Trio for in d minor, Op.49 No.1
For Clarinet, Oboe & English Horn
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.49 Trio dates from 1902, which is his middle period. It was clearly intended to be a 20th century version of a French baroque suite, perhaps for organ. The opening movement, simply entitled Introductio, clearly has the baroque Prelude as its antecedent. The melody quietly unfolds and the sound Karg-Elert obtains is very organ-like. The second movement, entitled Double Fugue, takes J.S. Bach as its point of departure and further reinforces the idea of organ sound by having the sustained notes ornamented with trills. Next comes a Sarabande in which the use of chromaticism is quite important. The finale, entitled Rigaudon et Musette, is bright and clever and serves as a lively ending.