Waart, Edo de. 56 Wachmann, Eduard 56

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Weis [Weiss], Karel

(b Prague, 13 Feb 1862; d Prague, 4 April 1944). Czech composer and folksong collector. He studied in Prague at the conservatory (1873–8) and the organ school (1878–81) and privately with Fibich. He was organist of St Štěpán and choirmaster at the main synagogue of Prague (1881–2), a teacher at the music school of the Moravan choral society in Kroměříž (1882–3), a violinist in the National Theatre orchestra, Prague (1883–6) and conductor of the Švanda Theatre Company in Prague and Brno (1886–7). Subsequently he edited the monthly Hudební květy (1895–9), conducted the Academic Orchestra (1898) and worked as an accompanist (1896–1904), mainly for the violinist František Ondříček. From 1896 to the end of his life he gave most of his attention to collecting and arranging folksongs, particularly those of the Chodsko region, south Bohemia. Weis’s large and varied output was influenced mostly by Smetana and Dvořák and included three operas in Czech, two in German and six German operettas. His only work to have stood the test of time, however was the 15-volume collection Český jih a Šumava v písni (‘South Bohemia and Šumava in song’).


(selective list)

Principal publishers: Bote & Bock, Bursík & Kohout, Drei Maskenverlag, A. Fürstner, E. Starý, F.A. Urbánek, Mojmír Urbánek, Vilímek


Viola (comic op, 3, B. Adler, R. Schubert and V. Novohradský, after W. Shakespeare: Twelfth Night), Prague, National, 17 Jan 1892; rev. as Bliženci [The Twins] (lib. adapted by J. Vymětal), Prague, National, 28 Feb 1917

Der polnische Jude (folk op, 2, V. Léon and R. Batka, after Erckmann-Chatrian), Prague, Neues Deutsches, 3 March 1901; as Polský žid, Prague, Vinohrady, 1907

Die Dorfmusikanten (operetta, 3, R. Haas, after J.K. Tyl: Švanda dudák), Prague, Neues Deutsches, 1 Jan 1905

Der Revisor (operetta, 3, Weis, O.D. Batěk and F. Paul, after N. Gogol), Prague, Neues Deutsches, 21 April 1907

Die Sultansbraut (operetta, 3, R. Pohl, after K. Mekszathov), Berlin 1910

Der Sturm auf die Mühle [Útok na mlýn] (folk op, 3, Weis and Batka, after E. Zola), Prague, National, 29 March 1912

Big-Ben (operetta, 3), Berlin, Westens, 1912

Der Extrazug nach Nizza (operetta, 1, A. Lippshitz and M. Schönau), Berlin, 1913

Tanzmaus (operetta, 1, F. Hlavatý), Vienna, Apollo, 1 Aug 1916

Lešetínský kovář [The Lešetín Blacksmith] (folk op, 3, L. Novák and Weis, after S. Čech), Prague, National, 6 June 1920

Bojarská svatba [The Boyar’s Wedding] (3, Weis, after L. Ganghofer), Prague, National, 8 Feb 1943

other works

Orch: Helios a Selene, sym. poem; Sym., c

Choral: 7 sborů [7 Choruses], op.16, male vv; 4 ženzké sbory [4 Female Choruses], op.26 (V. Hálek)

Songs: Milostné písně [Love-Songs] (Hálek, A. Heyduk); Písně otroka [Slave Songs] (S. Čech)

Pf: Böhmische Tänze, op.8; České tance, op.9; Zimní večer [Winter Evening], op.12, suite; Esquisses des danses

Folksong arrs.: Český jih a Šumava v písni [South Bohemia and Šumava in Song] (1928–41)


GroveO (O. Pukl) [incl. further bibliography]

J. Pihert: ‘Karel Weis’, HR, x (1916–17), 210–14

L. Novák: Dva čeští muzikanti [Two Czech musicians] (Prague, 1941), 55–121

F. Pala: ‘Karel Weis’, České umění dramatické, ii: Zpěvohra, ed. J. Hutter and Z. Chalabala (Prague, 1941), 309–14

L. Firkušný: Karel Weis (Prague, 1949)

R. Smetana, ed.: Dějiny české hudební kultury 1890–1945 [The history of Czech musical culture 1890–1945] (Prague, 1972–81), esp. i, 137 [incl. further bibliography]

L. Tyllner: Karel Weiss (1862 až 1944): život a dílo [Life and works] (České Budějovice, 1986)


Weisbeck [Weissbeck], Nicolaus

(b Gebesee, Thuringia, c1575; d c1640). German composer, schoolmaster and clergyman. He may have known, or been taught by, Friedrich Weissensee, who became Rektor of the Lateinschule at Gebesee in 1590. He registered at Erfurt University in 1591 and at Jena University in 1599. In 1614 he still described himself as a student of theology and music, but he had meanwhile become a musician, probably an organist, at the parish church at Gebesee and then, in 1612, Kantor at the Marienkirche at Mühlhausen and a teacher at the Gymnasium there. Between 1613 and 1621 he was several times in trouble with the authorities, for neglect of his duties, drunkenness and impertinence towards the superintendent. In 1621 he was nevertheless able to begin a new career, as a clergyman at Bockelnhagen and Zwinge, near Leinefelde, Thuringia, and he presumably remained there until his death. His three surviving compositions, which show that he was a composer of only average craftsmanship, all date from his years at Mühlhausen. The most interesting is Der Drescher, in which he turned the techniques of motet composition to programmatic ends illustrating the various activities of peasants at work. At Easter 1617 he presented to the Mühlhausen town council a copy of a textbook on music for schools that he had had printed. This was probably the first edition of his Brevis et perspicua introductio in artem musicam, the publication details of which are unknown; nor does the second edition (1639) now survive.


Der Drescher, das ist Eine feine liebliche Harmonia, von dem löblichen … Ackerwerk, 4vv (Erfurt, 1613); transcr. in Hagebruch

Vom heiligen Ehestand: ein christliches Colloquium und gottseliges Bedenken, 4vv (Erfurt, 1614) [for wedding of Otto Christoph von Kerstlingeroda and Berta von Hopfgarten]

Votiva aeolica acclamatio dem … Herrn Johann Georgen, Hertzogen zu Sachsen … den 1. Martii 1620 … (Machet die Tore weit), 6vv (Erfurt, 1620)


theoretical works

Brevis et perspicua introductio in artem musicam pro pueris et puellis … ut brevis tempore cantum discere possint, cum brevibus exemplis pro solmisandi exercitio, item etiam et tractatu de protonatione psalmorum majorum et minorem per omnes tonos, das ist … Anleitung zu der Singekunst … neben … Exempeln, 2–4vv (?1617, Hildesheim, 2/1639), lost






C.G. Altenburg: Topographisch-historische Beschreibung der Stadt Mühlhausen in Thüringen (Mühlhausen, 1824), 429

R. Jordan: Beiträge zur Geschichte des städtischen Gymnasiums in Mühlhausen in Thüringen, v (Mühlhausen, 1900), 8, 18ff

R. Jordan: Aus der Geschichte der Musik in Mühlhausen (Mühlhausen, 1905), 14–15

B. Klett: Die Geschichte des Gymnasiums und des Realschulwesens der ehemaligen freien Reichsstadt Mühlhausen (Flarchheim, 1926), 71, 73–4

A. Hagebruch: ‘Alte Dreschermusik aus Thüringen’, Kleine Kostbarkeiten aus Kunst und Geschichte, ed. J.O. Plassmann (Berlin, 1940)


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