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Hugo Distler


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While trying to find new repertoire to play on the 1 man. and pedal that I regularly use I came acros the 30 Pieces for Small Organ by Distler along with his smaller scale hymn tune based pieces. They are quite attractive in a simple and quirky sort of way - dating from the 1930s and in a vaguely 'Hindemithian' style. Distler (1908 - 1942) was for a time organist at St. Jacobi in Lűbeck and also Professor of Music in Stuttgart. He committed suicide at the age of 34 after pressure of work, depression following the death of friends and the fear of conscription into the Nazi forces. Do any of you play any of his larger scale pieces? I've not heard anything by him played though an article in Organists' Review sometime ago did mention him in passing.

 

AJJ

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While trying to find new repertoire to play on the 1 man. and pedal that I regularly use I came acros the 30 Pieces for Small Organ by Distler along with his smaller scale hymn tune based pieces. They are quite attractive in a simple and quirky sort of way - dating from the 1930s and in a vaguely 'Hindemithian' style. Distler (1908 - 1942) was for a time organist at St. Jacobi in Lűbeck and also Professor of Music in Stuttgart. He committed suicide at the age of 34 after pressure of work, depression following the death of friends and the fear of conscription into the Nazi forces. Do any of you play any of his larger scale pieces? I've not heard anything by him played though an article in Organists' Review sometime ago did mention him in passing.

 

AJJ

 

Well yes, one of the most famous pieces (here in Holland) is the Nun komm der Heiden Heiland Fantasie.

Recently Bas de Vroome released a disc combined with vocal works.

Personally I like the vocal works, especially the "Totentanz" is interesting.

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30 Pieces for Small Organ by Distler along with his smaller scale hymn tune based pieces. They are quite attractive in a simple and quirky sort of way - dating from the 1930s and in a vaguely 'Hindemithian' style.

Hurford's recording of the Hindemith Sonatas is coupled with a few Distler miniatures.

 

Paul

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I first came across Hugo Distler's organ music nearly 50 years ago, on a 10 inch LP recorded by Piet Kee at Almaar, playing the chaconne from "Nun komm' der Heiden Heiland. With some difficulty I found and bought the score, playing some parts on the piano, as I had no access to an organ then.

 

For a while he was little known outside Germany, but he was vey much celebrated by young Germans, especially for his choral music, as they saw it as modern music with roots in the great German Baroque tradition, untainted by Naziism.

 

A friend who visited Germany brought me back a box of 6 LPs, with all of Distler's organ music, played by Arno Schonstedt, and including a few recordings of Distler himself playing. I learned more from Larry Palmer's book, "Hugo Distler and his Church Music."

 

More recently many CDs have become available, organ works played by Armin Schoof, and both sacred and secular choral works of great beauty.

 

Bas de Vroome's complete recording of the organ works has excellent interpretations played on several carefully chosen Dutch instruments.

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While trying to find new repertoire to play on the 1 man. and pedal that I regularly use I came acros the 30 Pieces for Small Organ by Distler along with his smaller scale hymn tune based pieces. They are quite attractive in a simple and quirky sort of way - dating from the 1930s and in a vaguely 'Hindemithian' style. Distler (1908 - 1942) was for a time organist at St. Jacobi in Lűbeck and also Professor of Music in Stuttgart. He committed suicide at the age of 34 after pressure of work, depression following the death of friends and the fear of conscription into the Nazi forces. Do any of you play any of his larger scale pieces? I've not heard anything by him played though an article in Organists' Review sometime ago did mention him in passing.

 

AJJ

The Op 18/2 sonata & Op 8 Partitas are nice pieces - but they require 2 manuals. If you like his style there are others who wrote in similar vein such as Micheelsen (Holstein Orgelbuchlein), Drischner, Raasted and Reda. Copies of their stuff turn up regularly on Roger Molyneaux's s/h lists.

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The Op 18/2 sonata & Op 8 Partitas are nice pieces - but they require 2 manuals. If you like his style there are others who wrote in similar vein such as Micheelsen (Holstein Orgelbuchlein), Drischner, Raasted and Reda. Copies of their stuff turn up regularly on Roger Molyneaux's s/h lists.

 

Thanks for all this info. folks - I've just ordered my own copy of the partitas - 2 manuals at home make up for one at church!

 

AJJ

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The Op 18/2 sonata & Op 8 Partitas are nice pieces - but they require 2 manuals. If you like his style there are others who wrote in similar vein such as Micheelsen (Holstein Orgelbuchlein), Drischner, Raasted and Reda. Copies of their stuff turn up regularly on Roger Molyneaux's s/h lists.

Oh yes: Micheelsen's 2nd concerto 'Es sungen drei Engel' is great (and seldom heard).

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