This collection of short pieces for strings was conceived for both advanced teaching purposes and equally for use in concerts with uncommon combinations of instruments.

The collection carries the opus no. 27. The Roman numerals after the opus no. refer to the number of players (I = Solo, II = Duo, III = Trio, etc.), the capital letters to the same or different instruments (A = the same instruments, B = one other different instrument, C = two other different instruments, etc.), the Arabic numerals to the number of the particular piece.


Study for solo viola »Harmonische Varianten« [Harmonic Variations] op. 27 I No. 1 (2018)

»Für Petra Ackermann«

for viola solo
Durations: 3 minutes

composed on 3 September 2018 in Meggen (Lucerne)

This study is entitled »harmonic variations« because a specific harmonic development is presented in three different variations. A three-part chromatic motto serves as the point of departure for these differently organized variations, during the course of which two intervals, the tritone and diminished seventh chords, gradually acquire importance.


Study for solo cello »Anstachelung« [Incitement] op. 27 I No. 2 (2019)

»For Tamás Varga for his 50th birthday«

for solo cello
Duration: 5 minutes

completed on 15 August 2019 in Vienna

The piece is based on the idea of developing harmonic levels expanding from microtones (and more specifically quarter-tones) through chromaticism to diatonicism and beyond. The composition proceeds from three distinctively different sound spectra: the bow stroke, the pizzicato, and using the fingers to strike the strings and fingerboard. Accompanying these tonal parameters are dynamics and the variable use of microtones, which are formally organized in melismatic and march-like parts. The basic character of this piece is an inciting Agitato.


Study for solo double bass »Behind the stars – the Archangel« op. 27 I No. 3 (2023)

»Dedicated to the double bass virtuoso Ödön Rácz in great friendship and sympathy«

completed on June 18, 2023
Duration: 5'13"

The title, quoting from the 2nd Duino Elegy by Rainer Maria Rilke,[1] implies the mighty power of the archangels, who are destined to convey important messages to mankind – in contrast to the angels, who are destined to protect human beings.

Thus this solo study immediately appears in rhythmically contoured, sharpened profile, from which pointedly nervous movements emerge in wide leaps, interrupted first by atmospheric harmonics, later by a large descending line, and interspersed with jazz-like rhythms.

The final section of the piece is dominated by a religious atmosphere, introduced by scales which seem like a fusion of church keys, pentatonic, and oriental elements. Hidden hints of a chorale are finally reduced to simple intervals, and inserted rests make the piece fade away.

[1] The original Rilke verse (© translated by A. S. Kline): Let the Archangel now, the dangerous one, from behind the stars, | take a single step down and toward us: our own heart, | beating on high would beat us down.


Study for 2 violins »Duel between two violins« op. 27 II A No. 1 (1995)

»To Heinz Hanke and his wife Jutta as small offering on their wedding day«

A scenic realization is possible, following instructions of the composer.

for 2 violins
Duration: ca. 2 minutes 30

Published by Edition Contemp Art (Verlagsgruppe Hermann),
Obtainable via
Product number: VGH 309-71 (Score and parts)

The "duel" between two violins, which can also be staged, begins with a dispute that is musically represented by several interwoven micropolyphonic formations.Then, as in Eugene Onegin's pistol duel, the two players take a stand, walk towards their positions, turn around, and shoot ... one with a dry shot (a Bartók pizzicato), and the other with a staccato run representing a machine gun.Both are hit, play farewell music - and pass away ...


Study for 2 violas »Ostinato Figures« op. 27 II A No. 2 (2015)

»To my friend Felix Schneider for his 70th birthday«

for 2 violas
Duration: ca. 1 minute 30

completed on July 16, 2015 in Vienna

Large portions of the work consist of phrases that are offset against each other and emphasize thirty-second-note figures played insanely fast. The conclusion of the piece is introduced by chains of double stops consisting of major thirds and major seconds. The end result is the creation of unreal harmonic effects.


Study for 2 Cellos »Differences« op. 27 II A No. 3 (2022)

for 2 cellos
Duration: 3'05''

Completion of fair copy: 9 January 2022

This study explores the small and smallest intervallic and rhythmic "differences" that appear in the voice leading of the two cellos. The motives are obtained from four-part chords selected from a chromatic spectrum, from which one note is missing, so to speak. The intervallic identity of the four-note chord thus consists of one whole tone and two semitones, and is continuously permutated and thereby represented horizontally.

The four notes of the main motive have the durations 3/16ths, 2/16ths, 1/16th and again 2/16ths, with the last duration being accented. Reinterpreted, imitated, and permutated, the interaction of these elements results in constant differences between the two cellos.

The thematic events are supplemented by sequences of triplet 16th notes. In the process, further "differences" emerge through various emphases and directions of movement in the two cello parts.

A third thematic structure, built upon syncopated double stops, occurs at the end of each of the two parts of this piece. The differences here concern the double stops: one cello plays wide stops, while the other plays narrow ones. Differences also exist between the two parts, which are basically the same in terms of structure but show considerable differences in the length and elaboration of the thematic ideas. The study concludes with a very short coda.


Study for cello and bass »Study in different Patterns of Movement« op. 27 II B No. 1 (1994)

for cello and bass
Premiere: 1996, Vienna, with Philipp von Steinaecker and Michael Seifried
Duration: ca. 3 minutes

completed on May 24, 1994 in Vienna

The diversity of movements becomes a kind of study on Bach's Inventions. However, important sections of the piece seemingly proceed in two different tempi.


Study for viola and cello op. 27 II B No. 2  (work in progress)


Study for three cellos »Drei wandernde Augengläser« [Three wandering spectacles] op. 27 III A No. 1 (2019)

for three cellos
Duration: ?

completed during August and September 2019 in Vienna

I decided to call this study »Three wandering spectacles« because while the structure of the piece mostly consists of homophonic harmonic progressions, its notation in the score tends to confuse with alternating voices.

The underlying material of this piece can be divided into several basic structures that almost predetermine its musical form. Formally, the final result is similar to sonata form with several thematic formulations, although there are also some notable differences. To begin with, the contrasts between the themes appear strangely subdued. Moreover, sections of the exposition and the development can hardly be identified because the main intervallic cells inhabit the space between chromaticism and diatonicism. Like flowing water, the character of triads is in a state of permanent change, which encourages us to abandon our preconceived notions of major and minor modes. The piece begins and ends in three voices. The only contrast is found in the two different kinds of texture: the equality of three voices versus the separation into two subordinate voices and one main voice.


Study for 2 violins and viola »... und mein Schatten ringt mit deinem Schrei ...« op. 27 III B No. 1 (2017)

»For Heinrich Koll and his daughters Alexandra und Patricia«

for 2 violins and viola
Premiere: April 4, 2018, Koll Trio, in the Gläserner Saal of the Vienna Musikverein
Duration: ca. 4 minutes 45

Published by Edition Contemp Art (Verlagsgruppe Hermann),
Obtainable via
Product number: VGH 2418-71 (Score and parts)

The title of the work is taken from the poem »Finsternis« [Darkness] by Paul Celan, written in 1941. The poem speaks of painful loss in times of violence, and culminates in the line that was chosen as the title of this piece. This line of poetry is ambiguous. A scream implies the reaction to an act of violence, and evokes associations such as the cry of pain, the cry of horror, the cry of death. The shadow, in turn, has something to do with the past and with transience. So, if the poet says »my shadow« and »your cry,« it means that there must have been a person close to the author that was apparently abused. Whether this person still exists or not, however, is not mentioned. The »struggle,« on the other hand, suggests that the emotional overcoming of this event is still ongoing. So we have a very personal and painful, probably often recurrent, memory of a traumatic experience. The »and" was deliberately added to the title to further emphasize the ambiguity of the line: an ambiguity that leaves room for a wordless music of painful sensation. 


Study for Viola and 2 Cellos »Pendulum of Life« op. 27 III B No. 2 (2021) 

»in honor of Adelheid Schneider-Gilg's birthday«

for viola and 2 cellos 
Duration: 2'45" 

completed on 24 November 2021 in Vienna

I have had a very close friendship with the Schneider-Gilg family since 1975. The many considerate invitations to the Gilg villa in Rifferswil and to the house of Felix and Adelheid Schneider-Gilg in Meggen near Lucerne allowed me to compose undisturbed, and therefore large parts of my oratorio Hammabbul were composed there. 

In this short piece, the pendulum as a symbol of well-being alludes to Adelheid's medical vocation, with the movement of the pendulum becoming the core of the musical discourse alongside intervallic and chordal processes (which are typical of all my works). The free use of the Bar form defines the formal framework of this miniature.


Study for violin, viola and violoncello »Atemlose Beklemmung« [Breathless Anxiety] op. 27 III C No. 1 (2021)

»Dedicated to the trio EIS, Ivana Pristašová, Petra Ackermann und Roland Schueler«

for violin, viola, and violoncello 
Premiere: 24 September 2021 in Vienna, with Ivana Pristašová (violin), Petra Ackermann (viola), and Roland Schueler (violoncello)
Duration: 5'40'' 

completed on 23 January 2021 in Vienna

This study, using a classical string trio instrumentation, was written under the impression of TV images showing the invasion of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. by American right-wing extremists and fascists on 6 January 2021. 

The score commences with a recitative-like opening played by the viola with chordal accompaniment from the other instruments, and moves through various stages of breathlessness and anxiety (which are additionally symbolized by harsh accents). These take shape through harmonic contrasts (for instance, between an emphasis on fifths and five-part chords) and condensation in chromatic chordal shifts and cluster-like structures. They are reinforced by contrasts in tempo (for instance, Allegro pericoloso and Molto meno) and variations in character (breathless fluctuations and sluggish movements).


Study for four cellos »Marcia funebre« op. 27 IV A No. 1 (2022)

"in memoriam Heinrich Schiff" 

for four cellos
Duration: 4'13''

fair copy completed on 14 September 2022 in Meggen bei Luzern

Like a solemn procession, the piece commences at a measured walking pace. However, the supposedly steady steps - represented by pulsing pizzicato figures in the fourth cello - appear rhythmically distorted and during the first three measures do not fall on the beat, but occur a sixteenth note after the beat. 

As the piece proceeds, the quarter-note beats are additionally shortened by dotted eighth notes. From this variable pulse, a written-out ascending chromatic motion develops in the other three cello parts. This chromaticism is increasingly permeated by dark passions and emotions depicted through sharp dissonances generated by the simultaneous sounding of half-step intervals and very individualistic gestures. Then, as from another world, a seemingly light descending gesture suddenly appears, as if tears were falling uncontrollably. 

The climax is reached with the threefold introduction of a four-part chorale, from which variations of the opening musical idea - the pulsing pizzicati - introduce a coda that slowly fades away.