It was my second piano teacher (the first being my mother), Dr William Lovelock of harmony and counterpoint textbook fame, who introduced me to the music of Sigfrid Karg-Elert (1877–1933) when I was twelve, through the Arabesque No 1 in G flat major ‘Filigran’, Op 5. Its gentle, elegant line and sympathetic pianism still touch me. It was written in 1900, an early work in an output primarily associated with the organ and, unusually, the harmonium, for which Karg-Elert remains the pre-eminent composer, with over a hundred works exploring its vast timbral resources. He was educated in the Leipzig Conservatory, where in 1919 he succeeded Max Reger as lecturer in theory and composition. Along with Reger, he ranks as one of the most important organ composers of the twentieth century. His own teachers included Carl Reinecke and Robert Teichmüller, but he was greatly encouraged by Edvard Grieg, whose music he hugely admired, along with that of Bach, Debussy, Scriabin and early Schoenberg. His thirty Caprices for flute were composed as exercises to keep a flautist friend occupied when he went off for active war service, but are still in use by young flute students everywhere.
from notes by Piers Lane © 2013