F: Great music is not exclusively composed by the most famous composers. Do you hear that?
This beautiful piece was composed by Friedrich Witt – sometimes called the “Beethoven” of Niederstetten.
M: Actually, there is a certain level of connection between Friedrich Witt and Ludwig van Beethoven. Both were born in 1770. Both loved and composed music. Both created innovative works. But that's where the similarities end. One became very famous – and the other ...
F: In 1909, a symphony was discovered in a library. It was unsigned, but of exceptionally high quality, so it was summarily attributed to the composer Beethoven. For half a century, the "Jena Symphony" was counted among Beethoven’s works and frequently performed under his name. Then another copy of the symphony was found in 1968, and its provenance became clear: it was the work of Friedrich Witt. Because unlike the first copy, this one was signed. Ironically, and unfortunately, the symphony has no longer been played quite as often since the new, correct attribution was made.
M: Friedrich Witt’s body of musical work is nevertheless creative – that’s indisputable. And it’s currently experiencing a minor renaissance. The musical works by the "Beethoven of Niederstetten" are once again being more frequently performed.
F: Unfortunately, there’s no known portrait of our local composer, who died in 1836 at the age of 66. However, the player includes sound recordings. Sheet music, his baptismal certificate and a large number of watercolours – contemporary records are all clearly arranged in sliding trays.
M: As the music plays on, you now have the option of going on a short trip. The next three stops are outside Niederstetten.
F: But they’re easy to get to by car. We'll meet again once you’re there. Alternatively, you might prefer to make yourself comfortable somewhere and just listen to the stops on your audio guide.
Fotos: © Trüpschuch