Waart, Edo de. 56 Wachmann, Eduard 56

Wittaschek, Johann Matthias

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Wittaschek, Johann Matthias.

See Vitásek, Jan August.

Witte, Christiaan Gottlieb Friedrich

(b Rothenburg, nr Hanover, 12 Jan 1802; d Utrecht, 1873). German organ builder and successor to the Dutch Bätz firm.

Witte, Christian Friedrich.

See Witt, Christian Friedrich.


Town in Germany, on the southern edge of the Ruhr industrial conurbation. A village of Witten, the seat of an aristocratic family, is first mentioned in 1214; part of the principality of Mark, it came under Brandenburg rule in 1614 and was later part of Prussia. No evidence remains of musical activity before the 19th century. A male-voice choir was founded in 1844, and was followed by similar institutions as well as by mixed choirs. Orchestral societies were established and before World War I the town had its own municipal orchestra.

The most prominent musician of the town was Robert Ruthenfranz (1905–70). After studying in Dortmund and Berlin, where he was influenced by Hindemith, he founded and directed a private conservatory and composed orchestral, chamber and stage music. In 1936 he inaugurated the Wittener Musiktage, which continued with only occasional interruptions during and after World War II, and which he largely financed himself until it was taken over by the town of Witten in 1964. During those years more than 150 contemporary composers came to be known in the town as a result of Ruthenfranz’s work.

The festival has had an international reputation since 1969, and from that date has been organized in close collaboration with WDR in Cologne, under the new title of Wittener Tage für Neue Kammermusik. Wilfried Brennecke was responsible for drawing up its programmes between 1969 and 1989, and was succeeded in 1990 by Harry Vogt. The festival generally takes place on the last weekend in April and presents some 15 new compositions in six or seven concerts. Most of the new works have been commissioned by WDR, the town of Witten and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, which has provided increased financial support since 1990. Contemporary chamber music is the central focus of the festival, which also includes theatre, literature and film as well as other musical genres. Through the close cooperation of WDR, live recordings of festival concerts have been broadcast internationally. Since 1990 the festival has produced books containing articles on contemporary chamber music and CDs of its concerts.


Wittener Tage für Kammermusik (1969–89) [programme books]

Wittener Tage für Kammermusik: eine Dokumentation (Witten, 1989) [incl. W. Fischer: ‘Eine rückschauende Betrachtung’; M. Stenger: ‘Versuch einer Würdigung’; F. Schneider: ‘Ein Brief über Witten’; W. Brennecke: ‘Witten “aus meiner Sicht”: Rückblick und Dank’]

Wittener Tage für Kammermusik (1990–) [programme books]


Wittgenstein, Paul

(b Vienna, 5 Nov 1887; dManhasset, NY, 3 March 1961). American pianist of Austrian birth. He studied the piano with Malvine Brée and Leschetizky and theory with Joseph Labor. Wounded in World War I, he lost his right arm, but despite this pursued a concert career, devoting himself to playing with the left hand. He acquired an amazing virtuosity which enabled him to overcome difficulties formidable even for a two-handed pianist and had great success throughout Europe, becoming widely known playing pieces that he adapted for one hand. Many composers wrote works for him including Strauss (Parergon zur Symphonia domestica and Panathenäenzug), Ravel (Concerto for the Left Hand), Britten (Diversions), and Prokofiev (Concerto no.4). His North American début, playing Ravel’s Concerto, was in Montreal in 1934; shortly thereafter he performed the same work in Boston and New York, both with the Boston SO. In 1938 Wittgenstein settled in New York, where he taught privately (1938–60), at the Ralph Wolfe Conservatory in New Rochelle (1938–43) and at Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart (1940–45). In 1946 he became an American citizen, and in 1958 he was awarded an honorary DMus by the Philadelphia Musical Academy. He published School for the Left Hand (London, 1957). John Barchilon’s historical novel The Crown Prince (1984) is based on Wittgenstein’s life.


T. Harvey: ‘Paul Wittgenstein’, Gramophone, xxxix (1961–2), 2 only

E.F. Flindell: ‘Paul Wittgenstein (1887–1961): Patron and Pianist’, MR, xxxii (1971), 107–27


Witthauer, Johann Georg

(b Neustadt, nr Coburg, 21 Aug 1751; d Lübeck, 7 March 1802). German composer and keyboard player. He received his first training in music from Jakob Adlung in Erfurt and continued his studies with G.S. Löhlein in Leipzig. For a short time he was tutor in the ducal house in Mitau (now Jelgava), then spent some time in Hamburg under the tutelage of C.P.E. Bach. In the early 1790s he was in Berlin before settling permanently in Lübeck (1797) as organist of the Jakobikirche. He published only simple keyboard and vocal pieces, which enjoyed considerable popularity and the praise of knowledgeable critics. In 1791 he edited a revised and enlarged fifth edition of Löhlein’s Clavier-Schule that Gerber said was ‘much improved in terms of practicality’.


Vocal: 28 lieder in Sammlung vermischter Clavier- und Singstücke (Hamburg, 1785); several settings in Gedichte Von Karoline C.L. Rudolphi, ed. J.H. Campe, ii (Brunswick, 1787); a few in contemporary anthologies and periodicals; Andenken an meine Lieben, GB-Lbl; song, D-LÜh

Kbd: 6 sonatas (Hamburg, 1783); Sammlung vermischter Clavier- und Singstücke (Hamburg, 1785); 6 Claviersonaten für Liebhaber (Hamburg, 1786), ?lost; [12] Claviersonaten für Liebhaber und angehende Clavierspieler (Berlin, 1792–3); a few sonatas in contemporary anthologies








C.F. Cramer ed.: Magazin der Musik (Hamburg, 1783–6/R), i, 930, ii, 687–92, 1218–20

F. von Glasenapp: Georg Simon Löhlein (1725–1781) (Halle, 1937), 181ff

J. Hennings and W. Stahl: Musikgeschichte Lübecks (Kassel, 1951–2), i, 287; ii, 114


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