(b Lettin, 7 Sept 1880; d Munich, 25 Feb 1957). German composer and conductor of Latvian birth. After early education in St Petersburg, he studied natural sciences at German universities. In Leipzig he also studied music with C. Heymsen and R. Teichmüller in 1901, and the following year became a pupil of Max Reger (counterpoint) and Martin Krause (piano) in Munich. After a few years of travel, during which he befriended Henri Matisse in Paris, Wolfurt served as choral director at theatres in Strasbourg (under Pfitzner) and Kottbus before the outbreak of World War I. During the war he returned to Latvia to manage a paper mill; afterwards he lived for a while in Stockholm and then Berlin, where he taught composition at the municipal conservatory (1936–45). From 1923 to 1945 he also served as the secretary of the music division of the Prussian Academy of the Arts. Wolfurt taught composition at Göttingen (1945–9) and accepted a similar position in Johannesburg (1949–52), where he also conducted. He then retired to Munich to devote himself entirely to composition. Most of his instrumental works depend on older models, such as variation form (on themes of Mozart or Tartini) or the concerto grosso; he also wrote a Sinfonia classica op.39. Among the vocal works the Gedichte von Goethe op.1 are fine examples of the best tradition of German lieder.
Ops: Der Tanz um den Narren (comic op, F. Thiess, after Molière), op.15, unpubd; Dame Kobold (comic op), op.30, Kassel, 1940; Vannina Vannini (Schulz-Gellen, after Stendhal), op.34; Porzia (tragi-comic op), op.50, unpubd
Orch: Gesang des Meeres, op.12, c1921, unpubd; Tripelfuge, op.16 (1929); Variationen und Charakterstücke über ein Thema von Mozart, op.17 (1929); Conc. grosso, op.20, chbr orch (1931); Divertimento, op.19 (1931); Kleine Suite, op.21, vn, chbr orch/pf (1931); Pf Conc., op.25 (1933); Musik für Streichorchester und Pauke, op.27 (c1936); Serenade, op.28 (1936); Sinfonia classica, op.39 (c1947); Variationen und Charakterstücke über ein Thema aus der Teufelstriller-Sonate von Tartini, op.37 (1947); Vc Conc., op.43 (c1948); Org Conc., op.47, c1950, unpubd; Nocturne, op.51, c1951, unpubd; Perpetuum mobile, op.56, unpubd
Choral: Rhapsodie aus Goethes ‘Faust’, op.3, solo vv, chorus, orch, 1906, unpubd; Siegeslied des Moses, op.9, T, chorus, orch, org, unpubd; Landsknechtschoral, op.18, male vv, insts (1931); Hymne an die Freiheit, op.22, A, chorus, orch (1932); Weihnachtsoratorium, op.23, solo vv, chorus, orch (1932); Denk an uns, op.31, motet (c1940); Requiem für die Gefallen, op.38, solo vv, chorus, orch, org, unpubd; unacc. pieces
Solo vocal: Gedichte von Goethe, op.1, 1v, pf (1906); 6 Lieder (H. Baumann, C. Morgenstern), op.35 (1943); Ps xc, op.44, B, 2 vn, 3 trbn, org (1948); Galgenlieder (Morgenstern), op.55, Bar, orch, 1949, unpubd; c60 lieder
G.Waldmann: ‘Kurt von Wolfurt, zum 60. Geburtstag am 7. 9. 1940’, ZfM, Jg.107 (1940), 593–7
P.Winter: ‘Neue Begegnung mit Kurt von Wolfurt’, ZfM, Jg. 114 (1953), 276–9
WILLIAM D. GUDGER/ANDREW D. McCREDIE
Wolkenstein [Nephelius], David
(b Breslau [now Wrocław], 19 Nov 1534; d Strasbourg, 11 Sept 1592). German mathematician, music editor, ?composer and writer on music. From 1553 he studied at the Viadrina at Frankfurt an der Oder, where he was a pupil of the mathematician Helias Camerarius. In 1555 his name appeared, as ‘David Nephelius Wratislaviensis’, in the matriculation register of the University of Wittenberg. From at least 1568 until his death he was a teacher of mathematics and a Kantor at Strasbourg. He is of musical interest for his editing of two volumes of psalms: Psalmen: mit 4 Stimmen zu singen in den Kirchen und Schulen in Strassburg (Strasbourg, 1577) and Psalmen für Kirchen und Schulen auff die gemeine Melodeyen syllaben weiss zu 4 Stimmen gesetzt (Strasbourg, 1583), as well as Die teutsche Litanei: für Kirchen und Schulen zu vier Stimmen gesetzt (Strasbourg, 1583). According to Zahn the first collection of psalms is based principally on old melodies, most of which are in the tenor part. The second contains mainly melodies from Strasbourg and from the Bohemian Brethren, which are in the cantus part. It includes nine unidentified tunes fashioned on definite rhythmic models and thus related to the reformed psalter; Wolkenstein may have written them himself. The second collection can profitably be seen as a link between the French psalter and Lucas Osiander's Fünfzig geistliche Lieder und Psalmen (Nuremberg, 1586), although Wolkenstein's settings, unlike Osiander's, are not wholly homophonic. Wolkenstein is also known to have written Primum musicum volumen scholarum Argentoratensium (Strasbourg, 4/1585), but no copy survives. According to Eitner he prepared the Strasbourg edition (1596) of Heinrich Faber's Compendiolum musicae.