Compositions / Lago

Hear fragments of my work. Go to my Soundcloud. Or visit my YOUTUBE-Channel.

Chronological order, starting with most recent work.

Bosquejos del Bosco (2016) for solo clarinet

Written for Arno Piters these 5 ‘Sketches of Hieronymus Bosch’ were premiered at the Dutch Clarinet Festival at the Amsterdam Muziekgebouw on April 10, 2016. The five miniatures are based on 5 Jeroen Bosch paintings: 1. El vendedor ambulante (the Wayfarer), 2. La nave de los locos (the Ship of Fools), 3. La muerte de un Avaro (Death and the Miser), 4. El Prestidigitador (the Conjurer), 5. La Ascensíon al Empíreo (Ascent of the Blessed)

order sheetmusic (score and parts): € 25,- (when available) ; duration 14 min.

Rimas (2016) for soprano saxophone and choir SATB (with solo parts for S, A, T and Bar) on poems by Gustavo Bécquer

Written for Ties Mellema, the Utrechtse Studenten Cantorij and conductor Fokko Oldenhuis the 5 ‘Rimas’ were premiered at the Utrecht University 380th anniversary at Tivoli/Vredenburg Hertz, March 31, 2016. The pieces are based on the famous ‘Rimas’ by Gustavo Bécquer (1836-1870). In the order of performance: 1. Rima LIII (Volverán), 2. Rima IX (El sauce), 3. Rima LXXXVI (La Pureza), 4. Rima XCVI (El Candil), 5. Rima XCIII (A Elisa)

order sheetmusic (score and parts): € 40,- duration 16 min.

Charlas (2016) (two identical saxophones)

Written for the Mirasol Duo (James Barger & Ben Still) these 5 ‘Chats’ were premiered at the NASA 2016 Biennial Congress in Lubbock, TX, USA on March 12 at the Texas Tech Music Theatre. A consortium of saxophonists world-wide made this commission possible: Sesha Wallace, Austin Snowden, Bob Eason, Sean Garde, Sam Asthana, Bradley Schilit, Garret Klauss, Marc Dunbar, Alvin Phan, Jonathan Rice, Nathan Henshaw, Alyssa Hoffert, Wilson Poffenberger, Lauren Wasynczuk, Ben Donnell, Michael Hertel, Sunil Gadgil, Andrew Reinhart, Kyle Mechmet, Marcos Duran, Zachary Woolhouse and Scotty Stepp.
The five movements are ‘confundida’ (confused), ‘acogedora’ (welcoming), ‘salvaje’ (wild), ‘sigilosa’ (secretive) and ‘feroz’ (fierce)

order sheetmusic (score and parts): not available yet, under embargo for consortium members till March 12, 2017; duration 14 min.

BOST (2015) (wind quintet)

This one is for a dear musical friend. Ron Schaaper is horn-player with the Netherlands Wind Ensemble (and the The Hague Philharmonic) and an incredible musician and instrumentalist, blessed with a superb sense of humor and great musical intelligence. When Lago asked him what would be Ron’s preferred setting for a piece dedicated to him, he suggested a piece for the Orlando Quintet, a quintet with some of the finest woodwind-players from the Netherlands.
One of those pieces that almost writes itself. The title BOST comes from Basque and means five. For my friend cellist Oihana Aristizabal from Euskadi who gave birth to a lovely daughter just when I was working on this piece…

Three movements, very traditionally fast slow fast.

order sheetmusic (score and parts): not for sale yet, duration 12 min.

Consecuencias (2015) (alto sax or clarinet in Bb and string quartet or string orchestra)

Initially written for Rusne Mikiskaite these ‘Consequences’ in three movements are also dedicated to Arno Bornkamp and were premiered at the SAX2015 Festival in Amsterdam, November 27, 2015 by Arno and the Nostos String Quartet. Originally for alto sax and string quartet the piece seemed to be so idiomatic for clarinet that Lago made a version for this instrument too and dedicated it to Harmen de Boer, long-time friend and colleague at the Netherlands Wind Ensemble, who premiered this version (also with the Nostos Quartet) on March 28 2016, Splendor, Amsterdam.

The three movements are ‘de la ignorancia’ (of ignorance), ‘del amor’ (dedicated to Lago’s wife Saskia Törnqvist) and ‘de la violencia’.

order sheetmusic (score and parts): € 40,-  string orchestra version € 60,-, duration 14 min.

El Maestrat (2014) (large saxophone orchestra)

Lago was invited by his friend and colleague Arno Bornkamp to write a piece for the SAX14 Festival in Amsterdam, celebrating the 200th Birthday  of Adolphe Sax. El Maestrat is written for a large saxophone orchestra of amateurs and professionals and depicts in three movements one of Lago’s favorite regions in Spain: ‘El Maestrat’ (Català)(El Maestrazgo in Spanish), northwest of Valencia. He spent a few summers with his family there in a lovely town called Vilafamès. The 2nd movement describes this small town, situated on a steep hill with panoramic views around, old city walls still intact. The first movement pictures the town of Ares, an eagle’s nest high on a mountain top with a mysterious beauty and the atmosphere of times long past. The 3rd movement describes the artificial lake of Arenos, an incredibly beautiful and austere lake in the upper course of the Manzaneres river, an abundance of water amidst arid grounds.
The premiere was on the 22nd of November 2014 in the Amsterdam Muziekgebouw with around 70 saxophonists participating.

order sheetmusic (score and parts): € 35,-

l'Entrata del Re (2013) Klein Intermezzo (wind ensemble)

For the Coronation of HRH Willem-Alexander Lago/van Merwijk wrote two pieces. The first piece ‘Klein Intermezzo’ was exactly what it says: a small connecting piece in a medley of other compositions. “l’Entrata del Re” was a solution to a problem: when entering the Nieuwe Kerk the King had to make a 2 minute walk. The first minute was to be a brass quintet piece by composer Jurriaan Andriessen: il Concorso della Corona, and van Merwijk took that piece as a departure for his l’Entrata del Re (starts at 0.59 in YouTubeFragment) so that HRH Willem Alexander could make it to the throne accompanied by music. The Coronation was broadcasted world-wide; music performed by the Netherlands Wind Ensemble.

Las Noches de Verano - The Summer Nights (2012-2013) (5 movements) (misc.)

In the last half of 2011 Lago – due to other obligations (concerts, teaching, arranging) – did not compose a single piece. In the beginning of 2012 he finally found some time to compose and was inspired by his friend André Heuvelman. André had asked him to write something ‘simple and beautiful’ and out came Las Noches De Verano I. André in turn was so inspired by this piece that he decided to record a solo CD.

Lago decided to make a series of ‘Noches de Verano’; inspired by his many musicians friends. The pieces are almost Dadaist in their material and handling thereof. The ‘Noches’ try to catch the beauty of summer nights: instantaneous moments of complete happiness followed by the nostalgic realization of the fragility of life, comforted nevertheless by the warmth of a summer night.

I. trumpet, string quartet, piano (for André Heuvelman) (on CD) order sheetmusic (score and parts): € 30,-
II. (bass) trombone, harp (for Astrid Haring and Brandt Attema) (on CD) order sheetmusic  € 15,-
III. bassoon (or baritone saxophone) piano (for Dorian Cooke) order sheetmusic  € 15,-
IV. vibraphone, piano (for Peter Prommel and Julian Schneemann) order sheetmusic  € 15,-
V. oboe, string quintet (for Bart Schneemann) order sheetmusic  € 15,-

Ciudades (2011-now) (saxophone quartet/clarinet quartet +)(6 movements)


Ciudades’ (Cities) is a series of musical sketches of cities that have a special meaning to Lago. It is a work in progress and Lago adds new sketches now and then. The various city portraits can be performed as a suite or as stand-alone pieces: when played as a suite the order of the movements can be decided freely by the performing quartet.

‘Córdoba’ (Spain) depicts the town in Andalucia where Lago and his musical friends busked in front of the famous ‘Mezquita’ in their student years, wandering through the south of Europe and travelling from one adventure to the other. Lago lost his heart to Córdoba.

‘Sarajevo’ (Bosnia and Herzegovina) is dedicated to Lago’s many friends in the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the nineties of the last century the town was hit by a cruel civil war. In the beginning of this milennium Lago was invited to help re-establishing a saxophone class at the Sarajevo Academy of Music and together with ‘Musicians Without Borders’ and his friend Adnan Cico he founded the ‘Winds of Change’; Bosnia and Herzegovina’s first wind ensemble. A group of young musicians, each of them affected by the country’s recent history.

‘Addis Ababa’ is an energetic description of the capital of Ethiopia and inspired by Lago’s collaboration with the Ethiopian singer Minyeshu. They worked together at the famous New Year’s Concert by the Netherlands Wind Ensemble in Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw in 2007.

‘Montevideo’ (Uruguay) is a tango ballad dedicated to ‘The Second Capital Of Tango’, often overshadowed by its brother town Buenos Aires at the other side of the Rio de la Plata.

‘Köln’ (Germany) was the first city outside of the Netherlands visited by Lago at the age of 8 and this movement circles around the river Rhine, the town centre and its cathedral and quotes J.S. Bach’s Art of the Fugue and breathes nostalgia. (2014)

‘Tokyo’ (Japan) is a song of amazement, energy, exoticism and joy. Japan’s capital was frequented by Lago on several tours with the Aurelia Saxophone Quartet and the city never stops to intrigue him. (2015)

Córdoba, Sarajevo and Addis Ababa have been recorded by the Amstel Quartet, and later by quite a few other saxophone quartets worldwide.

At the request of the NDR Big Band and the Amstel Quartet Lago made versions of Addis Ababa and Córdoba for big band and saxophone quartet, and later adapted these two movements for Wind Orchestra and saxophone quartet on the request of the (Portuguese) Elle Quartet.

For the International Saxophone Week 2012 at Amsterdam Conservatorium Lago also made versions of Montevideo and Addis Ababa for soprano sax, baritone sax and piano.

At the request of the NAKK (Nieuw Amsterdam Klarinet Kwartet/New Amsterdam Clarinet Quartet) Lago made versions for clarinet quartet of all Ciudades (Eb, Bb, bassethorn/2nd Bb, basscl)

order sheetmusic
Sax Quartet SATB or Clarinet Quartet (Eb, Bb, bassethorn (or 2nd Bb at request), bscl); six movements; score and parts: € 35,-
ssx (or oboe), barsx (or violoncello), pi; score and parts, 2 movements only (Montevideo & Addis Ababa): € 15,-
Sax Quartet (SATB) and Big Band; score and parts, 2 movements only (Córdoba & Addis Ababa): € 80,-
Sax Quartet (SATB) and Wind Orchestra; score and parts, 2 movements only (Córdoba & Addis Ababa): € 80,-

A Birthday Phantasy (variations on 'Good Morning To All') (2011) (saxophone quartet)

The International Chamber Music Festival Schiermonnikoog approached Lago to write a festive piece for the Syrene Saxophone Quartet on the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of the Festival. Nothing fancy: a fun piece that would be understood and appreciated by the fans of the Festival. (a fantastic Festival by the way, highly recommended). Lago choose another pseudonym for this one: ‘William Lakequarter’ and the result is series of highly virtuoso and flamboyant variations on ‘Good Morning To All’, the song on which ‘Happy Birthday’ was based. Nothing pretentious! Just for fun!

order sheetmusic (score and parts): € 25,- 

Is it about that walk? ...or is it about the true heroes? (2011) (baritone saxophone + string quartet)

Ties Mellema (for whom Lago wrote ‘Strong Ties’ in 2008) gave Lago a call in the summer of 2010 to tell him about a new project he was working on. A tribute to the music of ‘Prince’, one of Ties’ musical heroes. He asked if Lago was interested in writing a piece for this project and that resulted in Sign O New Times, very freely based on the Prince classic. Is it about that walk? is another piece for this program, this one referring to Prince’s ‘It’s about that walk’ and featuring a quite extreme baritone sax solo, quasi improvised. And of course quoting one of the true heroes: Claude Debussy.

order sheetmusic (score and parts): € 20,- 

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