MARIA MAGDALENA – Church Opera
(premiere Festival Retz/A 2019):
Cheers for Wolfram Wagner’s new church opera, which shows current cut. Wagner ventured a church opera about the figure Maria Magdalena and took the challenge brilliantly. The sense for the possibilities of human fantasy mates the one of sound. Refined art of instrumentation guarantees for colourful iridescent tension. The premiere was a triumph due to the soloists ensemble.
(Die Presse, 6.7.2019)
Wolfram Wagner’s “Maria Magdalena” – very impressive at the Festival Retz. The music interweaves few, moving motives to a finely spun sound and to stirring, rhythmically pushing, thrilling passages. A wondrous, harmonic choral, supported by an orchestral carpet of sound, increases into a bright finale: So fascinating ends “Maria Magdalena”.
Cheers and standing ovations for the composer Wolfram Wagner and the premiere of his church opera “Maria Magdalena”. A brillant and effective work about the crucifying of Jesus and the ambivalent part of Maria Magdalena in the history of church.
(Kronen Zeitung, 6.7.2019)
A fulminant venture, a hailed premiere. A highly expressive work, effectively brought on stage. The music supports the interpretation of the topic by intensive moments, atmospheric cantabile flowing and impressive climaxes. Wolfram Wagner undermines in a most positive way every prejudice one could have against church opera. The suction created by the performance is masterful. The cheers at the end of the evening were highly deserved.
Thrilling church opera and a strong woman of christianity. Simplicity reigns staging and music. The orchestral intermezzi have a dramatic pushing leading role; the way of suffering of Christ becomes more and more clear with every bar of the exact score.
(Wiener Zeitung, 8.7.2019)
Wolfram Wagner’s music is characterized by mainly tonality and determined by directness and immediacy, carried by a narrative ductus. Big cheers!
(Opera Online, 9.7.2019)
With the final applause the audience extensively and happily celebrates the memorable premiere, the ensemble and the composer.
(Online Merker, 4.7.2019)
ENDLICH SCHLUSS (FINISHED AT LAST) – Chamber Opera
(premiere Vienna, Semper Depot, Neue Oper Wien):
Fast, rhythmic, up to dancing motion; as it were an “Allegro for the Death”?
(Die Presse, 16.9.2003)
Wagner´s music convinces using swinging and jazzy elements, melodic wit and concrete rhythm.
Partysound and quotations, lightness and expressivity form a tight net of sounds.
Wagner wrote a compact piece, well balanced between comicality and tragedy; colourful, effectivly orchestrated; This is a music, that discloses psychological situations.
(Österreichische Musikzeitschrift, 11-12/03)
A cheerfully acclaimed premiere; with alienated jazz-sounds between avantgarde and bar, straight introspection and medley contemporaryly prepared quotations Wagner sets this suidical horror of a party into music.
(ORF ON, 15.9.2003)
A distracting fascination for banality.
(Süddeutsche Nachrichten, 19.9.2003)
Counting for life and death: Wagner developes this theme with compositorical superiority and strong suggestive power. Thrilling rhythm and a plenty of emphatic music.
(Der Landbote, Winterthur/Schweiz, 6.3.2004)
Dotted with bits of Third Stream Jazz, Wagner´s sly, masterfully orchestrated score, is eminently tonal and accessablel, suggesting the pungency of Kurt Weill, the rhythmic acuity of Igor Stravinsky, and the post-avantgarde lyricism of John Adams. It makes for an evening of great theatre.
(Financial Times, 18.8.2003)
ÖDIPUS – Chamber Opera
(premiere Vienna, Messepalast, Neue Oper Austria):
Wagner, a composer with sound imagination, wrote a piece full of intensity. A psychodrama that gets under the skin.
(Die Furche, 20.10.1994)
Discover an opera-composer! Wagner´s music is clear, iridescent and concentrates the action.
Courage for wholehearted emotionality, strict formal processes and consequent thematic work.
(Wiener Zeitung, 15.10.1994)
Formal devices such as passacaglia and fugue, congently dramatic whole effect and well placed leitmotives.
(Opera, Jänner 1995)
TÜRKENKIND (TURK CHILD) – Chamber Opera
(premiere 14.9.2011 Vienna, Castle Schönbrunn, sireneOperntheater)
Wagner made a score that illustrated the action lively and with much atmosphere, spreading itself in several layers between entertainment and drama.
The music sounds close to the action, atmospheric or dramatic, brought into a timeless modernity, and ows a sense of classical clearness. This goes lost only in spare moments of particularly shocking emotionality.
(Oper in Wien, 17.9.2011)
SARABANDE – Chamber Opera
(premiere Vienna, Former Bread Factory, sirene Operntheater)
The music is very impressive from the first bars onwards.
(Der neue Merker, 29.6.2009)
Sometimes the music transports the holy athmosphere, when the low tones are dominant and a spoken chorus of prayers goes through the singers and the orchestra.
(Die Kulturwoche, 17.6.2009)
Wolfram Wagner composed a partly tender, partly strongly illustrative music.
WENN DER TEUFEL TANZT (WHEN THE DEVIL IS DANCING) – Comic Opera
(premiere Carinthischer Sommer 96, Villach):
A jewel, fascinating in its naturalness and openness.
(Die Presse, 19.7.1996)
Melodious, atmospheric music, elegantly accentuated.
Devilish good music.
DIE UNVOLLENDETE… (THE UNFINISHED…) – Ballett
(premiere Donaufestival 1997, St. Pölten):
With his rhythmical polyphony Wagner composed a racy birthday-cerenade for Schubert.
(Die Presse, 7.7.1997)
Wagner fits his powerfull dramatic, suggestive music to Schubert. A well danceable work.
Passion´s Plays Erl
(Erl/A, May-October 2008):
Moving music, more than only wonderful tone-painting. Gorgeous choirs und fine orchestrated stage music.
(Tiroler Tageszeitung, 26.5.2008)
Wagner’s music generates a second level, a level of emotion, a level unreachable by words.
(Kronen Zeitung, 26.5.2008)
(Erl, May-October 2019):
An elastic link between tradition and innovation, progressive composing within the frame of what is required. With clear melodic motives and instrumentation the music gives islands within the fast sequence of scenes and appeareances and as such cannot be defined within one genre.
(Neue Musikzeitung Leipzig, 29.5.2919)
Oratorios, Orchestral Works, Choral Music
HIOB – Oratorio
(premiere Vienna, Odeon, Junges Orchester Wien,
Kammerchor der Wiener Musikhochschule / Herwig Reiter):
Insistently formed melodies, subtle lyricism and thrilling dramatic intersections.
(Die Presse, 4.3.1991)
A strong, moving work.
An oldtestamentary outcry, an authentic tone-speach, formed with exact sensibility and clear artistic sense.
(Der Standard, 4.3.1991)
AUGUSTINUS – Oratorio
(pr. Vienna, St.Augustin, Orchestra and Choir of St. Augustin / Alois Glaßner):
Augustinus, more than a confession by Wolfram Wagner (Österreichische Musikzeitschrift, 11-12/2000)
VERIRRT (LOST) Vocal Fantasy for Choir, Piano and Clarinet Quartet
(pr. Vienna, Musikverein, Golden Hall: Clemens Zeilinger, Ebony Quartet Vienna, Wiener Singverein / Johannes Prinz):
Rhapsodic sound cascades and Orff-like drive from the piano, clarinets smoothly growing out of the choir and merging in it again, rhythmical conciseness and mighty unisonos of the voices: cheers for this vortex of emotions.
(Die Presse, 26.4.2016)
SONNENGESANG (SUN SONG) for Big Choir, Brass-Instruments, Percussion and Solo Cello
(pr. Vienna, Musikverein, Golden Hall, Wiener Singverein / Johannes Prinz; solo cello: Ingrid Wagner-Kraft):
The work makes a deep and lasting impression.
(Wiener Zeitung, 21.6.1999)
(pr. Berlin, Konzerthaus; Hannover, World Exhibition; Amsterdam, Concertgebow, Vienna Jeunesse Orchester / Herbert Böck):
A conclusive work.
(Berliner Zeitung, 8.8.2000)
Banging percussion-objections, plain orchestra sounds and much vividness.
(Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 9.8.2000)
(Der Tagesspiegel, Berlin, 8.8.2000)
Mathematically constructed heaven-music, in contrast to impulsiv and rhythmically gripping earth-sounds.
(Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung, 10.8.2000)
Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra
(pr. Vienna, Schloß Schönbrunn, Eduard and Johannes Kutrowatz, Wiener Jeunesse Orchester / Herbert Böck):
Strict, full of tranquility and balance, with subtle sound agglomerations and strong rhythmics.
A bright apotheosis of rhythm, melody and sonority.
(Wiener Zeitung, 5.7.1996)
DER DEMIURG – Vocal Elegy
(pr. Donaufestival 1999, St. Pölten):
Wagner’s piece is situated in the tention between reality and phantasy. Out of a cntemplative beginning it culminates in two climaxes of powerful motoricity.
(Die Presse, 14.6.1999)
Subtle balanced atmospheres, hammering power and racing energy-flow.
VENI, CREATOR SPIRITUS – Chamber Symphony
(pr. Vienna, Musikverein, Brahms-Saal, Christine Whittlesey, Ensemble Kontrapunkte / Peter Keuschnig):
The composition goes the way from the single line to sirenlike polyphony and devotes itself to the art of enhancement and salvation through singing.
(Der Standard, 19.3.1997)
A very impressive work.
(Wiener Zeitung, 19.3.1997)
DANCES IN THE ETHER for Chamber Orchestra
(pr. London, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields / Wolfram Wagner):
Euphorically dancing rhythms and resourceful deployment of the basic texture.
(The Times, London, 4.10.1993)
Poem for Orchestra
(pr. Carinthischer Sommer 1997, Villach, Kongresshaus, Orchestre de Cannes / Philippe Bender):
A ramified, dynamicly accentuated, in itself resting atmospheric music.
(Die Presse, 6.8.1997)
A most sensitive instrumented musical snapshot, a melodic soundcircle, a little orchestral jewel.
(Wiener Zeitung, 6.8.1997)
Concerto for Flute and Chamber Orchestra
(pr. Vienna, Musikverein, Brahms-Saal, Erwin Klambauer, Ensemble Kontrapunkte / Peter Keuschnig):
Wolfram Wagners Concerto for Flute and Chamber Orchestra had its enthusiastically acclaimed premiere. A compact and accomplishedly composed piece for a vituoso flute.
(Die Presse, 10.1.2007)
A Concerto that should become a standartpiece for each flute player. This music must enjoy also those who play it. The fast movements sound splendid, the slow ones touchingly beautiful.
Concert Fantasy for Violin and String Orchestra
(Klagenfurt/A, Wörthersee Classics, Elena denisova, Wiener Concert-Verein / Alexei Kornienko):
A composer that impudently uses all available means just to write electrifying music.
(Die Presse, 23.5.2011)
Ballad for Double-Bass and Chamber Orchester
(pr. Vienna, Musikverein, Glass Hall, Dominik Wagner, Ensemble Kontrapunkte / Peter Keuschnig
A neo-romantic concert piece with epic wide gesture full of lyric cantilenas.
(ÖMZ, 03 2014)
Concerto for Flute, Piano and String Orchester
(pr. Vienna, Musikverein, Brahms-Saal, Robert and Agnes Wolf, Wiener Concert-Verein / Andreas Pixner):
A piece that puts intimate, impressionisticly striking flute-passages beside rhythmical fortissimo-clusters and combines trivial Jazz-scenes with lyric string-melodics.
(ÖMZ, 02 2011)
Concerto for Saxophone Quartet and String Orchestra with Percussion
(pr. Vienna, Musikverein, Brahms-Saal, Vienna Saxophone Quartet, Ensemble Kontrapunkte / Peter Keuschnig):
The work appears like an etude in unpredictability and shows, that Wagner is an experienced dramaturge of tones, who finds individuality also in the animating power of the point and in the change of static and ecstatic parts.
(Der Standard, 19.3.1997)
TOCCATA for Wind Ensemble and Percussion
(Vienna, Musikverein, Brahms-Saal, Ensemble Kontrapunkte/Peter Keuschnig):
Wagner enchants the audience with a sparkling and effective music. A great success with the audience as you don’t find it often with premieres.
(Wiener Zeitung, 22.4.1995)
VENI DOMINE for Male Choir
A successful strike, a touching setting of the intense words.
(Singende Kirche 3 / 2012)
ERINNERUNG (REMEMBRANCE) for Choir
A piece with touching words by Dietrich Bonhoeffer and a wonderfully sensitive musical setting.
(Chor aktuell, Dec. 2014)
MR DOUBLE-BASS for Double-Bass, Boys Choir and Piano
(USA-Tour Vienna Boys’ Choir spring 2011, Kerem Sezen, Db.: Dominik Wagner):
A clever romp that required a virtuoso double-bass bass solo, deftly executed by one of the choristers.
(San Diego Arts, 7.2.2011)
Chambermusic and Songs
G.E. Concert Allegro for Violin and Piano
(premiere Vienna, Musikverein, Glass Hall, Yury Revich, Beata Beck):
The concert started with Wolfram Wagner’s brillantly sharpened Concert Allegro for Violin and Piano.
5 Moments for String Sextet
(premiere Vienna, Musikverein, Brahms-Saal, Vienna String Sextet):
In his very unique style Wagner writes music that equally appeals to the players and listeners.
(Wiener Zeitung, 10.5.1992)
Trio Nr.2 for Violin, Cello and Piano
(premiere Wien, Konzerthaus, Mozartsaal, Haydn Trio Wien):
The premiere was a big success for the composer. Infinite sadness throughout the first movement, extremely thrilling the second, alternating rapid and full of melody the last movement.
(Wiener Zeitung, 1.11.1996)
Quintet for Bassoon and String Quartet
(premiere Vienna, Musikverein, Brahms-Saal, Milan Turkovic,
“Absolute Music” as a deeply dismaying, oppressive expirience.
(Wiener Zeitung, 23.3.1997)
Trio for Violin, Clarinet and Piano
(premiere Washington 20.2.2008, Verdehr Trio):
Wagner forged his trio with an assortment of four distinctly characterized textures and styles, all clearly tonal. The prelude’s closely entwined instrumental dialogue gave way to a spirited scherzo, an impassiones contrapuntal intermezzo and a finale in jaunty jazz style.
(The Washington Post, 22.2.2008)
Sonata for Solo Cello
(New York, Austrian Cultural Forum, Wolfgang Panhofer):
Wolfram Wagner´s Sonata is an explosion of fast bowing, bright textures, broad dynamics and ear-catchingt effects.
(New York Times, 19.5.2005)
Toccata for Piano
A virtuoso piece full of contrast, the last page of which only can be discribed as an “installed applause-generator”.
(Piano News, 2/2008)
Variations for piano
(London, St John´s, Smith Square, Haruko Seki):
The Variations had much to commend them, and I look forward to hear other music by this composer.
(Musical Opinion, July 2002)
Concerto for Saxophone Quartet
(U.S.Tour Vienna Saxophone Quartet):
Wagner´s quartet offered virtuoso excursions into bristling tension and activity.
(The Berkshire Eagle, 24.1.1994)
Allegro for Piano Four Hands
(CD “fingerfood” Dino Sequi & Gerhard Hofer):
A great four-minute-long substantial piece. Being such brilliant fun, it really deserves a place in every programme. (Piano Journal, 96/2012)
LIEBESLOSE (SORTS OF LOVE) Song Cycle
(Washington, Austrian Cultural Forum, Rupert Bergmann, Thomas Bagwell):
Wolfram Wagner’s songs cast two-word lines in music slightly tuneful and racing at Indy speed.
(Washington Post, 5.12.2004)
3 Songs on Poems by Weldon Kees
(premiere Washington D.C., 23.6.2008, Randall Scarlata, Thomas Bagwell):
Wagner’s subtly crafted 3 Songs filtered the romantic art-song tradition through a more angular, modernist stile. His unfussy treatment of the texts and more oblique scoring for the piano honored both the plain-spoken surfaces and emotionally ambiguous undercurrents in Kees’s wriring.
(The Washington Post, 25.6.2008)