English music sellers, printers and publishers, established in London. As Wright & Wilkinson, or Wright & Co., they succeeded Elizabeth Randall and advertised themselves as ‘Successors to Mr. Walsh’, whose business had passed to her through her husband william Randall (ii). From February 1785 to 1803 the firm was known by the name of H. Wright, standing for Hermond or Harman Wright. It is chiefly notable for the reissue of many of Handel's works from the Walsh plates, and for the first publication in full score of a number of his oratorios, including Belshazzar (c1784), Joseph (c1785), The Occasional Oratorio (1784) and Solomon (c1788). After Wright ceased business his entire stock of plates was purchased by Preston & Son. (Humphries-SmithMP)
WILLIAM C. SMITH/PETER WARD JONES
City in Poland, capital of the Duchy of Silesia in the 12th century. It was under Habsburg rule from 1526 to 1742, when it became part of Prussia; after World War II it became part of Poland.
1. To 1526.
2. Under Habsburg sovereignty (1526–1742).
3. Under Prussian rule (1742–1945).
4. Since 1945.
LOTHAR HOFFMANN-ERBRECHT (1–3), ADAM NEUER/BARBARA PRZYBYSZEWSKA-JARMNSKA (4)
1. To 1526.
German settlement of the area, beginning around 1150, brought in foreign religious orders. The Premonstratensians from France used Roman plainchant, while the cathedral chapter and civic parish churches used Germanic chant. The oldest surviving fragment of music in German neumatic notation, the antiphon Duo homines ascenderunt, of the Augustines of the Sandkirche, dates from the early 13th century. Chants were composed for the canonization of St Hedwig (1242); the sequences and cantica of Bishop Konrad I (1427–47) have been lost.
After destruction during the Tartar invasion of 1241, the town was rebuilt on a large scale in a new location, and in 1261 it received the status of a city in line with Magdeburg Civic Law. Under Duke Heinrich IV (1252/3–90), who was brought up in Prague, it became the most easterly outpost of late German Minnesang: the Manessische Manuscript contains two compositions by the duke. Tannhäuser, in Lay VI, praised the court of Breslau’s hospitality to singers, and around 1311 Frauenlob (Heinrich von Meissen) looked back reminiscently at the city of the Minnesingers in his Proverb 135.
The churches practised organum on great festival days only. In 1327 Breslau seems to have become familiar with the polyphony of the Ars Nova through Machaut, who spent several years at the Prague court and took part in the siege and capture of Breslau by the Bohemian army. In the treaty of Trenčín in 1335 Poland relinquished all claims to Silesia and Breslau ‘for ever and always’, ceding them to the crown of Bohemia.
The cathedral had an organ as early as the 14th century; a little later the other churches had organs too. 15th-century fragments of organ tablatures from the Dominican monastery, described as ‘fundamenta’ and ‘tenores’, indicate clausula setting. Outstanding among the organ builders of Breslau was Stephan Kaschendorff (c1425–99), who, besides building new organs for the churches of St Maria Magdalena and St Elisabeth, constructed fine instruments in Nuremberg, Nördlingen and Erfurt.
Around 1500 polyphony was performed, along lines suggested by Codex Mf.2016, from a Sudeten German monastery, which came to Breslau at the time of secularization in 1812. Figural music at Breslau Cathedral reached its first peak with the priest and musician Thomas Stoltzer from Schweidnitz (c1470–1526), who had a benefice at St Elisabeth and was vicarius discontinuus at the cathedral on great festival days, exercising the function of a Kapellmeister and surely performing works of his own. After 1510 he became known as a composer far beyond his native region. The majority of his mass Propers and four alternatim settings of the Ordinary (without Credo) were written for Breslau.
2. Under Habsburg sovereignty (1526–1742).
In accordance with the Treaty of Succession, Bohemia (with Silesia) and Hungary passed to Austria on the death of King Ludwig II at the Battle of Mohács. By 1523 the majority of the citizens of Breslau had become Lutheran; only the cathedral chapter remained Catholic. At Protestant services late Netherlandish, Italian and German motets with Latin texts continued to be favoured at first; the alternatim mass was also retained. The first Breslauer Gesangbuch was printed in 1525 by Adam Dyon; it largely corresponds to Maler’s Erfurt Enchiridion. In 1555 Valentin Triller published the Schlesich Singebüchlein in Breslau, containing German sacred songs in two or three parts. In 1575 Johann Knöfel dedicated his Cantus choralis to Breslau city council; this work contained polyphonic settings of the Ordinary and Proper, with a view to ending the progressive disuse into which the Latin liturgy was falling in Protestant services. At the Hieronymus Hospital, and while seriously ill, Gregor Lange (c1540–87) composed most of his expressive motets and songs in the style of Lassus; Simon Lyra (1546–1601), cantor of St Elisabeth, also wrote works in the tradition of Lassus. Samuel Besler (1574–1625), who dedicated his settings of sacred songs to the education of the young, was already clearly breaking away from rigid psalmody in his four choral Passions.
While Catholic music at the cathedral went through a period of stagnation in the 17th century, Protestant music followed Italian models in the work of, for instance, the music publisher Ambrosius Profe (1589–1661) and Daniel Sartorius, with his collection of some 400 printed monodic settings of the mass. The printed motets of Tobias Zeutschner (1621–75) were highly esteemed in Germany and Sweden; his version of the Christmas story (1660) seems to be the first German example in the concertato style before Schütz, who himself had visited Breslau in the retinue of the Elector of Saxony in 1621, and given evidence of his art in two motets especially written for the city.
The Venetian polychoral style is reflected in Sebastian Lemle’s 37 polyphonic concertos and the concerto for five choirs Frischauf, jetzt ist des Singens Zeit by the Thuringian Johannes Phengius, written for St Elisabeth. Another very prolific composer was Martin Meyer (c1643–1709), organist of St Bernhardin; at least 84 of his polyphonic works are extant, among which Auf Mein Psalter und Harfenspiel for 50 voices was commissioned by the merchant Friedrich Chremnitz in 1668 to be performed annually. On a more modest scale were the cantatas of Georg Hoffmann (1700–80), in the manner of Telemann. The choral cantatas, keyboard concertos and 24 keyboard preludes and fugues by Georg Gebel (i) (1685–c1750) have unfortunately been lost. The mystic poet Angelus Silesius of Breslau also contributed much to Silesian sacred song in its heyday.
Breslau’s golden age of organ building began around 1700. Adam Orazio Casparini (1676–1745), son of the famous Eugen Casparini of Sorau, was much in demand as ‘architect of organs’. Ignatius Mentzel (c1670–1730) was equally energetic and built four outstanding organs in Breslau, besides others. Michael Engler (1688–1760) built the organ of St Elisabeth with its 56 stops.
Several lutenists born in Breslau achieved international recognition in western Germany, especially Silvius Leopold Weiss (1686–1750), whose brother Johann Sigismund was also a well known lutenist at the court of Mannheim. We owe the last German treatise on lute playing, published in Nuremberg in 1727, to Ernst Gottlieb Baron (1696–1760) of Breslau, a pupil of S.L. Weiss. He ended his career as a chamber musician at the court of Frederick the Great.
3. Under Prussian rule (1742–1945).
Music at the cathedral had declined until the chapter finally appointed a professional musician who was also a prolific composer to the post of Kapellmeister in 1735: Johann Georg Clement. From 1805 this important position was occupied uninterruptedly until 1945 by Silesians: Joseph Ignaz Schnabel, Bernhard Hahn, Moritz Brosig, Adolf Greulich, Max Filke, Siegfried Cichy and Paul Blaschke, among whom Schnabel, Brosig and Cichy were outstanding composers. All the Kapellmeister wrote masses with orchestral accompaniment, among other liturgical works, in the Bohemian and Austrian tradition to which they still felt they belonged.
Protestant music suffered a perceptible decline in the 18th century. Around and after 1800 Friedrich Wilhelm Berner, organist of St Elisabeth, wrote motets, cantatas and organ concertos, while Gottlieb Siegert (1789–1868) encouraged choral music by founding a Singverein and performing oratorios. An ecumenical Royal Academic Institute for Church Music at the university was beneficial to young talent.
Organ music remained the domain of the Protestant churches. Following Berner, whose playing Mendelssohn admired, the organist and composer Adolf Friedrich Hesse (1809–63) was regarded as one of the major German virtuosos, and the tradition remained a lively one in Breslau until 1945. Johannes Piersig, organist of St Elisabeth, was still organizing the Breslau Organ Festival from 1942 to 1944, and directed the Heinrich Schütz Festival in 1944. Gerhard Zeggert gave 430 organ recitals at St Maria Magdalena over several decades, and the Protestant churches made a crucial contribution to the revival of early music, with many performances of great choral works of the past.
The last important individual organ builder in Breslau was Christian Benjamin Müller (c1769–1847); after 1860 organ building increasingly became a matter of industrial manufacture. Müller completed the cathedral organ with its 60 stops in 1805 and the organ of the church of the Eleven Thousand Virgins in 1825. His son Moritz Robert (1803–63) built the small but outstanding instrument in the music hall of the university in 1833. The Frankfurt an der Oder firm of Sauer constructed the spectacular giant organ in the Breslau Jahrhunderthalle (now the Hala Ludowa) in 1913.
The civic musical life of Breslau developed only gradually from 1754 onwards. Franz Beinlich performed oratorios by Dittersdorf and Handel, but it was not until 1787 that Johann Adam Hiller, appointed from Leipzig as music director, continued these efforts. Hoping to cultivate suitable audiences, he organized 16 concerts of German and Italian vocal works and then gave Handel’s Messiah its first Breslau performance, with 250 amateurs. When he was appointed Kantor of the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, musical life in Breslau disintegrated, but when Schnabel (1767–1831) became cathedral Kapellmeister he succeeded in concentrating the forces available and setting up a permanent orchestra. He was very much of the classical Viennese school as a conductor and was a Beethoven enthusiast; he organized and conducted some 1100 concerts. In 1819 Spohr wrote in his memoirs that many virtuosos visited Breslau, and concerts were given there almost every weekday. In 1822 students at the university founded the Musikverein, and the first Liedertafel was founded in 1823, soon to be followed by many other male-voice choral societies. In 1825, following the example of Carl Friedrich Zelter in Berlin, Johann Theodor Mosewius founded the Singakademie, and a year after Mendelssohn had revived Bach’s St Matthew Passion in Berlin Mosewius performed the work in Breslau. A society to promote orchestral music in the city, the Orchesterverein, was founded in 1862 and was privately financed; it played a leading part in Silesia and in the 20th century became the state Silesian PO. Brahms conducted the orchestra several times, and the university gave him an honorary doctorate in 1881.
Breslau was well known for opera as early as 1725–34, a period when a ‘company of Italian virtuosos’ under Antonio Bioni, supported by the Prince Bishop of Breslau and the Catholic nobility, performed 42 works, most of them pastiches or compositions by Bioni himself. An ideological and sectarian quarrel between the middle classes and the nobility led to the dissolution of this company. At the end of the 18th century Hiller and various touring troupes staged Singspiele and operas by Dittersdorf and Mozart. In 1798 a limited liability company was set up to found a theatre, and the young Weber was conductor of the opera from 1804 to 1806. His successor Gottlob Benedict Bierey, an experienced man of the theatre, directed the company from 1808 to 1828; he composed some 30 operas and Singspiele. Eugen Seidelmann gave the Breslau opera a name for its productions of Mozart and Wagner during the period 1830–64. In 1878 the civic theatre passed into the public domain. In the 20th century the theatre specialized in the works of Richard Strauss, and performed many modern operas between 1924 and 1933.
Musical education in Breslau flourished from the 19th century onwards. With the transfer of the university of Frankfurt an der Oder (the Viadrina) to Breslau in 1811 (a Jesuit college of theology and philosophy, the Leopoldina, had existed since 1702), the city gained new status. The faculty of music was set up in 1909, and later an Institute for School and Church Music was added. The Silesian Conservatory, privately founded in 1880 by Adolf Fischer, became a state institution in the 20th century but was never raised to the status of Musikhochschule.
The long tradition of music printing was continued by the houses of Korn and of Julius Hainauer, which issued over 6000 titles by German and Polish musicians between 1852 and 1939. In the two decades leading up to 1945 the composers Hermann Buchal and Gerhard Strecke, both of them teachers at the conservatory, were active in Breslau; many Jewish musicians also came from the city, including Julius Stern, Salomon Jadassohn, Georg Henschel, Moritz Moszkowski and Otto Klemperer.
4. Since 1945.
Musical life resumed soon after the war: the first orchestral concert took place on 25 June 1945, and the first opera, a ceremonial presentation of Halka, on 8 September. The opera performance was organized by Stanisław Drabik and Stefan Syryłło and featured Franciszka Płat in the title role. Syryłło remained in charge of the orchestra, which from 1949 onwards appeared principally with the opera, nationalized that year as the Opera Dolnośląska (Lower Silesian Opera). The opera has established and maintained a broad repertory of international and Polish works, the latter including operas and ballets by Władysław Żeleński, Paderewski, Feliks Nowowiejski, Ludomir Różycki, Tadeusz Szeligowski, Adam Świerzyński, Krzysztof Baculewski, Zbigniew Bargielski, Henryk Czyż, Juliusz Łuciuk and Witold Rudziński. It has also given festivals devoted to Polish opera and ballet or to Moniuszko in particular. In 1955 a second musical theatre, the Operetka Dolnośląska (Lower Silesian Operetta), was founded.
With the orchestra devoted to the opera, concert life became the milieu of the radio orchestra (active until 1957) and the Wrocław SO, founded in 1954 and renamed the State Philharmonia in 1958. Conductors of this orchestra have included Adam Kopyciński, Włodzimierz Ormicki, Andrzej Markowski, Tadeusz Strugała and Marek Pijavowski. Concerts at first were given in the auditoria of the polytechnic and the university and at the radio; then in 1968 a new Philharmonic Hall was opened, the first programme including short pieces written for the occasion by Szabelski, Górecki and Tadeusz Natanson.
Other ensembles active in the city include Leopoldinum, a chamber orchestra directed by Jan Stanienda, the Philharmonic string quartet Amadeus and two groups specializing in early music: Altri Stromenti, led by Andrzej Kosendziak, and the Collegio di Musica Sacra, under the direction of Marta Kierska-Witczak. Among choirs, that of Wrocław Radio was active from 1949 under Edmund Kajdasz and Stanisław Krukowski and was replaced by the Philharmonic choir in oratorio performances. Kajdasz also formed a group for Renaissance and Baroque music, the Cantores Minores Wratislavienses.
The city has five music festivals. Musica Polonica Nova (previously the Festival of Contemporary Music) was started in 1962 as a festival for regional composers but was expanded in 1964 to include all Poles and became complementary to the Warsaw Autumn. The Days of Organ Music began in 1964 (renamed in 1969 Days of Organ and Harpsichord Music) and the choral festival Wratislavia Cantans in 1966. There are also two festivals for young musicians: Jazz on the Odra (founded 1964) and the Days of Old Masters (1967). Festival concerts are held in the Philharmonic Hall, the Grand Studio of Polish Radio, the richly decorated Baroque Leopoldina Hall at the university (see illustration), the Gothic town hall, the hall of the Silesian Museum, the partly ruined Romanesque hall at the Museum of Architecture and the city’s churches, especially St Elisabeth and the cathedral.
An Institute of Musicology was founded at the university in 1948 under the direction of Hieronim Feicht, who was also made first rector of the newly founded State Higher School of Music in 1949. The latter institution became the Academy of Music in 1981. There are also music schools at primary and secondary levels. The Lower Silesia Musical Society, founded in 1946, contributes much to the organization of music schools in and around the city. A Franz Liszt Society was set up in 1989 and administers piano competitions.
GroveO (K. Michałowski)
MGG2 (‘Breslau’; F. Feldmann)
E.T.Mosewius: Die Breslauer Singakademie (Breslau, 1850)
E.Bohn: Bibliographie der Musik-Druckwerke bis 1700, welche … zu Breslau aufbewahrt werden (Berlin, 1883/R)
E.Bohn: Die musikalischen Handschriften des 16. und 17. Jahrhunderts in der Stadtbibliothek zu Breslau (Breslau, 1890/R)
G.Münzer: Beiträge zur Konzertgeschichte Breslaus am Ende des vorigen und zu Anfang dieses Jahrhunderts (diss., U. of Berlin, 1890)
E.Bohn: Hundert historische Concerte in Breslau, 1881–1905 (Breslau, 1905)
H.H.Borcherdt: ‘Geschichte der italienischen Oper in Breslau’, Zeitschrift des Vereins für Geschichte Schlesiens, xliv (1910), 18–51
H.Behr: Denkschrift zur Feier des 50jährigen Bestehens der Breslauer Orchestervereins 1862–1912 (Breslau, 1912)
H.E.Guckel: Katholische Kirchenmusik in Schlesien (Leipzig, 1912/R)
G.Jensch: Musikgeschichte der Stadt Breslau (Breslau, 1919)
J.Sass: Die kirchenmusikalischen Ämter und Einrichtungen an den drei evangelischen Haupt- und Pfarrkirchen der Stadt Breslau (diss., U. of Breslau, 1922)
F.Koschinsky: Das protestantische Kirchenorchester im 17. Jahrhundert unter Berücksichtigung des Breslauer Kunstschaffens dieser Zeit (diss., U. of Breslau, 1931)
F.Feldmann: Der Codex Mf.2016 des Musikalischen Instituts bei der Universität Breslau (Breslau, 1932)
W.Matysiak: Breslauer Domkapellmeister von 1831–1925 (Düsseldorf, 1934)
H.A.Sander: Geschichte des lutherischen Gottesdienstes und der Kirchenmusik in Breslau (Breslau,1937)
F.Feldmann: Musik und Musikpflege im mittelalterlichen Schlesien (Breslau, 1938/R)
F.Feldmann: ‘Breslau und die musikalische Romantik im Spiegelbild ihrer führenden Musiker’, Zeitschrift für Ostforschung, ii (1953), 352–70
H.Feicht: ‘Muzyka liturgiczna w polskim średniowieczu’ [Liturgical music in the Middle Ages in Poland], Musica medii aevi, i (1965), 9–52
Opera Wrocławska 1945–1965 (Wrocław,1966)
E.Dziebowska, ed.: Polska współcześna kultura muzyczna 1944–1964 [Contemporary Polish musical culture] (Kraków, 1968)
B.M.Jankowski and M. Misiorny: Muzyka i życie muzyczne na ziemiach zachodnich i Północnych 1945–1965 [Music and musical life in western and northern Poland] (Poznań, 1968)
Z.Bernat: ‘Pontyfikał Wrocławski z XII wieku jako zabytek muzyczny’ [The 12th-century Wrocław Pontificale as a musical monument], Musica medii aevi, iii (1969), 7–29
M.Zduniak: ‘Polacy w życiu muzycznym Wrocławia w czasach nowożytnych’ [Poles in the musical life of Wrocław in modern times], Studia i rozprawy: towarzystwo im. Fryderyka Chopina, i (1971), 24–40
F.Feldmann: Die schlesische Kirchenmusik im Wandel der Zeiten (Lübeck, 1975)
K.Weber: Geschichte der Theaterwesens in Schlesien: Daten und Fakten von dem Anfang bis zum Jahre 1944 (Dortmund, 1980)
L.Hoffmann-Erbrecht: ‘Bedeutende schlesische Lautenisten der Barockzeit’, Barock in Schlesien, ed. G. Pankalla and G. Speer (Dülmen, 1981), 35–62
A.Kolbuszewska: ‘O ksiegozbiorze muzycznym Biblioteki Uniwersyteckiej we Wrocławiu’ [On the collection of music books of the University Library in Wrocław],Zeszyty naukowe państwowej wyższej szkoły muzycznej we Wrocławiu (1981), 175–94
R.Walter: ‘Die Breslauer Dommusik von 1805–1945’, Musik in Schlesien im Zeichen der Romantik, ed. G. Pankalla and G. Speer (Dülmen, 1981), 87–218
M.Zduniak: Muzyka i muzycy polscy w dziewietnastowiecznym Wrocławiu [Polish music and musicians in 19th-century Wrocław] (Wrocław, 1984)
W.Wegryn-Klisowska: Muzyka w dawnym Wrocławiu [Music in old Wrocław] (Wrocław,1987)
L.Hoffmann-Erbrecht, ed.: Geistliche Musik in Schlesien (Dülmen, 1988)
R.Walter: ‘Kirchenkomponisten der Diözese Breslau im 18. Jahrhundert’, Oberschlesisches Jb, vii (1991), 111–42
L.Hoffmann-Erbrecht: ‘Die Anfänge der Breslauer Singakademie unter Johann Theodor Mosewius’, Akademie und Musik: … Festschrift für Werner Braun, ed. W. Frobenius and others (Saarbrücken, 1993), 157–64
G.Scheuermann: Das Breslau-Lexikon (Dülmen, 1994)
B.Przybyszewska-Jarmińska: ‘Ocalałe żródla do historii muzyki w Polsce XVII stulecia ze zbiorów dawnej Stadtbibliothek we Wrocławiu’ [Surviving sources for the history of 17th-century music in Poland from the former Stadtbibliothek in Wrocław], Muzyka, xxxix/2 (1994), 3–10