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Ernst Pepping (Composer)

Born: September 12, 1901 - Duisburg, Germany
Died: February 1, 1981 - Berlin-Spandau, Germany

The distinguished German composer and pedagogue, Ernst Pepping, began to study composition at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik with Walter Gmeindl.

In 1934 Ernst Pepping was appointed professor of music theory and composition at the Protestant Kirchenmusikschule of the Johannes-Stift in Berlin-Spandau. From 1935 to 1938 he lectured at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik. In 1947 (or 1953) he was nominated Professor for Church Music and, being appointed as professor of composition at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik, held his lectures until 1968.

Ernst Pepping is regarded as one of the most important Protestant composers mainly for sacred music of our time. By virtue of his lifelong association with Lutheran Church culture, Pepping acquired a profound understanding of German polyphonic music, both sacred and secular. He wrote a-cappella masses and motets. He was a significant composer of German chorales (for example the Spandauer Chorbuch) but also selected secular vocal works, a considerable quantity of organ music as well as compositions for orchestra (including 3 notable symphonies) and chamber music works. A neo-Baroque penchant is discernible in all of his works. He published Stilwende der Musik (Mainz, 1934) and Der polyphone Satz: vol. I, Der Cantus-firmus-Satz (Berlin, 1943; 2nd edition, 1950), and vol. II, Übungen im doppelten Kontrapunkt und in Kanon (Berlin, 1957).

Ernst Pepping received many honours and awards; among others are Honorary Doctorates of the Freie Universität Berlin (1961) and of the Theologische Hochschule Berlin (1971). He was member of the Berlin Academy of Arts and the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. In 1989 the Ernst-Pepping-Gesellschaft was organised.


Source: Shott Music Website; Bakerís Biographical Dictionary of 20th Century Classical Musicians (1997)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (April 2006)

Use of Chorale Melodies in his works


Chorale Melody


Partita no.1: Ach wie flüchtig for Organ

Ach wie flüchtig, ach wie nichtig


Deutsche Choralmesse - a six-part setting of the Gloria and Credo chorales (Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr

Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr


Auf meinen lieben Gott, composition using 2-5 voices

Auf meinen lieben Gott


Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort, for unaccompanied four-part male chorus (T.T.B.B.). (Bärenreiter-Verlag, 1957)

Erhalt uns, Herr bei deinem Wort


Mit Fried und Freud, Partita no. 3 for Organ

Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin


Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten, Partita for Organ

Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten


Links to other Sites

Ernst Pepping (Official Website) [German]
Pepping, Ernst (Shott Music)
Ernst Pepping (1901-1981) and the church hymn by Hans Jansen

Ernst Pepping (US Marine Band)
Ernst Pepping (Wikipedia) [German]



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