Nottebohm, (Martin) Gustav
- Douglas Johnson
(b Lüdenscheid, Westphalia, Nov 12, 1817; d Graz, Oct 29, 1882). German musicologist, teacher and composer . After studying in Berlin (1838–9) and in Leipzig (1840–45), where he knew and was taught by both Mendelssohn and Schumann, he moved permanently to Vienna in 1846. There he gave lessons in theory and the piano, composed, and in later years devoted himself increasingly to various scholarly activities. His circle of friends included Brahms, Joachim and many of the important scholars of his day. Although Kalbeck, in his biography of Brahms, described Nottebohm’s character in unflattering terms, Brahms and Nottebohm were frequent companions and even lodged together for a time in 1870. Brahms also referred private pupils to Nottebohm and recommended his scholarly articles to the publishers Rieter-Biedermann.
Nottebohm’s compositions, mostly small piano pieces and chamber works with piano, achieved no lasting popularity, and it is for his scholarly accomplishments that he is remembered, though the full significance of his work has become somewhat obscured. At a decisive period for musicology, he and such contemporaries as Jahn, Köchel, Pohl, Thayer, Spitta and Chrysander developed a new approach to biography, based on documentary fact rather than personal reminiscence, and a new methodology for editing music through critical evaluation of all the available source materials. Nottebohm, one of the first acknowledged experts in textual criticism, was asked by Breitkopf & Härtel in ...