Olszewska [Olczewska], Maria [Berchtenbreitner, Marie]
(b Ludwigsschwaige, nr Donauwörth, 12 Aug 1892; d Klagenfurt, 17 May 1969). German mezzo-contralto. She studied in Munich and made her début as a Page in Tannhäuser at Krefeld in 1915. After an engagement at Leipzig she sang at the Hamburg Opera, where she took part in the joint première (with Cologne) of Korngold’s Die tote Stadt (1920). She sang regularly in Vienna (1921–30). She also appeared frequently at the Staatsoper in Munich, and at Covent Garden (1924–32), where her performances in such roles as Fricka, Ortrud, Brangäne, Octavian, Orlofsky (Die Fledermaus) and Herodias (Salome) drew the highest critical acclaim. Her Carmen and Amneris were less successful. She sang in Chicago (1928–32) and at the Metropolitan (1933–5). Olszewska possessed a rich, beautiful voice and great dramatic temperament; Ernest Newman wrote that ‘she makes us feel for the moment that the whole drama centres in her’. She made a number of recordings, including the role of Octavian in the renowned 1933 abridged version of Der Rosenkavalier.
H.M. Barnes: ‘Maria Olczewska Discography’, British Institute of Recorded Sound Bulletin, no.6 (1957), 17–20
HAROLD ROSENTHAL/ALAN BLYTH
Olthof [Althof], Statius
(b Osnabrück, 1555; d Rostock, 28 Feb 1629). German composer and teacher. The son of a pastor, he studied theology in Brunswick. After a brief stay in Lübeck he moved in 1579 to Rostock where he remained until his death. There, he served first as Kantor, then as cantor primarius, and finally from 1593 as Konrektor. He retired in 1614. Olthof’s importance as a composer is for his contribution of 40 four-voice homophonic pieces to a new, annotated edition of the Psalmorum Davidis paraphrasis poetica at the request of the editor, Natan Chyträus. These Latin psalm paraphrases, written by the Scotsman George Buchanan, originally appeared in Antwerp, Paris and Strasbourg in 1566. The new edition by Chyträus, a Rostock professor (later Rektor of the Bremen Gymnasium), was published simultaneously in 1585 in Frankfurt and Herborn – then a centre of German Calvinism. It was reprinted at least 17 times in Herborn up to 1664 and once in Bremen in 1618. During the 17th century it was widely used in German schools for humanistic studies, often in place of the Horatian ode settings that Buchanan had taken as the model for his own paraphrases. Many churches and schools specified the regular use of the Chyträus-Althof (sic) psalm settings in their services and exercises. The pieces contributed by Olthof were not all his own: four, for instance, are by Martin Agricola and even some of his own are based on existing melodies.
MGG1 (W. Blankenburg)
B.Widmann: ‘Die Kompositionen der Psalmen von Statius Olthof’, VMw, v (1889), 290–321 [includes Olthof’s works]
M.Seiffert: ‘Nachtrag zu den Psalmenkompositionen von Statius Olthof’, VMw, vi (1890), 466–8
R.Schwartz: ‘Magister Statius Olthof’, VMw, x (1894), 231–2
K.W.Niemöller: Untersuchungen zu Musikpflege und Musikunterricht an den deutschen Lateinschulen vom ausgehenden Mittelalter bis zum 16. Jahrhundert (Regensburg, 1969)
(fl ?c700 bce). Ancient Phrygian aulete and composer. Possibly a legendary figure, he was credited with the introduction of instrumental music into Greece (Pseudo-Plutarch, On Music, 1132f), and specifically of auletic nomoi (seeNomos), which became established in public worship. It is unclear whether this Olympus is a descendant of the one supposed to have been taught by Marsyas or whether the two figures named Olympus are one and the same (On Music, 1133d–f; cf Suda, see under ‘Olympos’). In any event, according to Aristoxenus (as quoted in Pseudo-Plutarch's On Music) he ‘invented’ the enharmonic genus, the Lydian mode and rhythmic patterns such as the prosodiac, choreic and bacchic (1134f–1135a, 1136c, 1141b and 1143b).
The figure of Olympus is evidently shadowy; to him were attributed the historical innovations, uncertainly comprehended in later times, which were introduced into Greek music from Asia Minor and especially from Phrygia around the end of the 8th century bce. After that time 7th-century art shows that the aulos came into general use, and certain auletic nomoi gained lasting acceptance. Three centuries later poets still referred to compositions of this type as the work of Olympus (Aristophanes, Knights, 9; Telestes of Selinus: Edmonds, frags.2–3), and philosophers praised them for their acknowledged power to influence the Ethos of men with a sense of the divine (Plato, Symposium, 215c1–6; Aristotle, Politics, 1340a8–12). Pseudo-Plutarch attributed several famous nomoi to Olympus (1133d–f), described the general simplicity of his style (1137a–b) and analysed the ethos of the Athena nomos (1143b–c).
J.M.Edmonds, ed. and trans.: Lyra graeca, iii (London and Cambridge, MA, 1927, 2/1928/R), 277
H.Husmann: ‘Olympos, die Anfänge der griechischen Enharmonik’, JbMP 1938, 29–44