Stories » Gernot Wolfgang - Vienna and the West creates driving, resinous fun / MusicWeb International

Top 10 for Jul

Gernot Wolfgang - Vienna and the West creates driving, resinous fun / MusicWeb International

Bookmark and Share

Gernot Wolfgang was born in Bad Gastein in 1957 but has lived in Los Angeles for a number of years where he has written numerous compositions and accepted commissions, and where he also teaches and works as an orchestrator in films and television. This album title, Vienna and the West, is subtitled ‘Groove-Oriented Chamber Music, Vol 4' and if that's not enough to intrigue, then I don't know what is.

There are six works, written for variously sized chamber forces – ranging from a strictly instrumental solo piano piece via a duo, trios, piano quartet to a septet, called Impressions. Dates of composition range from 2002 to 2017. His bassoon and piano duo called Road Signs sports some angular but flexible lines for the serio-comic perambulations of the bassoon, but paragraphs of refined lyricism too, as well as an element of slight melancholy in its soliloquy. It rounds out a complete portrait of the instrument adeptly supported by piano. Passage to Vienna charts a stylistic journey to the city of Schoenberg, Berg and Webern and then back to America. The opening piano theme sounds weirdly like Mussorgsky's Pictures for a brief moment and this rather Slavic element permeates some of the music. Wolfgang's mastery of the ‘pizzicato bass' is also evident here as the music is irradiated by jazz before it calms for slow refractive reflections of twelve-tone, notably from the anchoring piano. This in turns generates a bop mood, the cello-as-bass adding to the mix once again and creating driving, resinous fun.

READ THE FULL MusicWeb International REVIEW