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Helmuth Osthoff

Helmuth Osthoff was born on 13 August 1896 in Bielefeld (Germany). His musical education already began during his schooldays under Otto Wetzel and Wilhelm Niessen (piano, composition, music theory). After fulfilling his military service in World War I Helmuth Osthoff studied musicology at the conservatory in Münster in 1919, later in Berlin. He finished his studies in 1922 with a doctoral thesis on the renaissance lutenist Santino Garsi da Parma. Helmuth Osthoff then completed his studies privately and at the Stern conservatory under Wilhelm Klatte (composition), James Kwast (piano) and Gustav Brecher (conducting).

After his studies Helmuth Osthoff first worked as a repetiteur at the Leipzig Opera. In 1926 he became assistant to Arnold Schering at the faculty for musicology at the university in Halle, later in Berlin. Since this time Helmuth Osthoff focused his activities on musicology and music history. He was especially interested in the Franco-Flemish School of the 15th and 16th century and published several books about this topic during his lifetime. Still important is his monograph on Josquin Desprez which was published in the 1960s.


In 1937 Helmuth Osthoff was appointed professor for musicology at the university of Frankfurt am Main and became head of the faculty in 1938. During World War II Helmuth Osthoff again fulfilled his military service and fought at the Western Front in 1939. But he was already released in 1940 and could continue his work at the Frankfurt university. During that time Helmuth Osthoff was also assistant to Herbert Gerigk, head of the music section in the „Amt Rosenberg“ (an official body for cultural policy and surveillance within the Nazi party). This contribution forced Helmuth Osthoff to stop his teaching at the Frankfurt University in 1945. In 1948 the denazification process of the Allies came to the conclusion that Helmuth Osthoff was a „Follower“ and so he could resume his position at the university. Helmuth Osthoff then held this position until his retirement in 1964.


After his retirement Helmuth Osthoff moved to Würzburg where he died on 9 February 1983.

 

The work catalogue of Helmuth Osthoff is small. The reason for that is most likely his focus on musicological research throughout his lifetime. Over a period of 40 years Helmuth Osthoff composed not even two dozens of works. With the kind permission of the Osthoff family I am happy to present here the complete work catalogue for the first time. The catalogue was compiled by Daniel Osthoff, the grandson of Helmuth Osthoff, in May 2021:

 

1913-15

Drei Lieder für eine Singstimme mit Begleitung des Pianoforte op.1

published by Breitkopf & Härtel

1918

Erinnerung - Schlichte Lieder für hohe Singstimmen und Klavier

unpublished

1919

Sizilienne für Piano

published through this website (see below)

1921

Lyrische Skizzen nach Dichtungen von J. P. Jacobsen für eine hohe Singstimme und Klavier oder Orchester

published by Tischer & Jagenberg

1924

Kleine Tanzsuite für Klavier

unpublished

1925

Ländler für Klavier

unpublished

1926

Über die Krypta, für tiefe Männerstimme und Klavier

(was incorporated into "Herbst der Seele" in 1946)

unpublished

1935

Fanfarenmusik für Blechbläser und Pauken nach einem Motiv von W. A. Mozart

unpublished

1935

Es ist ein Ros entsprungen, für 2 oder 3 Stimmen (chorisch oder solistisch)

unpublished

1936

Violin-Kadenz zum Rondo in W. A. Mozarts Divertimento Nr.11 in D-Dur (KV 251)

unpublished

1937

Flöten-Kadenz zum 2. Satz der Flötensonate Nr.84 in C-moll von Friedrich dem Grossen

unpublished

1941

Zwei Nachspiele (Ritornelle) zu Liedern von Adam Krieger

unpublished

1945

Streichquartett D-moll

unpublished

1945

Kanon "Musica est praeludium vitae aeternae" (1. version)

unpublished

1945

Choralkantate „O Welt, ich muss dich lassen“, für 4-stimmigen gemischten Chor, Bariton, Kammerorchester und Orgel

unpublished

1945-46

Goethe-Lieder für Altstimme und Klavier

unpublished

1946

Herbst der Seele - Drei Gesänge für tiefe Männerstimme und Klavier

unpublished

1949

Bauernhochzeit - Heitere Kantate nach Volksliedern für gemischten Chor, Soli und Kammerorchester

unpublished

1955

Kanon "Musica est praeludium vitae aeternae" (2. version)

unpublished
1959

Kanon "Musica est praeludium vitae aeternae" (3. version)

unpublished

Sizilienne for piano

 

In my possession is the autograph manuscript of a "Sizilienne für Piano" by Helmuth Osthoff. The work is dated "December 1919" at the end of the manuscript and remained unpublished so far. With the kind permission of the Osthoff family I am allowed to present the score of the Sizilienne here for information purposes:

Osthoff_Sizilienne.pdf
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