(US-NHu Rare Ma.21. W.632). SeeSources of lute music, §7.
American firm of organ builders. It was founded as Wicks Organ Co. in 1906 by the brothers Louis J. Wick (1869–1936), Adolph Aloys Wick (1873–1943), and John Frank Wick (1881–1948), who had built their first organ in Highland, Illinois, in 1899, while Louis and John were working as watch makers and Adolph as a cabinet maker. While their first organs employed mechanical or tubular-pneumatic action, the firm developed and patented a direct-electric action in 1914 which, unlike the electro-pneumatic actions used by most other builders of the period, opened the individual pipe valves without pneumatic assistance. Refinements of this action, which facilitates the unification or duplexing of small organs, were patented in 1922 and 1929. The Wicks Organ Co. has continued to use this form of action and has always done a brisk trade in small ‘stock’ organs as well as medium and large instruments. John Henry Wick (1912–40) and Martin M. Wick (b 1919), sons of John Frank, entered the firm, Martin becoming president in 1948. John Sperling was appointed tonal director in 1957. Technical innovations include the first large-scale use of transistorized switching (1960s) and ‘opti-key’ switching (1990s). The firm's most important instruments include those in Temple Beth El, Detroit (1935), Sacred Heart Cathedral, Rochester, New York (1966), the First United Methodist Church, Peoria, Illinois (1977), Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia (1982), and the First Baptist Church, Memphis (1986).
W.H.Barnes: The Contemporary American Organ (Glen Rock, NJ, 8/1964)
O.Ochse: The History of the Organ in the United States (Bloomington, IN, 1975)
M.W.Perin: ‘The Wicks Organ Co.’, American Organist, xxiii/2 (1989), 56–8
K.W.Capelle and M.W.Haberer: ‘Martin M. Wick’, American Organist, xxvii/3 (1993), 67–8
Wicks, (Edward) Allan
(b Harden, Yorks., 6 June 1923). English organist and choirmaster. The son of a clergyman, he studied with Thomas Armstrong at Christ Church, Oxford, where he was organ scholar. He took the MA and FRCO after war service. He became sub-organist of York Minster in 1947, organist of Manchester Cathedral in 1954 and organist of Canterbury Cathedral in 1961, retiring in 1988 at the conclusion of that year's Lambeth Conference. A highly popular recitalist, possessed of a fine technique, his wide-ranging recital programmes included first performances of works by British composers including Peter Maxwell Davies, Iain Hamilton and Malcolm Williamson, and he made several tours of the USA and Europe. He had exceptional power to communicate excitement whether as an organist, conductor or orator, and his Canterbury choir performed with a rare freshness and spontaneity; his service lists were adventurous and progressive without being eccentric, the music of Alan Ridout appearing regularly alongside Bach motets and other works not often then tackled by British cathedral choirs. He collaborated with Christopher Dearnley (organist of St Paul's Cathedral) in composing strong, simple music for the Anglican Series 3 rite for Holy Communion. He received the Lambeth degree of MusD in 1974 and an honorary DMus from the University of Kent in 1985, and was made a CBE in 1988.
Wicumbe, W. de.
SeeWycombe, W. de.
(b Norland, nr Halifax, 19 April 1892; d London, 6 Sept 1949). English tenor. He joined the British National Opera Company in 1923 and made his début as Radames. He appeared at Covent Garden first as the protagonist in Siegfried (1924), his other Wagnerian roles there being Siegmund (1932) and Tristan (1933, 1937, 1938). In 1928 he sang with Frida Leider in Gluck’s Armide and the following year created the role of Bagoas in Goossens’s Judith. In 1936 he sang the title role in the British première of Stravinsky’s Oedipus rex. Abroad, he was heard in Spain, the Netherlands and Germany. His operatic repertory included some of the heavier Italian roles, and in oratorio he brought an able technique as well as an ample voice to such music as ‘Sound an alarm’ in Judas Maccabaeus. Making one of his rare postwar appearances, he sang Lohengrin’s Farewell at a Promenade concert the night before he died. Records made around 1930 show a firm resonant voice and a virile style, confirming his place among the best heroic tenors of the century.
A.D.Hillier and J.Jarrett: ‘Walter Widdop: a Biography and Discography’, Record Advertiser, iv/2 (1973–4), 2
A.Blyth: ‘Koloman von Pataky and Walter Widdop’, Opera, xl (1989), 288–95 [with discography]
(b Strasbourg, 18 April 1759; d Paris, April 1823). Alsatian composer and cellist. According to Choron and Fayolle he was a pupil of F.X. Richter. In the title-pages of his works his name appears as J. Widerkehr l'aîné and in his six violin duos opp.3 and 4 (c1794) he identified himself as the pupil of Dumonchau, professor of the cello in Strasbourg and father of the pianist Charles-François Dumonchau. Choron and Fayolle maintained that Widerkehr came to Paris in 1783 as cellist of the Concert Spirituel and the Concert de la Loge Olympique; however, the absence of his name among the cellists in Les spectacles de Paris (1794–1800) and other almanacs implies that he never held a regular post in a major Parisian orchestra. He probably made his living as a teacher, occasionally as a performer, and as a composer of instrumental works, which appeared regularly from the early 1790s.
Widerkehr achieved considerable fame as an instrumental composer, above all for his symphonies concertantes for several wind instruments, of which Fétis, seconding the opinion of Choron and Fayolle, wrote: ‘These works and those of Devienne were for many years the best of that genre known in France’. Around 1800, when most of Widerkehr's works in this form were written, the symphonie concertante was more popular than the symphony itself on French concert programmes. Widerkehr's 12 to 15 essays in this genre were written for a variety of solo combinations, predominantly two or three wind instruments; they were performed by outstanding virtuosos in several Parisian concert halls and ‘chez le Premier Consul’. No.4 in F was ambitiously orchestrated for clarinet, flute, oboe, horn, two bassoons and cello as solo instruments, with an orchestra of strings, two oboes and two horns. The few extant examples of these works are melodious, well-wrought and light in mood.
Widerkehr’s chamber works, written mainly for the large amateur market of the time and frequently allowing for the substitution of instruments, were likewise successful. His ten string quartets are tuneful and show the hand of an experienced string player; the two quintets have rather demanding first violin parts, but the other parts are simple and purely accompanimental. The Mercure de France (August 1794) described his Trois duo concertants op.4 as delighting both amateurs and artists alike, and one of his Trois duos pour piano et violon ou hautbois was quite favourably received in Germany (G.L.P. Sievers: ‘Musikalisches Allerley aus Paris, vom Monate July’ AMZ, xx, 1818, cols.641–6, esp.642).
Widerkehr is sometimes confused with Philippe Widerkehr le jeune (fl Paris, 1793–1816), a trombonist, composer and teacher who may have been his brother. The name appears several times in Les spectacles de Paris among the trombonists, and as the composer of a two-volume Pot-pourri pour le forte piano (Paris, c1803). In 1793 he was a corporal and trombonist in the Parisian National Guard, and from 1795 to 1816 he was a professor of solfège at the Conservatoire.