Ouroboros for violoncello and orchestra (2015)

commissioned by Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ, Svenska Kammarorkester, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, Norske Kammerorkester, Münchener Kammerorchester and Hong Kong Sinfonietta
WP: 11.02.2016, Amsterdam (NL), Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ | Jean-Guihen Queyras (violoncello), Amsterdam Sinfonietta

I Allegro
II Allegro infuriato
III Adagio · Allegro

Orchestra instrumentation
perc (vib, crots, mar, Chinese cym, lg tam-t, timp, tenor drum, lg b.d., Indian drum, wind machine, buiscuit tin, oil barrel)-pno-str



Programme note
This work was named after the ancient Greek symbol, the Ouroboros, which Larcher came across while reading about Brahms’ symphonies. A series of repeated motifs give the music a sense of circularity as the ideas progress and then return to the original motif.

Written to be played with or without a conductor, the rhythmically complex textures of the work require the orchestra to listen and play as a much smaller ensemble. The solo cello is an initiator of processes more than a virtuosic centrepiece. Ouroboros is constructed in three movements, the second of which is an extended cadenza for the solo cello and piano.

I love to write for individual players and singers. I love working with people who are going to play my music. Knowing what kind of music they like and what they can do has never been something that gives me boundaries – on the contrary, it is something that forces me to stretch myself and give each artist a piece which fills out their possibilities. This is also in an emotional sense – how they see the world. – Thomas Larcher

quoted in www.schott-music.com