(Ger.: ‘upper department’).
The upper chest and manual of a German organ, often (since c1840) provided with Swell shutters, able by its position to take larger pipes than the Brustwerk and other minor chests of a Werkprinzip organ. In many sources (e.g. the autograph registrations in Bach's Concerto bwv596) Oberwerk denotes Hauptwerk, i.e. the main chest above the player, as opposed to the Rückpositiv (Chair organ). Praetorius (1619) used other phrases such as ‘Oben in der Brust’ or ‘oberste Positiff’ if he wished to refer to the Oberwerk. Schlick (1511) disparagingly mentioned small subsidiary chests placed within the main case, but the Oberwerk found on such organs as Kampen (1523) was a major department. That called boven int werck at Amsterdam Oude Kerk in 1543 had two chests and took all the colour stops away from the Hauptwerk, which was thereby kept to a size convenient for builder and bellows-blower. Such a department was very useful when it had its own keyboard and became highly developed, those in the big four-manual organs of Schnitger (c1690) still full of flutes, full-length reeds and other colours giving variety. The Unterwerke, Seitenwerke, Echowerke and Kronwerke (‘under, side, echo, crowning, departments’) found in later Baroque and Romantic organs are of much less musical significance.
Obey, Ebenezer [Chief Commander Ebenezer]
(b Idogo, 1942). Nigerian performer. At the forefront of the modernization of Jùjú music in Nigeria. Obey joined the Fatai Rolling Dollars band in 1958. He made his first recordings in Lagos in 1963 and since then has made over 90 commercially released recordings and singles. Similar in style and influence to ‘King’ Sunny Adé, Obey has an instrumentarium that includes Hawaiian steel guitar and is generally thicker, drawing on vocal call-and-response forms, reflecting his personal miliki (enjoyment) style, a combination of African and Western musical materials. Obey introduced three guitars (tenor, lead and rhythm) to the typical juju ensemble. He first appeared with his International Brothers band in 1964, introducing a slower music rooted in Yoruba drumming traditions. An accomplished guitarist, Obey long performed within the tradition of praise-singing, drawing on Christian values as well as economic and political issues. He became an international success in the 1980s with his Inter-Reformers Band which has consisted of up to 20 musicians at any given time; Obey remains the best-selling musician of modern juju in Nigeria.
E. Obey: Ebenezer Obey: the Legend’s Own Story (Ibadan, 1992)
Current Affairs, Decca WAPS488 (1980)
Je Ka Jo: Let us Dance, Virgin CD 205576–2 (1983)
Juju Jubilee, Shanachie CD43031 (1985)
Get yer Jujus out, Rykodisc RCD 20111 (1989)
GREGORY F. BARZ
(b Barcelona, 26 Nov 1809; d Barcelona, 10 Dec 1888). Spanish composer. He began his studies in Spain but went abroad in 1831, becoming a protégé of Mercadante, with whom he toured Europe. His first opera, Odio e amore (two acts, libretto by F. Romani), had a successful run at La Scala beginning on 5 September 1837. In the same year Obiols returned to Barcelona to teach at the recently formed Conservatory, becoming its director in 1847, and during the next two decades dedicated himself mostly to teaching, administration and conducting. Not until 1874 did he produce another opera, Editta di Belcourt (four acts, libretto by F. Fors de Casamayor), first performed at the Gran Teatro del Liceo on 28 January. Though its italianate features were in harmony with the conservative repertory of the major Spanish theatres, Editta represented a compositional path abandoned by many of Obiols’s younger contemporaries, such as Bretón and Pedrell. Pedrell’s El último Abencerraje, in which Moorish and Spanish musical elements are prominent, was produced at the Liceo just a few months after the première of Editta. Obiols also wrote works for choir, orchestra and chamber ensemble, as well as a Método de solfeo and Ejercicios para canto.
A. Mestres: Volves musicals, anecdotes y recorts (Barcelona, 1926)
J. Subirá: ‘Operas de los maestros catalanes Obiols y Albéniz’, Variadas versiones de libretos operisticos (Madrid, 1973), 143–51
ROLAND J. VÁZQUEZ
(b ?Venice, 1611–12; d after 1630). Italian composer and singer. He was employed as a singer at S Marco, Venice, from 16 April 1627 until 1630. He had important connections with influential Venetian patrons. When he was only 13 a motet by him for solo voice and continuo, ‘Jubilate Deo’, appeared in the collection Ghirlanda sacra (RISM, 16252, 2/16362), edited by Leonardo Simonetti, a musician at S Marco. In 1627 he published in Venice his Madrigali concertati a 2–5 voci con il basso continuo … libro primo and his Madrigali et arie a voce sola … libro primo op.2. The dedications state that he was then 15 years old, that from the age of nine he had been living under the protection of the Venetian patrician Lorenzo Loredano, and that Girolamo Mocenigo, another patrician and important patron of Monteverdi, was his sponsor at his confirmation. Many of the texts Obizzi set were the work of Pietro Michiel, a Venetian patrician and later co-founder of the illustrious Accademia degli Incogniti. Obizzi’s music is well crafted and shows mastery not only in the fusion of affective madrigalian techniques with lilting tunefulness within the same strophic aria, but also in the way short epigrammatic madrigal texts are dramatized through clever repetitions of text and music. (R. Miller: The Composers of San Marco and Santo Stefano and the Development of Venetian Monody (to 1630), diss., U. of Michigan, 1993)
COLIN TIMMS/ROARK MILLER