Joseph Ahrens

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Joseph Ahrens (April 17, 1904, Sommersell – December 21, 1997, Berlin) was a German composer and organist.

Ahrens received early training in organ and choral music, and studied at the Berlin Staatlich Akademie für Kirchen- und Schulmusik from 1925 to 1928 under Alfred Sittard, Max Seiffert, and Wilhelm Middelschulte. In 1928 he became a docent at the school. Between 1931 and 1940 Ahrens was the organist for the Berliner Philharmoniker, simultaneously serving as the organist for the Cathedral of St. Hedwig after 1934. From 1945 to 1957 he was organist at the Salvatorkirche in Berlin-Wilmersdorf. Taking a professorship in church music at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik in 1945, he remained there until 1969, serving as deputy director from 1954 to 1958.

Ahrens was a noted organ improviser. His compositions often combined elements of prior liturgical music styles (such as Gregorian chant) with modern techniques like dodecaphony. A large portion of his output is written for the Catholic Church.

His daughter is the organist Sieglinde Ahrens.

Works[edit]

Organ works
  • Canzone in F (1930)
  • Pange lingua, Hymnus (1935)
  • Toccata eroica (1935)
  • Partita "Christus ist erstanden" (1935)
  • Fünf kleine Stücke (Five small pieces) (1936)
  • Regina coeli (1937)
  • Fantasie, Grave marcia funebre and Toccata in C minor (1939)
  • Jesu, meine Freude, Partita (1942)
  • Praeludium and Fugue in F minor (1942)
  • Toccata and Fugue in E minor (1942)
  • Concertino G Major (1943)
  • Fantasie in B (1943)
  • Orgelmesse (Organ Mass) (1945)
  • Verleih uns Frieden gnädiglich, Partita (1947)
  • Lobe den Herren, Partita (1947)
  • Das Heilige Jahr (The Holy Year, Choral work for organ) 1948/50
  • Cantiones Gregorianae pro organo I-III (1957)
  • Verwandlungen I (1963), II (1964) und III (1965)
  • Fünf Leisen (1969)
  • Trilogia contrapunctica (1972,1975,1976)
  • Canticum Organi I-III (1972,1975, 1976)
  • Trilogia dodekaphonica (1978)
Other works
  • Passion of St. Matthew (1950)
  • Passion of St. John (1961)
  • Sonata for viola and organ (or positive organ) (1953)
  • various other choral works

Writings[edit]

  • Formprinzipien des gregorianischen Chorals und mein Orgelstil, Heidelberg 1978
  • Von den Modi zur Dodekaphonie, Heidelberg 1979