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Thomas Larcher's Symphony No. 2 in Berlin and Amsterdam

Sep. 01, 2017

Thomas Larcher's <em>Symphony No. 2</em> in Berlin and Amsterdam

Thomas Larcher’s Symphony No. 2, “Kenotaph”, which had its debut with the Vienna Philharmonic in 2016, receives its German and Dutch premieres this month with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin (September 26), conducted by Robin Ticciati, and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic (September 30), led by Markus Stenz. In November, Semyon Bychkov leads the Munich Philharmonic in three performances in Munich (November 5-6) and Innsbruck (November 7).

Originally conceived as a concerto for orchestra, Larcher’s Symphony No. 2 takes the form of a classical symphony but retains elements of the original idea, reaching from the intimacy of chamber music to the immense diversity of a full orchestra. In writing the work, Larcher wished to explore past musical forms “under the light of the (musical and human) developments we have been part of during our lifetime.” The work, Larcher writes, “is very much about different forms of energy: bundled, scattered, smooth, kinetic or furious.”

(Recording: UK premiere of Larcher's Symphony No. 2 with BBC Symphony Orchestra)

The subtitle 'Kenotaph' refers to a monument for the dead, an empty tomb for those missing and presumed dead. Larcher composed the work while haunted by the tragedies of the numerous refugees drowned in the Mediterranean Sea.

Following the work’s UK premiere at the 2016 BBC Proms, The Independent wrote:

Larcher’s music is always instinctive and emotional, yet it possesses a watchmaker’s precision; its stock-in-trade includes biting dissonances, cinematic cross-cuts, and startling shifts in volume, timbre, and tone. What is quintessentially classical is the care and clarity with which he lays out each work’s structure. In [Symphony No. 2] all those qualities are there in spades.

View the score for Thomas Larcher’s Symphony No. 2 “Kenotaph”:

For more information on Thomas Larcher, visit

Thomas Larcher
Symphony No. 2 (2015-2016)
for orchestra
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