Karg-Elert: Piano Sonata No. 1 in F sharp minor; Piano Sonata No. 3 in C sharp minor (Patetica)

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COMPOSERS: Karg-Elert
LABELS: CPO
WORKS: Piano Sonata No. 1 in F sharp minor; Piano Sonata No. 3 in C sharp minor (Patetica)
PERFORMER: Michael Zieschang (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 999 092-2
Karg-Elert is best known for his organ music, his most familiar piece being the chorale improvisation on Nun danket alle Gott – a frequent end-of-service voluntary. His piano sonatas (the second of which is missing, the manuscript lost) are virtuoso works in the post-Romantic mould, sensual and philosophic in the manner of Scriabin, and even influenced by Debussian harmony. The mammoth single-movement Third Sonata may seem rambling and discursive, but it develops organically, its form more closely-knit than is at first apparent. There’s some catchy, semi-salon music in the finale of Sonata No. 1.

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This disc is well worth playing – and more than once. With Zieschang as its advocate the music is in the safest possible pair of hands. Wadham Sutton