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Wolfgang Gabriel

Wolfgang Gabriel was born on 9 June 1930 in Vienna (Austria). He grew up in a musically interested home, his father could play the piano and they often performed family music. So he also started to play the piano at the age of 6 and his first own compositions date from that time as well. Wolfgang Gabriel received regular piano lessons - in his last school year from Hans Sittner - and finished school in 1948. Already a year earlier he had started to study music at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna with Hans Swarowsky (Kapellmeisterschule), Alfred Uhl (composition) and Grete Hinterhofer (piano). He completed his studies in 1952 and graduated with distinction in music theory and Kapellmeisterschule.

In 1954 Wolfgang Gabriel first worked as a repetiteur and lecturer at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, in 1974 he was appointed professor and directed an opera class in his last years until his retirement in 1996. In addition Wolfgang Gabriel became the principal conductor of the Akademischer Orchesterverein, one of the time-honoured non-professional orchestras in Vienna, in 1960 and directed this ensemble for nearly 50 years. And in 1988 he also took over the position of chorus master at the Bachgemeinde Wien. Beyond that Wolfgang Gabriel worked as a lieder accompanist from time to time.

Beside his diverse activities as a conductor Wolfgang Gabriel also composed music throughout his lifetime. His work catalogue contains 9 concertos for orchestra, 3 concertos for chamber ensembles, 9 string quartets, 3 wind quintets, solo concertos for piano, oboe, violin, viola, cello and double bass, chamber works for manifold instrumentations, 9 song cycles and much more. In his compositions Wolfgang Gabriel uses twelve-tone rows, but always based on the key tone and therefore as a means to an end, not as an ideology.
In 2005 Wolfgang Gabriel was awarded the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art I. Class.
After two strokes in 2010 Wolfgang Gabriel had to quit his conducting activities and now focuses on composing.



The Violin concerto op.17 by Wolfgang Gabriel was composed in 1971. The composer states a few words about his composition:


"My Violin concerto shows - despite the extensive orchestral accompaniment - a chamber-music-like transparency especially in the middle movements. The titles of these two middle movements also reveal that this music should not be taken too seriously. In the last movement (Acceleratio) I realised a form which I used in subsequent compositions as well: Starting with Adagio the tempo increases just through the metrical transformation from variation to variation - my humble contribution to music theory resp. musical form as far as I know. This last movement exists also in a version for violin and piano. It was performed by Eduard Melkus (violin) and Lionel Salter (piano) at the BBC in London.
I think the stylistic "Bartokian" reference of the Violin concerto is obvious. This work and the double bass concerto are the only string instrument concertos in my work catalogue that are still unperformed.


The score of the Violin concerto existed only in manuscript form and therefore I am honoured to present a typeset full score here:

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© Tobias Broeker