Waart, Edo de. 56 Wachmann, Eduard 56

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Weiss, Adolph

(b Baltimore, MD, 12 Sept 1891; d Van Nuys, CA, 21 Feb 1971). American composer and bassoonist. He studied wind instruments with his father, a professional orchestral player. In 1907, upon becoming first bassoonist of the Russian SO, he left high school for a world tour, and he then joined the New York PO (1909) and the New York SO (1910). While in New York he studied theory with C.C. Mueller, Abraham Lilienthal, Frank Edwin Ward and Cornelius Rybner. He joined the Chicago SO in 1916 and the Eastman Theatre Orchestra, Rochester, in 1921. Weiss was the first American to study with Schoenberg (1926, in Berlin), and thereafter he used 12-tone serial techniques in his own compositions. Back in New York he became secretary of the Pan American Association of Composers (1928–32), but he continued to play the bassoon in the Conductorless Orchestra and others. His later performing career included engagements with the San Francisco Opera and SO (1936), MGM Studios (from 1938), the American Wind Quintet (South American tour 1941), the Los Angeles PO (from 1951) and the Santa Barbara and Ventura orchestras. He also taught at the Los Angeles Conservatory. He was one of the first to introduce 12-tone serial techniques in the USA; among his pupils was Cage (1933). His awards included a Guggenheim Fellowship (1931) and an award from the National Institute of Arts and Letters (1955).


Stage: David (op, D.H. Lawrence), speakers, orch, inc.; The Libation Bearers (choreog cant., Aeschylus), solo vv, chorus, orch, 1930; Protest (dance music), 2 pf, 1945

Orch: I segreti, 1923; American Life, scherzoso jazzoso, 1928; Theme and Variations, 1933; Suite, 1938; 10 Pieces, low inst, orch, 1943; Tpt Conc., 1952

Chbr: 3 str qts, 1925, 1926, 1932; Chbr Sym., 10 insts, 1927; Sonata da camera, fl, va, 1929; Wind Qnt, 1931; Chorale, 3 trbn, tuba, 1936; Petite suite, fl, cl, bn, 1939; Vn Sonata, 1941; Passacaglia, hn, va, 1942; Sextet, pf, wind, 1947; Trio, cl, va, vc, 1948; Conc., bn, str qt, 1949; Trio, fl, vn, pf, 1955; 5 Fantasies [after gagaku], vn, pf, 1956; Rhapsody, 4 hn, 1957; Tone Poem, brass, perc, 1957; Fantasy and Duet, 2 hn, 1964; Vade mecum, collection of pieces for wind insts, 1951–, inc.

Vocal: Songs (F. Hebbel, Weiss, W. Shakespeare), S, pf, 1916–18; 7 Songs (E. Dickinson): Poets, The Cemetery, The Railway Train, Chartless, Mysteries, Elysium, I Taste a Liquor, S, str qt, 1928; Ode to the West Wind (P.B. Shelley), Bar, va, pf, 1945

Pf: Fantasie, 1918; Aus Des Knaben Wunderhorn, 1925; 12 Preludes, 1927; Sonata, 1932; Pulse of the Sea, étude, 1950

Arrs.: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier, ww qnt; works by Malaga, Villa-Lobos

Principal publishers: CFE, New Music



A. Weiss: ‘Autobiographical Notes’, American Composers Alliance Bulletin, vii/3 (1958), 2

W.B. George: Adolph Weiss (diss., U. of Iowa, 1971)

B. Kopp: The Twelve-Tone Techniques of Adolph Weiss (diss., Northwestern U., 1981)

C. Hamm: Music in the New World (New York, 1983), 565


Weiss, Edward (George)

(b New York, 6 Sept 1892; d New York, 28 Sept 1984). American pianist. Born into a musical German-Nordic family, he grew up in Europe and studied in Berlin with Alexander Rihm and Xaver Scharwenka, through whom he was introduced to Busoni. He began to study with Busoni in 1914, following him to the USA in 1915 and returning with him to Europe, first to Zürich and then back to Berlin at the end of World War I. In 1921 he made his début with the Berlin PO under Busoni's baton. During his time in Berlin, in addition to giving masterclasses at the Klindworth-Scharwenka Conservatory, Weiss performed a large repertory, including the 32 Beethoven sonatas; the scale of his programmes, such as the complete études and preludes of Chopin or the entire Années de pèlerinage of Liszt in a single evening, reflected the monumental style of his mentor. He subsequently returned to New York, where he taught and performed for many years. In 1972 he made a tour of Britain, performing the two-piano version of Busoni's Fantasia contrappuntistica with Ronald Stevenson.

The essence of Weiss's playing lay in his cantilena, developed from Busoni's teaching and closely linked with an inventive use of the pedals, which may be heard to particular effect in his recordings of Busoni's music. Weiss was also a noted exponent of the music of Reger, Gottschalk and, especially, Sibelius, who considered him to be the most complete interpreter of his piano music.


Weiss, Friedrich Wilhelm.

See Weis, Friedrich Wilhelm.

Weiss, Karel.

See Weis, Karel.

Weiss, Manfred

(b Niesky, Upper Lusatia, 12 Feb 1935). German composer. He studied at the Staatliche Musikhochschule, Halle (1952–5), and the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler, Berlin (1955–7), where his teachers included Rudolf Wagner-Régeny, Ruth Zechlin and Jürgen Wilbrandt. Unable to train as a university lecturer for political reasons, he was accepted into Wagner-Régeny’s masterclasses at the DDR Akademie der Künste (1957–9). In 1959 he began teaching at the Dresden Musikhochschule, where he became a lecturer in 1970 and professor in 1983. Later, as vice-chancellor, he was responsible for the Musikhochschule's substantial reorganization (1991–7). His honours include the Hanns Eisler radio prize (1977), the Dresden arts prize (1977) and the DDR arts prize (1985).

Weiss's early works, influenced by Hindemith and Bartók, are largely cheerful in nature. With Präludium, Meditation und Hymnus (1965), an orchestral work in which polyphonic complexes of sound, clearly distinct from each other thematically, unfold through a process of thesis, antithesis and synthesis, he developed a more individual style; the inclusion of chorale quotations in subsequent works projects a confessional character. After 1973, Weiss increasingly turned to large-scale instrumental works that explore the tension between avant-garde sound materials and classical structure. His later symphonies show a heightened emotionality; a greater transparency among polyphonic strata give these works a homogeneity that emphasizes tendencies towards catharsis and apotheosis.


(selective list)

Orch: Fröhliche Ouvertüre, 1964; Präludium, Meditation und Hymnus, 1965; Toccata, 1966; Suite, 1968; Pf Conc., 1970–71; 5 Stücke, str, 1973; Music for 12 Brass and Timp, 1974; Sinfonische Fantasie, 1974; Conc., org, str, perc, 1975–6; Vn Conc., 1976–7; Fantasie, 14 str, 1977; Sym. no.3, 1980; Signale, 1981; Vc Conc., 1984; Metamorphosen, orch, org, 1985 [based on H. Schütz: Verleih uns Frieden gnädiglich]; Sym. no.4, 1986; Sym. no.5, 1987; Zeitsichtung, chbr orch, 1988; Abendmusik, 1989; Capriccio, chbr orch, 1996

Vocal: An meine Landsleute (cant., B. Brecht), solo vv, chorus, ens, 1958; 3 Pss, chorus, 1967; Kinderchöre (P. Hacks, H. Waggerl), 1972; 3 Kinderlieder (M. Zimmering), S, pf, 1972; Ahnung der Liebe (G. Maurer), Bar, orch, 1974; Antwort (J. Bobrowski), S, pf, 1978; Triptychon, chorus, 1978; 4 Lieder (Bobrowski), Mez, pf, 1979; 4 Pss, mixed chorus, 1986; Hüter, wird die Nacht der Sünden nicht verschwinden?, motet, chorus, 1989; 4 Pss, chorus, 2 tpt, org, 1990; 2 Lieder (F. Hölderlin), S, ens, 1992; Die Erlösten Gottes (Offenbarung des Johannes) (cant.), solo vv, 2 mixed chourses, 10 brass, 2 perc, 1997

Chbr and solo inst: Kleines Bläserquintett, wind qnt, 1958; Octet, fl, cl, bn, vn, va, vc, pf, perc, 1965; Str Qt, 1965; Sonatina, fl, pf, 1966; Sonata, tpt, pf, 1967; Wind Qnt no.2, 1968; Rhapsodie, cl, pf, 1969; 4 Stücke, str qt, 1972; 3 Stücke, vc, pf, 1972; Pf Trio no.2, 1973; Multiplo, fl, 1977; Trio, fl, vc, pf, 1979; Music for 8 Winds, 1983; Sonata, vn, 1985; 10 Scherzi, ob, cl, vn, va, vc, 1993; Wind Qnt no.3 ‘Die böse Sieben’, 1994; 5 Expressionen, va, pf, 1996

Kbd: Etüden und Übungsstücke, pf, 1966; Sonata, pf, 1966; Alternanza, org, 1978; 3 Stücke, pf, 1978; Cembalozyklus, hpd, 1982; 10 Nocturnos, pf, 1991

MSS in D-Dlb

Principal publishers: Peters, Deutscher Verlag, Verlag Neue Musik, Capella


H. Böhm: ‘Junge Komponisten im Profil’, MG, xv (1965), 239–41

H. John: ‘Der Komponist und Hochschullehrer Manfred Weiss’, Jb 1997 der Hochschule für Musik Dresden (Dresden, 1997), 27


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