(fl 1554–64). Netherlandish composer. He wrote five motets and four French chansons, most of which were printed by Phalèse. The six-voice Vivere vis recte Dominum has a six-note ostinato which pervades both parts of the work. This motet displays other common characteristics of the mid-16th century Netherlandish style in its use of a continuous imitative texture, long, asymmetrical melodic lines, and a general avoidance of literal repetition and clearcut phrases. (EitnerQ; Vander StraetenMPB, i, ii)
Motets: Benedic Domine Dominum, 6vv, 15545; Descendit angelus Domini, 5vv, 15554; Que est ista que processit, 6vv, 155311; Surge propera amica mea, 5vv, 15555; Vivere vis recte Dominum, 6vv, 15643Chansons: Je n'ay quelque cause de ioye, 6vv, 155325; Mon coeur chante joyeusement, 4vv, 155423; Soyons joyeulx joyeusement, 4vv, 155521; Vivre ne puis, 6vv, GB-Lbl Roy. App.49–54, 57
(b Geneva, 30 Oct 1915; d Valcros, Var, 3 Nov 1992). French composer of Swiss origin. After early training in Geneva, he moved in 1935 to Paris, where he studied composition with Roger Ducasse at the Paris Conservatoire, fugue and counterpoint (Daniel-Lesur) and the piano (Jules Gentil) at the Schola Cantorum, and conducting with Münch at the Ecole Normale. Following performances of his First Piano Concerto in both Paris and Brussels in 1937, Wissmer came to early prominence. Soon after, Ansermet became a champion of his music. At the outbreak of World War II Wissmer returned to Switzerland, where he taught at the Geneva Conservatoire and became director of chamber music at Radio Geneva in 1944. In 1957 he returned to Paris as professor of composition and orchestration at the Schola Cantorum, becoming its director in 1962. From 1969 to 1980 he was director of the Ecole Nationale de Musique in Le Mans. Wissmer took French nationality in 1958, but returned frequently to Switzerland. He was appointed professor of composition and orchestration at the Geneva Conservatoire in 1973.
Wissmer remained essentially a neo-classicist. His Second Piano Concerto (1947) bears a close resemblance to Ravel's G major Piano Concerto in its virtuoso writing, as well as in its instrumental colour, melodic lyricism and rhythmic energy. The rapid chains of chords in the cadenzas recall the harmonic palette of Messiaen. In the more austere Second Violin Concerto (1954) Wissmer experimented with serialism: following an atonal first movement in sonata form, the second and third movements are based on two 12-note rows.
Le beau dimanche (ballet, 1, after P. Guérin, choreog. W. and D. Flay), 1939, Geneva, 20 March 1944
Marion, ou la belle au tricorne (oc, 3, after J. Goudal), 1945, Paris, Opéra-Comique, 17 Nov 1951; suite, Le bal chez Sylvie, orch, 1945
Capitaine Bruno (op, 1, after G. Hoffmann), 1952, Bordeaux, Grand, 4 March, 1955
Léonidas, ou la cruauté mentale (opéra bouffe, 1, Wissmer and R. Hoffmann, after J. Mardore), 1958, Verdun, 3 Nov 1958
Alerte, puits 21! (ballet, after J. Charrat and M. Sparembleck, choreog. Charrat), 1963, Geneva, 1964; suite, orch, 1965
Christina et les chimères (ballet, after M. Descombey, choreog. Descombey), 1967, ORTF, 1967; suite, orch, 1967
Choral: 2 hymnes (Eng. hymn texts), SATB, org, 1939; Lumière, female chorus, 1940; Naïades (P. Girard), solo vv, nar, SATB, orch, 1941; Petite cantate (J.L. Jaeger), children's chorus, ens, 1944; A mon pays (Rev. Père Mayor), male chorus, 1947; Chants de Mars (R. de Obaldia), children's chorus, 1950; Pays qui m'as tant donné (Wissmer), SATB, 1965; Le quatrième mage (orat, W. Aguet), S, T, Bar, nar, SATB, children's chorus, org, orch, 1965; Saisons (M. Budry), SATB, 1966
Solo vocal: 3 sonnets (P. de Thiard), S/T, str orch, 1939; 5 poèmes (P. Monnier), 1v, pf, 1940; 3 poèmes (Monnier), high v, pf, 1942; Berceuse, S, orch, 1945; Hérétique et relapse (W. Aguet), 1v, orch, 1962