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
Browse 1-25 of 121 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Celebration: 25 Years of the Alber Schweitzer Memorial Organ / Morrison
    Label: Aca Digital   Catalog: 20127 Release Date: 11/08/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Nathanael Schnittelbach,  Juan Bautista José Cabanilles,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Alan Morrison
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  • 2.
    A Nativity Sequence / Wilkins, St. Salvator's Chapel Choir
    Label: Odradek   Catalog: 0004 Release Date: 10/28/2016  
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Traditional,  Michael Praetorius,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Conductor:  Tom Wilkinson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Salvator's Chapel Choir
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  • 3.
    Cremona / Ruggeri
    Label: Mv Cremona   Catalog: 009027 Release Date: 09/30/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Sigfrid Karg-Elert,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Georg Muffat  ... 
    Performer:  Marco Ruggeri
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  • 4.
    The Britannic Organ, Vol. 10
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 849 Release Date: 09/11/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Josef Renner,  Sigfrid Karg-Elert,  Joseph Rheinberger,  Joseph Kromolicki  ... 
    Performer:  Otto Dunkelberg,  Arno Landmann,  Johannes Diebold,  Kurt Grosse  ... 
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  • 5.
    Sigfrid Karg-elert: Opern Von Richard Wagner In Bearbeitungen Fur Harmonium Und Klavier
    Label: Pan Classics   Catalog: 10335 Release Date: 07/31/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sigfrid Karg-Elert
    Performer:  Ernst Breidenbach,  Jan Hennig
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  • 6.
    Night Thoughts
    Label: Orlando   Catalog: 12 Release Date: 03/10/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard R. Bennett,  Peter Benary,  Sigfrid Karg-Elert,  Dennis Kam  ... 
    Performer:  Dimitri Ashkenazy
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  • 7.
    Karg-elert: 30 Caprices For Flute - A Study Guide With Amy Porter
    Label: Equilibrium   Catalog: 07 Release Date: 03/02/2015  
    Composer:  Sigfrid Karg-Elert
    Performer:  Amy Porter
    DVD: $36.99
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  • 8.
    The Steinmayer Organ in Nidaros Cathedral
    Label: Lawo Classics   Catalog: 1075 Release Date: 02/10/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edvard Grieg,  Marcel Dupré,  Herbert Howells,  Charles-Marie Widor  ... 
    Performer:  Magne H. Draagen
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  • 9.
    Bror Beckman, Sigfrid Karg-elert: Cloud Poems / Helmut C. Jacobs
    Label: Es-dur   Catalog: 2041 Release Date: 02/03/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Bror Beckman,  Sigfrid Karg-Elert
    Performer:  Helmut C. Jacobs
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  • 10.
    Arranging Bach
    Label: Coviello Classics   Catalog: 91416 Release Date: 11/18/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Charles-Marie Widor,  Sigfrid Karg-Elert,  Arno Landmann
    Performer:  Gerhard Gnann
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  • 11.
    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,  Nick Lee,  Sam Dressel,  Catherine Harrison  ... 
    Conductor:  Geoffrey Webber
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gonville and Caius College Choir Cambridge
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  • 12.
    Divine Splendor
    Label: Pro Organo   Catalog: 7265 Release Date: 07/08/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Marcel Dupré,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Sigfrid Karg-Elert,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Raymond Nagem
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  • 13.
    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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  • 14.
    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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  • 15.
    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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  • 16.
    Organ Recital: Organ Of The Church Of The Conversion Of St. Paul In Lublin
    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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  • 17.
    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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  • 18.
    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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  • 19.
    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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  • 20.
    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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  • 21.
    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
    CD: $16.99
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  • 22.
    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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  • 23.
    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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  • 24.
    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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  • 25.
    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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