Waart, Edo de. 56 Wachmann, Eduard 56

Wessel, Christian Rudolph

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Wessel, Christian Rudolph

(b Bremen, 1797; d Eastbourne, 15 March 1885). English music publisher of German origin. He emigrated to London, where, with a piano maker named William Stodart, he established the firm of Wessel & Stodart in 1823. They began as importers of foreign music, but also issued their own publications from 1824. Their main interest was piano music, often issued in the form of periodical albums, and besides the usual popular arrangements of operatic airs and dance music they published the sonatas of Beethoven and Mozart, and the works of piano virtuosos such as Heller, Henselt and Thalberg. They also helped at an early date to promote the music of Schubert, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Gade, Liszt and others in England. Stodart retired in 1838 and Wessel continued the business alone until 1839, when he took in Frederic Stapleton as a partner. From 1833 they began to publish Chopin's works and from 1836 entered into a series of contracts with the composer for the exclusive rights to his works in England. The relationship between Chopin and the firm was often an uneasy one, and the composer strongly objected to Wessel's habit of giving his works fanciful titles, and to generally poor business practice. Nevertheless, the firm remained Chopin's sole publisher in England during the composer's lifetime. In 1845 Stapleton left the firm, and Wessel again carried on the business alone. The firm was among those particularly affected by the House of Lords decision of 1854 to declare invalid many copyrights of foreign publications. In 1860 Wessel retired in favour of his managers, Edwin Ashdown and Henry John Parry, and the business eventually became the firm of Edwin Ashdown Ltd.





M.J.E. Brown: ‘Chopin and his English Publisher’, ML, xxxix (1958), 363–71

M.J.E. Brown: Chopin: an Index of his Works in Chronological Order (London, 1960, 2/1972)

J. Kallberg: ‘Chopin in the Marketplace: Aspects of the International Music Publishing Industry in the First Half of the Nineteenth Century’, Notes, xxxix (1982–3), 535–69, 795–824

P. Ward Jones: ‘Mendelssohn and his English Publishers’, Mendelssohn Studies, ed. R.L. Todd (Cambridge, 1992), 240–55


Wessely, (Carl) Bernhard

(b Berlin, 1 Sept 1768; d Potsdam, 11 July 1826). German composer. He came from a cultured Jewish family whose circle included Lessing, Moses Mendelssohn and K.W. Ramler. After studying music with J.A.P. Schultz he went to Hamburg to produce his cantata (on Ramler's text) for the coronation of Friedrich Wilhelm II in 1787; Ramler also wrote the text for Sulamith und Eusebia, Wessely's cantata on the death of Mendelssohn the previous year. Wessely was appointed second music director of the Berlin Nationaltheater in 1788 and eight years later Prince Heinrich of Prussia made him Kapellmeister at Rheinsberg. When the prince died in 1802 Wessely abandoned his musical career for family reasons and became a government official at Potsdam, where in 1814 he was co-founder of a society for classical music, which he conducted until his death. He was recognized by his contemporaries as an able pianist and composer. His works, according to Härtwig, were endeared to a wide public by having the clarity of Gluck or Mozart. He published a comparison of these composers in Archiv der Zeit (November 1795) and also contributed to the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung. Bernhard Flies's setting of F.W. Gotter's lullaby ‘Schlafe, mein Prinzchen’ has been erroneously attributed to both Wessely and Mozart; Wessely did, however, compose another setting of this text, as did Friedrich Fleischmann and F.H. Himmel.


(selective list)

Stage: Die Wahl des Helden (ballet), Berlin, 3 Aug 1788; Die Freude des Herbstes (prol, K. Müchler), Berlin, 16 Oct 1789; Psyche (Spl, 2, Müchler), Berlin, 18 Nov 1789, 1st act, D-Bsb; Die Sonnenjungfrau (incid music, A. von Kotzebue), 1790; Louis IX en Egypte (op, K. Gaillard), Rheinsberg, 1797; L'ogre (op), Rheinsberg, 1798/9

Cants.: Sulamith und Eusebia (K.W. Ramler), Berlin, 23 May 1786; Kantate auf die Krönung Friedrich Wilhelm II (Ramler), Berlin, 31 Jan 1787; Dankopfer für den Landesvater (Ramler), Berlin, 19 Sept 1787; Mozarts Urne (G.W. Burmann), Berlin, 1791; Trauerkantate auf den Tod des Prinzen Heinrich von Preussen (Wessely), Berlin, 16 Sept 1802, Dlb

Other: 12 Gedichte (F. von Matthisson), pf acc. (Berlin, 1793); variations on God Save the King, pf (Berlin, 1795); variations on an air from Gluck's Armide, pf (Hamburg, 1799)




MGG1 (D. Härtwig)


C. von Ledebur: Tonkünstler-Lexicon Berlin's (Berlin, 1861/R)

M. Friedlaender: Das deutsche Lied im 18. Jahrhundert (Stuttgart and Berlin, 1902/R)

H.-G. Ottenberg, ed.: Der critische Musicus an der Spree: Berliner Musikschrifttum von 1748 bis 1799 (Leipzig, 1984)

T. Baumann: North German Opera in the Age of Goethe (Cambridge, 1985)


Wessely, Hans

(b Vienna, 23 Dec 1862; d Innsbruck, 29 Sept 1926). Austrian violinist. He studied with Heissler and Hellmesberger at the Vienna Conservatory, and privately with J.M. Grün. His début in 1883, which elicited praise from the severe Hanslick, led to an important public appearance in 1884, when he gave two concerts in his native city and was subsequently engaged to play Spohr’s Seventh Concerto at the Vienna Philharmonic Society under Richter. He spent three years in Berlin, and visited various countries in Europe, eventually making his London début at the Crystal Palace concerts under Manns on 7 April 1888. In 1889 he became a professor at the RAM. His repertory included all the great violin concertos, but it was as a quartet leader that he was best known: the quartet bearing his name, which comprised Spencer Dyke, E. Tomlinson and Patterson Parker, gave a series of concerts annually in London until 1914, and he was noted for his thoughtful interpretations in chamber music. He wrote a set of caprices and other short pieces for violin, edited much violin music and published A Practical Guide to Violin Playing (London, 1913).


Obituary, MT, xlvi (1926), 1038

E.S.J. van der Straeten: The History of the Violin (London, 1933/R)


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