(fl 1588–c1620). English composer. Only three compositions, all for the lute, survive with his name attached. One, untitled, is in GB-Cu Dd.2.11, and two are in the Pickering manuscript (Lbl Eg.2046): The English Huntsuppe and Daphney and Corridon.
Whithorn [May-horn, peeling-horn].
An oboe constructed of green willow bark twisted into a conical shape and fastened with hawthorn spines (see illustration). It has a double reed made of the ‘inside willow’ as described by William Kimber. It is widely used in Europe, mainly by herdsmen for signalling; in England it was used in the Savernake Forest, Wiltshire during the Whit Monday hunt and by Morris dancers in Headington, Oxfordshire, to announce May morning. It is also used as a children’s toy and by itinerant vendors and tradesmen. It produces one loud sound which may be caused to fluctuate in pitch by a variation of breath pressure. For further information see H. Balfour: ‘A Primitive Musical Instrument (the Whit-Horn)’, Reliquary and Illustrated Archaeologist, ii (1896), 221–4.
HÉLÈNE LA RUE
(b Cleveland, OH, 6 Sept 1884; dLyme, CT, 25 March 1958). American composer and pianist. He studied the piano in Cleveland with James H. Rogers and at the age of 15 made the first of two successive yearly concert tours on the Ohio ‘Chautauqua’ circuit. In 1904 he went to Europe, where he was a pupil of Leschetizky (piano), Fuchs (theory and composition) and Schnabel (piano). From 1907 to 1909 he was concert manager for the pianist Ethel Leginska, whom he had married in 1907 and divorced in 1916. While living in London (1907–15) he taught the the piano and theory and wrote critical articles for Musical America and the Pall Mall Gazette; he studied examples of Asian music and subsequently composed several works based on Japanese and Chinese themes. Again in the USA, he served as executive editor of the Art Publication Society (St Louis, 1915–20). In 1920 he moved to New York and there held the post of vice-president (1921–2) of the Composers’ Music Corporation, and was an active member of the League of Composers. After 1922 he devoted all his professional efforts to composition.
Whithorne’s early works were described as quite modern but without ‘the tendency of some modern writers to do away with melody’. Some of these compositions, including Adventures of a Samurai, Chinese Songs, The Yellow Jacket and Greek Impressions, were heavily tinged with Impressionism and ethnic elements. The piano suite New York Days and Nights (1922) indicated a style change in which his awareness of polytonality was evident. This suite represented American composition at the Salzburg Chamber Music Festival (1923), where it was highly successful. In the orchestral version it was played by jazz bands as well as symphony orchestras. In 1934 the Cleveland Orchestra gave the première of his Symphony no.1 in C minor, op.49. In a newspaper interview the composer stated that he ‘tried to write a good symphony, logical, without shying at melody, with no attempt to be ultra modern’. His Second Symphony (1935), also introduced by the Cleveland Orchestra, won the Juilliard School competition for the publication of orchestral works by an American composer in 1939.
Whithorne’s music, frequently described as ‘American’, did not resort to such obvious devices as jazz clichés and quotations of American themes, although jazz rhythms sometimes are heard. His compositions were frequently played during his lifetime, but they have rarely been performed since his death.
Orch: The Rain, c1913; La nuit, 1917; Adventures of a Samurai, suite, 1919; Ranga, sym. poem (1920); Fata morgana, sym. poem, op.44, 1927; Poem, op.43, pf, orch, 1927; Vn Conc., op.46, 1928–31; Sym. no.1, op.49, 1929; Dream Pedlar, sym. poem, op.50, 1930; Fandango, 1931; Fandance, 1932; Moon Trail, sym. poem, 1933; Sym. no.2, op.56, 1935; Sierra morena, 1938; Strollers’ Serenade, str (1943); The City of Ys, sym. poem; numerous others
Vocal-inst: 2 Chinese Nocturnes, op.34, 1v, pf (1921); 2 Chinese Poems, op.18, 1v, pf (1921); Saturday’s Child (C. Cullen), op.42, Mez, T, chbr orch, 1926; The Grim Troubador (Cullen), op.45, medium v, str qt, 1927, arr. medium v, pf; many other songs
Pf: The Aeroplane, op.38 no.2, c1920, arr. orch, 1920; New York Days and Nights (1922), arr. orch, 1923; El camino real, suite, 1937; many other works
Other: incid music for The Yellow Jacket (oriental drama), L. Irving: The Typhoon, O’Neill: Marco Millions, arr. pf as At the Court of Kublai Khan (1925); Sooner and Later (I. Lewisohn), dance satire in 6 scenes, chorus, chbr orch, 1925, arr. 2 pf
Principal publishers: Birchard, Composers’ Music Corporation, Cos-Cob, C. Fischer, Senart
J.T.Howard: Emerson Whithorne (New York, 1929)
R.Hammond: ‘Emerson Whithorne’, MM, viii/2 (1930–31), 23–7
(b Cambridge, MA, 20 June 1861; d Beverly, MA, 20 July 1936). American pianist and composer. He first appeared as a concert pianist in Worcester, Massachusetts, at the age of 13. He studied at the New England Conservatory under William Sherwood and Chadwick, and in 1883 went to Germany, where he studied with Rheinberger at the Munich Conservatory until 1885. For the next ten years he worked in Boston, after which he moved permanently to New York. In addition to teaching, he was active as a concert pianist, appearing as soloist with several American orchestras in performances of his Concerto in D minor and Fantasia op.11. In 1905 he was elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters. After 1907 he gave a series of ‘chamber music expositions’ at Harvard, Princeton and Yale universities.
As a composer he was not prolific and restricted himself, in the main, to small forms. He was essentially a Classicist whose music betrayed the influences of Bach and Brahms. He was also drawn to early music, playing the harpsichord in a series of concerts in 1911 and publishing The Lesson of the Clavichord in 1908. His compositions were described by Daniel Gregory Mason as espousing the subtle and suggestive as opposed to the ‘brute sensationalism [then] prevalent in contemporary music’ (1938). Whiting's works achieved a modest reputation, which did not outlive him.