(4) (Eleonore) Sophia Maria Westenholz [née Fritscher]
(5) Friedrich Westenholz
(6) Carl Ludwig Cornelius Westenholz
(1) Barbara Lucietta Fricemelica [Frizemelica] Westenholz [née Affabili]
(b Venice, 1725; d Ludwigslust, 20 Sept 1776). Italian soprano, first wife of (2) Carl August Friedrich Westenholz. She came to Germany with an Italian buffo troupe, was engaged in 1757 as a singer with the Schwerin Hofkapelle and in 1770 married Westenholz. According to Burney she had a very brilliant and pure voice with a wide range, sure intonation and extraordinary execution in allegro passages. She was among the most respected artists at the Ludwigslust court.
(2) Carl August Friedrich Westenholz
(b Lauenburg, July 1736; d Ludwigslust, 24 Jan 1789). Conductor and composer. He went to school in Lübeck and in 1749 became a choirboy in the Mecklenburg-Schwerin Hofkapelle, where he was taught singing by A.C. Kunzen and the cello by F.X. Woschitka. In 1753, as a tenor, he was appointed Kammersänger to the court and at that time may have been C.P.E. Bach’s pupil. He succeeded J.W. Hertel as Konzertmeister and director of the Hofkapelle when it was transferred to Ludwigslust in 1767. During his term as Kapellmeister (from 1770) the Kapelle continued to flourish in spite of adverse social conditions, having a reputation as one of the best German court orchestras until 1792.
As a composer of sacred cantatas in the Schwerin tradition of Kunzen and Hertel, Westenholz was among the best Mecklenburg composers at the end of the 18th century. Some of his works in this genre were written for the popular concerts spirituels introduced by Duke Friedrich, and his Die Hirten bey der Krippe zu Bethlehem (first performed in Hamburg, 1765), Das Vertrauen auf Gott (Schwerin, 1787) and Die Auferstehung Jesu Christi (first performed posthumously in Ludwigslust, 1805) have been praised as ‘the beginning of a German national oratorio’ (Schenk). His essentially transitional style was described by Schering as ‘fluctuating between the old and the new’ and as showing indecision between ‘German simplicity and foreign brilliance in the solo parts’, popular choral writing and Germanic melodic effusion.
MSS in D-SWl unless otherwise stated
Sacred cants.: Die Hirten bey der Krippe zu Bethlehem (K.W. Ramler) (Riga, 1774); Die Auferstehung Jesu Christi (H.J. Tode), 1777; Das Vertrauen auf Gott (Tode), 1787; Ist Gott für mich, 4vv, orch, D-Bsb
Other sacred: Golgotha (orat); Ps li [after G. Allegri], with ov. for orch; Ps c, 4vv, orch; Ps ciii; 2 psalms, 1v, choir, orch, B-Bc; Mein Jesu süsse Seelenlust, O dass ich tausend Zungen hätte, Befiehl du deine Wege, chorales, 4vv, orch, Bc; 2 chorales, 4vv, Bc; many chorales, 4vv, some with insts
Secular vocal: Besinget, besinget, Mecklenburgs Flueren, cant. for birthday of Duchess Louise Friderike, 1769; 3 birthday serenatas, 1769–70; Vermählungs-Music, choir, orch, for wedding of Prince Friedrich Franz, 1775; Vermählungs-Music, choir, orch, for wedding of Princess Sophie Friederike; 7 arias to It. ops, S, insts; 6 arias, duet, solfeggi with bc, D-ROu; 5 arias, B-Bc; Der Herr hilft seinen Gesalbten, birthday serenata, choir, orch; 6 lieder (C.F. Gellert); several more compositions for court in ded. copies
(b Cramon, nr Schwerin, 12 Feb 1756; d Ludwigslust, 15 March 1802). Instrumentalist, illegitimate son of (2) Carl August Friedrich Westenholz. From 1774 to 1781 he was a cellist in the Hofkapelle at Ludwigslust; after leave for study in Lübeck he again joined the Kapelle (1783) and was responsible for teaching the piano to the duke’s children. About 1789 he was also organist at the Ludwigslust Schlosskirche.
(4) (Eleonore) Sophia Maria Westenholz [née Fritscher]
(b Neubrandenburg, 10 July 1759; d Ludwigslust, 4 Oct 1838). Pianist and composer, second wife of (2) Carl August Friedrich Westenholz. As a child she studied the piano and singing with the Schwerin court composer J.W. Hertel, and by the age of 16 she may have already been a singer in the Ludwigslust Hofkapelle. In 1777 she married Westenholz. Known by 1799 as the Kapellmeisterin, she remained active at the court for more than 40 years (she was pensioned in 1821) and made several concert tours in Germany.
J.F. Reichardt called Sophia Westenholz ‘one of the leading female musicians in Europe’. She was admired as a singer, but especially praised as a piano virtuoso in the manner of C.P.E. Bach; the Weimar Hofkapellmeister E.W. Wolf, who dedicated six piano sonatas to her in 1783, and C.F. Cramer were among those who admired her art. Contemporaries also praised her virtuoso performances on the glass harmonica. She composed songs and piano pieces, which she performed at court. Among these the songs are the most noteworthy; they are chiefly in the style of J.A.P. Schulz and J.F. Reichardt, but the later ones imitate the then fashionable sentimental songs of F.H. Himmel, Righini and Pleyel.
Vocal: 12 deutsche Lieder, op.4 (Berlin, 1806), 2 ed. B.G. Jackson (Fayetteville, AR, 1987); Gesänge aus Wilhelm Tell (Leipzig, 1807), doubtful; Liebe, nur Liebe, lied, 1811, D-SWl; Der Bund (F. von Matthisson), S, 2 vn, va, b, B-Bc; 2 arias with orch, Bc; 11 lieder, 2 songs, 1 aria with obbl fl, 2 choruses, arr. of F.B. Beneken: Wie sie so sanft ruhen, 4vv, all Bc
(b Ludwigslust, 28 May 1778; d Berlin, 12 March 1840). Oboist and composer, son of (2) Carl August Friedrich and (4) Sophia Maria Westenholz. He received his first musical training from his mother and later studied with J.F. Braun. He was a chamber musician in the Berlin Hofkapelle, from which he retired in 1828 with a reputation as an excellent oboist. He also composed instrumental music and songs. His brother or half-brother, Wilhelm Franz Westenholz (d 1830), was a bassoonist in the Berlin Hofkapelle from 1813 until 1824.
(b Ludwigslust, 13 Jan 1788; d Ludwigslust, 4 Feb 1854). Pianist and composer, son of (2) Carl August Friedrich and (4) Sophia Maria Westenholz. He was a violinist from 1809 to 1854 in the Ludwigslust Hofkapelle and moved to Schwerin with it in 1837. He also appeared as an excellent pianist at court, after 1813 gradually supplanting his mother there. The Landesbibliothek Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Schwerin, has in manuscript several keyboard pieces and a divertimento for harpsichord, violin and bass by him.
O.Kade: Die Musikalien-Sammlung des Grossherzoglichen Mecklenburg-Schweriner Fürstenhauses aus den letzten zwei Jahrhunderten (Schwerin and Wismar, 1893–9/R)
C.Meyer: Geschichte der Mecklenburg-Schweriner Hofkapelle (Schwerin, 1913)
H.Rentzow: Die mecklenburgischen Liederkomponisten des 18. Jahrhunderts (Hanover, 1938)
E.Schenk, ed.: Johann Wilhelm Hertel: Autobiographie (Graz, 1957)
K.Musketa: ‘Karl Wilhelm Ramlers Weihnachtsdichtung Die Hirten bey der Krippe zu Bethlehem und ihre Vertonung durch Georg Philipp Telemann und andere Komponisten’, Zur Aufführungspraxis und Interpretation der Vokalmusik Georg Philipp Telemanns: Blankenburg, Harz 1992, 155–60