AuthorMcKinney, David LeRoy
Committee ChairDecker, Pamela
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe document examines Hugo Distler’s organ solo works within the context of performance. Chapter One contains relevant biographical information primarily based on the work of Ursula Herrmann. Chapter Two discusses the cultural, academic, and career influences on Distler’s compositional output. Chapter Three has analyses of select organ works and a discussion as to how these relate to performance. Chapter Four provides information about the playing and physical execution of Distler’s music at the organ console, with much of the information coming from primary sources written by Distler himself. Distler was born out of wedlock in Nürnberg. His early childhood was fraught with bad experiences. Under the guardianship of his maternal grandparents, he attended a Gymnasium and a music academy. When he was later unable to complete his studies at the Leipzig Conservatory, his teachers provided him with excellent recommendations, and Distler became the new organist at St. Jakobi in Lübeck in 1931. In this new environment, he became famous as a church musician, organist, conductor, and composer - the par excellence of German music. His other positions were in academia in Stuttgart and Berlin, and he eventually became a full professor. Due to the repression by the Nazi party, constantly being overworked, and the impact of his early childhood upon his psyche, Distler committed suicide on All Saints Day, November 1, 1942. Distler became the first person to compose music for the organ in a modern style that was suited for the sound of the Baroque organ. His organ music is based on vocal techniques, experiments with rhythm, uses a variety of scales and modes, and is generally pentatonic. The ideology of clarity in Distler’s works is of utmost importance. It should be apparent that this dictates the performer’s choices regarding how to interpret them. Registration, tempi, and articulation are servants to the composition. Performers of his music need to remain cognizant of this.