Waart, Edo de. 56 Wachmann, Eduard 56

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Westerlinck, Wilfried

(b Leuven, 3 Oct 1945). Belgian composer. He studied at the Antwerp and Brussels conservatories with Legley, Verbesselt and Sternefeld. He also followed courses with Markevich in Monte Carlo. Since 1968 he has been working for BRTN Radio 3, where he is now head of the chamber music department, and he taught analysis at the Antwerp Conservatory (1970–83). He became composer in residence at the 1983 International Brass Quintet Festival in Baltimore and at the 1995 ‘I Fiamminghi in Campo’ festival in Antwerp; on both occasions several of his works received their first performance. He won several awards in Belgium of which the most important were the Tenuto Prize (1972) for his Metamorphose for orchestra and his Landschappen I for wind quintet. In 1985 he received the Eugene Baie Prize for his output as a whole.

The roots of Westerlinck's small output lie in the first part of the 20th century, yet he uses a contemporary musical language. From the beginning he has admired the structural beauty of Bartók's string quartets and the omnipresent colour of Messiaen's music. His use of diverse and subtle timbres can be seen in his Landschappen series of 1977–83. His compositions are often inspired by personal experiences and visual impressions, and their poetic power is based on development and repetition, with harmony being used to add colour and atmosphere to the melodic turns of the phrase. Rather than seeking for hidden meanings and referential games, Westerlinck's music tends towards a sensuousness that puts him at some distance from the avant-garde or postmodern movements.


(selective list)

Orch: Metamorphose, 1971; Elegie van de zee en van de liefde, 1975; Landschappen II, str, 1979

Chbr and solo inst: Suite, hpd, 1964–70; Qt, cls, 1966; Epigrammen, str trio, 1968; Canto I, gui, 1976; Landschappen I, wind qnt, 1977; Review (set I), 2 pf, 1977; Str Qt no.1, 1978; Landschappen III, brass qnt, 1980; Review (set II), 2 pf, 1980; Landschappen IV, fl, hp, str trio, 1981; Canto II, vc, 1982; Canto III, hp, 1982; Pf Sonata no.1, 1983; Kleine Wals, pf, 1984; Look, a Bass-Clarinet in my Garden, b cl, 1985; Pf Sonata no.2, 1985; Pf Sonata no.3, 1986; Sinfonietta, chbr ens, 1986; Str Qt no.2, 1987; Review (set III), 2 pf, 1991; Str Qt no.3, 1994; other works for fl, ob, cl, b cl; duos, trios, qnt

Vocal: 3 liederen, Mez/Bar, pf, 1964; Nocturne, Mez, ob, 12 solo str, 1974; 6 liederen, S, pf, 1969–70; Deze nacht, 1v, pf, 1975; De gesloten kamer, 1v, pf, 1985; 3 impromptu's met epiloog, T, pf, 1985

Principal publishers: CeBeDeM, Metropolis


Western, Ethel.

See Thalberg, Zaré.

Western Asia, ancient.

See Anatolia and Mesopotamia.

Western Opera Theater.

Touring opera company based in San Francisco, active from 1966 to 1996. See San Francisco, §1.

Western swing.

A style of Country music originating largely in the fiddle and guitar bands in Texas during the 1920s. Such groups regularly played traditional frontier dance music at country dances, but they were more innovative than country bands in the Southeast: they were eclectic in their repertory and improvised like jazz bands, from whom they borrowed freely. An early group, the Light Crust Doughboys of Fort Worth, were of the fiddle and guitar tradition but also performed current popular songs, blues and jazz. After 1934 two former members popularized western swing. The singer Milton Brown led one of the most popular country string bands in the Southwest, the Musical Brownies of Fort Worth. Bob Wills formed the Texas Playboys, which performed in Tulsa (1934–42) and later in California and elsewhere; he was a traditional country fiddler, but receptive to innovative and jazz-oriented musicians. The Playboys began as a fiddle-dominated string band, but soon added drums, piano, electric guitars and wind, and became very similar to the big popular swing bands of the 1930s.

The term ‘western swing’ was not used widely until after World War II, when the bandleader Spade Cooley billed himself as the ‘King of Western Swing’. Similar bands led by Tex Williams (1917–85; a former singer with Cooley’s band), Hank Penny (b 1918), and to a lesser extent Ray Whitley (1901–79) made California the new centre of the style in the 1940s. The western swing bands there, and elsewhere in the USA, influenced the mainstream of country music in the use of drums, walking bass patterns and electric instruments. Western swing experienced a revival in the early 1970s, largely through the performances of such musicians as Merle Haggard, Red Steagall and his Coleman County Cowboys, and, above all, the bands Asleep at the Wheel (led by the guitarist Ray Benson) and Alvin Crow and the Pleasant Valley Boys.


B.C. Malone: Country Music U.S.A.: a Fifty-year History (Austin, 1968, 2/1985)

J. Zolten: ‘Western Swingtime Music: a Cool Breeze in the American Desert’, Sing Out!, xxiii/2 (1974), 2–5

C. Wolfe: ‘Making Western Swing: an Interview with Johnnie Lee Wills’, Old Time Music, no.15 (1974–5), 11–20

C.R. Townsend: San Antonio Rose: the Life and Music of Bob Wills (Urbana, IL, Chicago and London, 1976)

C. Ginell: ‘The Development of Western Swing’, JEMF Quarterly, xx (1984), 58–67

T. Dunbar: From Bob Wills to Ray Benson: a History of Western Swing (Austin, 1988)

D.B. Green: Tumbling Tumbleweeds: Gene Autry, Bob Wills, and the Dream of the West (New York and Nashville, TN, 1988)

J.R. Erickson and F. McWhorter, eds: Cowboy Fiddler (Lubbock, TX, 1992)

C. Ginell: Milton Brown and the Founding of Western Swing (Urbana, IL, 1994) [incl. discography]


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