Thomas Willis

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Hess, Willy

Hess, Willy, noted Swiss musicologist; b. Winter-thur, Oct. 12, 1906; d. there, May 9, 1997. He studied piano and theory at the Zürich Cons, and musicology at the Univ. of Zürich. He played bassoon in the Winter-thur Stadtorchester (1942–71). As a musicologist, he devoted most of his effort to the compilation of a Beethoven catalog. He ed. a valuable Verzeichnis der nicht in der Gesamtausgabe veröffentlichten Werke Ludwig van Beethovens (Wiesbaden, 1957); also ed. the extensive Supplement Ludwig van Beethoven: Sämtliche Werke: Supplement zur Gesamtausgabe (14 vols., Wiesbaden, 1959-71). His other important writings include Ludwig van Beethoven (Geneva, 1946); Beethovens Oper Fidelio und ihre drei Fassungen (Zürich, 1953); Beethoven (Zürich, 1956; 2nd ed., rev., 1976); Die Harmonie der Künste (Vienna, 1960); Die Dynamik der musikalischen Formbildung (2 vols., Vienna, 1960; 1964); Vom Doppelantlitz des Bösen in der Kunst, dargestellt am Beispiel der Musik (Munich, 1963); Vom Metaphysischen im Künstlerischen (Winterthur, 1963); Parteilose Kunst, parteilose Wissenschaft (Tutzing, 1967); Beethoven-Studien (Munich, 1972); also an autobiography, Aus meinem Leben: Erlebnisse, Bekenntnisse, Betrachtungen (Zürich, 1976). He was also a prolific composer, including in his works several fairy-tale operas, a Sym., a Sonata for Bassoon and Small Orch., a Horn Concerto, and numerous pieces of chamber music, including a curious work for double bassoon and string quartet.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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Thomas Willis, 1621–75, English physician and anatomist. He became professor at Oxford in 1660 and in 1666 established a practice in London. An authority on the brain and the nervous system, he discovered the 11th cranial nerve and a circle of arteries at the base of the brain (the circle of Willis). He was the first to note the presence of sugar in the urine of diabetics. His works, written in Latin, include Of the Anatomy of the Brain, illustrated by Sir Christopher Wren, published in 1664, and translated in The Remaining Medical Works … of Doctor Thomas Willis (1681).

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Hess, Willy (b Mannheim, 1859; d Berlin, 1939). Ger. violinist. Lived in USA 1865–72, making début with Theodore Thomas Orch. Leader, opera orch., Frankfurt, 1878–86. Prof. of vn., Rotterdam Cons. 1886–8. Leader, Hallé Orch. 1888–95; prof. of vn. RMCM 1893–5, Cologne Cons. 1895–1903 (also leader of Cologne Gürzenich Concerts and Qt.), RAM 1903–4. Leader, Boston SO 1904–10. Prof. of vn. Berlin Hochschule 1910–28 and leader of Haliř Qt., Darmstadt 1931–3.