Circa 1660-1716

Circa 1660, Altenburg, Germany.

April 13, 1716, Altenburg or Gotha, Germany.

Son of Altenburg court organist Johann Ernst Witt, Christian probably received a scholarship from Frederick I, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, in 1676 to study in Vienna and Salzburg, then from 1685-86 to study composition and counterpoint in Nuremberg with Georg Caspar Wecker, returning for a further period of study in 1688. He moved to Gotha to become court chamber organist in June 1686, and stayed there for the rest of his life. He became a substitute for Kapellmeister W. M. Mylius in 1694, and succeeded him after his death in 1713; Duke Frederick II was one of his pupils. He is mentioned as a good keyboard player and Kapellmeister in J. P. Treiber’s 1704 Der accurate Organist im General-Bass & Telemann’s 1739 Beschreibung der Augen-Orgel. He was valued by the courts of Ansbach-Bayreuth, Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, and Saxe-Weiss­enfels. While on his deathbed, Bach was commissioned to substitute for him and perform a Passiontide work for the court chapel (the Weimarer Passion). Witt wrote dozens of cantatas, and his works include:

  1. Stuttgart