The following composers have works currently in print by Wolfhead Music:
Johann Sebastian Bach. Perhaps the best known and certainly one of the most prolific German composers of the baroque era, Bach (1685-1750) is a name that needs no introduction. His sonatas and partitas for solo violin have been hailed as among the greatest musical works ever written.
Heinrich Ignaz Biber. German-Bohemian violinist and composer (1644-1704). Best known for his Mystery Sonatas for violin and basso continuo, Biber was a prolific composer who broke new ground in many of his works. He made extensive use of scordatura (retuning of instruments) in a number of his compositions, allowing for a wide range of chordal effects and tonal qualities not typical for instruments with standard tunings. Much of his music is highly programmatic and surprisingly advanced for his time.
René de Boisdeffre. A cousin of the famous French general Raoul Le Mouton de Boisdeffre (1838-1906), he was a composer of a number of chamber and vocal works during the mid- to late-19th century. In a style reminiscent of Saint-Saëns, his works are lyrical, conventional, and quite accessible to general audiences.
Michel Bosc. French compoer Michel Bosc (b. 1963) is largely self-taught. A prolific composer, his works cover such diverse registers as chamber music, symphonies, choral music, and music for the theater. A member of the Société Marc-Antoine Charpentier, he also is a distinguished music critic and analyst. His works have been performed worldwide by such performers and ensembles as Gilles Lefèvre, Aline Fox, Frédéric Tacco, Christian Foulonneau, the brass quintet of the Orchestre National des Pays de Loire, the National Orchestra of Kazakhstan, the Academic Symphony Orchestra of the Ulyanovsk Philarmonia, the European Orchestra, the Orchestre Instrumental d’Ile-de-France, the Orchestre Symphonique Lyonnais, and the Ensemble Gabriele Leone. Conductor Maximilian Fröschl has described Bosc’s music as possessing “melodic sweetness, polyphonic rigour, and the power of rhythm.” [Home Page]
Frédéric Burgmüller. Best remembered today for his melodic pedagogical works for piano, Burgmüller (1806-1874) was considered also an important composer of ballets during his lifetime. The Three Nocturnes represent his quentissential command of pre-Romantic harmonic writing.
Domenico Caudioso. Sometimes spelled Gaudioso, little is known about this 18th-century Italian composer — even his place and date of birth have been lost. The G major concerto represents one of his few surviving works and evokes the charming style of mandolin-writing of his period.
Ernest Chausson. French composer of the late Romantic period (1855-1899), Chausson studied under Jules Massenet and César Franck at the Paris Conservatoire. A long-time secretary of the Société Nationale de Musique, he maintained an active salon in Paris where he drew many friends of the arts for social gatherings. He was particularly supportive of the young Claude Debussy, though the two were from altogether different backgrounds. Chausson’s career was cut short by his untimely death in a bicycle accident at age 44.
John Craton. Contemporary American composer (b. 1953), Craton studied music theory and composition under John Maltese, Gerald Moore, and Henry Fusner. His compositions typically reflect the English pastoral school “with an American twist,” and his works have been compared to those of Ralph Vaughan Williams and Gustav Holst. Craton’s music frequently evokes a curious blend of medieval harmonies with pastoral lyricism and has been performed by such artists and ensembles as Sebastiaan de Grebber, Gertrud Weyhofen, Takumi Mamiya, Lisa Ferrigno, Taichi Fukazawa, Het CONSORT, Filarmonica Mandolini Alba Sapporo, Townsend Opera; and the Netherlands, Bloomington, and Amsterdam Symphony Orchestras. [Home Page]
Carlos Curti. Little information is available on this Italian mandolinist and composer (1859-1922) who flourished in the United States at the turn of the 19th-20th centuries. He is known to have formed an early mandolin orchestra in America shortly after the appearance of the Estudiantina Figueroa in New York. His method (published in 1896) was a very comprehensive volume that has been out of print for many decades. We are very pleased to offer it in facsimile edition.
Walter Damrosch. Born in Breslau (1862-1950), Damrosch came to America at age nine when his father was appointed conductor of the Metropolitan Opera. Best remembered as a conductor, Walter Damrosch also composed five notable operas as well as a number of works for smaller ensembles and several song cycles. A prominent figure among the Cornish Colony composers, Damrosch inspired many other artists during his lifetime and left a lone sonata for piano and violin written in a style very reminiscent of Brahms.
Charles Dancla. A violin prodigy highly acclaimed by Pierre Rode, Dancla (1817-1907) studied under Baillot and was highly influenced by both Paganini and Vieuxtemps. He served as solo violinist and concertmaster of the Paris Opera and held a professorship in violin at the Paris Conservatoirs from 1857-1892. Dancla composed more than 130 works for violin, the two sets of Airs varieés being the best known today. The Romances are comparable in difficulty to the Airs.
Geraldine Dobyns. Little is known of the life of American composer Geraldine Dobyns (1882-1956). What few facts emerge show that she was born in Madison, Louisiana, the fifth of seven children. She graduated from the St. Agnes Academy, a prestigious private school in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1900 (presumably with a focus on music) and subsequently taught music in Memphis for several years. The three rags, which were published between 1907 and 1909, are the only known surviving works by this remarkable and innovative composer. Geraldine married in 1916 and appears to have given up her musical pursuits after that time. She and her family moved about a great deal after her marriage (she is found in Los Angeles, Washington, and Dallas over the next few decades), finally spending their retirement years in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Earl R. Drake. American violinist and composer (1865-1916). Drake was born in Aurora, Illinois, and later studied violin under Schradieck, Hild, and Joachim in Germany, where he also served as Joachim’s accompanist, being equally accomplished as a pianist. After several world tours, Drake established a highly successful school of violin and orchestra in Chicago, which flourished during the early years of the 20th century. Enormously popular during his lifetime as performer, pedagogue, and composer, his compositions sadly have fallen into obscurity during most of the last 100 years.
Théodore Dubois. French organist and composer (1837-1924), Dubois succeeded César Franck as choirmaster of the Basilica de Sainte-Clotilde. Although best remembered today for his religious compositions, Dubois aspired to be recognized for his stage works, having composed seven operas and two ballets.
Maurice Emmanuel. French composer (1862-1938) who utilized exotic modes in his writing, eschewing conventional scale patterns. Initially a student of Léo Delibes at the Paris Conservatoire, Emmanuel was expelled from Delibe’s class because of a sharp disagreement over musical style. A friend of Claude Debussy and César Franck, Emmanuel’s later students included Olivier Messiaen and Henri Dutilleux.
Victor Ewald. A professor of civil engineering in professional life, Ewald (1860-1935) also had extensive musical training and played cello in the Beliaeff Quartet for 16 years. Best remembered for his compositions for brass quintet, he also was an avid collector of Russian folk songs and, along with such notables as Balakirev, Borodin, Cui, Mussorgsky, and Rimsky-Korsakov, was a fellow member of the “Mighty Handful” of pre-Revolutionary Russia.
Ödön Farkas. Hungarian composer (1851-1912) and former director of the conservatory of Cluj, Farkas also served as conductor of the theater in Cluj in 1882-83. Quite popular during his lifetime for his five operas and operettas, little of his musical work survives.
Zdeněk Fibich. Czech composer (1850-1900) and contemporary of Antonín Dvořák and Bedřich Smetana, both of whom far overshadowed the lesser known Fibich. It is believed that Fibich’s fame was diminished more because of his affiliation with the Habsburg dynasty than with the more popular Czech nationalist movement current in his day. An honest evaluation of his music, however, clearly shows a talent fully deserving the international stage.
António Fragoso. Born in Portugal, Fragoso (1897-1918) seemed destined to become one of Portugal’s most eminent composers after completing studies at the National Music Conservatory of Lisbon. Though barely in his twenties, critics hailed him as “one of the most powerful talents of his generation,” and his career path seemed assured. Sadly, Fragoso fell victim to the 1918 influenza pandemic, and he died in October 1918, just 21 years of age, at his childhood home in Pocariça. [Home Page]
Francesco Geminiani. Eighteenth-century Italian violinist and composer, Geminiani (1687-1762) studied under Alessandro Scarlatti, Carlo Lonati, and Arcangelo Corelli. After an impressive career in Italy, Geminiani relocated to London where he became a patron of George I and performed often with George Frederic Handel. A true violin virtuoso, his Italian students nicknamed him “Il Furibondo (The Madman)” because of his unusual but expressive rhythms.
Alexander Glazunov. Russian composer of the late Romantic period (1865-1936), Glazunov is perhaps best remembered as an early instructor of Dmitri Shostakovich. Highly conventional in his own compositions, Glazunov also worked tirelessly to save the Petrograd (later Leningrad) Conservatory from politicization after the Bolshevik Revolution. Finally leaving the Soviet Union in 1928, he toured the world for several years and finally settled in Paris for the remainder of his life.
Louis-Gabriel Guillemain. French violinist and composer (1705-1780), his works represent the height of violin writing of his period. Full of pre-revolutionary French galant, his music also reveals an improvisational style well ahead of its time.
Johann Adolph Hasse. An eighteenth-century German tenor and composer of operas (1699-1783), most of his works were destroyed in the seige of Dresden. The mandolin concerto survives as a small representation of his work which encompassed more than 100 operas, oratorios, and sinfonias.
Johann David Heinichen. Heinichen (1683-1729) studied music at the famous Thomasschule Leipzig, receiving instruction from Johann Schelle and Johann Kuhnau. Though later trained as a lawyer, he immigrated to Italy and achieved notable success as a composer. Heinichen later returned to Germany and was appointed Kapellmeister to the Elector of Saxony in Dresden.
Clovis Lecail. Belgian trumpeter and composer (1859-1932), Lecail studied under Joseph Dupont and Hubert Ferdinand Kufferath at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels. He spent most of his career as a highly regarded bandmaster in the Belgian army, becoming superintendent of military music in 1910. Lecail composed about 175 works for winds, orchestra, and chamber ensembles.
Theodore von La Hache. La Hache (1822-1869) immigrated to New Orleans, Louisiana, at age 20 from Dresden, Germany, and quickly established himself as a prominent figure in the city’s musical circles. A gifted pianist, he also was organist and principal choirmaster of the Church of St. Theresa and founder of the New Orleans Philharmonic Society and the Harmonic Association of New Orleans. A contemporary of New Orleans native Louis Moreau Gottschalk, unlike Gottschalk he remained loyal to his adopted hometown and during the War Between the States organized numerous benefit concerts for victims of the War while composing many works celebrating Southern culture and the Confederacy. Though best remembered for his setting of the poem “The Conquered Banner” by Fr. Abram Ryan, his more than 600 numbered works include nearly every genre from parlor music to large sacred works for choir and orchestra. Forced to abandon performance after suffering lead poisoning in 1867, he was active in conducting and composing until his death two years later. [Home Page]
Hubert Léonard. Belgian violinist and composer (1819-1890). Born in Liëge, he studied at the Paris Conservatoire before launching a stellar concertizing career. He later succeeded Charles de Beriot as the principal professor of violin at the Conservatory of Brussels until 1867 when he retired to Paris and devoted himself to private instruction and composition.
Charles Martin Loeffler. Born in Europe, Loeffler (1861-1935) emigrated to the United States in 1881 and considered himself an American composer. During his youth, Loeffler’s family lived in Germany, Alsace, Russia, Switzerland, and Hungary. Charles studied violin in Berlin with Joachim and composition in Paris with Ernest Guiraud. His works are imbued with French Impressionism and elements of contemporary Russian music. Though a prolific composer, many of his works remain unpublished. In addition to Music for Four Stringed Instruments, he wrote several other string quartets, three operas, a number of choral works, and compositions for jazz ensembles.
Paul Friedrich Theodore Miersch. Born on Dresden, Germany, Miersch (1868-1956) immigrated to the United States in 1892 and became a solo cellist with the New York Symphony Orchestra. He composed concertos, orchestral, and chamber music, his works being representative of the late Romantic era.
Jean-Joseph Mondonville. French violinist and composer (1711-1772). Best remembered for his choral works, Mondonville left an impressive corpus of compositions for the violin, an instrument he commanded with excellence and precision. His violin works abound with double-stops and harmonics, unique for French music of his day. Mondonville was known as an energetic, happy man, content with his station in life, and one who refused to consider any man his rival. His obituary proclaimed him a man of the highest virtues and character, and these qualities are equally reflected in his music. Such was his stature that in 1755 he rose to director of the Concert Spirituel in Paris, which at the time was the most important concert system in the world.
Tivadar Nachèz. Hungarian violinist and composer (1859-1930). A native of Budapest, Nachèz was admired by Franz Liszt who, after hearing him play, urged him to study under Joachim in Berlin. Later, as a student of Léonard in Paris, he was encouraged to try his hand at composition as well. Though leaving behind only a small number of works, the Danses tziganes are perhaps his most famous, though sadly having fallen from the repertoire since his death.
Pietro Nardini. A pupil of Giuseppe Tartini, Nardini’s skills on the violin garnered him wide acclaim and praise from even Leopold Mozart. Though born in Livorno, Italy, Nardini (1722-1793) made his early career in Germany where he worked as a conductor and only later returned to Italy as Kappellmeister to the Grand Duke of Tuscany in Florence. Nardini’s compositions are not numerous, but they all betray a genius well ahead of his time.
Marià Obiols. (Also known as Mariano Obiols, 1809-1888.) Obiols was a Catalan composer and protégé of Saverio Mercadante, under whom he studied in Italy. He became the director of the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona from its founding in 1847 until his death. His music is highly accessible and mostly Italianate in style.
René Ortmans. Little is known of René Ortmans’s life beyond the two delightful student concertinos he left to posterity. Both are single-movement works comparable to the Rieding concertinos.
Gabriel Pierné. French composer (1863-1937) who studied under Émile Durand, César Franck, and Jules Massenet. Pierné became chief conductor of the Concerts Cologne in 1910 and is remembered for premiering Stravinsky’s Firebird at the Ballets Russes that same year. His compositions include several operas and symphonic works as well as eight ballets.
Oskar Rieding. Although a native of Germany, Rieding (1840-1918) is best known for his contributions to Hungarian music. After completing studies in Berlin and Leipzig, Rieding moved to Vienna where he served as orchestra leader for three decades and where he composed a number of violin concertos, mostly for students, among other violin works. Following retirement, he spent his remaining days in what is now Slovenia.
Gioacchino Rossini. Born in Pesaro, Italy, Rossini is best remembered for his operatic works, Rossini (1792-1868) penned a number of smaller, lighthearted works in his later years. These compositions he described as the “sins of old age,” and they are characterized by their whimsical and melodic nature.
Paul Rougnon. French composer (1846-1934) and professor at the Paris Conservatoire, Rougnon penned more than 300 works for which he received a gold medal gold medal at the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris, and in 1911 he was made a Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur in recognition of his musical contributions. A student of François Bazin and César Franck, Rougnon later taught, among others, Henri Mulet and Alfred Cortot.
Antonio Salieri. A thoroughly accomplished Italian opera composer (1750-1825), Salieri’s works were nevertheless quickly overshadowed by the brilliance of his contemporary, Mozart. Devoting himself almost entirely to the operatic genre, he found little time to compose works for solo instruments. The Variazioni, his last work, nevertheless betray a rare talent that was in full command of orchestral compostion. The version presented here has been arranged for solo violin and piano.
Pablo de Sarasate. Spanish violinist and composer (1844-1908). Remembered both for his remarkably stylistic works for violin and also as one of the first great artists to have left audio recordings of some of his performances, Sarasate’s music evokes an unquestionable Spanish flavor. The Playera, orginially for violin and piano, is taken from a collection of Spanish dances by the composer.
Willem Ten Have. Born in Amsterdam, Ten Have (1831-1924) studied violin under Charles de Bériot. Later becoming a teacher at the University of Lyon, Ten Have remained in France the rest of his long life. After retiring from teaching he moved to Paris where lived until his death at age 93. Ten Have is best remembered for his Allegro brilliante, but he also composed approximately 40 other significant works for violin.
Carlo Tessarini. Born in Rimini, Italy, in 1690, Tessarini was a highly accomplished but restless soul who made frequent tours throughout Europe. Although there is no conclusive evidence that he studied with Arcangelo Corelli, he has long been rumored to have been one of Corelli’s students. Tessarini’s first set of violin sonatas was published in 1729, and within a few years his music had achieved international acclaim. His reputation often was compared to that of his contemporaries Vivaldi, Locatelli, Albinoni, Handel, and Alberti, even though he was considerably younger in age than they. His restless lifestyle saw him living in Italy, France, England, and Germany before apparently settling his last years in the Netherlands. He gave his last public performance there in December 1766 and was admired for his youthful energy even well into his 70s. The exact date and place of his death is not known, though he is thought to have died somewhere in the Netherlands in 1767.
Trygve Torjussen. Norwegian pianist, composer, and pedagogue (1885-1977), Torjussen’s career flourished in the early part of the 20th century. Best known for his tone poem “To the Rising Sun,” his works were consistently idyllic and clearly influenced by Edvard Grieg. Little biographical information is available, though he is known to have fled Norway for Scotland in 1941 to escape the Nazis.
Franz von Vecsey. Hungarian violinist and composer, Von Vecsey (1893-1935) entered Hubay’s studio at age eight and, two years later, became a sensation in Berlin as a child prodigy. Vecsey made a number of recordings and was in high demand as a performer throughout Europe before and during World War I. Sadly, Vecsey’s stellar career ended when he died prematurely at the young age of 42 due to a pulmonary embolism.
Johann Joseph Vilsmayr. Austrian violinist and composer (1663-1722). Little is known of Vilsmayr’s early life. He is known to have played with the Salzburg Hofkapelle from 1689 until his death. At the Hofkapelle he knew (and possibly studied under) fellow Austrian violinist Heinrich Ignaz Biber. Vilsmayr’s only surviving work, the six partitas for solo violin, show a profound influence by Biber, especially in the extensive use of scordatura.
Antonio Vivaldi. Italian violinist and composer (1678-1741). Though ordained a priest in 1703, Vivaldi spent most of his life teaching violin at the Ospedale della Piet‡ where he also composed an astounding number of works. The concerto F.I. no. 60 is unique among his compositions in that it is written for violin scordatura (the G string must be tuned up a minor third to B-flat). Among the most beautiful of all his concertos, it is published here for violin with piano accompaniment for the first time.
Jan Václav Voříšek. Czech-born Voříšek was a contemporary of Beethoven and Schubert and was highly influenced especially by Beethoven’s nascent Romanticism. A personal friend of Franz Schubert, Voříšek, like Schubert, passed away prematurely at a very young age (34 — 1791-1825).
Arthur Whiting. American pianist and composer (1861-1936), Whiting studied composition under George Whitefield Chadwick at the New England Conservatory and later under Josef Gabriel Rheinberger in Munich. After returning to America, Whiting continued composing, teaching, and lecturing until his death in 1936.
Charles-Marie Widor. Best remembered for his works for organ, Widor (1844-1937) left a number of genuinely charming and impressive chamber compositions as well. Born in Lyon to a family of organ builders, Widor studied in Brussels and Paris, where he was appointed assistent to Camille Saint-Saëns at age 24. Widor helped found the American Conservatory at Fontainbleau in 1921 and remained its director until succeeded by Maurice Ravel in 1934.
Aleksey Yanshinov. Very little is known about Russian composer Yanshinov beyond his dates (1871-1943) and that he composed several charming violin works in late Romantic style. Most of his known compositions were published in Moscow from circa 1900 into the Soviet period.