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Hugo Distler (Composer)

Born: June 24, 1908 - Nuremberg, Bavaria, Germany
Died: November 1, 1942 - Berlin, Germany

Hugo Distler was a German composer, known mostly for his church choral music. He attended Leipzig Conservatory first as a conducting student with piano as his secondary subject, but changing later, on the advice of his teacher, to composition and organ.

Hugo Distler became organist at St. Jacobi in Lübeck in 1931. He also taught at the School for Church Music in Spandau, and became a professor of church music in Stuttgart in 1940. Becoming increasingly depressed from the death of friends, aerial attacks, job pressures, and the constant threat of conscription into the German army, he committed suicide in Berlin at the age of 34.

Hugo Distler's deep religious roots strongly influenced his compositional style. His pieces are very polyphonic, free, and frequently melismatic. Many are based on the pentatonic scale. These features are all characteristic of early scared music. His works, few in number, are also quite virtuosic. Unfortunately, Distler's works were stigmatized by the Nazi regime as "degenerate art".


2 partitas
30 Speilstücke
A Sonata

Source: Wikipedia Website; Organ Composers Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (April 2006)

Use of Chorale Melodies in his works


Chorale Melody


Vorspiel & Satz: Ach wie flüchtig, ach wie nichtig, for organ

Ach wie flüchtig, ach wie nichtig

Allein zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, Motet for 4 voices

Allein zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ


Chorale Prelude for organ Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort

Erhalt uns, Herr bei deinem Wort

Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, Partita for Organ, op. 81

Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland


Nun ruhen alle Wälder, motet, chorus 4vv

O Welt, ich muß dich lassen


Links to other Sites

Organ Composers: Hugo Distler
Hugo Distler (Wikipedia)
Hugo Distler (St. Martin Chamber Choir)

Hugo Distler - Transcript and RM audio of John H. Lienhard
Incidental Music by Hugo Distler Discovered
Hugo Distler (klassiekemuziekgids) [Dutch]



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Last update: Wednesday, June 14, 2017 08:03