This collection of short pieces for wind instruments, written in parallel with the Studies for Strings op. 27, was conceived both for advanced teaching purposes and equally for use in concerts with uncommon combinations of instruments.

The collection carries the opus no. 29. 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.

These studies also include the integrated cycle Perspectives of Parallel and Contrary Movements, which is presented in a separate entry.


Study for B♭clarinet »Lo-Shu« op. 29 I A No. 2

Composed in June 2022
Duration: 5’10’’

The Lo-Shu is the only magic square of order 3, i.e. there are nine fields in the square - horizontal, vertical and diagonal, which are labeled with the numbers 1-9. If one reads three squares each from left to right, from right to left, from top to bottom, from bottom to top and diagonally in all directions, the sum of the three numbers is always 15. I have used this property of the Lo-Shu for the formal structure of the clarinet study.

In the first part of the piece, sustained notes with appoggiaturas, but also other ornaments such as trills, shape the musical structure, while unconventional pentatonic scales determine the subsequent narrative, whereby they undergo a metamorphosis into chromaticism.

The piece begins with an action of the clarinetist using his breath to play on the mouthpiece of the instrument and thereby manipulate the attack and release of the sound. This action appears again in a very abbreviated form at the end of the piece.

 

Study for two flutes »Libellen« [Dragonflies] op. 29 II A No. 1

Completed in August 2019 in Vienna
for 2 flutes
Duration: 2 minutes 30

Rhythmic counterpoint, dotted rhythmic figures, and quasi-hemiola formations develop out of overlapping chromatic and whole-tone tetrachords. These structures traverse tonal contrasts between legato, staccato, flute pizzicati and flutter-tonguing within the shortest possible time-frame, before finally returning to the tetrachord formations of the beginning, albeit hesitantly and reflectively.

 

Study for soprano and tenor saxophone »Spiel« [Play] op. 29 II B No. 1

Completed on 17 September 2019 in Vienna
for soprano and tenor saxophone
Duration: 5'30''

A play between two instruments sharing a similar timbre but having different ranges presents two structures comprising four pitches: one is chromatic, while the other consists exclusively of whole tones. In constant competition with each other, both structures pass through different stages and characters. Towards the end of the piece, both structures move towards each other – but just before they merge the piece breaks off.


Study for three trombones op. 29 III A No. 1  (work in progress)

 

Study for 2 oboes and English horn »Aus der Mottenkiste« [Relics of the Past] op. 29 III B No. 1

Completed on 2 November 2019
for 2 oboes and English horn
Duration: 2 minutes 55

The title indicates that the texture (which oscillates between homophony and polyphonic elements) and the instrumentation of the piece suggest something antiquated, perhaps even reminiscent of the Biedermeier era. New sound effects of today's experimental music are virtually completely absent – in contrast to the use of extreme registers – even the character of the piece does not fit into the jargon of today's compositional methodology. »Cheerfulness« seldom belongs to the vocabulary of contemporary music and is only too conveniently banished as being »naive.« It might be tempting to attach the label of Neoclassicism to this piece. However, the rather unusual harmonic concept, which mostly relies upon the interrelationships of predefined patterns, works against such a categorization.

 

Study for flute, alto saxophone and horn »in drei verschiedenen Geschwindigkeiten« [In three different speeds] op. 29 III F No. 1

Composed in St. Pietro di Filetto and Vienna 2001
for flute, alto saxophone, and horn
Duration: 1'42''
Premiere: 2001 by the Ensemble Wiener Collage conducted by René Staar

One could easily be tempted to equate the models of this and other studies, which run at different speeds, with the different movement patterns of the Study for Cello and Double Bass from the Studies for Strings op. 27. The difference, however, is that in the string studies different motives are played in different layers of movements, whereas here similar movements are played in different tempi. Right at the beginning the repeated half-notes in the horn become quarter-notes in the saxophone and eighth notes in the flute. All instruments play on the same single-note E-flat. From this basic pattern, a game of motifs and lines emerges within these given speeds.

 

Study for B-flat clarinet, C trumpet and trombone »in drei verschiedenen Geschwindigkeiten« [In three different speeds] op. 29 III F No. 2
 
Duration: 1'50''
Premiere: 2001 by the Ensemble Wiener Collage conducted by René Staar

The basic pattern of this study in three different speeds is much more complex than the one of the same name for flute, saxophone and horn. The duols of the trombone are here contrasted with triplets of the trumpet and quintuplets of the clarinet. In contrary to the other study no repeated notes occur here, but in the trombone the piece proceeds from isolated whole-tone steps, whereas the trumpet sways back and forth and the clarinet quintuplets are often characterized by the repetition of one of the notes. Throughout the piece, several of these cells unite. Time relations place the motivs and lines on different levels moving in all directions.

 

Study for piccolo, 4 flutes, and alto flute in G op. 29 VI E Nr. 1 

Composed on 26 September 2020 in Vienna 
Duration: 2'55''

This sextet study for flutes is a piece with a very lyrical character, in which there is experimentation with combinations of 4- to 6-part chords. The piece has a primarily homophonic texture, out of which emerge individual solos, cadence-like formations, and sharply-contoured passages. 

Staar also composed an adaptation of the 22-second miniature »Dialogue« (No. 65) from the second volume of Bartók's Mikrokosmos for the same instrumentation.