Consummation. This is what the piano music of Arnold Schönberg (1874-1951) and Franz Schubert (1797-1828) have in common, the bridge that Thomas Larcher brings to this welcoming solo recital, his first for ECM. To underscore this point, he shuffles Schönberg’s Klavierstücke op. 11 with Schubert’s posthumous Klavierstücke D 946. By turns halting and didactic, the opening pairing opens into the fresh air of Schubert’s precisely syncopated revelry. The contrasts between the two composers are obvious to the ear, but to the heart Schönberg is an extended exhalation to Schubert’s inhalation. Where Schönberg plots slow, jagged caverns, Schubert runs furtively above ground in the sunshine. Yet both seem so urgent to tell their stories, offering lifelong journeys from relatively young minds.
Similarly, the subtle miniatures that make up the Sechs kleine Klavierstücke op. 19 of Schönberg unfurl scrolls upon scrolls of experience, far into the future, where Schubert’s rolling Allegretto c-Mollo D 915 reads like a thrumming postscript.
One need not expound at great length in order to capture the spirit of this music. Its connections are fierce, their execution nimble as a dancer’s feet. Close your eyes, and let it show you a different sort of light. (ECM Reviews)