Jahn (van), Otto


Eminent German archaeologist, philologist and musical critic. Born at Kiel, where he began to study archaeology and philology under Nitzsch, continuing at Leipsic with  Hermann and Lachmann, and with Gerhard at Berlin. From 1836 to 1839 he traveled about France and Italy, returning to Kiel, as a lecturer, in 1839. He became professor at Greifswald in 1842, and was called to the Museum at Leipsic, as director, in 1847. In 1851 he retired to private life, but was appointed professor at Bonn University in 1855, and became director of the National Art Museum there. In 1869 he retired to Gottingen, where he died. He wrote numerous philological works and valuable works on archaeology, but is of interest here on account of his biography of Mozart. This great work, The Life of W. A. Mozart, written at Leipsic from 1856 to 1860, and considered the best authority on that musician, was translated by Pauline D. Townsend, and published in 1883. Beside the life of Mozart, the music and musical conditions of the period are discussed with such ability that the work takes the highest rank among biographies of musicians. Articles on Wagner, Berlioz and the Lower Rhine Festivals are found in Gesammelte Aufsatze über Musik. He wrote on Ludwig Uhland and on Mendelssohn's Paulus. He composed four books of songs and one of partsongs for mixed voices, and published a vocal score of Fidelio, by Beethoven. He had material collected for a biography of Beethoven, which was afterwards used by Thayer, and Pohl utilized his notes on Haydn.