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The flute and piano works of Sigfrid Karg-Elert: An analytical and contextual study

Stephanie DiMauro, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Sigfrid Karg-Elert (1877-1933) is one of the few composers of the early twentieth century whose style moves fluently between tonality and atonality. His most noteworthy and voluminous body of work was for the harmonium and the organ; however, he also wrote a number of wind compositions. Among these are eight works using the flute in a primary role, almost all of which were composed around the First World War. The seven flute works between 1917 and 1919 stem from Karg-Elert's time spent in a regimental band, in which he played oboe and sat next to flutist Carl Bartuschat (1882-1959). Of the seven works, there are two for flute alone, one for flute in a chamber ensemble, and four for flute and piano. Though all of these pieces are well-crafted, interesting, and fill a much-needed role in the flute repertoire, only the unaccompanied works are performed with any regularity. Recently there has been a surge in interest in his other flute works. This study is an in-depth exploration of the four works for flute and piano: Sinfonische Kanzone, opus 114, Sonata in B-flat, opus 121, Impressions exotiques, opus 134, and Suite pointillistique, opus 135. It includes a discussion of their unique place in the flute repertoire as well as their stylistic characteristics. A detailed analysis of each work is provided, including a summary of formal structure, texture, tonal plan, and motivic use. In addition, Karg-Elert's relationship with Bartuschat and the role of the Boehm flute in the creation of Karg-Elert's flute music is explored. This study is divided into five chapters with an introduction and conclusion. Chapter One contains biographical information on Karg-Elert and Bartuschat as well as a comparison of the characteristics of the Boehm flute in contrast to the simple-system Reform flute and an overview of Karg-Elert's compositional style. Chapters Two through Five investigate the four pieces. Also included is historical and contextual information for each work as well as a theoretical analysis.

Subject Area

Music|Performing Arts

Recommended Citation

DiMauro, Stephanie, "The flute and piano works of Sigfrid Karg-Elert: An analytical and contextual study" (2014). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3642736.