Waart, Edo de. 56 Wachmann, Eduard 56

Wielhorski, Count Michał [Viyel'gorsky, Mikhail Yur'yevich]

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Wielhorski, Count Michał [Viyel'gorsky, Mikhail Yur'yevich]

(b St Petersburg, 31 Oct/11 Nov 1788; d Moscow, 28 Sept/10 Oct 1856). Russian composer and patron. Son of a Polish diplomat at the Russian court, and brother of Mateusz Wielhorski, he received a broad musical education from several famous teachers, notably Martin y Soler. He played the violin and piano, and when only 13 composed his first pieces, a set of songs with orchestral accompaniment. Later he wrote a number of sentimental ballads, including Otchego (‘Why?’) to Lermontov’s poem, and settings of Pushkin, Myatlyov and Prince Pyotr Vyazemsky. In 1804 he travelled with his family to Riga, where he studied counterpoint with a local organist and played in quartets with his father and two of his brothers, Iosif and Aleksandr. He then moved to Paris (1808), took lessons from Cherubini and met Beethoven in Vienna. When he returned to Russia (1810) he settled in St Petersburg and swiftly established himself as a patron of music; but in 1816 he was banished from court for marrying his first wife's sister and had to live on his estate, Fateyevka (later renamed Luizino), in the Kursk government. Even here he did much to promote interest in music, performing in concerts himself and arranging for his private orchestra to play major works by Western composers, including Beethoven’s symphonies. In 1823 he was given permission to move to Moscow, and in 1826 he returned to St Petersburg, where he lived with his brother Mateusz Wielhorski and became friendly with Glinka: in fact a number of Michał Wielhorski’s suggestions were incorporated into A Life for the Tsar and Ruslan and Lyudmila; he was highly critical of the latter. In 1856 he moved to his estate, Sennitsï, near Moscow, where he died.

The Wielhorski brothers were at least as important to concert promotion during the first half of the 19th century as the Rubinstein brothers were in the second. They introduced many contemporary Western composers to Russia, and they encouraged Liszt, Berlioz, Schumann and other important composers and artists to take part in their concerts. As a composer Michał Wielhorski is known for an unfinished opera, Tsïgane (‘The Gypsies’), symphonic and chamber music, keyboard pieces and numerous songs.


many MSS in RU-Mrg, SPsc

Stage: Tsïgane [The Gypsies] (op, 5, V. Zhukovsky and others), 1838, orch inc.

Orch: 3 syms., no.1, B, 1822, no.2, F, 1822, no.3, D, ?inc.; 2 ovs., D, 1822, b, 1836; Air varié, vc, orch, before 1823; Thème varié, c1830–33

Inst: Str Qt, C; Str Qnt, 1856; pf pieces, other inst works

Vocal: Ave verum corpus, motet, chorus, orch, after 1839; Vernost' do groba [Faithful to the Grave], male vv, orch, 1822; Les adieux des artistes italiens, chorus, orch, c1840–50; Pilgergesang, cant., chorus, orch, inc.; other choral works; songs



N. Findeyzen: ‘Graf M.Yu. Viyel'gorskiy’, RMG, ii (1906)

T. Trofimova: ‘M.Yu. Viyel'gorskiy’, SovM, no.5 (1937), 61–70

B. Shteynpress: ‘Mikhail Yur'yevich Viyel'gorskiy: blagozhelatel' Glinki’ [Wielhorski: Glinka's patron], M.I. Glinka, ed. Ye.M. Gordeyeva (Moscow, 1958), 368–83




See Vienna.

Wiéner [Wiener], Jean

(b Paris, 19 March 1896; d Paris, 8 June 1982). French composer and pianist. He studied with Gédalge at the Paris Conservatoire, where he also began a lifelong friendship with Milhaud. In December 1921 the groundbreaking series of Concerts Wiéner (1921–4) introduced to Paris such works as Schoenberg’s Pierrot lunaire. In 1924 Wiéner and Stravinsky gave the first performance of Stravinsky’s arrangement of his Concerto for piano and wind instruments and subsequently toured with it. In the same year, a commission from the Princesse de Polignac enabled Wiéner to write his Concerto franco-américain, which juxtaposed neo-Bachian passages (harmonically closer to Gédalge than Stravinsky) with French popular song, music hall styles and jazz (both written and improvised). After its successful first performance in October 1924 the work was widely performed, especially in an arrangement for two pianos. From the success of the Concerto also arose a second and lucrative career as a duo-pianist in partnership with the Belgian Clement Doucet. With programmes dominated by arrangements of ‘classic’ American jazz and popular song unobtrusively interspersed with classics (notably by Bach and Mozart), they gained star-billing in the major revue theatres, variety houses and music halls of Europe and America from 1925 until 1938. In this period Wiéner returned to Paris only occasionally to write film scores which were conducted by Roger Desormière; the threat of war brought him back more permanently in 1939.

After the German occupation of Paris, Wiéner worked anonymously and underground, Desormière lending his name to the film scores which provided Wiéner’s only livelihood. After 1945, he continued to work mostly in French cinema, which gave him his first major success in the 1950s with the number ‘Le grisbi’, a last-minute addition to Jacques Becker’s gangster film Touchez pas au grisbi. Wiéner’s postwar affiliations with the French political left and specifically with the Moscow-orientated communist party are reflected in some of his works for film and radio, and in three unpublished cantatas. He was also regarded as one the few Frenchmen to have kept alive the spirit of Satie without seeking to imitate his music. His belief in the power and survival of music are represented in his memoirs, Allegro appassionato (Paris, 1978). His music remains for the most part unpublished and assessment of his influence is difficult. He described in his autobiography, with characteristic modesty, the Concerto franco-américain as ‘bien sûr ... pas un chef d’oeuvre’, although it had a definable influence on Jean Françaix and may have played a small part in the circus and music-hall aspects of Shostakovich’s First Piano Concerto (1933). In the 1960s and 1970s he was still stoutly defending the technically sophisticated but now superseded French tradition of ‘light music’, in such works as the Concert pour orchestre et un piano principal and the Accordion Concerto – the latter successfully integrating the disparate idioms that tend to be merely juxtaposed in the works of the 1920s. Perhaps the most telling of his postwar works, however, is the little Suite de danses (1947). Its unusually cogent variation form and memorable theme evoke a world of clandestine activity and nocturnal meetings redolent of France in the occupation years.


(selective list)


Operetta: Olive chez les nègres, ou Le village blanc (H. Falk), 1926

Incid music: Winterset (M. Anderson), 1946; Androcles and the Lion (G.B. Shaw) 1951; La farce des ténebreux (Ghelderode), 1952; La punaise (Mayakovsky), 1959; Biedermann et les incendiaires (M. Frisch), 1966; Mockinpott (P. Weiss), 1969; A la belle étoile (J. Prévert); Pygmalion (Shaw)

c70 scores for feature films, incl. Knock (L. Jouvet), 1932; L’homme à l’hispano (J. Epstein),1933, [incl. Conc. pour automobile et orchestre]; L’aventurier (M. L’Herbier), 1934; Pacquebot Tenacity (J. Duvivier), 1934; La bandéra (Duvivier), 1935; Le crime de Monsieur Lange (J. Renoir), 1935; Les bas-fonds (Renoir), 1936; Nuits de feu (L’Herbier), 1939; Mariage de chiffon (C. Autant-Lara), 1943; Le père Goriot (R. Vernay), 1944; Le rendez-vous de juillet (J. Becker), 1949; Sous le ciel de Paris (Duvivier), 1950; Touchez pas au grisbi (Becker), 1953; On ne badine pas avec l’amour (J. Desailly), 1954; Futures vedettes (M. Allégret), 1954; La garçonne (J. Audry), 1956; Pot-bouille (Duvivier), 1957; La femme et le pantin (Duvivier), 1958; Le démon de minuit (Allégret), 1961; La création du monde (J. Effel), 1961; Le tigre se parfum á la dynamite (C. Chabrol), 1964/5; Révolution d’octobre (F. Rossif), 1966; Une femme douce (R. Bresson), 1968; La faute de l’Abbé Mouret (G. Franju), 1969; Golem (J. Kerschbron), 1975

c200 scores for short films (documentaries, films for young audiences, and advertisements), incl. L’épouvantail (P. Grimault), cartoon, 1943; Zanzabelle à Paris (Starevitch), 1948

other works

Orch: Conc. franco-américain, pf, str, 1924; Cadences, conc., pf, orch, 1929; Suite de danses (sur un thème), c1947; Conc., accdn, orch, 1966; Concert pour orchestre et un piano principal, 1970; Conc., 2 gui, orch, c1975

Cants., 1961–75 (vv, chbr orch): Le psaume de quarantaine (A. Mella); La mort de Lénine (Mayakovsky, trans. E. Triolet); Lamento pour les enfants assassinés (H. Bassin); Chants pour les morts en montagne (Samivel); Dernière nuit (P. Eluard)

1v, pf: 3 blues chantés, 1924; 2 poèmes de Jean Cocteau, 1924; 7 petites histoires (R. du Alyscamps), 1924; Bathoris blues, 1925; 3 chants (Ruysbrock, Sophocles, J. de Todi), 1941; 12 chansons pour nos métiers (M. Riffaud and others), 1950; 30 chantefables pour les enfants sages (R. Desnos), 1955; Les chantefleurs (Desnos), 1959 [50 songs]

Chbr: Suite, vn, pf, 1923; Sonata, vc, pf, 1968

Pf: Sonatine syncopée, 1921; Sonate no.1, 1925; Sonatine no.2, 1928; Sonata sans nom, 1973; Sonate ‘démodée’ (à la mémoire de Darius Milhaud), 1974; 3 moments de musique pour le piano, 1980; Pour Pierre Cornevin (mon ami le meilleur), 1981


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