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Wagner, (Wilhelm) Richard
Born in Leipzig, Germany, May 22, 1813.
In 1834-36 he was conductor at Magdeburg, and after similar engagements (1836-39) in Konigsberg and Riga he went to Paris, where he remained from 1839 to 1842. Here he composed or completed his "Rienze" and "Der fliegendge Hollander" (Flying Dutchman). "Rienzi" obtained for him the post of assistant conductor (with Reissiger) at Dresden. His "Tannhauser" was produced there in 1845. He spent the season of 1855 in London as conductor of the Philharmonic Society's concerts. In all his operas the words of the libretto are of his own composition, and far superior, from the poetic standpoint, to the majority of works intended for such use. They are treated in a declamatory style, supported by most original harmonies and instrumentation in accordance with their dramatic significance. He advanced the importance of the orchestral accompaniment till it became almost the prime factor in the performance of his works. He was acknowledged supreme master of instrumental effects. It must be admitted, however, that, in his later works especially, his scoring is not infrequently cruel to the human voice. Wagner was a musical revolutionist and reformer in many ways affecting the opera. As with reformers and iconoclasts in other spheres and times, his methods and theories will doubtless be modified by the future. Meantime he may safely be ranked as the greatest musician who has risen since Beethoven, and his probable influence on future operatic compositions can scarcely be overestimated. The following is a list of dates of the first performances of his remaining dramatic works:
Of the above "Die Walkure", "Siegfried" and "Gotterdammerung" together constitute Wagner's greatest work, the "Trillogie" - three chapters of one story, each for a separate evening. "Das Rheingold" is the preface to these three, wherein occur the events whose far reaching consequences are developed in the subsequent evenings. The four works constitute the "Ring of the Nibelungen". Wagner's ambition was to produce a distinctively national (German) music drama; hence his choice and adaptation of scenes from the great epic of the "Nibelungenlied", the German "Iliad". The first distinctively German opera ("Der Freischtz") was composed by Weber. Wagner followed this nation school, but he gave to it an entirely new and greater significance, terminating the dramatic opera (which he called "music drama") with his "Trilogie" and other works. Through Wagner the course even of Italian opera was changed. His influence in the direction of freedom of modulation and of form has led to remarkable experimenting in the most modern music.
He died in Venice, February 13, 1883.
Warlamoff, Alexander Jegorovitch
Born in Moscow in 1810.
A singing teacher of some prominence, he wrote a number of popular songs and pianoforte pieces.
He died in Moscow in 1849.
Warren, George William
Born in Albany, N. Y., August 17, 1828.
In 1860-70 he was organist of the Church of the Holy Trinity, Brooklyn, and from 1870 of St. Thomas' Church, New York. He also held the professorship of music in Columbia University. His compositions are largely church music, but he also wrote several pianoforte numbers.
He died in New York in 1902.
Weber, Karl Maria von
Born in Eutin, Germany, December 18, 1786.
His father was a musician, and Karl was well educated. He studied for time painting and engraving, but music was his passion. His first musical lessons were given by his step brother Fritz, and afterward he studied with Heuschkel, Michael Haydn, Valesi, and Kalcher. While under the last named teacher he composed an opera, "Die Macht der Liebe und des Weines", the score of which was lost or burned. In 1800 he produced "Das Waldmadchen", with little success. "Peter Schmoll und seine Nachbarn" (1803?) was his third opera. At Vienna in 1803 he became a pupil of Abbe Vogler. The next year he was made kapellmaister at Breslau; in 1806-10 he was private secretary to the Duke of Wurtemberg at Stuttgart; afterward he lived in Mannheim, Darmstadt, and other places; was appointed kapellmeister in Prague in 1813, and in 1816 was called to Dresden to organize and conduct the new German opera, of which he is regarded as the founder. In 1821 he went to Berlin and there brought out "Der Freischutz", the most celebrated of this compositions, which at once gave him rank with the great masters of his art.
In 1826 Weber visited London to superintend the production of his "Oberon", at the Covent Garden, where it met with an enthusiastic reception. Soon after this, pulmonary disease rapidly preyed upon him an ended his career. Besides other operas, the list of his works includes overtures, cantatas, concertos, the "Invitation a la Valse" and other piano pieces, songs, etc. As founder of the romantic school of German opera, Weber exerted a decisive influence upon later composers, especially upon Wagner and his followers.
He died in London, June 5, 1826.
Born in New York City in 1870 of French and German parentage.
Born in Lublin, Poland, July 10, 1835.
He studied at the Paris Conservatory with Clavel, Massart, and Colet, was an instructor in the St. Petersburg Conservatory in 1862-67, and in 1864 was appointed solo violinist to the Czar. In 1875-77 he was professor of violin in the conservatory at Brussels. His extensive tours included a visit to the United States with Rubinstein in 1872. Among his compositions are two concertos, several fantasias, salon pieces, and violin studies.
He died in Moscow, March 31, 1880.
Wollenhaupt, Hermann Adolf
Born in Schkeuditz, Prussian Saxony, September 17, 1827.
He studied under Julius Knorr in pianoforte, and Moritz Hauptmann in composition. From 1845 he was a teacher in New York. His compositions include nearly a hundred pianoforte pieces.
He died in New York, September 18, 1863.
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