Waart, Edo de. 56 Wachmann, Eduard 56

Woollett, Henry (Edouard)

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Woollett, Henry (Edouard)

(b Le Havre, 13 Aug 1864; d Le Havre, 9 Oct 1936). French composer. Originally of an English family, he was a naturalized Frenchman. He briefly studied the piano with Raoul Pugno and composition with Jules Massenet but he was mostly self-taught. He spent his entire career in his native Le Havre, where he was a notable conductor and teacher (prominent among his pupils were Henry Fevrier, André Caplet and Raymond Loucheur) and where in 1924 he became director of a branch of the Schola Cantorum founded at the instigation of the pianist Berthe Duranton. A fervent champion of contemporary music, he founded the Cercle de l'Art Moderne, through which he acquainted the public of Le Havre with the leading composers of his time. Although he was a talented composer himself, and left a large body of work in all genres, Woollett's reputation rested chiefly on his activities as a teacher and musicologist. He wrote a history of music which won an award from the Institut de France, and a magisterial history of orchestration, written in collaboration with Gabriel Pierné. He was also the author of many articles, mainly published in Le monde musical.


(selective list)

Stage: La princesse captive (op, Woollett), unperf.; Pierrot amoureux (pantomime, H. Le Fèvre) (1888); La Rose de Saron (poème lyrique, Le Fèvre) (1895); Les amants byzantins (drame lyrique, 4, H. le Roux) (1926)Orch: Sym. Ov. (1891); Petite suite (1891); Concertstück, vc, orch (Paris, 1903); Sentier couvert (Paris, 1914); Maures et gitanes (Paris, 1931); Suite antique (1932); Sym., c1936Chbr and solo inst: Pièces intimes, pf (1888); Sonata no.2, E, vn, pf (1894); Nocturnes et pastorales, pf, 1895–1903; Sonata no.3, D, vn, pf (1896); A travers la vie, pf (Paris, before 1900); Sonata, fl/vn, pf (1902); Sonata, c, vc, pf (1906); Au jardin de France, pf (1913); Préludes et valses, pf, 1917–18; Sonata no.5, c, vn/va, pf (Paris, 1918); Croquis de route, pf (1924); Str Qt, g (1928); Pastorale, fl, pf (Paris, 1932)Vocal: Prière héroique, 1v, orch; Tristesses (Woollett), song cycle, 1v, pf (1891); De l'aube à la nuit (Woollett), suite, S, A, T, B, pf (1908); Marceline ou la vie d'une femme (M. Desbordes-Valmore), song cycle, 1v, pf (1912); Simone, poème champêtre (R. de Gourmont), 1v, orch, 1913–14; Coin de parc a l'automne (Woollett), song cycle, 1v, pf (1927)

Principal publishers: Costellat, Hurstel, Senart


Petit traité de prosodie à l'usage des compositeurs de musique (Le Havre, 1903)

Histoire de la musique (Paris, 1909–25)

with G. Pierné: ‘Histoire de l'orchestration’, Encyclopédie de la musique et dictionnaire du conservatoire, ii (Paris, 1929), 2215–86, 2445–718

‘Critique de la théorie musicale’, Monde musical, xlvii (1936), 269–70, 293–5; xlviii (1937), 7–8, 32–4


MGG1 (G. Ferchault)

M. Sieurin: ‘Woollett, Henri Edouard’, Cobetts Cyclopedic Survey of Chamber Music (London, 1929–30, enlarged 2/1963/R by C. Mason)


Woolley, Robert

(b London, 8 Jan 1954). English harpsichordist, organist and fortepianist. He studied at the RCM with Ruth Dyson (1970–75), attended masterclasses given by Kenneth Gilbert and George Malcolm, and made his début in London in 1976. His favoured repertory is English keyboard music of the 16th and 17th centuries and the works of Bach, and he has performed and recorded on many historical harpsichords and organs. His first recording (1977) of Purcell's complete harpsichord works was followed by discs of Bach's complete harpsichord concertos, Gibbons's organ fantasias and Scarlatti sonatas, all admired for their vitality and sense of style. In 1985 Woolley was appointed to teach the harpsichord, fortepiano and organ at the RCM. As a chamber player, he has been regularly associated with the cellist Anthony Pleeth, flautist Stephen Preston and the Purcell Quartet.


Woolrich, John

(b Cirencester, 3 Jan 1954). English composer. He studied English at Manchester University (1972–5) and subsequently composition with Cowie at Lancaster University (1975–7). Appointed Northern Arts Fellow in Composition at Durham University (1982–5), he was then composer-in-residence at the National Centre for Orchestral Studies, London (1985–6) and, from 1994 to 1998, lecturer in music at Royal Holloway, University of London. He has also taught at the GSM and the Dartington International Summer School. Woolrich's commissions include two for the BBC Promenade Concerts (1996 and 1998) and his work has been featured in festivals in the UK including those at Aldeburgh, Bath and Cheltenham. Through the work of the Composers Ensemble (co-founded with the soprano Mary Wiegold), he has established a reputation as an animateur for his inventive commissioning and programming.

Woolrich's responsiveness to visual and literary stimuli is evident in the creative processes he uses in his compositions and in their titles. His music is not generated by organic development but shaped by non-organic procedures designed to produce a succession of varied musical perspectives. Significant is his essentially pragmatic compositional attitude, which includes drawing on a variety of musical artefacts of different traditions. Mozart and Monteverdi are two composers upon whom Woolrich has focussed in this way, the former in The Theatre Represents a Garden: Night and Si va facendo notte, the latter in Favola in musica, Ulysses Awakes and Ariadne Laments. The historical footprints of his chosen materials provide for Woolrich's compositional strategy of creating new contexts and suggesting new musical connections between them (Mozart, Wagner and Nono, as well as Monteverdi in Favola), in a musical process where reference to the borrowed material ranges from allusion to quotation.

Several other themes run through Woolrich's output. His setting of texts about folklore and myth show the influence of Calvino, while the commedia dell'arte lies behind Harlequinade. Images of the night recur in several pieces, such as It is Midnight, Dr Schweitzer, a title taken from one of the constructions of the Swiss sculptor Jean Tinguely. Woolrich's enthusiasm for fashioning musical mechanisms based on juxtaposed and repeated fragments reflects the compositional influences of Stravinsky, Berio, Birtwistle and Janáček. It also draws, as in the ensemble piece Spalanzani's Daughter, from the automata featured in E.T.A. Hoffman's gothic fantasies, the music proceeding in a grotesque series of grunts, gasps and wheezes. Mechanical contrivance also lies behind two works for large orchestra, The Barber's Timepiece and The Ghost in the Machine, and in Lending Wings for ensemble. Another characteristic, evident in these orchestral works and in Dartington Doubles, is Woolrich's use of heterophonic textures generated out of a central cantus firmus melody, whose schematically varied repetition (on the isorhythmic principle) establishes and regulates the work's structure. In his later and longer spanned solo concertos for viola and oboe, Woolrich has composed music in which the melodic aspect is more immediately expressive and less impersonal than before.


(selective list)


Op: In the House of Crossed Desires (M. Warner), op.2, 1996, Cheltenham, Everyman theatre, 6 July 1996Choral: Far From Home (lullaby, folk texts), SATB, 1993; Over the Sea (5 songs, Turkish folk poems), SATB, 1993; Three Choruses (Horace, C. Smart), SATB, 1998; The Old Year (Horace, C. Smart), SATB chorus, orch, 1998; Little Walserings (R. Walser), SATB chorus, strs, 1999Solo vocal: Harlequinade (commedia dell'arte texts), S + perc, cl + b cl, pf + perc, vn, vc, 1983; Black Riddle (5 songs, Eng. anon.), S, chbr orch, 1984; 3 Macedonian Songs (folk poems, trans. A. Harvey, A. Pennington), S, cl, pf, perc, vn, va, vc, db, 1984; Serbian Songs (Serbian folk poems, trans. A. Harvey, A. Pennington), S, cl, perc, 1984; 3 Cautionary Tales (Turkish, Eng. and Macedonian folk poems), S, s sax + cl, b cl + cl, va, vc, db, 1988–94, version for S, pf; La cantarina (J. Shapcott), high S, pf, 1989; Songs and Broken Music (E. Costello), S, vn, vc, pf, 1993; Ariadne Laments (O. Rinuccini), S, 5 str, 1994; 4 Concert Arias (Casanova, Goethe, Gozzi, E.T.A. Hoffmann), 2 S, Mez, small orch, 1994; Here is my Country (T. de Quincey, G. de Nerval, R. Schumann, H.C. Andersen), S, pf, 1995; To Witness her Goodbye, T, s sax, 2 chitaroni, b viol, cel, regal, perc, 1995; Twisting that Lock (R. Walser, L. Sterne), S, A, pf, 1997; The Unlit Suburbs (M. Sweeney), 3 songs, S, pf, 1998


Orch: The Barber's Timepiece, 1986; The Ghost in the Machine, 1990; Another Staircase Ov. ‘Broken Music for Str’, str, 1994; The Theatre Represents a Garden: Night, 1991; Va Conc., 1993; Fanfare, brass band, 1994; Ob Conc., 1996; Cantilena, chbr orch, 1997; Sennets and Tuckets, sym. wind ens, 1997–8; Vc Conc., 1998; Conc. for orch, 1998; A Litany, ob, str, 1998–9; Accord, mixed orch, 1999Large ens: Dartington Doubles, 10 players, 1988; Lending Wings, 16 players, 1989; Ulysses Awakes, va, 10 solo str, 1989; It is Midnight, Dr Schweitzer, 11 solo str, 1992; Si va facendo notte, cl, 11 str, 1992; From the Shadows, 11 players, 1994; A Leap in the Dark, 11 str, 1994; Music from a House of Crossed Desires, suite, 14 players, 1996 [from op]; Caprichos, 12 players, 1997; The Way Out Discovered, 13 wind, 1997; Bitter Fruit, 16 players, 1999–2000Other inst: Spalanzani's Daughter, fl + pic, ob, E-cl, bn, hn, tpt, trbn, tuba, 1983; Barcarolle, a fl + fl + pic, ob, hp, perc, vn, vc, 1989; The Kingdom of Dreams, ob, pf, 1989; Favola in musica I, ob, cl, pf, 1990, version for ob, s sax, perc, 1992 [after Monteverdi: O sia tranquillo il mare]; Quick Steps, wind octet, 1990; Contredanse, str octet, 1991; The Death of King Renaud, str qnt, 1991; Pianobooks I-VIII, pf, 1991–9; A Farewell, cl, va, pf, 1992; A Cabinet of Curiosities, pf, wind qt, 1993; Im ruhigen Tal, vn, pf, 1993; Fantazia, 4 viols, 1994; …with Land in Sight…, vc, 1994; My Box of Phantoms, ob qt, 1995; Str Qt, 1995; Adagissimo, pf qt, 1997; Locus solus, pf, 1997; Sestina, pf qt, 1997; Envoi, va, 6 players, 1997; Ob qnt, 1997–8; The Iron Cockerel Sings, wind sextet, 1998; A Shadowed Lesson, pn, vn, va, vc, db, 1999

Principal publisher: Faber


D. Wright: ‘Compact Risks: John Woolrich's Economic Policy of Composition’, The Listener (3 August 1989)

D. Wright: ‘John Woolrich: Expanding Continuities’, MT, cxxxi (1990), 540–41 [incl. discussion of The Ghost in the Machine]


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