In addition, he taught at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik from 1953 to 1968. Pepping was a member of the Berlin Academy of Arts and of the Munich Academy of Fine Arts. His numerous awards included the Berlin Kunstpreis für Musik (1948), the Lübeck Buxtehude Prize (1951), the Düsseldorf Robert Schumann Prize (1956), prizes given by the Bremen Philharmonic Society (1962) and the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts (1964), and an honorary doctorate of the Free University of Berlin. Pepping’s earliest instrumental compositions show his search for new means of expression within an essentially constructivist and strict contrapuntal style. The continuing influence of 16th- and 17th-century music is already evident, particularly in the use of cantus firmus technique, a tendency to linearity, Baroque concerto forms and a broadening of tonality on the basis of the church modes.
The theoretical foundation for these features is expounded in Pepping’s books, Stilwende der Musik and Der polyphone Satz. After turning his back on the experiments of his first pieces, he concentrated on choral music, where he employed two distinct manners: one rigorously polyphonic and the other freer and more readily influenced by the text. In his later choral works (from about 1948) these two approaches were increasingly intermingled, enabling Pepping to construct effective large-scale forms. The contents of his Spandauer Chorbuch are particularly representative of these austere works intended principally for use in the Protestant Church.
In his a cappella pieces, such as the Missa ‘Dona nobis pacem’ and the Passionsbericht des Matthäus, Pepping’s ‘essential gift in the sphere of polyphony’ (see Poos, p.51) is combined with a madrigal style rich in imagery; whereas such works as the Te Deum transcend their liturgical purpose with magnificent passages for brass reminiscent of Hindemith. Pepping’s secular vocal music includes a number of choruses which make great demands on the singers, and four song cycles comprising together around 70 songs which were all written during the period 1945–6. These songs, which Moser described as ‘lovingly chiselled’, unite simple melodic lines with motivic development in the piano. As with the choral music, most of Pepping’s organ pieces are for church use, and their construction is largely governed by cantus firmi. On the other hand, his piano music has a gay insouciance and often employs Classical or Baroque forms.
Of the three symphonies, the first bears the mark of Haydn, while the second encompasses severe polyphony and lyrical expansiveness, closing with a passacaglia. This neo-Baroque tendency, found at all periods in Pepping’s work, is indicative of the constancy of his musical evolution. While he has maintained links with the major currents in German Protestant church music, his archaism represents a highly personal return to the past. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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