R. Italiaander, ed.: Hans Henny Jahnn … aus Anlass von Hans Henny Jahnns 60. Geburtstag (Hamburg, 1954)
J. Meyer: Verzeichnis der Schriften von und über Hans Henny Jahnn (Neuwied, 1967)
W. Muschg: Gespräche mit Hans Henny Jahnn (Frankfurt, 1967)
R. Wagner: Der Orgelreformer Hans Henny Jahnn (Stuttgart, 1970)
R. Wagner: Hans Henny Jahnn: der Revolutionär der Umkehr (Murrhardt, 1989)
G.C. Lobback, ed.: Die Hans-Henny-Jahnn-Orgel in der ehemaligen Lichtwarkschule, jetzt Heinrich-Hertz-Schule (Hamburg, 1991)
DIETRICH KILIAN/HERMANN FISCHER
Jähns, Friedrich Wilhelm
(b Berlin, 2 Jan 1809; d Berlin, 8 Aug 1888). German scholar, singing teacher and composer. He studied singing with Charles Detroit and sang as a treble in the chorus of the Royal Opera, studying further with Stümer and Lemm. Deciding against a career as an opera singer, he studied theory and composition with Louis Gorzizky. In 1835 he declined a post as music director in Halberstadt in view of his growing reputation as a singing teacher in Berlin. He founded the Jähnsscher Gesangverein in 1845 and conducted it until 1870, introducing much contemporary music. He was made royal music director in 1849; later he taught declamation at Scharwenka’s conservatory. At the same time, he undertook the work by which he is now best known, the systematic collection, collation and classification of Weber’s works and the publication of a thematic catalogue, Carl Maria von Weber in seinen Werken (1871).
The first production of Der Freischütz in Berlin in 1821 had made a decisive impression on Jähns, then only 12. After Weber’s death, he came to know the family (there is a fine, sensitive portrait of him by Weber’s son Alexander), and he was able to draw extensively on Weber’s letters, diaries and other documents in the preparation of his catalogue. Taking Köchel’s Mozart catalogue as his example, he added to his thorough documentation a substantial amount of critical comment. If this now seems too consistently that of a dedicated enthusiast, the documentation has stood the test of time very well, and impressively few additions and corrections have been needed. The work is also notable for the first use of the term ‘Leitmotiv’, though Jähns’s application of it is unsystematic. His collection of Weber material, which includes manuscripts, printed music, documents, books, letters, pictures, playbills, mementos and other related material, was deposited in the then Royal Library, elaborately catalogued as Weberiana, and is now lodged with added material in a special Weber memorial room in the library (Deutsche Staatsbibliothek). Of his many writings on Weber, often pioneering in their research, Carl Maria von Weber: eine Lebensskizze (1873) is a pamphlet of 50 pages providing a summary biographical outline. Jähns also made a number of editions and arrangements of Weber’s music, and himself composed some instrumental music as well as many songs and choruses.
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