Spitta, Johann August Philipp



Distinguished German writer and historiographer. He is of interest chiefly as the author of the authoritative biography of Johann Sebastian Bach, which was published at Leipsic in 1873, in two volumes. Spitta was born at Wechold, Hanover, and pursued his studies at the Gottingen University, taking a course in PhiToIogy there and afterwards teaching at Reval, Sondershausen. Going later to Leipsic, he assisted in founding there in 1874 the Bachverein. In 1875 Spitta was appointed professor of musical history in the University of Berlin, director of the Berlin High School of Music and secretary to the Academy of Arts. Spitta's life of Bach is an accurate and exhaustive treatment of the subject, the best and most authoritative of all that has been written about the composer, and his reputation as a musical historian dates from the appearance of the first volume.   Beside its great interest as a historical and biographical work, Spitta gives in it a most intelligent appreciation of the separate compositions of the great Bach. He also contributed valuable biographical articles on Schumann and other composers to Breitkopf & Hartel's biographical work, wrote the article on Spontini for Grove's Dictionary, edited a critical edition of Buxtehude and his organ works, published in 1875 and 1876 in two volumes, besides contributing articles on musical subjects to many German magazines.