Friedrich Witt

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Friedrich Jeremias Witt (November 8, 1770 – January 3, 1836) was a German composer and cellist. He is perhaps best known as the likely author of a Symphony in C major known as the Jena Symphony, once attributed to Ludwig van Beethoven.


Witt was born in 1770, the same year as Beethoven, and was a German composer of considerable stature in his time. He was born in the Württemberg village of Niederstetten, the son of a cantor and court clerk. Witt became a cellist (some accounts say a violinist) in the court orchestra of Oettingen-Wallerstein when he was nineteen, taking composition lessons there with Antonio Rosetti, that is, the Bohemian-born Anton Rösler.[1] Witt was most famous in his lifetime for his oratorio Der leidende Heiland (The Suffering Saviour), securing an appointment as Kapellmeister for the Prince of Würzburg, and later for the theater, where he stayed until his death. He also wrote two operas: Palma (1804) and Das Fischerweib (1806). His other compositions include concertos, church music, chamber music and symphonies. His best-known work, a symphony in C major known as the Jena, is modeled after the Symphony No. 97 by Joseph Haydn.[citation needed]

Stephen Fisher compiled a thematic index of Witt's symphonies.[2]


In the Finale of his Symphony No. 16 in A major, Witt cites the French Revolutionary "Ça ira" motif.


  1. ^ Greene, David Mason. Greene's Biographical Encyclopedia of Composers, Reproducing Piano Roll Fnd., (1985) ISBN 0-385-14278-1, p. 442
  2. ^ Fisher, Stephen (1983). Friedrich Witt (1770–1836), Anton Eberl (1765–1807), symphonic works : thematic index. Unknown, Possibly Garland Publishing. OCLC 475343768. Published the same year as Garland Publishing's edition (by Fisher) of Witt's symphony in D (Thematic Index FisW 2.) The RISM catalog online lists 15 (and one fragmentary - unfinished?) of Witt's symphonies with manuscript copy (or other source) locations and Fisher thematic catalogue numbers, but assuming none of the works before no. 23- the last, fragmentary one, they list- are also unfinished, that still leaves 18 Witt symphonies (since their database includes a listing of his symphony catalog no. 18.)



  • Symphonies Nos. 6 and 9, Flute Concerto. Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, Johannes Moesus. MDG 329 1299-2
  • Septet in F major. Berlin Philharmonic Octet. Berlin Classics. Disc includes Beethoven's Opus 20 Septet.
  • Horn Concertos. Concerto Amsterdam. Arts Music. Disc includes horn concertos by Leopold Mozart, Pokorny and Rosetti.
  • Quintet for Piano and Winds. James Campbell, James Mason, James Sommerville, James McKay, Anton Kuerti. Cbc Musica Viva. Disc includes piano and wind quintets by Mozart (K. 452), and Beethoven (Op. 16).
  • Symphonies in C major and A major, Flute Concerto in G major, Op. 8. Sinfonia Finlandia Jyväskylä, Patrick Gallois Flute and conductor. Naxos 8.572089
  • Chamber Works for Winds & Strings. Consortium Classicum. Disc includes quintet by Prince von Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg Carl Friedrich

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