Die Instrumentalwerke Hugo Distlers : ein Beitrag zu ihrer Stilbestimmung
Thesis (PhD) -- Stellenbosch University, 1988.
This dissertation analyses the style of the published instrumental works of Hugo Distler (1908-1942). Emphasis is placed on the innovative aspects of the style rather than on the rejuvenation of older stylistic models, this latter feature having up to the present received more attention than any other. An examination of the concept of style analysis in general as well as the problems arising from its application specifically to the instrumental works of Distler prepares the ground for an investigation of the principles on which the style is based. To begin with these principles are presented hypothetically and then verified by way of detailed discussion and numerous examples from the music itself. It is argued that they result from a style of remarkable integrity. A distinction is made between general stylistic principles (which include a linear-additive principle, a vocal principle and the principle of play) and specific structural principles. The latter are explained as specific realizations of the former on a structural level. Consequently the innovations on this level are described in great detail. This forms the main body of the dissertation. The terminology thus developed is then applied to an examination of melodic, harmonic, rhythmical and formal characteristics. It is found that an appropriate analysis and apt description of the style is possible in this way. The most important result of the investigation is the finding that Distler's style represents a highly original contribution to the search 'for a way to overcome the conventional tonal style without, however, resorting to atonality.