Hans Jansen Ernst Pepping (1901-1981) and the church hymn
Het ORGEL 97 (2001), nr. 6, 12-15 [summary]

Composer Ernst Pepping was composition professor at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik. He did not belong to the group of experimental composers such as Ligeti and Penderecki, nor was he interested in light music.

Consequently, it makes sense that he felt at home with church music and that he, like Messiaen, stayed close to his principles: music needs order to be understandable, to be communicable, and to have a future. The resemblance with his comtemporary Hugo Distler is clear.

In his work, Pepping often used texts written by Martin Luther, Paul Gerhard or the Czech religious group ‘Bohemian Brothers’. Pepping followed the texts in his music closely; the original melodies remain - otherwise than in Distler’s works - in most cases unaltered.

In our time the value of Pepping’s music is being recognised again. Werner Oehlmann writes: ‘He showed us the continuity of art, of yesterday and tomorrow, of past and future.’