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Max Reger

Max Reger

(1873 - 1916)

Reger is considered by many to be the most important composer to elaborate on the stylistic traits of Johannes Brahms and move German music into the twentieth century.

He was an extremely prolific composer, surpassing many of the ninetheenth century masters in volume during his short life. He was also a driven man, consumed by hard living. Reger composed in most every form of the time, except opera and the symphony proper. His style is contrapuntally dense, with extremely fast modulations lending an atonal feel to many of his lines, though the music remains strictly tonal in its harmonic direction. He was one of the main composers to resuscitate the fugue as a living, independent form. His organ music is considered by many to be second only to Johann Sebastian Bach's in depth and significance. This, along with much of his output, requires a large degree of virtuosity. His orchestral writing is virtually opaque in color – some would say turgid – having something of the feel of organ registrations, though it lightens with age. Even in his concertos, he often draws upon Protestant hymns as thematic material. His large volume of chamber music is perhaps his most significant contribution to the concert repertory. This part of his output contains some of the largest and most emotionally draining music in its genre. ~ Todd McComb (6/94)

Recommended Recordings

Organ Music

Organ Music, Vol. 1/MD&G R3350
Rosalinde Haas (organ)
Selected Organ Music/Chandos CHAN9097
Piet Kee (organ)
Choral Preludes and Other Organ Music/Signum SIGX26-00
Heinz Wunderlich (organ)

Core Repertoire - Start Here! Chamber Music (Core Repertoire - Start Here!Violin Sonatas)

2 Violin Sonatas #4 Op. 72 and #5 Op. 84/Accord 200002
Robert Zimansky (violin), Christoph Keller (piano)
2 Violin Sonatas #6 Op. 122 and #7 Op. 139/Jecklin JD649-2
Hansheinz Schneeberger (violin), Jean-Jacques Dunki (piano)
2 Piano Trios, Op. 2 and 102/Etcetera KTC1077
Gobel Trio Berlin
2 String Quartets #4 Op. 109 and #5 Op. 121/Koch CD310068H1
Joachim Quartet
Clarinet Quintet in A Major, Op. 146 (w/ Complete Chamber Works for Clarinet)/Camerata 30CM-95-97
Karl Leister (clarinet), Philharmonia Quartet Berlin
String Sextet, Op. 118/Jecklin JD543-2
Zurich Chamber Music Ensemble

Core Repertoire - Start Here! Orchestral Music

Piano Concerto, Op. 114/Koch CD311058H1
Gerhard Oppitz (piano), Horst Stein/Bamberg Symphony Orchestra
Violin Concerto in A Major, Op. 101/Koch CD311186H1
Walter Forchert (violin), Horst Stein/Bamberg Symphony Orchestra
Variations & Fugue on a Theme by Johann Adam Hiller, Op. 100 and Tone Poems after Arnold Bocklin, Op. 128/Chandos CHAN8794
Neeme Järvi/Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam

Piano Music

12 Pieces "Traume am Kamin", Op. 143/Jecklin JD601-2
John Buttrick (piano)
Variations & Fugue on a Theme by Bach, Op. 81 and on a Theme by Telemann, Op. 134/Koch CD310008H1
David Levine (piano)
Complete Music for Piano Duo/Jecklin JD609-2
Isabel and Jurg von Vintschger (pianos)