Cumbrian Society of Organists

Review : An Introduction to Sigfrid Karg-Elert : 25 January 2020

Sixteen members attended this event. As usual Adrian Self had thoroughly researched his subject and his presentation was not only educational but delivered with wit and panache. The keyboard pieces were very demanding and Adrian must have spent many hours learning them.

Karg-Elert was not rated as a performer on the keyboard and his compositions are extremely difficult to play. Adrian said that in order to play them one would need extra digits on each hand. Most organists are familiar with the Chorale Preludes, however it surprised us to discover how prodigious a composer Karg-Elert was.

I was fortunate to be sitting where I could see Adrian’s hands and was amazed at the dexterity as his fingers flew over the keyboard and danced up and down the manuals. All this was achieved without extra digits. Pam also participated in the performance. Turning pages, pulling out stops, and retrieving music that Adrian had inadvertently mislaid. Also she was responsible for providing the refreshments.

It is remarkable that when Adrian is preparing for this annual event he falls irrevocably in love with the composer. `Next year I wonder who will replace Karg-Elert in his affections.