(b Hudiksvall, 1720/21; d Uppsala, 7 May 1781). Swedish violinist and composer. His earliest music education was from his father, organist at the church at Hudiksvall in northern Sweden. In 1738 he was admitted to Uppsala University, which he attended while employed part-time as his father's successor in Hudiksvall. In 1744 he defended his dissertation De abdicatione regia and was granted a degree in law; the following year he became a consulting lawyer at the Royal Courts in Stockholm, and in 1748 joined the Hovkapell as an ordinary violinist. From 1756 until 1760 he was abroad on a stipend, studying violin in Padua with Tartini, who considered him one of his most apt students, and in Dresden with Cattaneo. His companion on this tour was the Dresden composer Johann Gottlieb Naumann. In 1760 he was appointed as court musician and became a regular soloist in the Stockholm public concerts (Cavalierskonserter). Further journeys abroad (to Germany in 1761 and England in 1766) enhanced his reputation, but growing debts brought about his dismissal from the Hovkapell in 1773. For three years he supported himself by freelance work, and in 1776 was appointed as musical director and town organist in Gävle, a position he chose over debtor's prison.
Wesström's music, much of which is lost and which appears to have been written during the period 1760–73, shows the influence of Mannheim and the empfindsamer Stil of C.P.E. Bach. Much of the melodic material is developed through sequence, but his use of solo instruments and colouristic effects is notable. In particular, the six ‘string quartets’ are idiosyncratic, with wind instruments added to provide unusual timbres.
MSS in S-Skma unless otherwise noted
2 syms., D, D; no.2 ed. in The Symphony 1720–1840, ser. F, iii (New York, 1983)
2 ovs. to an unidentified op Armide, B, D
Violin conc., lost
6 qts: B, str; E, str, 2 fl; D, fl, vn, va, vc, ed. A. Ljungar-Chapelon (Sweden, 1991) [incl. facs.]; B, ob, hn, str; G, str; C, hn, str, ed. in Äldre Svensk Musik, vii (Stockholm, 1941, 2/1942)
C.F.Hennerberg: ‘Kungliga hovmusikus Anders Wesström’, STMf, x (1928), 93–137; xi (1929), 116–46
S.Walin: Beiträge zur Geschichte der schwedischen Sinfonik (Stockholm, 1941)
L.Hedwall: Den svenska symfonin (Stockholm, 1983)
L.Jonsson and A.Johnson: Musiken i Sverige; ii: Frihetstid och Gustaviansk tid, 1720–1810 (Stockholm, 1993)
BERTIL H. VAN BOER
(b ?1575–80; d London, November 1643). English composer and singer. The Cheque Book of the Chapel Royal records that on 20 August 1604 he was sworn an extraordinary member of the Chapel Royal, in recognition of his services at ‘the great solemnity of the league of Spain’. He had for some time before this been involved in Chapel Royal business; his name was attached to a meeting of the Gentlemen on 19 May 1603. In 1605 Thomas Woodson sold his place in the choir to ‘Wm. West of Canterbury’, and West’s name thereafter appears regularly in lists of the Chapel Gentlemen up to 1643. On 25 November of that year William Howes succeeded West, ‘tenor deceased’. His extant compositions comprise a verse anthem, Have mercy, Lord, a full anthem, Save me O God, and a full Sharp Service (all GB-Lcm). Both anthems are incomplete.
AshbeeR, iii, iv, viii
E.F.Rimbault: The Old Cheque-Book, or Book of Remembrance of the Chapel Royal (London, 1872/R)
R.T.Daniel and P.le Huray: The Sources of English Church Music, 1549–1660, EECM, suppl.i (London, 1972)
PETER LE HURAY/JOHN MOREHEN
Westbrook, Mike [Michael John David]
(b High Wycombe, 21 March 1936). English jazz composer, pianist and bandleader. After working in an accountant’s office and studying painting he took up music professionally; he was largely self-taught and has an empirical approach to composition. Around 1960 he organized a jazz workshop in Plymouth, where he wrote for a small ensemble that included John Surman, then in 1962 he moved to London. From that time he has written pieces for a number of his own ensembles: the Mike Westbrook Band (1962–72), the Mike Westbrook Concert Band (1967–71), the multi-media group Cosmic Circus (1970–72), the jazz-rock band Solid Gold Cadillac (1971–4), the Mike Westbrook Brass Band (established in 1973 to perform in the theatre and on television), the Mike Westbrook Orchestra (formed in 1974), A Little Westbrook Music (formed in 1982) and the Dance Band (formed in 1986).
Westbrook is particularly adept at providing jazz improvisers with stimulating themes and settings and then enfolding their contributions within a wider context. He draws his inspiration from a wide variety of styles, and his work (often written in collaboration with his wife, the singer Kate Westbrook) consists of highly personalized statements. Like Duke Ellington before him, he generally writes for specific musicians in his bands, notably the trumpeter Phil Minton and the saxophonist Chris Biscoe; this results in highly coloured music that is subject to few of the clichés of jazz composition. Among his best-known pieces are Marching Song (1969, Deram), Metropolis (1971, RCA), Citadel/Room 315 (1975, RCA) and The Cortege (1982, Original). Westbrook has worked with other groups and also with a number of theatre companies, notably the National Theatre (1971), the Foco Novo Theatre Company (1985) and the Extemporary Dance Theatre (1986). In addition he has toured widely, appeared at numerous festivals and recorded extensively. From 1985 he has issued a quarterly newsletter, the Smith’s Academy Informer. He was made an OBE in 1988.
I.Carr: Music Outside: Contemporary Jazz in Britain (London, 1973)
R.Cotterrell: ‘Mike Westbrook: Taking Music to the People’, Jazz Forum [international edn], no.39 (1976), 38–41
K.Dallas: ‘Jazz: Present Use of the Past Tense’, Melody Maker (13 June 1981)
G.Lock: ‘Sweet Thunder’, The Wire, no.14 (1985), 10–15