Friedrich Klose, born on 29 November 1862 in Karlsruhe, was considered one of the most important composers in Germany at the turn of the century. Surrounded by the aura of a Richard Strauss, Hans Pfitzner and Max Reger, he taught at the Academy of Music in Munich as the successor to Louis Thuille from 1907 - 1919. Before that Klose studied with Anton Bruckner in Vienna from 1886 - 89 on the advice of Felix Mottl (1856 - 1911), general music director of the Munich Court Opera and director of the Royal Academy of Music, one of his great admirers. In 1919 he considered his compositional work finished and moved to Switzerland. He died in Ruvigliana near Lugano on 24 December 1942.
Klose wrote numerous works that are largely forgotten today, including secular and sacred choral music, songs, orchestral pieces, chamber music and, as a stage work, the music drama "Ilsebill". His only organ work, entitled "Prelude and Double Fugue", was written in 1907. The theme of the work owes its origin to an early encounter between Klose and Bruckner in Bayreuth on the occasion of the first performance of "Parsifal". Bruckner improvised for Klose on the organ. In the first edition of the present work, Klose noted about this encounter:
Anyone who has ever heard Bruckner improvise on the organ will be able to judge what an overwhelming impression it must have made on me, the young musician, how he intoned a peculiarly wildly surging theme, worked it into an elaborate fugue and heightened it in all conceivable transformations, crowning the imposing tone construction with a mighty organ point. [...] May it not be interpreted as presumption on my part that, in memory of the impression of that beautiful hour, I have taken this motif as the basis for the following composition, and recognise in the dedication nothing other than the grateful restitution of a precious possession to the one who once entrusted it to me.