Trilogy (Parts 1, 2 & 3)

Composed in:
for oboe (or clarinet), bassoon & piano (in three parts)
16.5 minutes
Doblinger Music Publishers, Vienna (catalog #07 350)
Commissioned by:
Premiere performance:
05/27/99 at the Skirball Center in Los Angeles, CA by Leslie Reed - oboe, Charles Coker - bassoon and Lucinda Carver - piano
CD recording:
Gernot Wolfgang, PASSING THROUGH, Albany Records CD TROY 1624


Purchase the sheet music for Trilogy at:

TrevCo-Varner Music


“This is a truly riveting piece of music! Each of the movements is unique, and could be played individually, but they work with incredible impact as a trio which I would compare favorably to some of the most famous doublereed trios in the repertoire (Poulenc, Francaix, etc.). This is a very powerful, beautifully written work. Each movement has a character all its own, but the overall quality is as “American” as the Poulenc and Francaix is “French”. The first movement, Go Get It, has a loose, “jazzy feel” to it; the second, Another Life, is quite bluesy in a Gershwinesque kind of way; and the third, Looking East, is, as one might guess from the title, quite Middle-Eastern in influence – but again with a touch of “Dave Brubeckishness” thrown into the mix. The result is a solid piece of music that I found to be very captivating.”

Ronald Klimko, The Double Reed

“Finally, we have Trilogy for oboe, bassoon, and piano of 1998–99. Jazz is again foregrounded here, yet wedded (typically for Wolfgang) with concert piece processes; harmonies shift between jazz and non-jazz. The first movement, “Go Get It,” describes a journey that moves from active phases through passive ones and back to active ones again, becoming very pussycat-playful at times; it is inspired by the entertaining and thought-provoking motion picture, Sliding Doors. “Another Life” is a slow, evocative waltz that explores alternative possibilities, reflecting the theme of the film. The oboe line is particularly poignant, and beautifully expressive in this performance by Jennifer Johnson, while Judith Farmer’s excellently plaintive bassoon provides telling responses. Finally, “Looking East” refers to the composer’s early years in Austria, when he heard music from behind the Iron Curtain, mixing jazz and “contemporary concert music” with Eastern and Southeastern European characteristics (especially 5/4 ostinatos). The East European influence is very aurally evident in the melodies. It is highly effective as a piece, and the performance is commendably tight in terms of ensemble. ”

Colin Clarke, Fanfare

“After an enjoyable lively first movement, the piece moves to a slow melodic exchange between the oboe and the bassoon that is somehow reminiscent of the Poulenc Trio. Particularly successful is the third movement, “Looking East” (which vaguely recalls “Night in Tunisia”) in which Eastern and Middle Eastern influences add to the jazz/concert music mix in a very effective way. The listeners will again enjoy the perfection and the natural musicality of the performance by [oboist] Jennifer Johnson, [bassoonist] Judith Farmer, and pianist Robert Thies who are equally at ease in the fast riffs as in the lyrical bits displayed throughout the piece. (Everyone wanting to hear some examples of gorgeous vibrato on a bassoon should own this CD.)”

Marc Vallon, The Double Reed

“The piece, the composer avers, reflects his equal love for contemporary concert music and jazz, and certainly a jazz-like spirit pervades the entire work, and most effectively so. I also am fond of such a synthesis, and so really cottoned to this work, along with all of the others on this disc. Wolfgang has a distinctive voice, and one that is truly worth hearing.”

David DeBoor Canfield, Fanfare

“The musical highlight of the evening was the performance of the stunning “Trilogy for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano” by Gernot Wolfgang, … Rich with rhythmic elements taken from the jazz tradition, the trilogy comprises two up-tempo movements – the opening “Go Get It” and the concluding “Looking East” - and one slow waltz, “Another Life”. Mr. Wolfgang’s fast movements had a wonderful forward momentum and sprightly sense of drama, never losing the audience but always engaging, always carrying the listener along. The slow movement was mellow and lyrical, its rich chords reminiscent of Gershwin.”

Martha’s Vineyard Gazette

“GO GET ITInventive and idiomatic writing for both the oboe and bassoon, with the terrific pianist Robert Thies as an equal partner … Emotionally charged and changing …then the rhythmic drive that permeates so much of this composer’s work kicks in … and his signature blunt ending … ANOTHER LIFE – Meditative … lovely oboe solo by Jennifer Johnson … then bassoon in a three-way conversation … a slow waltz that fades away LOOKING EAST – Oriental modal melody played by oboe in its upper range and replies from bassoon and piano … rhythmically complex interspersed with whimsical stops.”

Rafael de Acha,

“Incessant rhythmic pulses and energy, and beautiful lyrical writing.  It is very interesting to hear the way the winds and piano unison lines come together and then spread out in improvisatory-like dialogue which also involved commentary from the piano in the opening “Go Get It”.  The music moves from these florid ideas of dialogue to exciting harmonic cadences that land us only to move in a new direction at times.  Here the reflective central section takes on the character of a waltz “Another Life”.  Finally, East-meets-West of sorts as Wolfgang combines Eastern/Southeastern European concert music with jazz styles.”

Steven A. Kennedy, Cinemusical

“Whilst all the music on the disc has an influence of jazz to it somewhere, Trilogy seems to be the most directly jazz inspired. The first movement, Go Get It, is an up tempo movement featuring a lively exchange of ideas between the three instruments, it relaxes somewhat in the middle before picking up in the final section. The second movement, Another Life is a bluesy slow waltz, whilst the final movementLooking East  brings the disc to an attractively catchy close.”

Robert Hugill,