British firm of piano makers. The firm was founded in 1876 by W.M.Y. Maxwell to import and distribute Blüthner pianos from Leipzig to the British Isles. Later, he entered a partnership with W.J. Whelpdale (d 1913) and, following a fire at the uninsured London factory of Squire and Longson in 1934, they hired the staff from this firm, acquired premises and began manufacturing an upright piano which they named the Welmar after the two directors. In 1939 the company was renamed Whelpdale, Maxwell & Codd Ltd, after the directors of the time. The firm was allowed to continue manufacturing instruments during World War II and due to wartime regulations five other manufacturers were taken under its wing. The factory of one of these firms, Sir Herbert Marshall & Sons Ltd, makers of Marshall & Rose upright Pianos, suffered considerable bomb damage during the war, and Whelpdale, Maxwell & Codd have continued to produce these instruments to the present day. Following the liquidation of the Bentley Piano Company in 1993, Whelpdale, Maxwell & Codd took over the manufacture of Bentley, Rogers, Hopkinson and Knight upright pianos. The firm also produces Broadwood upright pianos under licence, as well as uprights under the names of Steinberg & Lipp. It continues to manufacture a Welmar grand piano of 183 cm in length, alongside several Welmar upright pianos. The company endeavours to patronize British suppliers wherever possible, buying its actions from Herrburger Brooks in Nottingham. Some of its directors served their apprenticeships with Blüthner, of whose pianos they remain the main British importers, and the Welmar piano retains a reputation for good quality and reliability.
Whettam, Graham (Dudley)
(b Swindon, 7 Sept 1927). English composer. Largely self-taught, his early musical training included orchestrating film scores. He received encouragement from Boult and Fenby, and in 1953 the première of his Oboe Concertino was given at the Proms, performed by Goossens. Whettam’s style owes much to Bartók and Mahler, particularly the strident orchestration, energetic rhythms, intervallic harmonies and colourful textures, all evident in his large-scale orchestral works. The first, Sinfonia contra Timore (dedicated to ‘Bertrand Russell and other people who suffer … for their beliefs’), was given its première by the CBSO in 1965, while the ambitious Sinfonia intrepida, broadcast in 1984 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Dresden bombing, contrasts Waltonesque opulence in the outer movements with ethereal lyricism in the central movement, the latter echoed later in the evocative Hymnos for strings (1978, rev. 1999), one of Whettam’s most popular works. During the late 1980s and the 1990s he focussed on works for solo percussion. These share with the string chamber works a revitalized approach to traditional forms and counterpoint, as in the Lento and Fugue for marimba and Suite for timpani (both written for the composer’s son) or the three solo violin sonatas. He has served as chairman of the Composers’ Guild (1971, 1983–6), director of the PRS (1988–94) and as vice-chairman of the British Copyright Council (1972–94).
Stage: The Masque of the Red Death, 2 scenes for dancing, 1968
Choral: The Chef who Wanted to Rule the World (A. Davies), unison vv, perc, chbr orch, 1969; Celebration, SATB, unison vv, brass band, perc, org, 1975; Consecration, SATB, brass, perc, org, 1982; A Mass for Canterbury, S, A, T, B, org, 1986; 3 Shakespearian Elegies, SATB, 1994
(b 1 March 1683; dLondon, bur. 16 Aug 1747). English composer and organist. According to Hawkins he frequented the concerts of Thomas Britton at Clerkenwell, was assistant organist to Philip Hart and later organist at the church of St Edmund the King and Martyr, and ‘taught the harpsichord in some of the best families in the city’. He was one of the original subscribers (1738) to the Fund for the Support of Decay’d Musicians or their Families (later the Royal Society of Musicians).
Whichello’s vocal music includes two italianate cantatas to words by Henry Carey, Virtumnus and Pomonia and Apollo and Daphne. These have usually been dated about 1725 and 1730 respectively, but they must have been written some time before then since not only were they both printed in XII Cantatas in English … being a Curious Collection of the Compositions of Several Authors, published by Walsh & Hare in 1723, but the latter (also set by Daniel Purcell in 1713) had also been included in the February 1720 issue of The Monthly Mask of Vocal Musick. Though they are inferior in quality to the cantatas of Pepusch, on which they were probably modelled, they must be among the earliest English compositions bearing the title ‘cantata’. Whichello’s other songs (published separately and in miscellaneous collections) were apparently very popular in their day, but they too are mostly uninspired and conventional.
Whichello’s only instrumental music is a volume of Lessons for the Harpsichord, or Spinett, printed ‘for the author’ in 1707, and almost certainly intended as teaching pieces for his pupils. Arranged by key in four suites of between three and six movements each, they are all relatively simple, and entirely predictable harmonically; one or two movements (such as the ‘Almond’ of the A minor suite), however, do show just a bit more life than does most of the vocal music.
D.Dawe: Organists of the City of London 1666–1850 (Padstow, 1983)
B.Matthews: The Royal Society of Musicians of Great Britain: List of Members 1738–1984 (London, 1985)
R.Goodall: English Chamber Cantata and Through-Composed Solo Song, 1660–1785 (diss., U. of Oxford, 1979); vol. i pubd as Eighteenth-Century English Secular Cantatas (New York, 1989)