Waart, Edo de. 56 Wachmann, Eduard 56

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Weissmann, Adolf

(b Rosenberg, 15 Aug 1873; d Haifa, 23 April 1929). German critic and writer on music. He studied music and philology at the universities of Breslau, Innsbruck, Florence and Berne, where he took the doctorate. After working briefly as a gymnasium professor, he moved to Berlin in 1900 and began writing for the Berliner Tageblatt (1900–5), Roland von Berlin (1904–10), the Deutsche Montagszeitung (from 1904) and the BZ am Mittag (from 1916); he also contributed articles to the Vossische Zeitung, Anbruch and Die Musik. He was the editor of the Sang und Klang Almanach (1920–29) and a founding member of the International Society for Contemporary Music. He also presented a weekly radio programme of contemporary music.

Along with Paul Bekker, Weissmann was the most widely read and influential critic in German-speaking Europe. A highly cultured, urbane figure, he was renowned for his elegant prose and incisive observations about the present state of music. Despite his ties with the ISCM, Weissmann was highly ambivalent about contemporary music. He was deeply critical of Strauss, Schreker, Debussy, Puccini and Schoenberg, but supportive of neoclassically orientated composers such as Hindemith and Krenek. His ideas are summed up in the principal critical studies Die Musik in der Weltkrise (1922), Die Musik der Sinne (1925) and Die Entgötterung den Musik (1928).


Bizet (Berlin, 1907)

Berlin als Musikstadt: Geschichte der Oper und des Konzerts von 1740 bis 1911 (Berlin, 1911)

Chopin (Berlin, 1912/R)

Der Virtuose (Berlin, 1918); Die Primadonna (Berlin, 1920); Der klingende Garten: Impressionen über das Erotische in der Musik (Berlin, 1920); all repr. as Die Musik der Sinne (Stuttgart, 1925)

Arthur Nikisch und die Berliner Philarmonischen Konzerte, 1895–1920 (Berlin, 1920)

Giacomo Puccini (Munich, 1922)

Die Musik in der Weltkrise (Stuttgart, 1922; Eng. trans., 1925/R, as The Problems of Modern Music)

Verdi (Stuttgart, 1922)

Der Dirigent im 20. Jahrhundert (Berlin, 1925)

Die Entgötterung der Musik (Stuttgart, 1928/R; Eng. trans., 1930, as Music Come to Earth)


W. Schrenk: ‘Adolf Weissmann’, Die Musik, xvi (1924), 480–86

E. Preussner: ‘Adolf Weissmann’, Die Musik, xxi (1929), 660–64

E.J. Dent: ‘Adolf Weissmann: 1873–1929’, MMR, xxix (1929), 167


Weissmann, Frieder

(b Langen, 23 Jan 1893; d 4 Jan 1984). German conductor. After university studies in law and music, he studied composition, counterpoint and the piano at the Hochschule in Mannheim, and conducting under Max von Schillings in Berlin. Like many other German conductors, he rose through the ranks of the opera house system, working as a répétiteur, chorus master or Kapellmeister at Frankfurt (1915–16), Stettin (now Szczecin, 1916–17), Berlin (1920–24), Münster (1924–5) and Königsberg (now Kaliningrad, 1926–7). From 1926 he increased his activities as a symphonic conductor, giving concerts with the Dresden PO (1926–30), the Berlin SO (1931), the Concertgebouw Orchestra (1931–3), the Berlin PO (1932–3) and others. He left Germany in 1933, moving to South America, where he conducted at the Teatro Colón (1934–7) and later to the USA. After making his début there with the Cincinnati SO in 1937, he worked with several minor North American orchestras and, from 1950, with the Havana PO. While Weissman's work as a conductor of concerts and opera is significant, he is best known for his recordings, notably with the Berlin Staatskapelle (with whom he recorded a wide repertory, including Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven symphonies) and the orchestra of the Berlin Staatsoper. He also recorded as an accompanist to leading vocal and instrumental soloists, including Lotte Lehmann, Richard Tauber, Meta Seinemeyer (whom he married on her deathbed in 1929), Lauritz Melchior, William Primrose and Moriz Rosenthal.


Weist-Hill, Thomas Henry

(b London, 3 Jan 1828; d London, 25 Dec 1891). English violinist, conductor and teacher. He studied with Sainton at the RAM and was elected King’s Scholar (1845). After making a name as an orchestral and solo violinist, he visited the USA, giving the first public performance of Mendelssohn’s Concerto there. He also toured Europe, then joined Michael Costa’s Royal Italian Opera orchestra (1849), and subsequently accepted engagements at Drury Lane, Her Majesty’s Theatre and elsewhere. When the Alexandra Palace opened in 1873 he was appointed musical director, with an orchestra of 42 players and a choir of 300 voices; his programmes included revivals of Handel’s Esther and Susanna, and he ran a symphony competition for British composers. During the season of 1878–9 he was conductor of Mme Jenny Viard-Louis’ orchestral concerts, at which works by Bizet, Massenet and Goetz were introduced. In 1880 he became the first principal of the GSM, and held this post until his death.


Weitzmann, Carl Friedrich

(b Berlin, 10 Aug 1808; d Berlin, 7 Nov 1880). German music theorist. He studied violin and composition with Carl Henning and Bernhard Klein in Berlin in the mid 1820s, and composition and theory with Spohr and Moritz Hauptmann in Kassel (1827–32). In Riga, he composed for a Liedertafel that he founded with Heinrich Dorn (1832); appointed music director in Reval (now Tallin) in 1834, he composed three operas, all unsuccessful. His later return to Berlin brought with it a second period of compositional activity, but all his works are of purely historical interest. In 1836 he began a ten-year career in court orchestras in St Petersburg, where he seems also to have begun the collection of rare musical books and folk material that was essential to his later scholarly activities. On retirement, with a substantial pension, he set off on a concert tour of Lapland and Finland (where he also collected folk music), followed by brief orchestral engagements in Paris and London. In 1848 he returned to Berlin, where he engaged in historical and theoretical research. He published articles on his folk music research in the early 1850s and in 1855 a monograph on Ancient Greek music. In 1853 he began his career as a theorist of ‘Music of the Future’ with a monograph on the augmented triad, which he sent to Liszt, together with a request that he accept the dedication of a work on the diminished seventh chord already in press. Liszt acceded to his request, and analysis of his Faust-Symphonie (1854–7) suggests that ideas from Der übermässige Dreiklang found their way into the work. Weitzmann took up a teaching appointment at the Stern Conservatory in 1857. In 1860 his Harmoniesystem won a contest run by Brendel’s Neue Zeitschrift für Musik. The most developed form of his theory, Harmoniesystem, became the focus of critical attack that Weitzmann sought to fend off with Die neue Harmonielehre im Streit mit der alten.

Weitzmann’s originality and importance as a theorist are evident in his treatment of the ‘dualist’ account of minor, the compositional resources of equal temperament, and the principles of progression and voice-leading of increasingly chromatic music. The seminal notion of his early work, that a minor triad may be thought of as the ‘inversion’ of major, and that both may be generated from a common fundamental ‘by addition of a major third and perfect fifth upwards and downwards’ (Der übermässige Dreiklang, 16), had been a mere aside for Hauptmann; for Weitzmann it serves as a way to relate a single augmented triad (the two major thirds around the fundamental) to both major and minor triads and, by extension, to major and minor keys. Later, Weitzmann extended the dualist explanation to scales: conceiving of the minor scale in descent, starting from the fifth degree, yields an intervallic succession that is the mirror inversion of an ascending major scale (Der verminderte Septimenakkord, 27; Harmoniesystem, 10). He even sketches a dualist theory of chord progression (Der verminderte Septimenakkord, 26), proposing the order-inversion of stock cadential patterns in minor (I–V–IV–I, instead of I–IV–V–I etc.). His dualist ideas were later pursued by Arthur von Oettingen and the young Hugo Riemann.

The most important issue on which Weitzmann differs from most theorists is that of tuning and temperament. Though many accepted temperament as a necessary compromise (while espousing an acoustically based harmonic theory), Weitzmann was perhaps the first to view it positively. This led him to examine the equal divisions of the octave that are indigenous to 12-note equal temperament (presuming full acceptance of enharmonic equivalence) as fundamental structural devices. The titles of his first two theoretical works are clear indications: he is primarily interested in the resolution possibilities of the ‘dissonant’ chords, in all inversions and enharmonic guises. From these issue the dynamism and direction of ‘progression’, which must consist of a dissonant chord moving to a consonant chord (or to a dissonant one: ‘deceptive resolution’). The preparation of dissonant chords and successions of consonant chords are more freely treated. He thus de-emphasized those stricter rules of progression that derive from the acoustic model and moved towards ‘any chord can follow another chord’ – the statement often attributed to Liszt, but reliably to Reger. In voice-leading Weitzmann criticized, with less success, the traditional prohibition of parallels. His positive contribution, however, was a systematic investigation of conjunct displacement of one or more notes of augmented triads and diminished seventh chords (what Cohn has called ‘parsimonious’ voice-leading). This view led him to revise the traditional notion of tonal relations and to view voice-leading parsimony as the primary criterion of chord relatedness (A minor and E minor are closer to C major than is G major, for example); this, combined with full enharmonic equivalence, led in turn to radically new tonal relations in Der übermässige Dreiklang (p.18). Here Weitzmann arranges the major and minor triads into four families each of six, based on the relationship of each dualist pair to a single (enharmonically reinterpreted) augmented triad; e.g. C major/Fminor, E major/A minor and A major/C minor are all derivable from the augmented triad C-E-G by half-step displacement of one tone. This is described by Cohn as ‘Weitzmann’s Regions and Cycles’ (see Cohn, 2000).


Der übermässige Dreiklang (Berlin, 1853)

Der verminderte Septimenakkord (Berlin, 1854)

Geschichte des Septimen-akkordes (Berlin, 1854)

Geschichte der griechischen Musik (Berlin, 1855/R)

Harmoniesystem (Leipzig, 1860, 2/1895)

Die neue Harmonielehre im Streit mit der alten (Leipzig, ?1860)

Geschichte des Clavierspiels und der Clavierlitteratur (Stuttgart, 1863, enlarged 2/1879; Eng. trans., 1893/R); ed. M. Seiffert as Geschichte der Klaviermusik (Leipzig, 1899/R)


E.M. Bowman, ed.: Bowman’s-Weitzmann’s Manual of Musical Theory (New York, 1877, 2/1905)

R.W. Wason: ‘Progressive Harmonic Theory in the Mid-Nineteenth Century’, JMR, viii (1988), 55–90

D. Hennig: ‘Weitzmann and the Liszt Machine’, MMA, xvi (1989), 109–34

R.T. Laudon: ‘The Debate about Consecutive Fifths: a Context for Brahms’s Manuscript “Oktaven und Quinten”’, ML, lxxiii (1992), 48–61

R.E. Rudd: Karl Friedrich Weitzmann’s Harmonic Theory in Perspective (diss., Columbia U., 1992)

D. Harrison: Harmonic Function in Chromatic Music (Chicago and London, 1994)

R.L. Todd: ‘Franz Liszt, Carl Friedrich Weitzmann, and the Augmented Triad’, The Second Practice of Nineteenth-Century Tonality, ed. W. Kinderman and H.M. Krebs (Lincoln, NE, 1996), 153–77

R. Cohn: ‘Maximally Smooth Cycles, Hexatonic Systems, and the Analysis of Late-Romantic Triadic Progressions’, MAn, xv (1996), 9–40

R. Cohn: ‘Weitzmann’s Regions, My Cycles, and Douthett’s Dancing Cubes’, Music Theory Spectrum, xxii/1 (2000), 99–104


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