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Siegfried Reda (Composer)

Born: July 27, 1916 - Bochum, Germany
Died: December 12, 1968 - Mülheim/Ruhr, Germany

Siegfried Reda was a German church musician and composer. He studied church music in the Dortmund Conservatory and composition under Ernst Pepping and Hugo Distler in the Berlin-Spandau church music school. From 1938 to 1941 he was an organist in Berlin. At the end of WW II he became a church musician in Gelsenkirchen and Bochum. In 1953 he became the church music director of the St. Petri-Kirche in Mülheim/Ruhr, he also lead the church music department of the Folkwang-Hochschule in Essen from 1946, Herbert Callhoff and Wolfgang Hufschmidt being amongst his pupils.

Siegfried Reda was a sought-after concert organist. His repertoire ranged from Samuel Scheidt through the North-German Baroque, J.S. Bach, Felix Mendelssohn, and Max Reger, to Paul Hindemith and Arnold Schoenberg, whose Variations Op. 40 he was especially fond of. He also championed the organ music of Hugo Distler, Ernst Pepping, and Johann Nepomuk David. His interpretations were informed by his consideration of the works from the composer’s viewpoint. Style and structure had to be heard, the latter not only through the registration. A special characteristic of his very exuberant playing was that he never required an assistant to turn the pages or pull the stops, because he considered these things to be fundamental components of the playing process.

Siegfried Reda was one of the leading personalities of Protestant church music, and especially significant with regard to organ music composition, interpretation and construction.. His compositional oeuvre contains organ and choral music. Of the early works, which were completely under the spell of Ernst Pepping and, above all, Hugo Distler, only little has been preserved and published. They reflect the isolated situation of the musicians in the Third Reich, who were for the most part cut off from external artistic contacts. After the war, Reda made an intensive effort to get to know the modern music that had been forbidden in the Third Reich and thus had not been accessible. In this way he strived intensively to escape from the claustrophobic conditions “into the open” (Hölderlin), yet he never disavowed or left unacknowledged the influences of Ernst Pepping, Hugo Distler, or Johann Nepomuk David, or of the organ music of the 19th century (Felix Mendelssohn, Max Reger). In technical terms, counterpoint and an extended Hindemithian tonality were the center of composition for him; both, in his opinion, being the prerequisites for a church music that - thanks to its connection to the tradition of a congregation, which indeed consists largely of musical laymen – can still be accepted as a component of a common church service celebration. This consideration separated him from the radical musical avant-garde, although his works caused an uprising more than once.

Source: Cantate Website; Musikbibliothek Essen
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (April 2006)

Use of Chorale Melodies in his works


Chorale Melody


Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam, Choralconcerto for Organ

Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam


Triptychon for Organ on O Welt, ich muß dich lassen
[Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart: Reda, Siegfried, P. 3. Digitale Bibliothek Band 60: Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, P. 61841 (cf. MGG Bd. 11, P. 93) (c) Bärenreiter-Verlag 1986]

O Welt, ich muß dich lassen


Links to other Sites

Siegfried Reda (Musikbibliothek Essen) [German]
Siegfried Reda (Wikipedia) [German]

Siegfried Reda (Cantate) [English/German]



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