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German musicologist, teacher, composer, pioneering scholar of Beethoven source materials.

Nottebohm was a close friend of Brahms, compiler of thematic catalogues of Beethoven's and Schubert's works (Leipzig c. 1868, 1874); author of Beethoveniana and Zweite Beethoveniana (Leipzig and Winterthur, 1872 and 1887), Beethovens Studien (Leipzig, 1873), and Ein Skizzenbuch von Beethoven aus dem Jahr 1803 (Leipzig, 1880).

Nottebohm and Schenker

Schenker credited Nottebohm with having revealed Beethoven's intentions through study of the sketch materials and autograph manuscripts and copies, thereby refuting the editorial activity of others (WSLB 47). In 1912, Mandyczewski gave Schenker access to unpublished notes by Nottebohm (WSLB 143, 167), of which Schenker states in the "Vorbemerkung zur Einführung" (Preliminary Remark to the Introduction) of Die letzten fünf Sonaten von Beethoven ... op. 109: [I]n the interests of the most complete and accurate possible reproduction of the master's intentions, the editor insisted on inspecting other model texts, too. In particular, use was made of the notes by Nottebohm that he inscribed in his own handwritten copy on the basis of a copy revised by Beethoven himself. (p. 22)

In Schenker's Beethovens Neunte Sinfonie, the "Literatur" (Secondary Literature) sections begin by presenting Nottebohm's evidence before proceeding to attack other commentators; as Schenker says in his Preface: Let it be noted at once [...] that absolutely no polemical purpose underlies the excerpts occasionally cited at the beginning of the literature rubric from Beethoveniana and Zweite Beethoveniana by Gustav Nottebohm, as the sketches derived therefrom are intended rather to show the object [under consideration] from the most interesting aspect--specifically, the initial origin of the ideas. (p. XXIV; Eng. trans., p. 17)

Thus Schenker was able to use Nottebohm's findings as the basis of his own polemics against Wagner, von Bülow, and others.


  • Jonas, Oswald, "Gustav Nottebohm," Allgemeine Musikzeitung lix/43 (October 28, 1932), 543-44 [discusses Nottebohm]

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