Hugo Distler (Nuremberg, June 24, 1908 – Berlin, November 1, 1942) was a German organist, choral conductor, teacher and composer.
Distler enjoyed his first success in 1935 at the official Kassel Music Days (Kasseler Musiktage). He achieved his greatest public success in 1939, at the festival of German Choral Music in Graz, when the Stuttgart Hochschule choir gave the première of sections from the Mörike-Chorliederbuch; the event was regarded as the climax of the festival, but the dissemination of the work took place only after the war. His Mörike-Chorliederbuch is now recognized as "the most important German secular a cappella collection of the 20th century.'
He composed chamber pieces and works for solo, piano, and two concertos (one for harpsichord in 1935-36 and one for piano in 1937), but he is known mostly for his sacred choral music and as a champion of Neo-Baroque music. His works are a re-invention of old forms and genres, rich with word painting, based on the music of Heinrich Schütz and other early composers.
His music is polyphonic and frequently melismatic, often based on the pentatonic scale. His works remain 'tonally anchored,' while at the same time they 'reveal an innovative harmonic sense.' Because of these characteristics, his music was stigmatized by some Nazis as 'degenerate art.'
He is now recognized as 'one of the most significant German composers of his generation.' He is often associated with other German neo-Baroque choral composers, including Johann Nepomuk David, Ernst Pepping, and Wolfgang Fortner. His style was spread by choirs in Germany and abroad during the years after World War II, stimulating and influencing other later composers.
In 1953 a choir in Berlin was named for the composer, the Hugo-Distler-Chor, an ensemble that is still active today. Text source : Wikipedia (Hide extended text) ... (Read all)