A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Dehn, Siegfried

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DEHN, SIEGFRIED WILHELM, musical writer, born at Altona 1796 [App. p.610 "Feb. 25, 1799"], died at Berlin 1858 [App. p.610 "April 21"]. His studies at the University of Leipsic were interrupted in 1813 by having to join the army against the French. On the restoration of peace he went to Plön and Leipsic, and in 1823 to Berlin, where he studied under Bernhard Klein in harmony and composition. He possessed strong literary tastes, and being a good linguist, made diligent researches on various subjects connected with music both in Germany and Italy, which he utilised in Marx's 'Berliner Musikzeitung' and other periodicals. In 1842, on the recommendation of Meyerbeer, he was appointed librarian of the musical portion of the royal library at Berlin, a choice he amply justified. He catalogued the entire collection, and added to it a number of valuable works scattered throughout Prussia, especially Poelchau's collection, containing, besides many interesting theoretical and historical works, an invaluable series of original MSS. of the Bach family. Dehn scored no less than 500 motets of Orlando Lasso, and copied for the press an enormous number of works by J. S. Bach. He it was who first published Bach's six concertos for various instruments (Peters, 1850); the concertos for one, two, and three pianofortes; and two comic cantatas. At his instigation Griepenkerl undertook his edition of Bach's complete works for clavier and organ (Peters, Leipsic). Dehn also published a collection of vocal compositions in 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10 parts, called 'Sammlung älterer Musik aus dem XVI und XVII Jahrh.' (Crantz, Berlin). He succeeded Gottfried Weber in the editorship of the musical periodical 'Cæcilia' (Schott). He re-edited Marpurg's treatise on Fugue (Leipzig 1858), had translated Delmotte's work on Orlando Lasso, under the title 'Biographische Notiz über Roland de Lattre,' and was preparing a larger work on the same subject, from valuable materials collected with great labour, when he died. In addition to these and similar labours he conducted a large correspondence on musical subjects and formed many distinguished pupils, among whom may be mentioned Glinka, Kullak, A. Rubinstein, and F. Kiel. Among his friends were Kiesewetter and Fétis, for the latter of whom he collected materials equal to two volumes of his 'Biographie universelle.' His theoretical works were 'Theoretisch-praktische Harmonielehre' (Berlin 1840; 2nd edition Leipsic 1858); 'Analyse dreier Fugen … J. S. Bach's … und Bononcini's etc.' (Leipzig 1858), and 'Lehre vom Contrapunkt' (Schneider, 1859). The latter, published after his death by his pupil Scholz, contains examples and analyses of canon and fugue by Orlando Lasso, Marcello, Palestrina, etc. Dehn was a good practical musician and violoncellist.

[ M. C. C. ]