For two guitars
Premiere: 1988 at the Carinthian Master Classes for Music
Duration: ca. 10 minutes


Prolegómeni was the first composition I wrote during my postgraduate studies with Roman Haubenstock-Ramati. It originated in April 1978, while I was teaching at the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna and at the same time completed my conducting studies. Retrospectively, the piece, which consists of two parts, makes the impression of a casually dispatched bagatelle. The scale—in an unconventional »octo-tonality«—remains in the foreground, in contrast to which motivic fragments of the underlying harmonic row appear: perhaps a premonition of the working methods in the Piano Trio op. 11/1, which would be composed later, in 1981-82?

In retrospect, I would include Prolegómeni to the category of pieces that a composer writes, or indeed must write, while he searches for himself: it is important for his development, but less important for the public. This also applies to the Fantasia per 4 Viole op. 5, and the Sonatine op. 2. Unusual choices of instrumentation (three clarinets, two guitars, and four violas) already offer an indication that the primary goal is not a performance, but rather the exploration of compositional possibilities. (René Staar, February 2016)