(b Warsaw, 15 Sept 1816; d Paris, 16 Oct 1880). Polish pianist and composer. He studied under Zawadzki (piano) and Elsner (composition) at the Warsaw Conservatory. He then moved to Vienna and continued his studies under Würfel. After his début there he went in 1835 to Paris, where he remained until his death, making his living as a pianist and composer. He wrote well over 300 compositions, chiefly for piano, including a concerto, five sets of studies, nocturnes, romances, fantasies, many transcriptions from operas, and a great number of duets for violin and piano: 32 jointly with Bériot, eight with Vieuxtemps, one with Panofka and three duets for cello and piano with Alexandre Batta. His music was excessively influenced by Chopin.
W.Sowiński: Les musiciens polonais et slaves (Paris, 1857)
CZESŁAW R. HALSKI/R
(b Munich, 28 Oct 1894; d Munich, 18 Jan 1957). German tenor. He studied in Würzburg and made his début as Loge at Bayreuth in 1925, returning regularly until 1941 as Loge, Walther and Parsifal. After engagements in Hagen and Chemnitz, in 1928 he took part in the première of Schreker’s Der singende Teufel at the Berlin Staatsoper, where he remained until 1943 and, in addition to his Wagner roles, sang the title role in Pfitzner’s Palestrina. He appeared regularly at Covent Garden (1929–38) in Wagner roles and as Aegisthus (Elektra). He also sang in Vienna, Paris, Prague and other European cities, and as Walther in Cleveland (1934–5). His beautiful voice and dignity of bearing admirably suited him to such roles as Lohengrin and Parsifal.
Wolff, Hellmuth (Sylvio Gustav)
(b Zürich, 3 Sept 1937). Canadian organ builder of Swiss birth. He was apprenticed to Metzler & Söhne, and received further training with several firms in Europe and the USA, including Rieger in Austria and Charles Fisk in Gloucester, Massachusetts. In 1963 he emigrated to Canada, where he worked as a designer for Casavant Frères in their newly established mechanical-action department. He designed their organs for St Pascal, Kamouraska, Quebec (1963); Our Lady of Sorrows, Toronto (1964); and Marie-Reine-des-Coeurs, Montreal (1965).
After a brief period working as a voicer and designer in Geneva, he returned to Canada in 1966 to work with Karl Wilhelm, before establishing his own business in Laval, Quebec, in 1968. James Louder (b 1948) joined the firm as an apprentice in 1974, eventually becoming a partner in 1988. The firm was incorporated under the name Wolff & Associés Ltée in 1981. By 1997 Wolff had built 40 instruments ranging from a small one-rank practice organ to the organ with four manuals and 50 stops built for Christ Church Cathedral, Indianapolis, Indiana (1989). Other instruments include: the Trappist monastery, Oka, Quebec (1973); Trinity Cathedral, Davenport, Iowa (1979); Travis Park United Methodist Church, San Antonio, Texas (1985); and the new recital hall at the University of Kansas (1996; a French Romantic organ). Drawing inspiration mainly from French and German classical traditions, Wolff’s instruments, however, offer a more eclectic and modern design that meets the needs of modern organ culture.
Wolff has on occasion produced instruments which are more distinctly historical, such as Redpath Hall, McGill University, Montreal (built in the French Classical style), and Knox College, University of Toronto. The latter organ (especially the pipework of the main divisions) is closely modelled on the 1725 Swedish Baroque organ built by J.N. Cahman in Leufsta Bruk. These instruments, each the first of its kind in Canada, set new standards in that country for this type of work. Although Wolff exclusively builds new mechanical-action instruments, in 1993 he undertook to construct a new tracker organ in an historic organ case (made by the 19th-century Canadian organ builder Samuel Russell Warren) at the Church of the Visitation in Montreal. About half of the stops in this instrument are made from restored Warren pipework. In a similar undertaking in 1994, Wolff moved the historic Rudolf von Beckerath instrument of 1959 (the first modern tracker organ built for a church in Canada) across Montreal from the former Queen Mary Road United Church to St Andrew’s, Dominion-Douglas United Church, Westmount. The instrument was meticulously restored and, while remaining true to the original design, the stop-list was augmented by two new pedal stops, the case was expanded with pedal towers added on either side, and the casework was painted.
‘L’orgue de la salle Redpath de l’université McGill’, L’orgue à notre époque, ed. D. Mackey (Montreal, 1982), 1–12
‘Knox College Chapel, University of Toronto’, The Historical Organ in America, ed. L. Edwards (Easthampton, MA, 1992), 47–65
EMC2 (A. Bouchard)
K.J.Raudsepp: Organs of Montreal, i (Montreal, 1993)
M.Kratzenstein: ‘University of Kansas Dedication Festival’, American Organist, xxxi/4 (1997), 42–5
KARL J. RAUDSEPP
Wolff, Hellmuth Christian
(b Zürich, 23 May 1906; d Leipzig, 1 July 1988). German musicologist and composer. He studied with Schering, Abert, Sachs and Blume at Berlin University (1925–32), where he took the doctorate in 1932 with a dissertation on Venetian opera in the second half of the 17th century; he completed the Habilitation at Kiel in 1942 with a work on Baroque opera in Hamburg. He was professor at the musicology institute of Leipzig University from 1954 to 1971, but in 1967 he was banned from teaching or publishing his work there after submitting an article to a Berlin newspaper implicitly criticizing the East German Communist authorities. In 1992, four years after his death, he was officially rehabilitated in the wake of German unification.
Wolff’s reputation rests on his many publications rather than on his compositions which were rarely performed. He wrote extensively about the history of opera, particularly Baroque opera in Venice, Naples and Hamburg, on the Netherlandish music of the Renaissance, and the music of Mendelssohn. His interest in the visual aspects of music culminated in his edition of the volume on opera in the series Musikgeschichte in Bildern (1968). In addition to his operas, he wrote a ballet as well as orchestral and chamber works. In later years he became known as a painter.
Stage (all librettos by the composer): Der kleine und der grosse Klaus (chbr op, 1, Wolff, after H.C. Andersen), op.27, 1931, rev. 1940; Die törichten Wünsche (Das kalte Herz) (op, 3, Wolff, after W. Hauff), op.35, 1942–4; Esther (scenic orat, 2, Wolff), op.40, 1945; Der Tod des Orpheus (op, 3, Wolff), op.50, 1947; Ich lass’ mich scheiden (chbr op, 2, Wolff), op.59, 1950; Moresca (ballet), op.73, 1969; incid music