Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/475

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.


WILLAERT.

Paris for the purpose of study ; but his energies were soon turned aside into their natural chan- nel, and he became the pupil 1 either of Jean Mouton or of Josquin des Pre's which, it is not certain in the theory of music. He returned to Flanders for a while, then went to Venice, Rome, and Ferrara. It was during this visit to Rome, when Leo X was Pope, that Willaert heard a motet of his own ('Verbum dulce et suave ') performed as the work of Josquin. As soon, it is added, as the choir learned its real authorship, they refused to sing it again. Wil- laert's name evidently had not yet become that power which it was soon to be, under the naturalised form of 'Adriano,' among Italian musicians. From Ferrara he went northward, and became cantor to King Lewis of Bohemia and Hungary; and as on December 12, 1527, he was appointed chapel-master of St. Mark's at Venice by the doge Andrea Gritti, it is ? presumed that he returned to Italy at the king's death in the previous year. His career at Venice, where he lived until his death, Dec. 7, 1562,3 is associated principally with the foun- dation of the singing-school which was soon to produce a whole dynasty of musicians of the highest eminence in their day. Among the first of these may be named Willaert's own pupils, Zarlino and Cyprian de Rore ; the latter was Willaert's successor at St. Mark's.

Willaert's compositions are very numerous. 4 Those published at Venice include (i) three collections of motets, 1539-1545; (2) two of madrigals, 1548 and 1561 ; (3) a volume of 'Musica nova,' 1559, containing both motets and madrigals ; (4) several books of psalms and of hymns; (5) Canzone, 1545; (6) Fantasie e Ricercari, 1549. Besides these a variety of his works may be found in different musical collec- tions published during his lifetime at Antwerp, Louvain, Nuremberg, Strassburg, and other places. Willaert holds a remarkable position among those Flemish masters whose supremacy in the musical world made the century from 1450 to 1550 distinctively ' the century of the Nether- lands/ 6 He did not merely take up the tradi- tion of Josquin des Pres ; he extended it in many directions. From the two organs and the two choirs of St. Mark's he was led to invent double choruses ; and this form of composition he developed to a perfection which left little even for Palestrina to improve upon. His motets for 4, 5, and 6 voices are of the pure Belgian style, and written with singular clearness in the different parts. In one instance he advanced to the conception of an entire narrative, that of the history of Susannah, set for five voices. 6 It

laert as of Bruges. Very possibly the discrepancy is to be explained by supposing Bruges to have been the seat of Willaert's family, and Boulers that of his actual birth.

i See A. W. Ambros, ' Geschlchte der Musik,' iii. 502 : Breslau 1868

a FiStis, vili. 471.

  • A fine portrait of the musician is given by M. vander Straeten

1.258.

< See the lists in Fe"tls, I. e., and, for those published in the Nether- lands, M. Goovaert's 'Historic et Bibliographic de la Typographic musicale dans les Pays-bas,' under the different years.

s Ambros, i. 3. See this writer's excellent criticism of Willaert, TOl. iii. 503-509.

Compare F<5tis, vill. 471.

��WILLIAMS.

��459

��would be absurd to describe such a work as an oratorio, yet the idea of it is not dissimilar. In- deed, in departing to some extent from the severity of his predecessors and creating for him- self a richer style of his own, Willaert ventured to be more distinctively declamatory than any one before him. The complexion, therefore, of his writing, though it might appear 'dry* to M. Fdtis, is markedly more modern than that of his masters. He has also a good claim to'be con- sidered the veritable father of the madrigal, and it is his compositions in this field which are probably the best remembered of all he wrote. To contemporaries, however, if we may believe Zarlino, his church-music appealed most strongly ; his psalms, and in particular a Magnificat for three choirs, being peculiarly admired. [R.L.P.] WILLIAMS, ANNA, born in London, daughter of Mr. William Smith Williams, reader to Messrs. Smith Elder & Co., to whose insight the publication of 'Jane Eyre' was due. She was taught singing by Mr. H. C. Deacon and Mr. J. B. Welch, and on June 29, 1872, took the first soprano prize at the National Prize Meeting Festival at the Crystal Palace. She afterwards studied for fifteen months at Naples with Domenico Scafati, and on Jan. 17, 1874, reappeared at the Crystal Palace. Since then she has taken a very high position as an oratorio and concert singer at the Principal Festivals and Musical Societies of the United Kingdom. Her voice is powerful and 2| octaves in compass, and she sings like a thorough musician. She has occasionally played in opera in the provinces, but it is as a versatile, refined and accomplished concert singer that she is best known and appre- ciated. Her repertoire embraces music of all schools, from the classical composers to Wagner, Liszt, Sgambati, Parry, etc. [A. C.]

WILLIAMS, GEORGE EBENEZER, born 1 784, was a chorister of St. Paul's Cathedral under Richard Bellamy. On quitting the choir (about 1 799) he became deputy organist for Dr. Arnold at Westminster Abbey. In 1 800 he was appointed organist of the Philanthropic Society's chapel, and in 1814 succeeded Robert Cooke as organist of Westminster Abbey. He composed, when a boy, some chants and Sanctuses, printed in 'Sixty Chants . . . composed by the Choristers of St. Paul's Cathedral,' 1795, ancl was author of 'An Introduction to the Pianoforte,' and 'Exer- cises for the Pianoforte.' He died April 1 7, 1819, and was buried April 24, in the south cloister of Westminster Abbey. [W.H.H.]

WILLIAMS, the Sisters, born at Bitterley, near Ludlow ANNE, in 1818, MARTHA in 1821. They received instruction in singing from T. S. Cooke ('Tom Cooke') and Signor Negri, and in 1840 first appeared in public in the provinces, speedily established a reputation in oratorio and other concerts, and in 1846 sang subordinate parts on the production of ' Elijah ' at Birmingham. [n concerts, their singing of duets of Mendelssohn, Macfarren, Smart, etc., was greatly admired, and is still remembered with pleasure. The

�� �