Waart, Edo de. 56 Wachmann, Eduard 56

Widerkehr, Philippe [le jeune]

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Widerkehr, Philippe [le jeune].

Possibly the brother of Jacques Widerkehr.

Widhalm, Leopold

(b ?Nuremberg, 2 Oct 1722; d Gostenhof, Nuremberg, 10 June 1776). German violin maker. He was the most important 18th-century German violin maker outside Mittenwald. Widhalm often selected the most handsome material available, and the sharpness and good taste of his work show him to have been an excellent craftsman. He was doubtless influenced by these same qualities in the instruments of the celebrated Nuremberg lute makers, but his primary inspiration was Jacob Stainer, from whose model he appears never to have departed. Widhalm’s best instruments have a soft orange or orange-red varnish, others light brown. Occasionally he made dark, almost black violins of small merit. He made very good cellos and violas. Instruments of the same character as his, and with the same label and interior brand ‘L.W.’, are seen dated after 1800, from which one may infer that the family business continued in the hands of his sons.





Widmann, Erasmus

(b Schwäbisch Hall, bap. 15 Sept 1572; d Rothenburg ob der Tauber, 31 Oct 1634). German composer, organist, instrumentalist, teacher and poet.

1. Life.

Widmann came of a well-educated family. The Lateinschule at Schwäbisch Hall provided a good musical training in the 1580s under Johannes Crusius, and young Widmann ‘sang a good discant’ there and learnt to play the organ, harpsichord, lute, zither, viol, flute and trombone. On 28 April 1589 he entered the University of Tübingen and passed his bachelor’s examinations in 1590; at the university, students could study plainsong, notation and polyphony. Widmann is next heard of as an organist at Eisenerz, Styria, in 1595, and from 1596 until 1598 he held a similar position at Graz. He was a Lutheran, but since the Peace of Augsburg (1555) Protestantism had spread in Austria, and during the 1570s it was even tolerated. In 1598, however, on the orders of Duke Ferdinand, Lutheran ministers were given two weeks to leave. Moreover, in the same year Widmann almost lost his position because of trouble with women: two young women accused him of breach of promise, while he professed to wish to marry a third (he married Margarethe Ehetreiber on 12 June). Because of the action against Lutherans he returned in late 1598 or early 1599 to Schwäbisch Hall, where he became Kantor, a position demanding both academic teaching and musical activity; as in his other positions, it was the musical duties that interested him most.

Early in February 1602 Widmann became Präzeptor and organist at the court of Count Wolfgang von Hohenlohe at Weikersheim. One of his references stated that he was ‘a good musician and composer but rather worldly and somewhat of a dandy’. His new duties, as well as being grounded in humanistic studies, required experience in both vocal and instrumental music. In 1607 the duke made plans to expand his Kapelle and freed Widmann from academic teaching. Widmann submitted an hourly schedule of rehearsals, music teaching, compositions, instrument repairs and related activities from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. six days a week. The other hours were to be used ‘to study authors, stories and comedies’: Widmann was interested in literature and wrote the words of his secular works. In 1610 Count Wolfgang died, and his successor required Widmann to resume academic teaching in addition to continuing his duties as Kapellmeister and organist. He began to seek a new post, and there are reports that his teaching was unsatisfactory.

In August 1613 Widmann went to Rothenburg ob der Tauber as Präzeptor and Kantor, and he became organist of the Jacobskirche the following year. Again he had hoped to devote himself to musical activities alone, but some teaching of other subjects was demanded of him. Before 1627 he was awarded the poet’s crown, for he identified himself as ‘laureatus’ in Libellus antiphona of that year. The sufferings of the Thirty Years War inspired his Piorum suspiria (1629), for Rothenburg was not spared the ravages of war – siege, lack of food and money, and illness. Widmann’s wife and daughter fell victims to the plague, which then caused his own death. He was survived by a son, Georg Friedrich, and three other daughters, Johanna, Magdalina and Helina Margaretha.

2. Works.

Widmann’s music is notably diverse. His secular songs, which are both polyphonic and homophonic, treat subjects ranging from student life and love to classical myths and also include settings of moralizing texts. His sacred works employ both German and Latin texts, both biblical passages and devotional poetry. His instrumental dances are important transitions to the suite, and his canzonas helped to establish the intermediate, variegated stage of the genre. In Libellus antiphona he sought to provide a version of some service music that was easier to sing because the text was set with close attention to natural accent – an important humanist goal of the period.

About 140 secular pieces by Widmann survive. Musicalisch Kurtzweil, the most varied collection, contains love- and drinking-songs as well as moralizing and didactic works. The ballett appears, with its fa-la-la chorus and chordal texture, while other lieder are markedly polyphonic. Widmann included some monodic writing in the 1623 edition. Musicalischer Studentenmuht shows comparable diversity, and Widmann’s own texts based on myth and history reveal his classical education. Although most of the contents are in a conservative, late Renaissance style, others employ antiphonal effects and the separation of characters in a dramatic manner. He may have written this collection for his son Georg Friedrich (b 8 March 1603), who succeeded him as organist of the Jacobskirche, Rothenburg; five pieces by him appear in it. The Geistliche Psalmen und Lieder includes works in the customary Renaissance imitative style with both syllabic and more melismatic melodic writing; there are also examples of antiphonal textures.

Most of Widmann’s collections are described as suitable for voices and instruments, and some of them include separate instrumental pieces. He also published one collection solely for instruments, Gantz neue Cantzon, Intraden, Balletten und Courranten, as well as a large number of instrumental pieces in the Musicalischer Tugendtspiegel. His dances, like his vocal works, are, with a few exceptions, modal, and many retain the original rhythms clearly enough for them to be used for dancing. The canzonas are generally considered Widmann’s finest instrumental works. They are composed in the newer style described by Praetorius as ‘fresh, joyful and fast’. Although the importance of their first themes and the absence of ritornello and variation links them with the earlier, more polyphonic type, they are modern in sound and harmony. Like others of his works they provide a microcosm of late Renaissance style tempered by tendencies typical of the new age.


Edition:Edition: E. Widmann: Ausgewählte Werke, ed. G. Reichert, EDM, Sonderreihe, iii (1955) [R]


[107] Geistliche Psalmen und Lieder, a 4 (Nuremberg, 1603); some ed. in Schmidt

Martinsganss. von der wunderbarlichen Geburt, löblichen Leben … warumb die Gänse Jährlichen auff S. Martini Fest geschlachtet, gebraten, und mit Freuden verzehrt werden (J. Olorinus), sacred cant., a 4 (Magdeburg, 1609)

Ein hochzeitlich Ehrengesänglein, a 4 (Nuremberg, 1615)

[20] Neue geistliche teutsche und [11] lateinische Moteten, a 3–6, 8 (Nuremberg, 1619); some ed. in R

Libellus antiphona, hymnos, responsoria (Rothenburg, 1627)

Piorum suspiria … auch etliche nach der newen Viadanischen Art gesetzte Moteten und Gesäng, a 3, 4 (Nuremberg, 1629); some ed. in R


Erster Theil neuer teutscher Gesänglein, a 4 (Nuremberg, 1606)

Musicalisch Kurtzweil … Gesänglein, Täntz und Curranten, a 4, 5 (Nuremberg, 1611) [enlarged edn of Erster Theil]; some ed. in R

Neue musicalisch Kurtzweil, a 4, 5 (Rothenburg, 1618) [enlarged edn of Musicalisch Kurtzweil]

Musicalischer Tugendtspiegel ganz neuer Gesäng … auch newe Däntz und Galliarden, a 5 (Nuremberg, 1613); some ed. in R; ed. B. Thomas, Twenty Dances (London, 1977); ed. R. Petersen (Celle, 1983)

Gantz neue [14] Cantzon, [12] Intraden, [2] Balletten, [8] Courranten, a 4, 5 insts (Nuremberg, 1618) [also incl. 2 galliards]; some ed. in R and in Reichert; selections ed. H. Mönkemeyer (Wilhelmshaven, 1963); ed. B. Thomas, Canzonas and Intradas (London, 1979)

Ein schöner newer Ritterlicher Auffzug von Kampff und Streyt zwischen Concordia und Discordia, dramatic work, a 3, 4 (Rothenburg, 1620)

Musicalischer Studentenmuht, a 4, 5, 162216; some ed. in R and in Vetter

Ander Theil neuer musicalischer Kurtzweil, a 4 (Nuremberg, 1624)

Helden-Gesäng dem … Gustav Adolpho von Schweden, a 4 (Rothenburg, 1633)

14 songs, 162215; some ed. in R

lost works

complete list in Reichert

Heroischer Frawenpreiss (Nuremberg, 1617); Ander Theil musicalischen Studentenmuhts; Christliche Danksagung … Te Deum sampt Litaney, a 8 (Nuremberg, n.d.); Augustae Vindelicorien gratiae, Danck- und Lobgesang für die Erlösung aus päpstlicher Trangsal, a 4 (Rothenburg, 1633)

theoretical works

Musicae praecepta latino-germanica in usum studiosae juventutis (Rothenburg, 1614)


E. Schmidt: Zur Geschichte des Gottesdienstes und der Kirchenmusik in Rothenburg ob der Tauber (Rothenburg, 1905)

S. Graf zu Eulenberg: Erasmus Widmanns Leben und Werke (diss., U. of Munich, 1907)

O. Ursprung: ‘Vier Studien zur Geschichte des deutschen Liedes’, AMw, vi (1924), 262–323

W. Vetter: Das frühdeutsche Lied (Münster, 1928)

G. Reichert: Erasmus Widmann, 1572–1634: Leben, Wirken und Werke eines württembergisch-fränkischen Musikers (Stuttgart, 1951)

R.B. Lynn: ‘Eine deutsche Orgeltablatur des siebzehnten Jahrhunderts im besitz der University of Michigan’, Mf, xxxiv (1981), 183–91


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