedicated the piece to Dennis Russell Davies on his 80th birthday."

The next performance of Love and the Fever will take place at the Bregenz Festival on August 5. Petr Popelka will conduct the Prague Philharmonic Choir and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra at the Austrian premiere at the Festspielhaus Bregenz. National premieres in Amsterdam and Brno are planned for 2025 and 2026.

Additionally, on March 29, Larcher's The Living Mountain set to the sensuous text of Nan Shepherd, is given its French premiere by Ensemble Intercontemporain and soprano Katrien Baerts under the baton of Pierre Bleuse. Of the piece, Larcher notes:

"Mountains have always played an enormous role in my life, as an active mountaineer as well as a composer. At one point, I found a wide open, empty space for my soul to roam around … at other times climbing could be a challenge, I could experience extreme situations and dangers. What I never had experienced, though, was such a thorough and unpretentious look at the mountains as author Nan Shepherd or photographer Awoiska van der Molen have shown me. In Shepherd’s book it is not about mystifying the mountains or ‘testing oneself’. It is about discovering their beauty in one specific sound, in one look. It is about hearing the whole universe of music in one cry of a bird. And it is about hearing, feeling and experiencing yourself."

Thomas Larcher/The Living Mountain/Sarah Aristidou, soprano/Münchener Kammerorchester/Bas Wieger, conductor

To learn more about Thomas Larcher, visit

Thomas Larcher
Love and the Fever (2022-23)
Eight poems by Kenji Miyazawa for choir and orchestra
translation (Eng) by Roger Pulvers
for choir and orchestra

The Living Mountain (2019-20)
for soprano and ensemble 
texts from "The Living Mountain" by Nan Shepherd
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