Harald Rohlig (1926–2014) — Organ Tune No. 4 (1988) for organ
Composer and organist Harald Rohlig (1926–2014) was born in Aurich, Germany. The son of an anti-Nazi Methodist minister, after his family was threatened, Rohlig was forced to join the Hitler Youth and later drafted into the Luftwaffe. His father was incarcerated in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, and during World War II, Rohlig was captured and spent three years in a French prison camp. After his release in 1948, he returned to musical studies, completing degrees at the Royal Academy of Music (London) and the Osnabruck Conservatory. In 1953, he immigrated to the USA, settling in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955. He would remain in Montgomery for the rest of his life, serving as a faculty member at Huntingdon College from 1955–2006 and as organist of St. John’s Episcopal Church from 1962–2012. Rohlig wrote more than 1,000 compositions, hundreds of which were published in his lifetime. Though he wrote in all genres, he is best-known for his organ and choral works. He was also very active as a designer of pipe organs in neo-baroque style. Rohlig’s compositional language draws its influence from the period of German music that followed the organ reform movement—exemplified by music of Hindemith, Distler, Pepping, and Micheelsen, among others. His works for organ display the neo-baroque principles that inspired much Germanic organ music during those years: lean, transparent textures coupled with clear forms (often inspired by the old styles) with a harmonic language combining traditional modality with contemporary harmonic color.