Quintet in c minor, Op.30
For Oboe, 2 Clarinets, Horn & Bassoon
Sigfrid Karg-Elert (1877-1933) was born in the German town of Oberndorf am Neckar. He studied piano and composition at Leipzig Conservatoire with Carl Reinecke and Salomon Jadassohn. Though he had intended to work as a composer, he initially pursued a career as a concert pianist. His original name was simply Karg, however, at the suggestion of his concert agent, he added Elert. He served for a time as professor at Magdeburg Conservatory and later taught piano and composition at the Leipzig Conservatory. He later became interested in the harmonium and then the organ and became proficient on both and his compositions for organ are considered among the most important of the 20th century. He eventually concentrated on composition and composed a considerable amount of music including works for piano, organ, orchestra and a considerable amount of chamber music. His music shows the influence of Reinecke, Scriabin, Debussy, Reger and Grieg.
His Op.30 Quintet dates from 1904, which is his middle period. The first movement, Leidenschaftig (passionate), is a showcase of the composer's fine technique as cleverly passes the motifs from voice to voice intermixing solos with supporting accompaniments. Despite the key, the music is upbeat and full of bounce. The lovely middle movement, Interludium, brings a soothing calm and an languidity. The last movement is simply marked Finale, but the composer adds "with humor." And the music is light and playful with many clever twists and turns.