Oakeley, Sir Herbert (Stanley)

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Ottler, Hans.

See Ott, Hans.

Otto, Georg [Georgius]

(b Torgau, 1550; d Kassel, bur. 30 Nov 1618). German composer. It is not known to what extent he was influenced by Johann Walter (i), who lived at Torgau while he was growing up there. He attended the local choir school, which supplied boys to the Kapelle of the Elector of Saxony at Dresden, and this no doubt accounts for his being engaged as a choirboy there in 1561. When his voice broke in 1564 he moved to the monastery school at Schulpforta, near Naumburg, and in 1568 he entered Leipzig University, where he came to know Nicolaus Selnecker. In the following year, however, he accepted the post of civic Kantor at Langensalza. In 1586 – after two unsuccessful applications for posts at Dresden, the second of which was for the vacancy caused by the death of the Hofkapellmeister, Scandello, in 1580 – he succeeded Johannes Heugel as Hofkapellmeister at the court of the Landgrave of Hessen-Kassel. There he taught the young heir Moritz, who as landgrave from 1592 was an outstanding patron of the arts and learning and also a composer (see Moritz, Landgrave of Hessen-Kassel). Moritz’s enthusiasm together with Otto’s strong direction led to a notable flourishing of music at the court. The young Schütz became one of his pupils in 1599. Up to about 1610 Otto was increasingly active and productive, but thereafter his creative strength ebbed somewhat: he was then over 60, and he may, moreover, have been rather unsympathetic to the Venetian style, which was becoming increasingly popular.

Otto’s reputation rested as much on his compositions as on his services to the musical establishment at Kassel. He cultivated a conservative, harmonically orientated polyphonic style heavily dependent in both form and expressive content on his chosen texts. Much of his output consists of introits and motets that relate to the sequence of Gospel readings for the church year and offer a valuable contribution to the Proper of the Mass. Among these the 65 bicinia forming his manuscript Opusculum (1601, D-Kl) are particularly noteworthy. He also made an edition (dated 1591) of Lobwasser’s German psalter (1573), which likewise remains in manuscript.


Melodiae continentes introitus totius anni praecipuos, 5vv (Erfurt, 1574); some ed. F. Blume, Geistliche Musik am Hofe des Landgrafen Moritz von Hessen (Kassel, 1931)

Geistliche und deutsche Gesenge D. Martini Lutheri … zu singen, auch allerley instrumenten zu gebrauchen, 5, 6vv (Erfurt, 1588)

Opus musicum novum continens textus evangelicos dierum festorum, Dominicarum et Feriarum, per totum annum, 5, 6, 8vv (Kassel, 1604); some ed. F. Blume, Geistliche Musik am Hofe des Landgrafen Moritz von Hessen (Kassel, 1931)


Canticum beatae Mariae Virginis 8 tonorum, 4vv, 1599, D-Kl

Opusculum, 2vv, 1601, 8 ed. G. Heinrichs, 25 geistliche Tonsätze aus dem 16.–18. Jahrhundert (Homberg, 1929–33): some ed. F. Blume, Geistliche Musik am Hofe des Landgrafen Moritz von Hessen (Kassel, 1931)

7 Latin psalm or psalm-compilation settings, 6, 8, 10vv (Kl; 1 lost)

Magnificat (Ger. text), 12vv, 1607, Kl

3 German motets, 4-5vv, Kl

ed.: Deutsch Psalter D. Ambrosij Lobwassers, 1591, Kl (copied into large cantional)


E. Zulauf: Beiträge zur Geschichte der landgräflich-hessischen Hofkapelle zu Cassel bis auf die Zeit Moritz des Gelehrten (Kassel, 1902)

F. Blume: Introduction to Geistliche Musik am Hofe des Landgrafen Moritz von Hessen (Kassel, 1931); repr. in Zeitschrift des Vereins für hessische Geschichte und Landeskunde, lxviii (1957), 131

H.J. Moser: Die mehrstimmige Vertonung des Evangeliums, i (Leipzig, 1931/R)

H. Grössel: Georgius Otto, ein Motettenkomponist des 16. Jahrhunderts (Kassel, 1933)

C. Engelbrecht: Die Kasseler Hofkapelle im 17. Jahrhundert (Kassel, 1958)

C.L. Alwes: Georg Otto’s Opus musicum novum (1604) and Valentin Geuck’s Novum et insigne opus (1604) (diss., U. of Illinois, 1982)

R.A. Murányi: ‘Zwei unbekannte Druckschriften aus dem 16. Jahrhundert’, SMH, xxvii (1985), 291–4


Otto, Hans.

See Ott, Hans.

Otto [née Alvsleben], Melitta

(b Dresden, 16 Dec 1842; d Dresden, 13 Jan 1893). German soprano. She studied with Thiele at the Dresden Conservatory from 1856 to 1859 and was engaged at the Dresden Hofoper from 1860 to 1873, at first for light, coloratura parts, later for more dramatic roles. She sang in the Beethoven centenary celebrations at Bonn and made her London début in 1873 at a Clara Schumann concert at St James’s Hall. She remained in England for two years and sang at the Albert Hall, the Crystal Palace, and in many provincial towns. In 1874 she took part in the Leeds Festival, and the following year was engaged at the Hamburg Stadttheater. In 1877 she returned to the Dresden Opera and sang there until her retirement in 1883. She visited the USA in 1879 for the Cincinnati Music Festival. Her operatic roles included Anna in Marschner’s Hans Heiling, Rowena in the same composer’s Der Templer und die Jüdin, the Queen of Night, Alice in Robert le diable and Eva in Die Meistersinger, which she sang at the first Dresden performance (21 January 1869).


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