Waart, Edo de. 56 Wachmann, Eduard 56

Wollick [Wolquier, Volcyr], Nicolaus [Nicolas]

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Wollick [Wolquier, Volcyr], Nicolaus [Nicolas]

(b Serouville, Lorraine, c1480; d Nancy, after 23 May 1541). Lotharingian theorist and historiographer. Although his family name was actually Wolquier, his Latin musical writings, first published in Germany, carry the name ‘Wollick’; his French historical and literary writings, published in Lorraine, were ascribed to ‘Volcyr’. As a result, musicologists have neglected the other aspects of Wollick’s work. He was the son of a poor patrician and studied at Cologne University from 1498, where he was taught music by Melchior Schanppecher. In 1501 Wollick took the degree of Master of Arts and published in Cologne his Opus aureum musicae (5/1509). The third and fourth parts, which deal with composition for the first time in Germany, were written by Schanppecher. The sources for the book are the writings of Adam of Fulda, Hugo of Reutlingen, Keinspeck and Cochlaeus. The main subject is practical music rather than the ‘musica speculativa’ of the Middle Ages. By his use of the distinction between ‘musica usualis sive vulgaris’ and ‘musica regulata’ Wollick pointed the way towards a new definition of the distinction between ‘musicus’ and ‘cantor’ as the difference between the ‘artless’ folksinger (that is, one without formal learning or the skills of the craft) and the learned musician. In 1506–7 Wollick finished his theological studies at Cologne and became master of the choirboys at Metz Cathedral. From 1508 he was a teacher in Paris and in 1509 he published there a revised and expanded version of his treatise under the title Enchiridion musices (4/1521); it was praised by Gaffurius (SpataroC, letter 2). From 1513 he was employed as a secretary and historiographer by Duke Antoine of Lorraine, who ennobled him in 1520. His most famous work is his chronicle, written in 1526, about the peasant rising in Lorraine in 1525.


A. Digot: ‘Notice biographique et littéraire sur Nicolas Volcyr’, Mémoires de la Société Royale des sciences, lettres et arts de Nancy, 3rd ser., xv (1848), 80

P. Marot: ‘Notes sur Nicolas Volcyr de Serrouville’, Revue historique de la Lorraine, lxxv (1931), 5

K.W. Niemöller, ed.: Die Musica gregoriana des Nicolaus Wollick (Cologne, 1955)

K.W. Niemöller: Nicolaus Wollick, 1480–1541, und sein Musiktraktat (Cologne, 1956)

K.G. Fellerer: ‘Die Kölner musiktheoretische Schule des 16. Jahrhunderts’, Renaissance-muziek, 1400–1600: donum natalicium René Bernard Lenaerts, ed. J. Robijns and others (Leuven, 1969), 121–30


Wołowska, Maria Agata.

See Szymanowska, Maria Agata.

Wolpe, Michael

(b Tel-Aviv, 4 March 1960). Israeli composer. He studied composition at the Rubin Academy, Jerusalem, and at Cambridge University (MA 1994). He is profoundly attached to the socialist ideology of the founders of the secular Jewish community in Israel, to modern Hebrew poetry, and to an ardent belief in the educational and human properties of music. This led him to settle in the kibbutz Sdeh Boker, where he founded a regional music school. He has also taught at the High School of Sciences and the Arts (from 1991 on) and at the Rubin Academy in Jerusalem (after 1996).

By means of diverse stylistic strategies and richly connotative quotation, Wolpe delivers his ideological messages and comments. His highly individual idiom is exemplified in works such as the Trio (1996), in which dense dodecaphonic writing contrasts with a lyrical folk-like tune and ironic quotation of modern pop music, or in his Songs of Memory, in which a powerful pacifist message is symbolised by combining an Arabic soprano with Arabic and western instruments and textures.


(selective list)

Orch: Conc., rec, orch, 1995; Hatanim hazru [The Jackals have Returned], orch, tape, 1996

Vocal: Capella Kolot [Capella of Voices], Mez, ob, vc, pf, 1988; Stabat mater, 2 solo female vv, SABar, 1994; Songs of Memory (E. Porat), Arab S, ‘ūd, Arab drum, vn, va, vc, 1998

Chbr: Str Qt no.2, 1995; Trio, vn, vc, pf, 1996


Wolpe, Stefan

(b Berlin, 25 Aug 1902; d New York, 4 April 1972). American composer of German birth and Russian parentage. He began studies in theory and composition at the age of 14 and in 1920–21 attended the Berlin Hochschule für Musik, where he studied under Paul Juon. He then applied to Busoni’s masterclass at the Akademie der Künste; though he was not accepted, Busoni befriended him and passed on valued advice. Drawn to the avant garde from an early age, Wolpe took part in an exhibition of the Berlin dadaists and became associated with Melos and the circle around Scherchen and Tiessen. His first published work, an Adagio for piano, appeared in Melos (1920). In 1923 he joined the Novembergruppe, an association of socialist artists where he became active as pianist and composer, and in 1927 he collaborated with Stuckenschmidt.

Wolpe attended lectures and exhibitions at the Bauhaus at Weimar and was greatly influenced by the Bauhaus aesthetic of utopian socialism. In later life, not wishing to compose only for élite audiences, he would write for amateur groups and take great interest in the popular music and folklore of his successive homelands. He saw no difference between a musical intelligence that shapes simple ideas and one that works with highly complex, advanced musical material. A continual interplay of visual, kinetic and sound imagery in Wolpe’s thinking may have its origin in the multimedia experiments at the Bauhaus.

Wolpe destroyed most of his early works, keeping only a few songs and instrumental pieces, and song cycles on poems of Hölderlin, Kleist and Tagore. The major works from the 1920s are two chamber operas: Schöne Geschichten, a series of seven absurdist scenes with music suggesting the influence of Schoenberg’s Pierrot lunaire and Berg’s Wozzeck, and Zeus und Elida, a comical satire of Hitler (Zeus) set to music abstracted from current dance styles. As the situation in Germany deteriorated Wolpe became more active politically. From 1929 to 1933 he supplied dozens of songs, marches and anthems for unions, dance and theatre companies and agit-prop troupes. In 1931 he became musical director for Die Truppe 1931, a theatre collective directed by Gustav von Wangenheim. Die Mausefalle, the first and most successful of their three shows, satirized current social conditions while demonstrating Marxist doctrine. When the Nazis seized power in 1933 they banned Die Truppe, and Wolpe was forced to flee.

In August of the same year he arrived in Vienna to study with Webern and began using the 12-note method; the second of the Zwei Studien for orchestra is a Passacaglia on a 12-note row of 3rds and tritones. He also began a four-movement Konzert für neun Instrumente with nearly the same instrumentation as Webern’s own Konzert op.24. Wolpe assimilated Webern’s ideas to the concepts of Hauer and Schoenberg, with which he was already familiar. In Vier Studien über Grundreihen (1935–6) he worked with derived sets and combinatory hexachords, concepts he explored further in Kleinere Canons and Suite im Hexachord. At the end of 1933 Wolpe was again forced to flee, this time to Palestine, where he taught at the Palestine Conservatory in Jerusalem (1936–8). In Palestine Wolpe became fascinated by Jewish songs from Syria and Yemen and by classical Arabic music; the Octatonic scale, which he used in many works from that time on, can be derived from the maqām saba. In the music of the Middle East he discovered a music-stasis that provided an alternative to the goal-directed forms and rhetoric of German Expressionism. He found in it a stirring but non-subjective expressivity.

In 1938 Wolpe emigrated to the USA and settled in New York. He held teaching posts at a number of institutions, including the Settlement Music School, Philadelphia (1939–42), the Brooklyn Free Music Society (1945–8), the Contemporary Music School (1948–52), of which he was founder and director, and the Philadelphia Academy of Music (1949–52); he was director of music at Black Mountain College (1952–6) and chairman of the department of music at C.W. Post College, Long Island University (1957–68). He influenced a wide range of musicians through his teaching, among them George Russell, Eddie Sauter, Haim Alexander, Herbert Brün, Morton Feldman, Ralph Shapey and David Tudor. From the 1950s Wolpe also lectured at Darmstadt.

In the works of the 1940s Wolpe demonstrated that diatonicism and dodecaphony are not mutually exclusive modes of musical thought, but that between them lies a rich spectrum of resources. Assimilating concepts from Bartók, Schoenberg and Stravinsky, he composed with pitch cells in a fully chromatic environment, and rhythmic phrases of great intricacy and diversity. Seeking to go beyond classical serialism he developed techniques for applying serial principles to harmony. The movements of the dance scores Zemach Suite and The Man From Midian, however, are variously diatonic, octatonic and 12-note. Not surprisingly, critics had difficulty classifying Wolpe’s music. After 1945 Wolpe continued to be socially committed while seeking an ever more abstract and constructed idiom. One of the many technical studies from the 1940s is titled ‘Displaced Spaces, Shocks, Negations, A New Sort of Relationship in Space, Pattern, Tempo, Diversity of Actions, Interreactions and Intensities’. The intent is to replace familiar, layered musical space, in which thematic materials are assigned specific registers, by a mobile, open, non-figurative space in which phrases are fractured and dispersed freely throughout the total sound. To organize such a constellatory time-space he developed a system of proportions, based on principles learned at the Bauhaus, in which the distances between pitches are divided symmetrically and asymmetrically by clusters or additional pitches. He demonstrated the system in Seven Pieces for three pianos (1951), which he dedicated to Varèse.

During the 1940s and 50s many jazz musicians came to Wolpe to extend their ideas in terms of concert music. Wolpe regarded jazz as a much needed corrective to the tightly controlled scores of classical composers. In the Saxophone Quartet (1950) jazz connotes Wolpe’s populism and his resistance to McCarthyism, and yet the piece attains a high level of abstraction with its spatial effects. Enactments for three pianos, the Oboe Quartet and the Symphony – in addition to being examples of abstract Expressionism – are notable for their notion of ‘organic modes’, according to which the ordering of the 12-note row is coordinated with expressive content, musical events and large-scale structural processes.

The works of the 1960s achieve a synthesis between Moment form and integral serialism. For his pieces Wolpe prepared charts and row forms but applied them with great latitude and spontaneity. Successive images are succinct, sharply defined and maximally contrasted in a fully written-out open form. The compositions are generally in two parts: the first is often slower, its mode of thought directed, orderly and stable, while the faster part scatters and disperses, producing a disrupted and dissociated effect. A new sound evolved in Form for piano (1959) after which he titled many works Piece or Form. During this period his music was championed by several ensembles such as the Group for Contemporary Music, founded by Sollberger and Wuorinen.

Wolpe received many awards and honours, including two Guggenheim fellowships and membership of the National Institute of Arts and Letters. His last years were overcast by parkinsonism and by a fire which damaged all his papers and destroyed his collection of paintings. Despite these adversities he continued to compose, completing his last piece a few months before he died.


(selective list)


Zeus und Elida: Musikalische Groteske op.5A, 1928 (chbr op, 1, K. Wickerhauser and O. Hahn), ? Berlin, ?c1928; Amsterdam, 1997

Schöne Geschichten op.5B, 1927–9 (chbr op, 1), ? Berlin, ?c1929; Amsterdam, 1997

Anna Blume, 1929 (lyric scene, K. Schwitters), ? Berlin, Cabaret Anti, ?c1929; New York, 1983

The Man from Midian (ballet), 2 pf, 1942

Incid music: Die Mausefalle (G. von Wangenheim), ens, 1931, inc.; Der eingebildeten Kranken (after Molière), ens, 1934; The Good Woman of Setzuan (B. Brecht, trans. E. Bentley), pf, 1953; Peer Gynt (H. Ibsen), pf, 1954; King Oedipus (Sophocles, W.B. Yeats), pf, 1957; The Tempest (W. Shakespeare), ens, 1960; The Exception and the Rule (B. Brecht, trans. E. Bentley), ens, 1961


Orch: 2 Studien, 1933; Passacaglia, 1937 [arr. of 4 Studies on Basic Rows, no.4, pf]; The Man From Midian, 1942 [from ballet]; Sym., 1955–6; Piece in 3 Parts, pf, 16 players, 1961; Chbr Piece no.1, 14 insts, 1964; Chbr Piece no.2, 13 insts, 1967

For 3–9 insts: Konzert, 9 insts, 1933–7; Sax Qt, t sax, tpt, perc, pf, 1950, rev. 1954; Piece (Ob Qt), ob, vc, perc, pf, 1955; In 2 Parts for 6 Players, cl, tpt, vn, vc, hp, pf, 1962; Piece for 2 Inst Units, fl, ob, vn, vc, db, perc, pf, 1963; Trio in 2 Parts, fl, vc, pf, 1964; Str Qt, 1969; From Here on Farther, cl, b cl, vn, pf, 1969; Piece for Tpt and 7 Insts, tpt, cl, bn, hn, vn, va, vc, db, 1971

For 1–2 insts: Duo, 2 vn, 1924; Musik zu Hamlet, langsamer Satz, fl, cl, vc, 1929; Kleinere Canons in der Umkehrung zweier 12-tönig correspondierender Hexachorde, 2 vc, 1936; Suite im Hexachord, ob, cl, 1936; Sonata, ob, pf, 1938–41; Music for Any Insts, 1944–9; Sonata, vn, pf, 1949, Piece in 2 Parts, fl, pf, 1960; Piece in 2 Parts for Vn Alone, 1964; Solo Piece for Tpt, 1966; Second Piece for Vn Alone, 1966

Pf: 5 Adagios, 1920; 6 Klavierstücke, 1920–29; Sonata (Stehende Musik), 1925; 5 marches caracteristiques, 1928–34; March and Variations, 2 pf, 1934; 4 Studies on Basic Rows: On Tritones, On Minor 3rds, Presto furioso, Passacaglia, 1935–6; Zemach Suite, 1939; 2 Pieces: Pastorale, Con fuoco; Toccata in 3 Parts, 1941; The Good Spirit of a Right Cause, 1942; Battle Piece, 1943–7; Suite from Lazy Andy Ant, 2 pf, 1947 [from cant.]; 2 Studies, pt 2, 1948; Music for a Dancer, 1950; 7 Pieces, 3 pf, 1951; Waltz for Merle, 1952; Enactments, 3 pf, 1953; Form, 1959; Form IV, Broken Sequences, 1969


Cants.: Blues, ‘Stimmen aus dem Massengrab’ (E. Kästner), Marsch, spkr, 2 sax, tpt, perc, 2 pf, 1929; Ballade von Karl Schmidt aus der grauen Stadt (J.R. Becher), chorus, pf, 1930; Yigdal (Maimonides), Bar, chorus, org, 1945; Lazy Andy Ant (H. Fletcher), S, 2 pf, 1947; Street Music (Wolpe), spkr, Bar, fl, ob, cl, vc, pf, 1962; Cant. (Herodotus, F. Hölderlin, R. Creeley), 2 spkrs, S, Mez, 2A, fl, cl, bn, tpt, trbn, str qt, db, 1963

Choral: 4 Songs from Ballad of the Unknown Soldier (Heb. M. Lifshitz, N. Altermann), SATB, 1937; 2 Chinesische Grabschriften, SATB, drums, 1937; 4 Pieces (Heb. Bible, G. Shofman), SATB, 1954; The Way a Crow (R. Frost), SAB, 1958

Songs: Frühste Lieder (O. Kokoschka, Wolpe and others), 1920; [5] Hölderlin Lieder, Mez/A, pf, 1924, rev. 1935; [3] Kleist Lieder, S, pf, 1925; 2 Fabeln (H. Sachs, J. de la Fontaine), Bar, pf, 1926; 9 Lieder (R. Tagore), A, pf, 1926; 4 Lieder (N. Lenin, V.V. Majakowski and others), 1929; 3 Lieder (W. Wolpe), A, pf, 1929; 3 Arbeitslieder (T. Ring), Bar, pf, 1929–30; 3 Lieder (E. Kästner), Mez/T, pf; 8 Lieder (H. Heine, E. Ottwalt, E. Weinert and others), 1929–31; 2 Lieder aus den Hohenlied (Heb. text), A, pf, 1937; 4 Lieder (Serubavel, N. Stern), A/Bar, pf, 1938; 2 Songs (N. Bialik); 1: Bar; 2: Mez, cl, 1938–9; Psalm lxiv and Isaiah xxxv, S/T, pf, 1939; 3 Lieder (B. Brecht), medium v, pf, 1943; 2 Lieder (B. Viertel), S, pf, 1945; Excerpt from Dr Einstein’s Address about Peace in the Atomic Era, medium v, pf, 1950; 6 Songs for The Good Woman of Setzuan (Brecht), medium v, pf, 1953; Songs for Peer Gynt (H. Ibsen), medium v, pf, 1954; Apollo and Artemis (Sophocles, E. Pound), medium v, pf, 1955; Qnt with Voice (H. Morley), Bar, cl, hn, vc, hp, pf, 1957; Songs for The Tempest (W. Shakespeare), medium v, pf; To a Theater New (W. Palmer), Bar, pf, 1961; 16 Songs from The Domestic Breviary (Brecht, trans. E. Bentley), medium v, pf, 1965

Principal publishers: Josef Marx, Peer Classical


‘Music Old and New in Palestine’, MM, xvi (1938–9), 156–9

‘Thinking Twice’, Contemporary Composers on Contemporary Music, ed. E. Schwartz and B. Childs (New York, 1967/R), 274–307 (enlarged 2/1998 with J. Fox)

‘Thoughts on Pitch’, PNM, xvii/2 (1979), 28–57

‘Any Bunch of Notes’, PNM, xxi/1–2 (1982–3), 295–310

‘To Understand Music’, Sonus, iii/1 (1983), 4–17

‘On New (and Not-So-New) Music in America by Stefan Wolpe: a Translation’, JMT, xxviii/1 (1984), 1–45

‘Lecture on Dada’, MQ, lxxii/2 (1986), 202–15

‘On Proportions’, PNM, xxxiv/2 (1996), 132–84 [Eng. trans. of a lecture given at Darmstadt Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik, 14 July 1960]


H.H. Stuckenschmidt: ‘Musik und Musiker in der Novembergruppe’, Kunst der Zeit, ii/1–3 (Berlin, 1928), 94–101

M. Bauer: ‘Stefan Wolpe’, MM, xvii (1940), 233–6

H.H. Stuckenschmidt: ‘Ein Berliner Komponist wieder in Berlin’, Melos, xxiv (1957), 184–5

E. Levy: ‘Stefan Wolpe for his 60th Birthday’, PNM, ii/1 (1963), 51–65

E. Carter, and others: ‘In memoriam: Stefan Wolpe (1902–72)’, PNM, xi/1 (1972–3), 3–10

H. Sucoff: ‘Stefan Wolpe: the Musical Unicorn’, Absolute Sound, no.1 (1973), 28–33

M. Brody: ‘Sensibility Defined: Set Projection in Stefan Wolpe's Form for Piano’, PNM, xv/2 (1976–7), 3–22

C. Hasty: ‘Rhythm in Post-Tonal Music: Preliminary Questions of Duration and Motion’, JMT, xxv (1981), 183–94

C. Hasty: ‘Segmentation and Process in Post-Tonal Music’, Music Theory Spectum, iii (1981), 54–73

A. Clarkson: ‘Stefan Wolpe's Berlin Years’, Music and Civilization, ed. M.R. Maniates and E. Strainchamps (New York, 1983), 371–93

A. Clarkson: ‘The Works of Stefan Wolpe: a Brief Catalogue’, Notes, xli/4 (1984–5), 667–82

H. Vogt and others: Stefan Wolpe: von Berlin nach New York (Cologne, 1988)

E. Klemm: ‘Zwischen Dadaismus und Agitprop: der Komponist Stefan Wolpe’, Musik und Gesellschaft, xxxix (1989), 12–17

M. Zenck: ‘Das revolutionäre Exilwerk des Komponisten Stefan Wolpe: mit kritischen Anmerkungen zur Musikgeschichtsschreibung der dreiβiger und vierziger Jahre’, Künste im Exil, Exilforschung, x (Munich, 1992), 129–51

A. Clarkson: ‘The Fantasy can be Critically Examined: Composition and Theory in the Thought of Stefan Wolpe’, Music Theory and the Exploration of the Past, ed. D.W. Bernstein and C. Hatch (Chicago, 1993), 505–24

A.D. Kohn: The Development of Stefan Wolpe’s Compositional Style 1948–53 and the Role of the Other Arts (diss., U. of Pittsburgh, 1995)

T. Phleps: ‘Wo es der Musik die Sprache verschlägt “Zeus und Elida” und “Schöne Geschichten” von Stefan Wolpe’, NZM, Jg.158, no.6 (1997), 48–51

A. Clarkson, ed.: On the Music of Stefan Wolpe: Essays and Recollections (forthcoming)


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