The website of the Karg-Elert Archive with news and comment from around the world

Sigfrid Karg-Elert, 1877-1933, was an important German composer of the late nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries.

The Karg-Elert Archive was originally founded in 1987 with the objective of encouraging the performance, recording and publication of the composer’s music. Growing in appreciation by a widening circle of performers and discriminating audiences; it represents a peak of late Romantic music in its emotional intensity, variety of styles and imaginative use of resources, both instrumental and vocal.

The Karg-Elert Archive

Founded in 1987 as the Karg-Elert Society. The Archive is based in England.


Prof Graham Barber

(Professor Emeritus, Leeds University, and Organist of
St Bartholomew’s

Church, Armley, Leeds)


Dr Martin Neary

(Late President, Royal College of Organists)

Anthony Caldicott

Membership Secretary
Richard Walker

General Enquiries
Contact the Archive

Patrons of the Archive  David Hill (BBC); John Scott Whiteley (Assist. Organist, York Minster); Dr Harry Bramma (Former Organist, Southwark Cathedral, London); Simon Lindley (Leeds Parish Church and Leeds City Organist, Yorkshire); John Scott (Organist, St Thomas’ Church, Fifth Avenue, New York, USA)
Richard Walker (Former Director of Music, Harrow School, Greater London); Nicolas Kynaston (Concert Organist, London)

Honorary Members  Prof Wolfgang Stockmeier; Heinrich Schwaab; Prof Stefan Engels; Dr Harold Fabrikant; Staffan Thuringer; Terry Truman; Elke Völker

Fellows  Frank Conley; Dr Harold Fabrikant  Life Members  Barry Doe; Michael Jones; Tony Luker; Ronald Smith; Dr Craig Scott Symons; Dr Richard Webb
Marko Heese; Richard Crane; Frank Conley

Foundation Member  Dr Brian Parsons  Corporate Membership  The Royal College of Music, London; Göteborg Organ Art Center, Sweden

© The Karg-Elert Archive. Updated 29 July 2014


JULY 2014

The discovery of a recording of Karg-Elert playing the Art-harmonium raises some fascinating issues. In 1914 he would probably have been at the height of his powers, in his later thirties: after all, thirteen years later he was still able to perform his ferociously difficult Second Sonata at his fiftieth birthday celebrations. Questions about his technique relate more to the organ than to the Art-harmonium, which was always his favourite instrument.

Johann Titz very probably made the instrument on which Karg-Elert recorded. According to Gellerman’s International Reed Organ Atlas, the firm was established in 1880 in Lowenberg and was still active in 1930 under Titz’s widow. A handbill reproduced by Gellerman tells us that the sole agency for all countries was Carl Simon, who could supply a technical description with seven photographs for eighty pfennigs. Since Simon was Karg-Elert’s first major publisher, and was instrumental in introducing him to the Art-Harmonium, it is quite possible that a Titz instrument created the life-changing oppor­tunity in 1904 which helped to shape the composer’s musical development from then on. Certainly the firm later marketed a “Karg-Elert” harmonium, perhaps an example of the patronage which was a feature of Karg-Elert’s career from the earliest days.

The three books of Wagner transcriptions were among several works published by Peters in 1914, suggesting that the recording was made very soon after the piece was written: the others were the Impressions op.102 and the Idylls op.104 written for a suction instrument. Feierlicher Zug zum Münster is one of seven tran­scriptions from Lohengrin, including the Act 1 Prelude and Elsa’s Dream, in the second book, which also contains four excerpts from Parsifal and versions of two of the Wesendoncklieder.

The first book includes two excerpts from Rienzi, three from The Flying Dutchman
Karg-Elert’s Wagner Transcriptions for Harmonium
Daily at 2.30pm until mid October
Tuesdays and Saturdays)
Augustinian Abbey of
St Florian, Upper Austria
Klaus Sonnleitner (organ)
The famous ‘Bruckner’ organ,
originally built by Franz Krismann 1770-1774.
Adagio from Orchestral Suite in D
J.S. Bach BWV 1068 arranged by Karg-Elert

August 30 from 1.10pm-2pm
Lincoln Cathedral, Lincolnshire, England

James Wilson (flute) and
Heriberto Cruz (piano)
Sonata in B flat op 121,
Suite Pointillistique op 135

September 2 from 1pm-1.45pm
Wakefield Cathedral,
Yorkshire, England

James Wilson (flute) and
Heriberto Cruz (piano)
Suite Pointillistique op 135

September 23 from 1.15pm-2pm
Sheffield Cathedral, Yorkshire, England
Details as previous entry

September 27 at 4pm
Central Baptist Church Bloomsbury London WC2
Stefan Engels (organ)
Chorale Fantasia on “Halleluja, Gott zu loben, bleibe meine Seelenfreud!” op 52/3 Max Reger
Mit innigem Ausdruck
Andantino / Etwas schneller
Nicht zu schnell; Adagio
From Studien für den Pedalflügel op 56
Symphony for Organ op 143
Sigfrid Karg-Elert

October 4, 2015
Richard Webb presents a recital of music by Karg-Elert in
The Cathedral of St John the Divine, New York, USA

We are privileged to announce this special Karg-Elert recital to be given by our Honorary Member Professor Stefan Engels (Leipzig).

Bloomsbury Central
Baptist Church
London WC2

27 September
at 4pm

The major work of his programme will be the Symphony op 143 preceded by the Chorale Fantasia “Halleluja, Gott zu loben, bleibe meine Seelenfreud!” op 52/3 by Max Reger, and works from Studien für den Pedalflügel op 56. For more details, see the Concerts & Recitals column.

Thanks to the generous hospitality which this church always provides, there will be an opportunity to meet Professor Engels and other Archive members over the buffet afterwards. This is an occasion not be be missed, especially as performances of the Symphony are rare, the last taking place in London on June 28 2005, given by our President Professor Graham Barber.

Homage to
Sigfrid Karg-Elert