(b Soho, London, 26 Jan 1767; d Hammersmith, 3 April 1850). English violinist and composer. The son of Carl Friedrich Weichsell, an oboist from Saxony, and a Vauxhall singer Fredericka, he studied the violin with Wilhelm Cramer and made his début in 1774, with his sister Elizabeth (see Billington, Elizabeth). He played standing on a stool and was sketched by the artist Rowlandson. He and his sister frequently appeared together, and played in Dublin during the 1780s, after which he travelled to Italy and Germany. On his return to London in 1790 he led the Pantheon concerts; according to Burney he had ‘a great hand, [and] sweet tone, but wanted force and personal weight’. He divided his time between London and Dublin, but in 1794 returned to Italy with his sister. By 1801 he was back in London, leading the band at the King’s Theatre, Haymarket, and also at Covent Garden and Drury Lane whenever his sister sang. Later he led the Philharmonic concerts for three years, but in 1819 he moved to Venice, returning only in 1828; he led the Philharmonic for the last time in 1837.
Sketches of violin concertos in his hand survive (GB-Lbl Add.29295), dating from the 1790s; only the solo line is fully notated, with occasional indications of scoring, but the variation finales in particular suggest a virtuosic performing style. Technical brilliance and clarity of execution seem to have stayed with him throughout his career, to judge by press reports and the published editions of his violin pieces, which include a solo (c1795), two sets of violin duets (c1805, c1830) and other miscellaneous pieces; he also wrote numbers for an adaptation of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice.
Gentleman's Magazine, lxxvi (1806), 481; lxxviii (1808), 82; lxxxi (1811), 401; new ser., xiv (1840), 107; new ser., xxiv (1850), 555
T.B.Milligan: The Concerto and London’s Musical Culture in the Late Eighteenth Century (Ann Arbor, 1983)
S.McVeigh: ‘ The Professional Concert and Rival Subscription Series in London, 1783–1793’, RMARC, no.22 (1989), 1–135
Calendar of London Concerts 1750–1800 (Goldsmiths College, U. of London; S. McVeigh) [restricted-access database]
RACHEL E. COWGILL
Weichsel [Weichsell], Elizabeth.
Weichsell [Weichsel], Frederika
(bc1745; d London, 5/6 Jan 1786). English soprano. She was a pupil of J.C. Bach. As Miss Weirman she made her début on 18 October 1764 at Covent Garden in Perseus and Andromeda, a pantomime with no speaking parts. That season she had a few minor singing roles and in the summer of 1765 she married the German-born Carl Friedrich Weichsell, who since 1757 had been oboist and, more recently, clarinettist at both the King’s Theatre and Drury Lane. Mrs Weichsell is remembered as the mother of Mrs Billington and as the singer in Thomas Rowlandson’s famous watercolour of Vauxhall Gardens. She sang very little at the playhouses but was outstandingly popular at Vauxhall. In 1766 J.C. Bach wrote a set of English songs for her to sing there, and a year later a similar set for her and Mrs Pinto. By the time she died ‘she had performed in the gardens of Vauxhall 22 seasons’ (Gentleman’s Magazine, 1786, p.84). Mrs Weichsell also sang in Handel oratorios at the Gloucester Three Choirs Festival of 1769, but in the seasons that followed Elizabeth and Mary Linley were preferred.
Mrs Weichsell’s daughter Elizabeth, later Mrs Billington, was probably born in 1766 or 1767. Years later Lady Morgan suggested in her Memoirs (London, 1862) that her own father, the Irish singer Robert Owenson, was in fact also Mrs Billington’s father. (BDA)
(b Tel-Aviv, 23 Oct 1953). Israeli composer. After studying composition with Schidlowsky and Sadai at the Rubin Academy at Tel-Aviv University (BM 1979), he studied the piano at Northwestern University (MM 1980). He started teaching at the Open University, Tel-Aviv, in 1979, and the Rubin Academy, Tel-Aviv, in 1994. Weidberg initiated and organized ‘Music Now’, a series of Israeli music concerts at Tel-Aviv Museum of Art (1988–95), chaired the Israeli Composers' League (1995–7); he became the musical director of Musica Nova Consort in 1997. Influenced by Schidlowsky, Weidberg began his career as an avant-garde composer, but in 1980 he changed his style radically and adopted a witty and richly tonal style, influenced by Poulenc, Weill, Prokofiev and the neo-classical works of Stravinsky, epitomized in his Variations on a Theme by Mozart (1991). His gift for orchestration and contrapuntal skills are particularly evident in the concertos for piano (1985) and violin (1994).
Ops: Dracula (3), 1981; Waiting for Godot (chbr op, S. Beckett), 1986; Die Verwandlung (F. Kafka), 1996
Inst: Pf Conc., 1985; Sym. no.1, 1991; Variations on a Theme by Mozart, cl, va, vc, pf, 1991; Sym. no.2, 1993; Vn Conc., 1994; Voyage to the End of the Millennium: 24 Preludes and Fugues, pf, 1998
Vocal: The Story of Rabbi Amnon of Mainz (cant.), solo vv, chorus, vc, hpd, org, 1994
Weideman [Weidemann, Weidmann, Wiedeman], Carl Friedrich [Charles Frederick]
(b Germany, ?early 18th century; d London, 1782). German flautist and composer. He spent the greater part of his career in England; the date of his arrival is not known, but he was in London by spring 1725 when he took part in a performance of Handel’s opera Tamerlano at the New Theatre in the Haymarket. This information derives from a handwritten note on Weideman’s own copy of a set of trio sonatas ascribed to Handel: ‘Tamerlan 1725. which was the first Opera I play’d in … C:W:’ (see Deutsch, p.174). By the time Quantz visited England in 1727 Weideman was firmly established as one of London’s leading flautists. He is also remembered as a co-founder, with Festing and Thomas Vincent, of a charitable ‘Fund for the Support of Decayed Musicians and their Families’. This institution, later known as the Royal Society of Musicians of Great Britain, was founded in April 1738 and attracted widespread support from eminent members of the profession, Handel included. Weideman’s activities in London musical circles were many and varied: he engaged in fund-raising concerts for the newly formed society, was in frequent demand as an instrumentalist, produced a succession of compositions, and composed minuets for the court balls. In 1778 he was a member of the King’s Band of Musicians with an annual income of £100.
Weideman’s chamber and orchestral works, though a little unenterprising, are neatly constructed and show a sympathetic understanding of woodwind techniques; stylistically, they reflect his known admiration for Handel’s works. The occasional music is in a lighter vein. His songs are charmingly simple, and one at least proved extremely popular with audiences at Vauxhall Gardens. According to G.C. Lichtenberg, Weideman was the flautist depicted by Hogarth in the fourth picture of Marriage à la mode.
all pubd in London
12 Sonatas or Solos, fl, bc (c1737)
6 Concertos in 7 Parts, 1/2 fl, str (c1746)
6 Sonatas, for fl, vn, bc; 2 for 3 fl; 2 for 2 fl, bc (1751)
6 Duets, 2 fl (c1751)
Second Set of 12 Solos, fl, bc (c1760)
6 Duets, 2 fl (c1765)
6 Concertos, 2 fl, 2 hn ad lib, str (c1766)
6 Quartets, fl, vn, va, vc (1773)
Single songs: Damon and Flavella (1749), The Garland (1750), Joy enlightens all my senses (1750), When beauty we enjoy (1750)
Minuets for Her Majesty’s Birth-Day, fl/vn, hpd (1764)
Second Book of 18 Minuets, vn/fl, hpd (1769)
Single minuets (c1760, c1770)
The Old Buffs March, 2 ob/vn, 2 hn, b (c1770)
Other miscellaneous pieces in 18th-century collections: see RISM