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Sigfrid Karg-Elert

Biography

Born: November 21, 1877; Bergdorf am Neckar   Died: April 9, 1933  
German composer and organist Sigfrid Karg-Elert, though not widely known, had a prodigious output, having composed his greatest bulk of work for the organ and harmonium. A reappraisal of his work began with a series of ambitious recording projects in the 1990s, cataloguing his most important contributions.

The composer's father, Johann Karg, a book dealer, rarely saw his family. Constantly on the move, the family lived in many areas
Read more throughout German-speaking Europe. Karg-Elert was the youngest of 12 children. Nonetheless, in spite of these hardships, his great musical aptitude was recognized early on. Traveling through Leipzig, the boy tried out for a position with the choir of Saint John's Church, which began his musical training. At 12, he composed a cantata, and soon thereafter began private piano lessons. In 1896, composer Emil von Reznicek obtained three years of tuition free study at the Leipzig Conservatory for the budding musician. There, he studied with Carl Reinecke, Salomon Jadassohn, and others. He supported himself during this time playing in cafes and playing now and then with regional orchestras.

Karg-Elert's Piano Concerto, performed by himself as soloist, won him additional free training at the Leipzig Conservatory, enabling him to graduate fully from the institution. This was arranged by piano virtuoso Reisenauer, who also convinced Karg-Elert to embark on a recital tour of Germany. However, it was composition that interested him, and on his return to Leipzig, he took up advanced composition study with Teichmuller at the conservatory. He was later appointed head of the master class at the Magdeburg Conservatory in 1902.

Not happy at Magdeburg, he left teaching altogether and concentrated full-time on composition. Around 1904, he met Edvard Grieg, who recommended his work to several publishers, notably Novello and Carl Simon, the Berlin publisher and harmonium specialist. The publication of his work resulted in gaining the backing of influential performers and composers of the day. Busoni, Kreutzer, and Reger performed his work, and encouraged the creation of new ones.

In 1915, Karg-Elert enlisted in the army, and played various instruments in the regimental bands. At this time, he composed his solo works for flute and clarinet. He returned to Leipzig in 1919 to teach at the Leipzig Conservatory once more. A rather dark time in the composers' life intervened between 1920 to about 1926. He was being criticized by some of his peers for not being nationalistic enough, and too cosmopolitan. The era of heightened national pride caused Karg-Elert to feel like a stranger in his own country, and he was even branded as a Jew, although he was not.

Karg-Elert composed over 250 pieces for organ, 100 pieces for the harmonium d'art (developed by French instrument-maker Mustel), numerous chamber works, and he completed several theoretical works. His theory of Harmonologie developed original approaches to practical theoretical considerations. Read less
Karg-elert: Complete Flute Works / Thies Roorda, Nata Tsvereli
Release Date: 05/27/2014   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 573269   Number of Discs: 2
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Browse 1-25 of 165 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Dormi Jesu - A Caius Christmas / Webber
    Label: Delphian   Catalog: 34152 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Praetorius,  Carl Rütti,  Matthew Owens,  Herbert Howells  ... 
    Performer:  Annie Lydford,  Catherine Harrison,  Nick Lee,  Sam Dressel  ... 
    Conductor:  Geoffrey Webber
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gonville and Caius College Choir Cambridge
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  • 2.
    Karg-elert: Complete Flute Works / Thies Roorda, Nata Tsvereli
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 573269 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Sigfrid Karg-Elert
    Performer:  Thies Roorda,  Nata Tsvereli
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  • 3.
    Alone
    Label: Indesens   Catalog: 57 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Arthur Honegger,  Claude Debussy,  Eugčne Bozza  ... 
    Performer:  Vincent Lucas
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  • 4.
    Mitteleuropa
    Label: Skarbo   Catalog: 4132 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Erwin Schulhoff,  Jan Novák,  Levente Gyöngyösi,  Sigfrid Karg-Elert  ... 
    Performer:  Jean-Louis Beaumadier,  Pierre-Henri Xuereb,  Gjorgji [Double Bass] Cincievski,  Jordi Torrent
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  • 5.
    Organ Recital
    Label: Dux Records   Catalog: 912 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Johannes Brahms,  Sigfrid Karg-Elert,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Performer:  Andrzej Bialko
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  • 6.
    The Britannic Organ, Vol. 6: Welte's British Organists; Five Victorian Virtuosi
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 845 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Alfred Hollins,  George Elbridge Whiting,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Performer:  Alfred Hollins,  Harry Goss-Custard,  William Wolstenholme,  Herbert Walton  ... 
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  • 7.
    Karg-elert: Complete Organ Works, Vol. 9 / Stefan Engels
    Label: Priory Records   Catalog: 1073 Release Date: 10/08/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sigfrid Karg-Elert
    Performer:  Stefan Engels
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  • 8.
    Piers Lane Goes To Town
    Label: Hyperion   Catalog: 67967 Release Date: 09/10/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Katharine Parker,  Alan Lane,  Anthony Doheny,  John Ireland  ... 
    Performer:  Piers Lane
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  • 9.
    Sigfrid Karg-Elert: Lieder / Markus Schafer, Ernst Breidenbach
    Label: United Classics   Catalog: 2013003 Release Date: 08/27/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sigfrid Karg-Elert
    Performer:  Ernst Breidenbach,  Markus Schäfer
    CD: $12.99
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  • 10.
    Historical Organs Of Southeastern Massachusetts
    Label: Organ Historical   Catalog: 5 Release Date: 07/09/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  H. Alexander Matthews,  Edward MacDowell,  Traditional,  M. Searle Wright  ... 
    Performer:  Brian Jones,  Peter Krasinski,  Cheryl Drewes,  Thomas W. D. Guthrie  ... 
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  • 11.
    Bach, Handel - Works In Romantic Organ Arrangements / Baumgratz
    Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)   Catalog: 3200761 Release Date: 05/21/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sigfrid Karg-Elert,  Felix Alexandre Guilmant,  William Thomas Best,  Arno Landmann  ... 
    Performer:  Wolfgang Baumgratz
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  • 12.
    Sigfrid Karg-elert: The Complete Organ Works, Vol. 4
    Label: The Priory   Catalog: 868 Release Date: 05/14/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sigfrid Karg-Elert
    Performer:  Stefan Engels
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  • 13.
    Sigfrid Karg-elert: The Complete Organ Works, Vol. 5
    Label: The Priory   Catalog: 869 Release Date: 05/14/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sigfrid Karg-Elert
    Performer:  Stefan Engels
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  • 14.
    Winfried Bonig An Den Orgeln Im Hohen Dom Zu Koln
    Label: Motette   Catalog: 12191 Release Date: 05/14/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Eugene Gigout,  Sigfrid Karg-Elert,  Franz Schmidt,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Performer:  Winfried Bonig
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  • 15.
    Organo Plano
    Label: Raven Recordings   Catalog: 944 Release Date: 04/09/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Conrad Susa,  Jean-Adam Guilain,  Nicolaus Bruhns,  Eugene Gigout  ... 
    Performer:  Scott Montgomery
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  • 16.
    100 Best Organ Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 332452 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Jeremiah Clarke,  Dietrich Buxtehude,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Nicolas Kynaston,  Nicholas Kynaston,  Noel Rawsthorne,  Lionel Rogg  ... 
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Georges Prętre
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra,  Menuhin Festival Orchestra,  Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservato  ... 
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  • 17.
    Ein Hofer Konigspaar: Die Orgeln In St. Marien Und St. Michaelis
    Label: Rondeau Productions   Catalog: 6072 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vincent Lübeck,  Henry Purcell,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Georg Stanek,  Cornelius Kelber,  Ludger Stuhlmeyer,  Eva Grabner  ... 
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  • 18.
    Bach: Orgeltranskriptionen
    Label: Ars Produktion   Catalog: 381090 Release Date: 01/01/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sigfrid Karg-Elert,  Charles-Marie Widor,  Arno Landmann,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Performer:  Martin Schmeding
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  • 19.
    Karg-elert: Complete Organ Works Vol. 8 / 	Stefan Engels
    Label: Priory Records   Catalog: 1063 Release Date: 12/11/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sigfrid Karg-Elert
    Performer:  Stefan Engels
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  • 20.
    Sigfrid Karg-elert: Complete Organ Works Vol. 7
    Label: Priory Records   Catalog: 1062 Release Date: 12/11/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sigfrid Karg-Elert
    Performer:  Stefan Engels
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  • 21.
    Label: Denver Brass   Catalog: 5637954960 Release Date: 05/25/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Andrew Wolfe,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Igor Stravinsky,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Performer:  Joseph Galema
    Conductor:  Kenneth Singleton
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Denver Brass,  Lamont Brass Ensemble (Brass Ensemble)
    CD: $24.99
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  • 22.
    Karg-elert: Ultimate Organ Works, Vol. 4 / Elke Volker
    Label: Aeolus   Catalog: 10511 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sigfrid Karg-Elert
    Performer:  Elke Völker
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  • 23.
    Variation / Carleton Etherington
    Label: Regent   Catalog: 176 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Max Reger,  Felix Alexandre Guilmant,  Sigfrid Karg-Elert,  Jean Langlais
    Performer:  Carleton Etherington
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  • 24.
    Freu Dich Sehr, O Meine Seele / Christian Brembeck
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 419 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arcangelo Corelli,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Johann Ludwig Krebs,  Sigfrid Karg-Elert  ... 
    Performer:  Christian Brembeck
    CD: $17.99
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  • 25.
    Die Orgeln Der Marienkirche Zu Lubeck
    Label: Querstand   Catalog: 1122 Release Date: 04/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dietrich Buxtehude,  Franz Tunder,  Jean-François Dandrieu,  Recorded Sound  ... 
    Performer:  Johannes Unger
    On sale! $21.98
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