Spitta, (Julius August) Philipp

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Spitta, (Julius August) Philipp

Spitta, (Julius August) Philipp, eminent German music scholar; b. Wechold, near Hoya, Dec. 27, 1841; d. Berlin, April 13, 1894. He studied piano, organ, and composition in his youth, and in 1860 entered the Univ. of Göttingen as a student of theology, where he later studied classical philology (Ph.D., 1864). He taught Greek and Latin at Reval’s Ritter und Domschule (1864–66), at Sondershausen’s Gymnasium (1866–74), and at Leipzig’s Nikolai-Gymnasium (1874–75), where he was co-founder of the Bach-Verein (1874). In 1875 he settled in Berlin as prof. of music history at the Univ., life-secretary to the Royal Academy of Arts, and a teacher at, and vice-director of, the Hochschule für Musik. As a teacher, he had extraordinary success; among his pupils were O. Fleischer, A. Sandberger, M. Freidlaender, R. Schwartz, M. Seiffert, E. Vogel, K. Krebs, J. Combarieu, and J. Wolf. He was one of the leading spirits in organizing the publication of Denkmäler Deutscher Tonkunst in 1885. With Chrysander and G. Adler, he founded the journal Vierteljahrsschrift für Musikwissenschaft in 1884; also contributed to various other journals. He ed. Buxtehude’s organ works (2 vols., 1875–76) and the complete works of Schutz (16 vols., 1885–94; supp. vols., 1909, 1927).


Ein Lebensbild Robert Schumanns (Leipzig, 1862); Johann Sebastian Bach (2 vols., Leipzig, 1873–80; Eng. tr. by C. Bell and J. Fuller Maitland, with many additions, 3 vols., London, 1884–85; second ed., 1899; reprint, 2 vols., N.Y., 1951); Zur Musik (Berlin, 1892; essays); Musikgeschichtliche Aufsätze (Berlin, 1894; collected essays).


H. Riemann, P. S. und seine Bach-Biographie (Berlin, 1900); U. Schilling, P. S.: Leben und Wirken im Spiegel seiner Briefwechsel: Mit einem Inventar des Naclasses und einer Bibliographie der edruckten Werke (Kassel, 1994); W. Sandberger, Das Bach-Bild P. S.s: Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Bach-Rezeption im 19. Jahrhundert (Stuttgart, 1997).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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