(fl Oxford, 1483–9). English organ builder. In 1486 he constructed a ‘pair of organs’ (i.e. an organ) for the chapel of Magdalen College, Oxford for the sum of £28, and in 1488 repaired it for 40s. In 1487 he entered into an agreement with R. Fitzjames, warden of Merton College, to make a similar instrument, also for £28. According to the late 17th-century antiquary Anthony Wood, who believed that Wotton's first name was William, he was the father of Lambert Simnel, pretender to the English throne in 1487. An account of this theory is given in S. Jeans: ‘Wotton, the Organmaker, of Lambert Simnel Fame: was he William or Thomas?’, JBIOS, xi (1987), 50–53.
GUY OLDHAM/STEPHEN BICKNELL
Wotton, William (Beale)
(b Torquay, 6 Sept 1832; d Deal, 3 May 1912). English bassoonist. He joined the army at the age of 13 and became bassoonist in the Life Guards. There he also played the saxophone and, according to George Grove (Grove1), was the first player of this instrument in England. In 1866 he joined the orchestra of the Crystal Palace, and for the next 30 years he enjoyed the highest reputation in London orchestras, succceding Baumann as the foremost bassoonist of his time. He taught at the RCM from 1883 to 1905 and at the RAM from 1883 to 1912. Wotton played all his life on a Savary instrument, and was especially praised for his expressiveness and beauty of tone. His portrait, painted by Arnold Willins in 1890, is at the RCM.
His brother Thomas E. Wotton (1852–?1918) was also an excellent bassoonist and succeeded him in his various posts.
(b Troppau, Austrian Silesia [now Opava, Czech Republic], 8 Oct 1860; d Altona, Hamburg, 20 March 1944). German composer and choral conductor. He grew up in Dresden, and in early youth moved to Hamburg to study with Ernst August Heinrich Chevallier; in Altona he was conductor successively of the Allgemeine Liedertafel (from 1887), the church choir (from 1893) and the Singakademie (from 1895). In addition, he was organist of the Friedenskirche (1895–1903) and then of the Johanniskirche (1903–26), and from 1903 he directed the city orchestral concerts. Elected to the Prussian Academy of Arts in 1917, he received the Goethe Medal in 1936, and in 1937 he retired from public musical life. He had met with Brahms’s esteem as a young man, and in his early vocal music he took Brahms and also Palestrina, Lassus, Schütz and Bach as his models. Later he turned more to instrumental music, and his chamber pieces, his Brahmsian symphonies and the Böcklin-Phantasien are works of considerable achievement.
Stage: Der Pfarrer von Meudon, op.20 (komische Oper, Woyrsch), 1886; Der Weiberkrieg, op.27 (komische Oper, Woyrsch), 1896; Wikingerfahrt (op), 1896; Faust, unpubd
Choral: Die Geburt Jesu, op.18, c1885; Der Vandalen Auszug, op.39, c1890; Passion Orat, op.45, c1895; Totentanz, op.51, c1905; Da Jesu auf Erden ging, op.61, c1915; Das deutsche Sanctus (M. Luther), op.73, c1926
S.Scheffler: ‘Felix Woyrsch: ein Charakterkopf des Altonaer Musiklebens’, Jubelakkord: 100 Jahre Altonaer Singakademie (Hamburg, 1953)
Verzeichnis der Tonwerke von Felix Woyrsch (Hamburg, n.d.)
F.Axel and C.Lerche: Felix Woyrsch (1860–1944), Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, 7 Sept 1990 – 21 Jan 1991 (Hamburg, 1990) [exhibition catalogue]
(b Dunajowce, Podolia, 5 Dec 1899; d Katowice, 11 July 1980). Polish composer, pianist and teacher. He studied the piano with Michałowski at the Chopin High School of Music in Warsaw (1920–4) and immediately embarked on a performing career that took him throughout Europe and to North America. At the same time he studied composition with Szopski and Maliszewski, followed by three years in Boulanger’s class in Paris (1929–32). During World War II the ‘Woytowicz Café’, which he organised in Warsaw, was a vital public focus for Polish music-making as well as being a centre for underground activities of the resistance. After the war, he was appointed to positions at the conservatories in Katowice (from 1945) and in Kraków (from 1963); his pupils included the composers Baird, Kilar and Szalonek.
Woytowicz is at his most inventive in the surviving orchestral works. Poemat żałobny (‘Funeral Poem’) and the Second Symphony (‘The Warsaw’) are dramatic tone poems characterized by a robust and gritty language. The Symphony – the first in Poland after the war – is significant both stylistically and symbolically: it quotes the 1831 revolutionary song ‘Warszawianka’ and even his own wartime underground song in the finale’s coda (though this was excised in the published score), while the fugal sections and cyclic thematic scheme point to Woytowicz’s disciplined compositional technique. In the post-war decade his cantatas (a genre characteristic of the time) mark an inspirational low point, but the Second String Quartet (1953) is an impressive example of a genre which had become unfashionable in socialist-realist Poland. The Third Symphony – with its prominent solo piano – artfully combines 12-note pitch organization, neo-classical gestures, arch-form and variation technique.