Waart, Edo de. 56 Wachmann, Eduard 56

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Widmann, Joseph Victor

(b Nennowitz, Moravia, 20 Feb 1842; d Berne, 6 Nov 1911). Swiss librettist. He was a protestant clergyman at Frauenfeld for a year before becoming head of a school in Berne (1868–80). From 1880 he was editor of the Berner Bund. Of his many planned works for the musical theatre only seven librettos were completed and set to music: Die heiligen drei Königen (H. Goetz, 1866), Der Widerspänstigen Zähmung (Goetz, 1874), Francesca da Rimini (Goetz, 1877), Der Sturm (E. Frank, 1887), Das steinerne Herz (I. Brüll, 1888), Manuel Venegas (R. Heuberger, 1889) and Fürst und Sänger (F. Mottl, 1893). These reflect an idyllic and romantic view of nature, also present in his many fairy-tales. Widmann also wrote texts for lieder, cantatas and oratorios. Among his writings are Johannes Brahms in Erinnerungen (with Albert Dietrich, 1898) and accounts of three journeys he made with Brahms to Italy.


E. Refardt: ‘Die Musiktexte J.V. Widmanns’, Music in der Schweiz: ausgewählte Aufsätze (Berne, 1952), 134–9

Widmanstetter, Georg

(d Graz, 20 May 1618). Austrian printer. One of an artisan family of Nellingen bei Ulm, he was in Bavaria by 1564. He married the daughter of the printer Daser, and between 1568 and 1584 was employed as a typesetter and proof corrector by the music printer Adam Berg of Munich. In 1585 Widmanstetter travelled to Graz, where he was appointed as ‘katholischer Hofbuchdrucker’ to the court, and to the Jesuit College and the university. His salary was 100 florins a year with a free house. He remained there as a printer until his death, with a total production of over 200 titles. He exhibited at the Frankfurt book fairs between 1588 and 1596 (after which date no Graz names appear in the list for 70 years), including some music in his catalogue. His music production was not very large, and surprisingly does not include the music of the Italians who were employed at Graz. (Almost all of this was first printed in Venice.) His most famous titles were Lassus’s Cantiones sacrae (1594), Ferdinand de Lassus’s Cantiones sacrae (1587) and Beuttner’s Catholisch Gesang–Bůch (1602 and later editions).

Widmanstetter’s son Ernst took over the firm’s work in 1610, taking charge of it completely on his father’s death. The firm continued until 1806 but did not print any music.



F. Ahn: ‘Die Druckerpresse Georg Widmanstetters zu Graz’, Mitteilungen des Österreichischen Vereins für Bibliothekswesen, viii (1904), 144–9

F. Bischoff: ‘Steiermarkischer Notendruck im 16. Jahrhundert’, Zeitschrift des Historischen Vereines für Steiermark, xiv (1916), 107–11

F. Bayer: Georg Widmanstetter und seine Grazer Drucke, 1587–1618 (diss., U. of Graz, 1934)

V. Thiel: ‘Geschichte der Offizin Widmanstetter in Graz’, Gutenberg Jb (1935), 193-204

H. Federhofer: ‘Grazer Musiknotendruck aus alter Zeit’, Neue Chronik zur Geschichte und Volkskunde der innerösterreichischen Alpenländer, no.7 (1952), 3


Widmer, Ernst

(b Aarau, 25 April 1927; d Aarau, 3 Jan 1990). Brazilian composer and teacher of Swiss birth. He studied with Burkhard, Frey and Hoerler at the Zurich Conservatory, graduating in composition, piano and music education in 1950. After working as a private teacher and choral conductor in Switzerland he went to Salvador, Bahia, in 1956 on the invitation of Koellreutter, director of the Seminários Livres de Música. There he taught the piano, composition, orchestration and music literature, also conducting the Bahia University Madrigal Group (1958–67). On Koellruetter’s departure from Bahia in 1963, Widmer was appointed chief composition professor at the Federal University of Bahia, and took up the directorship of the Seminários (1963–5, 1967–9, 1976–80), later renamed the Escola de Música e Artes Cênicas then the Escola de Música. He had a pivotal role in making the city of Salvador one of the most important centres of new music activity from the 1960s to the 80s. As a teacher he exerted a profound influence on his students, many of whom became successful composers, and he espoused the rejection of all principles in order to cultivate independent development in the Grupo de Compositores da Bahia, which he founded in 1966. After retiring from the university in 1987 he renewed his earlier ties with his native city in Switzerland, and along with receiving premières of several works, the Ernst Widmer Gesellschaft was established in 1988 to promote his music.

Widmer learnt from Burkhard the value of following a path of maximum independence, yet his output shows him to be an eclectic. Before the age of 21 he had what he later described as a ‘reactionary attitude’, from which he moved to a moderate modernist style when he had fully assimilated the lesson of Stravinsky, Bartók and Hindemith; then, in the 1960s, he displayed intermittent and often unexpected avant-garde interests. His career can be considered as a gradual convergence of intuition and intellect, of originality and traditionalism. This complex of attitudes has resulted in what he has called ‘progressive’ and ‘regressive’ phases, often in co-existence. The progressive works include the Wind Quintet (1954), Ceremony after a Fire Raid (1962–3), Pulsars (1969), Sinopse (1970), Quasars (1970) and Convergência (1973). Among those of the opposite tendency are the Chinesische Lieder (1948), Hommages à Stravinsky, Frank Martin et Bela Bartok (1960) and O homem armado (1967). His output reached opus 173, with an additional 30 transcriptions and arrangements. He was particularly prolific in the 1970s and 80s, when he revealed a tendency toward timbral and textural experiment, indeterminacy and musical theatre, as demonstrated in Nogueira’s study (1997).

Awards won by 24 of his compositions include the Hugo von Senger Prize of the Swiss Jeunesses Musicales (1960), the prizes of the Congrès pour la Liberté de la Culture (1963) and the Comissão Estadual de São Paulo (1968), and the first prizes of the second Guanabara Festival (1970), the I Tribuna Nacional de Compositores (1971) and the national competition organized by the Brazilian Society of Contemporary Music and the Goethe Institute in Brazil (1974). In recognition of his artistic and pedagogical work, he was made a Commander of the Order of Merit of the State of Bahia and was inducted into the Brazilian Academy of Music (1988).


(selective list)

Dramatic: Akasha (op, 2), 2 versions, 1976; Nhamundá (ballet), 1976; Sendas de uotro um (ballet), 1977; A ópera da liberdade (op, 3, M. Fraga), inc., 1989

Orch: Hommages à Stravinsky, Frank Martin et Bela Bartok, ob, str, 1960; Quasars, 1970; Prismas, pf, orch, 1971; ENTROncamentos SONoros, pf, 5 trbn, str, tape, 1972; Osmose, 1973–5, Catálise, 1974; Morfose II, 1974; Surface, str orch, perc, 1978; Jahrestraumzeiten, 2 fl, str orch, 1981; Sinfonia II (do Médio São Francisco), 1983; Sinfonia III, 1984; Db Conc, 1985–6; Bn Conc, 1985; Paisagem baiana VI, 1986; Cosmofonia I, 1987; Paisagem grapiuna, 1988; De canto em canto II: possível resposta, 1988

Vocal: Ceremony after a Fire Raid (D. Thomas), chorus, 1962–3; Ave Maria, chorus, 1965; Wettinger Sternsingerspiel (S. Walter), chorus, orch, 1968; Sinopse (J. de Lima), S, chorus, vc, pf, orch, 1970; Rumos, nar, chorus, Smetak inst, orch, tape, audience, 1971; Lebendige Steine (Walter) (orat), 2 choruses, org, perc, 1973; Trilemma, 6 solo vv, 1973; Sertania (Sinfonia do sertão), 1v, gui, orch, 1983; Tropos: Sinfonia IV, solo vv, chorus, orch, 1986; … ora …, 6 solo vv, 1973–5; Incerto nexo, 1v, pf, 1973–5; Clamor, unacc. chorus, 1974; Antífona, 2 chorus, org, perc, 1 opt inst, 1974; Mamãe máquina, S, perc, 1979; 5 canções, S, pf, 1980; 2 re-tratos, S, perc, 1982; Romanceiro da inconfidência, unacc. chorus, 1984; 3 peças, children’s chorus, pf, 1986

Chbr and solo inst: Fragments, pf, 1941; Wind Qnt no.1, 1954; Divertimento III ‘Côco 1961’, fl, cl, hn, pf, 5 perc, 1961; Rondomobile, pf, 1968; The Last Flower (J. Thurber), nar, pf trio, 1969; Pulsars, cl, bn, tpt, trbn, perc, vc, db, 1969; Convergência (Str Qt no.3), 1973; Eclosão, fl, cl, hn, tpt, tuba, perc, pf, vn, va, vc, db, 1973; Mobile I, va, pf, 1973–5; Mobile II, cl, pf, 1973; Qnt III ‘Diafonia’, wind qnt, 1974; Morfose III, cl, bn, hn, vn, va, vc, db, 1974–5; Str Qt no.4, 1975–6; Relax – Requiem, fl, cl, bn, hn, tpt, perc, pf, vn, 2 va, vc, db, 1978; Conc., cl, pf, 1979; Trio, vn, vc, gui, 1979; Tiradentes, gui, 1979; Paisagem baiana III, wind qnt, pf, 1980; Str Qt no.5, 1980; Duo, vn, pf, 1980; Paisagem baiana V, str qt, 1981; Argus, 4 fl/4 sax, 1982; Interface, str qt, 1982; Resurreição, brass qnt, 1983; Utopia, ens, 1983; Str Qt no.7 ‘Amabile’, 1986; Brasiliana, fl, vn, hpd, 1988; Trio basso, va, vc, db, 1988; Ich liege, Herr, in deiner Hut, org, 1989

Pf: Suite, 1952; Dança espanhola, 1953; Sonatina, 1954; Variações (Canção suíça), 2 pf, 1958; Ludus brasiliensis, 1966; Rondo mobile, 1968; Ludus 153 – telúrico, 1/several pf, 1972; Suave mari magno …, 1975; Suite mirim, 1977; 3 variações sobre uma melodia de D. Cammyi, 1977–89; Vértice, 1978; Kosmos latin-americano, 1978–82; Neues Klavierheft, 1988

Principal publishers: Gerig, Heinrichshofen, Pegasus, BBD Druck, Nepomuk, Ricordi (São Paulo, Buenos Aires), Irmãos Vitale, UFBA, FUNARTE


L. Biriotti: Grupo de compositores de Bahia (Montevideo, 1971)

Ministério das Relações Exteriores, Divisão de Difusão Cultural: Catálogo das obras de Ernst Widmer (Brasília, 1977)

V. Mariz: História da música no Brasil (Rio de Janeiro, 1981, 4/1994)

J.M. Neves: Música brasileira contemporânea (São Paulo, 1981)

S. Ehrismann: ‘Ernst Widmer: Schweizer Komponist in Brasilien’, Aarauer Neujahrsblätter, lxix (1995), 143ff

I.M.C. Nogueira: Ernst Widmer, perfil estilístico (Salvador, Bahia, 1997)

P. Costa Lima: Ernst Widmer e o ensino de composição musical na Bahia (Salvador, Bahia, 1999)


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