Waart, Edo de. 56 Wachmann, Eduard 56

Wilcke, Jodocus. See Willich, jodocus. Wild, Earl

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Wilcke, Jodocus.

See Willich, jodocus.

Wild, Earl

(b Pittsburgh, 26 Nov 1915). American pianist and composer. A prodigy, he studied with Selmar Janson (a pupil of Scharwenka and d'Albert), Paul Dogureau (a pupil of Ravel) and Egon Petri (a pupil of Busoni). Thanks to his brilliant technique and phenomenal sight-reading ability, he became the pianist of the Pittsburgh SO under Klemperer and others. From 1937 to 1944 he was the pianist of the NBC SO under Toscanini, with whom he played Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue in 1942, and from 1945 to 1968 he was staff pianist for the ABC Network. During those years he gave recitals throughout the USA and also appeared with orchestras. He gave the première of Paul Creston's Piano Concerto (1949), Martinů's Cello Sonata no.2 (1950, with George Ricci) and Marvin David Levy's Piano Concerto (1970, Chicago SO under Solti). Wild has taught at many American conservatories, including the Manhattan School and Juilliard, and has given masterclasses throughout the world. He began to make recordings in 1934, and his extensive discography encompasses over 30 piano concertos, several chamber works and more than 600 solo pieces. He has made virtuoso transcriptions of music by Gershwin, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff and others. His original compositions include the Easter oratorio Revelations, commissioned by the ABC, another commissioned choral work The Turquoise Voice, and the Doo-Dah Variations for piano and orchestra, based on a Stephen Foster song.

As a pianist Wild combines the best aspects of the late-Romantic piano tradition within a more modern, relatively sober metrical framework. His playing, backed by a perfect virtuoso technique and tonal control, is seldom metrically eccentric; he understands rubato without abusing it; his lines are strong and clear. A specialist in 19th-century repertory, he is particularly noted for his Liszt playing, and in 1986 was awarded the Liszt Medal of Hungary. His Chopin and Rachmaninoff performances are greatly praised. He has also played and recorded the music of such lesser Romantics as Herz, Medtner, Paderewski, Scharwenka, d'Albert, Moszkowski and Balakirev. In his later years he was recognized, along with Shura Cherkassky, as the last great exponent of the Romantic tradition.


Wild, Jodocus.

See Willich, jodocus.

Wildberger, Jacques

(b Basle, 3 Jan 1922). Swiss composer. He studied at the Basle Konservatorium with Eduard Ehrsam (piano, teaching diploma 1944) and Gustav Güldenstein (music theory). From 1946 he worked as a répétiteur at the Basle Stadttheater and wrote articles for the theatre's journal. He joined the communist Partei der Arbeit (PdA) in 1944, firmly placing himself against the prevailing Swiss Zeitgeist; in 1947 as the crimes of Stalin became known, he left the PdA and depoliticized himself. Hitherto self-taught as a composer, he became acquainted with the music of Wladimir Vogel and decided to study with him in the Ticino. Vogel instructed him in Schoenberg's 12-note technique (1948–52) and influenced him to achieve a meaningful relationship between language and music. Wildberger's 12-note Quartet for flute, clarinet, violin and cello (1952), written as an apprentice piece, received its first performance at the 1952 Darmstadt summer courses. In 1953 his Tre mutazioni for chamber orchestra, which like the Quartet shows the influence of Webern as well as Schoenberg, received its première in Donaueschingen. Despite his growing international reputation, Wildberger was ostracized and ignored in his home country, where he was regarded as a communist and a ‘12-note composer’. It was not until 1959 that he gained regular employment as a lecturer at the Badische Hochschule für Musik in Karlsruhe. In 1966 he was appointed head of harmony and counterpoint at the Conservatory of the Musik-Akademie der Stadt Basel, a position he held until his retirement in 1987. As the Cold War mentality waned, he gradually received modest recognition in Switzerland. His honours include the Fondation BAT (1975), the composition prize of the Swiss Composer's Union (1981) and the arts prize of Riehen (1987).

In addition to Vogel, Schoenberg and Webern, Wildberger was influenced by Boulez, who conducted the première of his orchestral work Intensio – Centrum – Remissio in Aix-en-Provence in 1958. After this encounter, Wildberger expanded the domains in which he employed serial structuring: in his Music for strings (1960), for example, durations are structured serially; and in the third movement of the cantata In my end is my beginning (1964) articulation and duration are linked. He also refined his tone colours through elaborate instrumentation.

In 1967, as the beneficiary of a scholarship from the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, Wildberger lived in Berlin and was repoliticized by the student movement, becoming one of the generation of 1968. La notte (1967), the key work from this period, was followed by a two-year break in composition. This time of creativity and reflection, the subject of his essay ‘Über die Schwierigkeit, heute noch zu komponieren’ (1968, in Wildberger, 1996), divides his oeuvre into two phases: if formulations of inner musical and aesthetic questions predominated up until Berlin, there now occurred in his works, the majority of which make use of text, a thematization of the relationship between art and society, as well as a critical examination of the expressive and communicative limits of music, indeed of art in general. From this time on he aimed in his compositions ‘to define his position as an artist in the human community and his responsibility towards it’, and to raise ‘an objection to all socio-political violence and injustice’.

After 1967 Wildberger occasionally wrote ‘musica pura’, in which a concentration on musical material predominates, or in which the performer ‘is allowed to fan his virtuosic tail’ (Diario for clarinet, 1971–5, Prismes for alto saxophone, 1975, Concerto for Orchestra, 1991–2). Other instrumental works, however, come closer to political engagement through the cross-referencing of musical quotations or other semantic procedures (Diaphanie for viola, 1986; Los pajarillos no cantan for guitar, 1987, Commiato for string quartet, 1997). As a musical thinker he has contributed to many radio programmes (mostly for German institutions) and written essays, a collection of which was published in 1996.


(selective list)

Orch: 3 mutazioni, chbr orch, 1953; Intensio – Centrum – Remissio, 1958; Musik, 22 solo str, 1960; Conc., ob, str, hpd, cel, hp, perc, 1963; Movts, 1964; Contratempi, fl, 4 orch ens, 1969–70; Konzertante Szenen, sax, orch, 1981; Canto, 1982; … und füllet die Erde und machet sie euch untertan … , 1988–9 [after Bible: Genesis]; Conc. for Orch, 1991–2

Vocal: Ihr meint, das Leben sei kurz … (cant., Jap. short poems), chorus, 10 insts, 1957; Epitaphe pour Evariste Galois (Wildberger), spkrs, S, Bar, speaking chorus, orch, loudspeaker, 1962; In my end is my beginning (cant., T.S. Eliot), S, T, chbr orch, 1964; La notte (Michelangelo, H.M. Enzensberger), Mez, 5 insts, 1967; … die Stimme, die alte, schwächer werdende Stimme … (Bible, S. Beckett, A. Camus, P. Celan, M. Heidegger, F. Hölderlin), S, vc, orch, tape, 1973–5; Tod und Verklärung (Novalis, J. von Tepl, H. Heine), Bar, chbr orch, 1977; An die Hoffnung (Hölderlin, J. Becker, E. Fried), spkr, S, orch, 1979; Du holde Kunst (P. Weiss, G. Eich, W. Benjamin, S. Mallarmé), spkr, S, orch, 1987–8; Elegie (Hölderlin), S, cl, bn, str qnt, perc, 1994–5

Chbr and solo inst: Qt, fl, cl, vn, vc, 1952; Zeitebenen, 8 insts, 1958; Musik, vc, pf, 1959; Qt, fl, ob, hp, pf, 1967; Rencontres, fl, cl, 1967; Double Refrain, fl, ob, gui, tape, 1972; Retrospective II, fl, 1972; Diario, cl, 1971–5; Prismes, a sax, 1975; Schattenwerk, org, 1976; Kanons und Interludien, 4 cl, 1984; Diaphanie, va, 1986; Los pajarillos no cantan, gui, 1987; Notturno, va, pf, 1990; Tantôt libre, tantôt recherchée, vc, 1992–3; Chbr Conc., 7 insts, synth, 1995–6; Commiato, str qt, 1997

Music for theatre, radio and film

Principal publishers: Breitkopf & Härtel, Hug, Modern & Tre Media

Principal recording companies: Ars Produktion, Bärenreiter, Communauté de travail pour la diffusion de la musique suisse, HMV, Jecklin, Quantaphon


Grove6 (R. Häusler) [incl. further writings and bibliography]

KdG (T. Gartmann)

H. Pauli: ‘Über Jacques Wildberger’, SMz, c (1960), 5–8

P. Becker: ‘Vom Gehen im Eis: Jacques Wildbergers “Tod und Verklärung”: ein Versuch über die Texte’, Musik und Bildung, xix (1987), 838–46

A. Haefeli: ‘Kunst zwischen Herrschaft und Utopie: zu Jacques Wildbergers neuem Werk “Du holde Kunst”’, Dissonanz/dissonance, no.16 (1988), 4–9

W. Gruhn: ‘Jacques Wildberger’, Metzler Komponisten Lexikon (Stuttgart, 1992), 870–71

J. Wildberger: Jacques Wildberger oder Die Lehre vom Andern, ed. A. Haefeli (Zürich, 1996)


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