Program Book 1999-2000 page 22
Concert III Program Notes

Wolfram Wagner (b. 1962) studied composition at the Vienna Music Academy with Erich Urbanner and as a guest in the class of Robert Burt. He pursued further studies at the Guildhall School of Music in London with Robert Saxton and in Frankfurt with Hans Zender.

Wagner has had a series of remarkable successes beginning with his oratorio Hiob (Job). premiered soon after his graduation from the Hochschule. In 1992, Wagner was Composer-in-Residence at the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, which culminated in the premiere of his work Dances in the Ether with the composer conducting. In 1994, Wagner's first opera, Oedipus, was premiered by Neue Oper Austria and, in 1996, his second opera, When the Devil Dances, was premiered in the Corinthian Summer Festival.

In Wagner's Second Saxophone Quartet, composed for the Vienna Saxophone Quartet in 1997, the composer plays with various forms, sounds and the possibilities of the instruments. The work is in five rather short movements, all of which are very lively, except the slow middle movement, which is echoed in the coda of the last movement. Material from the first movement is also echoed in the last movement. Throughout, the music exhibits the composer's preoccupation with formal design and structure.

Franco Donatoni was born in 1927 in Verona, Italy. Along with Berio and Nono, he is one of the leading Italian composers of his generation. He was influenced early on by Bart6k, but has destroyed most of his works from this period. Like others of his peers, he was influenced by the Second Viennese School in the 1950's, but has since evolved in a strikingly personal direction.

He is a composer of colorfully dramatic works, which depend upon a highly refined sense of color and texture to give them shape and direction. Donatoni's music tends to be very clear in its rhythmic organization. It is motivic, repetitive and tonally oriented. In spite of considerable complexity, his music has a beautiful sound, and can be quickly grasped by the listener. Donatoni will often harmonize instrumental lines in rhythmic unity, but with the harmony in 2nds, 7ths or 9ths and so on, producing more of a timbre than true harmony. Rasch is a classically concise example of his technique.

Guy Lacour (b. 1932) studied saxophone at the Paris Conservatory and was awarded the First Prize for saxophone in 1952. In 1961, he became a member of Marcel Mule's acclaimed saxophone quartet and later played tenor saxophone in the Nouveau Quatuor de Saxophones de Paris. As a composer, Lacour has become known foremost for his pedagogical works for saxophone. He has also written concert

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Amherst Saxophone Quartet Program Book Program Notes