Nicolai, Willern Frederick Gerard

1829-1896

 

Eminent Dutch composer and writer on musical subjects. For twenty-five years he was the editor of the Cacilia, a musical periodical which exercised great influence over the musicians of his time and country, helping them to a fuller understanding of such masters as Wagner   and Liszt. In 1852 he was appointed teacher of organ, piano and harmony at the Royal Music School at The Hague, and later became director. His German songs which were among his first compositions brought him recognition, and he then devoted himself to the composition of cantatas to Dutch words, and set Schiller's Lied von der Glocke to music for orchestra, chorus and solos; composed an oratorio, Bonifacius; the cantata, The Swedish Nightingale, written in honor of Jenny Lind; and another cantata, Jehovah's Vengeance, which was produced in Utrecht in 1892. Nicolai was born at Leyden and studied at the Leipsic Conservatory under Moscheles, Rietz, Hauptmann and Richter, and under Schneider at Dresden, and as we have stated, made his reputation as composer, conductor and author. He died at The Hague in 1896.