60152 Karg-Elert: A little-known composer proves his mettle in the—surprisingly—lieder world


Sigfrid Karg-Elert (1877-1933) was a German composer of no little fame, best known for his choral works, lieder, works for the piano, chamber and orchestral music, and compositions for organ and harmonium. Claude Debussy, Alexander Scriabin, and Arnold Schoenberg were all influences, though none dominated his work. His works, especially those written for organ, were very popular in many countries of the world.

Though he did go through a period of relative decline, recently there has been a reassessment of his music, and the results are often favorable. Current there are over 125 recordings of his music on the market—not a bad number by any means—but none of his lieder. This is curious because he composed 150+ songs. These pieces are representative of this early and later periods, of varying styles—some linear and dependent on the complexities of the piano part, and others richly ornamented and submerged in a sea of late-romantic harmony. (...)
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Audiophile Audition 06.05.2010