(b Lichtental, Romania, 5 July 1936). Canadian organ builder of German ancestry. He was apprenticed to Laukhuff between 1952 and 1956, and later worked for Metzler & Söhne in Zürich. In 1960 he emigrated to Canada to head the department of mechanical-action organs at Casavant Frères. He set up his own business in 1966 at St Hyacinthe, Quebec, delivering his first instrument to Christ Memorial Lutheran Church, Montreal (1966). His opus 5 (two manuals, 19 stops), built the following year for St Bonaventure, Montreal, stands out as an exceptional example of his early work. His first three-manual organ was built in 1972 for Trinity Church, Southport, Connecticut; this was immediately followed by the magnificent instrument for St Matthias Anglican Church, Westmount, Montreal. The latter organ is arguably one of his best three-manual instruments. In 1974 he moved to Mont-St-Hilaire, Quebec. By 1997 he had completed nearly 150 organs, including 12 three-manual instruments. His organs are found throughout Canada and the USA, and as far east as Korea.
Wilhelm builds exclusively mechanical-action instruments in a range of styles (French, German, Italian, or a mixture). His organs remain faithful to the principle of the 17th- and 18th-century Werkprinzip, incorporating tracker action, suspended action and flexible winding systems, as well as the use of unequal temperaments. The tonal layout and voicing of his instruments are patterned after the best classical organ-building traditions. His individual stops are noted for their purity of sound, his well-balanced ensembles for their fullness of tone. His small instruments are regarded as highly as his larger organs with several manuals.
German branch of Hansen, Danish firm of music publishers.
Wilhelmi de Grudencz, Petrus
(b Grudziądz, c1400; d?Silesia, c1480). Poet and composer, probably of German descent. From 1418 he studied at the University of Kraków, taking the BA in 1425 and the MA in 1430. In the 1430s and early 40s he was probably active in Vienna: his Presulem ephebeatum survives in the St Emmeram codex (D-Mbs Clm 14274). He was associated with the Council of Basle, writing the poem Pontifices ecclesiarum in its support, and with King Friedrich II, from whom he received littera familiaritatis in 1442. He probably lived and worked in Czech lands at some time in the 1440s or 50s, since four-fifths of the surviving manuscripts of his works are found there. He may have spent the last years of his life, from the mid-1460s, in Silesia, possibly in Grünberg, Glogau or Sagan, and he may have compiled the so-called ‘Glogauer Liederbuch’ (this is suggested by the satirical text of his motet Probitate/Plobitando).
Wilhelmi’s works (ed. Černý, Kraków, 1993) include a Kyrie setting with tropes ‘Fons bonitatis’ and ‘Sacerdos summe’, seven motets and 15 songs. Stylistically similar to Du Fay’s early works, the Kyrie is found in four sources: I-TRmp 90, TRcap (twice), and D-Mbs 14274 (with ascription). The texts of the other works contain all or part of the acrostic PETRUS WILHELMI DE GRUDENCZ, for example Presidiorum Erogatrix Tutrix Rei Virens Satrix. The majority of the musical settings make use of the forms and styles of late medieval polyphony as practised in central and eastern Europe about 1400, modernized in line with some elements of early Renaissance music, especially harmony. The works were originally meant for amateur performances at schools, monasteries and other institutions, and were widely distributed across central Europe.
J.Černý: ‘Petrus Wilhelmi of Grudziądz: an Unknown Composer of the “Age of Dufay”’, Musica antiqua IV: Bydgoszcz 1975, 91–104
J.Černý: ‘Petrus Wilhelmi de Grudencz: Neznámý skladatel doby Dufayovy v českých pramenech’ [Petrus Wilhelmi de Grudencz: an unknown composer of the age of Dufay in Bohemian sources], HV, xii (1975), 195–238
T.R.Ward: ‘ A Central European Repertory in Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Clm 14274’, EMH, i (1981), 325–43
I.Rumbold: ‘The Compilation and Ownership of the “St Emmeram” Codex (Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Clm 14274)’, EMH, ii (1982), 161–235
M.Perz: ‘The Lvov Fragments: a Source for Works by Dufay, Josquin, Petrus de Domarto and Petrus de Grudencz in 15th-Century Poland’, TVNM, xxxvi ( 1986), 26–51
Wilhelmj, August (Emil Daniel Ferdinand Viktor)
(b Usingen, 21 Sept 1845; d London, 22 Jan 1908). German violinist. He studied the violin with Konrad Fischer at Wiesbaden and played at a charity concert on 8 January 1854; later, at the Wiesbaden court theatre, he is said to have astounded his audience. Prince Emil von Wittgenstein sent him to Liszt, who in turn sent him to David at Leipzig in 1861 with the words ‘Let me present to you the future Paganini!’. At the Leipzig Conservatory he studied harmony and composition with Hauptmann and Richter, and in 1864 he went to Frankfurt for further study with Raff.
In 1865 Wilhelmj began a series of concert tours that took him to Switzerland, Holland and London (1866), France and Italy (1867), St Petersburg (1868), Berlin (22 October 1872) and Vienna (22 March 1873). In 1876 he was Konzertmeister at the Bayreuth Festival, and the following year he brought Wagner to London to conduct at the Albert Hall; Wilhelmj led the violins and organized two extra concerts on 28 and 29 May. From 1878 to 1882 he toured successfully in North and South America, Australia and Asia.
On his return Wilhelmj founded a violin school in conjunction with Rudolf Niemann in Wiesbaden, but it was not successful. In 1885, at the invitation of the Sultan of Turkey, he had the unusual experience of playing before the ladies of the harem. In 1894 he was appointed principal violin professor at the Guildhall School of Music, London.
Wilhelmj was one of the greatest violinists of his day; his qualities may be summed up in the force of his personality, the great certainty of his technique, his rich tone, cultivated interpretation and splendid poise. He stood for dignity and breadth, and he aimed at an exact balance of intellect and imagination, conveying a suggestion of reserve force that was essentially majestic. However, he was also responsible for the ill-judged arrangement of the Air from Bach’s orchestral Suite in D major, which became known as the ‘Air on the G String’.
In his later years Wilhelmj took an active interest in the technique of violin making and was a fervent patron and champion of more than one continental maker. He composed several violin pieces and also wrote a Modern School for the Violin with James Brown.
Grove5 (E. Heron-Allen)
H.Morgan-Browne: ‘An Approximation to the Truth about August Wilhelmj’, ML, iii (1922), 219–28
E.Wagner: Der Geigerkönig August Wilhelmj (Homburg, 1928)