(b Giessen, 27 May 1868; d Dresden, 4 Aug 1931). German soprano. She studied in Würzburg with Otto-Ubridz and reputedly made her début in 1882, at the age of 14, at Magdeburg as Azucena. After engagements at Basle (1883), Düsseldorf and Schwerin (1886), she joined the Dresden Hofoper, where she sang regularly from 1889 to 1914. Her roles included Leonore (Fidelio) and Senta; she took part in the première of Paderewski’s Manru (1901) and created Strauss’s Salome (1905). She appeared at Bayreuth (1901–9) as Sieglinde, Isolde and Kundry. At Covent Garden (1905–6), where she appeared as Elsa, Elisabeth, Isolde, Sieglinde and Brünnhilde, she failed to justify her considerable German reputation because of ill-health. The power of her voice, vibrant in tone and extremely dramatic in character, allowed her to triumph in roles for which she was physically unsuited, such as Salome.
(b Knittelfeld, 10 April 1945). Hungarian composer of Austrian birth. He grew up in Budapest where he took composition lessons with Zsolt Durkó and Rudolf Naros. In 1964 he studied in Warsaw and in 1965 emigrated to the Federal German Republic, completing an electronic music course in Munich in the same year. From 1965 to 1968 he received scholarships to the Darmstadt summer courses. Other honours include two composition prizes from the city of Stuttgart (1968, 1970), a diploma in the Bartók Competition (1971), a scholarship to the Villa Massimo, Rome (1972–3) and the State Prize of Rheinland-Pfalz (1989).
Wittinger’s style has turned increasingly towards tradition, as the large number of symphonies, in particular, testifies. He has remarked: ‘I would never want to break with the past. I think of myself as the heir of a tradition that began with Gustav Mahler, Alban Berg, Bela Bartók and Arnold Schoenberg – composers whose revolutionary potential in the region of large-scale symphonic music has yet to be taken seriously.’
Principal publisher: Breitkopf & Härtel, Moeck & Antes
KdG (U. Schultheiss)
A.B.Skei: ‘Instrumental Solo and Ensemble Music’, Notes, xxx (1973–4), 866–7
F.Reininghaus: ‘Oper heute: I. Die neue Oper – Zum Musiktheater der achtziger Jahre’, Theater heute, xxx/11 (1989), 20–25
(b Antwerp, 1 Oct 1903; d Stuttgart, 3 June 1955). German tenor. Born of German parents, he was brought up in Belgium and studied in Munich, Leipzig and Milan. He made his début in 1925 at Halle in Marschner’s Hans Heiling and joined the company at Brunswick the following year. The Berlin Staatsoper engaged him in 1929 and he remained there as principal lyric tenor until 1944, singing a wide range of roles; he gained a special reputation in Mozart. At Covent Garden in 1931 his Eisenstein (Die Fledermaus) was admired but he was considered somewhat hard and throaty in Die Zauberflöte. In the 1930s his repertory widened to include Lohengrin, which he sang at Bayreuth in 1937. After World War II he was heard as Narraboth (Salome) in Paris and as Siegmund and Parsifal at Stuttgart, where he continued to appear until his death. He made many concert tours, sang in operetta and films and, above all, made recordings, in which he was often compared to Richard Tauber. Though less individual in style, he was certainly comparable in timbre and less restricted in the upper register.
T. Semrau: ‘Marcel Wittrisch’, Record Collector, xl (1995), 256–322 [with discography]
(b Varel, c1669; d Aachen, July 1746). Dutch music publisher and organist of German origin. It is possible that he was given instruction in music by his father, himself an organist. In December 1719, at which time he was musician to the Prince of Nassau, he applied, unsuccessfully, for the post of organist at the Nieuwe Lutherse Kerk in Amsterdam; in 1724 he became organist of the Oude Lutherse Kerk there. The Nieuwe Lutherse Kerk post became vacant again in 1725; Witvogel's request to be transferred there was granted in 1726, and he held that post until his death. On 21 May 1731 he received a government privilege for printing two collections of psalms and spiritual songs which he had compiled for use in the Protestant church. In this way he began his activity as publisher, eventually bringing out at least 93 publications. At his death his firm was taken over by Jan Covens, who later also bought the publications of Roger & Le Cène.
As a composer Witvogel is of little significance, though as an organist he was evidently skilled enough to have held his own among eminent colleagues in Amsterdam at that time. His greatest importance, however, certainly lies in music publishing; during a decade or so he brought out an impressive series of works. His editions are now comparatively rare: only about 75 of his publications survive, in public and private collections. He was even more unscrupulous in acquiring originals for printing than was common at the time: one contemporary document states that he made use of a ‘compositeur bien plus habile que luy’, who revised pirated editions for printing. Authenticity and reliability of the musical text and authorship of his publications must be considered with the greatest caution. Nevertheless, Witvogel was important for having contributed to the rapid dissemination throughout Europe of the works of the late Italian Baroque. He published catalogues in 1733, 1742 and 1742–3.
D.F.Scheurleer: ‘De nalatenschap van G.F. Witvogel’, TVNM, ix (1909–14), 245–9
E.F.Kossman: ‘Het fonds van G.F. Witvogel, Amsterdam 1730–1742’, Het boek, new ser., xxv (1938–9), 53–63
A.Dunning: De muziekuitgever Gerhard Fredrik Witvogel en zijn fonds (Utrecht, 1966)