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The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: Dundonnell on October 27, 2008, 03:55:53 PM

Title: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Dundonnell on October 27, 2008, 03:55:53 PM
Reger seems to be slipping off the radar these days-if, that is, he was ever much on it ;D

Not true perhaps of Reger the composer of chamber music or of organ pieces but his orchestral works seem seldom to be performed or recorded.  This is, I think, a pity because, despite his perceived faults, Reger was a composer of considerable importance in his time- as someone who continued but extended the Brahmsian traditions but also returned to the complex counterpoint of J.S. Bach in developing his own style. Schoenberg, for example, heaped great praise on Reger as a musical genius.

Undoubtedly Reger can be criticised for writing frequently at excessive length and-sometimes-in a style which is too academic or too intellectual. His obsession with the variation form and with fugues can become a trifle tiresome. Nor-if it matters at all-was he the most pleasant of customers with his sardonic and often crude wit and his gargantuan appetites for food, drink and tobacco(which probably led to the heart attack which killed him at the age 0f 43). But although he was not perhaps the type of guy to take on a fishing trip he was a dedicated and extraordinarily prolific composer.

Others may wish to comment on the huge corpus of great chamber and organ music but I do return often to some at least of the orchestral music with pleasure. What strikes me is how unfair some of the criticisms of dry, overly intellectual music actually are.

Although there is a incomplete boxed set of the orchestral music on Berlin Classics I am lucky enough to have most of the music on the Koch Schwann discs with the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra conducted by the late Horst Stein.

Recommendations?

The magnificent Variations and Fugue on a theme of Johann Adam Hiller, Op 100(Chandos-Royal Concertgebouw/Neeme Jarvi)

The almost as good Variations and Fugue on a theme by Mozart, Op.132(Koch-Bamberg SO/Stein; the coupling is the less impressive
          Variations and Fugue on a theme by Beethoven, Op.86....yes Reger did like his "variations and fugues"!)

The magical Four Tone Poems after A. Bocklin, Op.128(Chandos-Royal Concertgebouw/N.Jarvi, coupled with the Hiller Variations, or BIS-
          Norrkoping SO/Segerstam, coupled with the sparkling, elegant Ballet Suite, Op.130 and the Beethoven Variations, or Koch-Berlin
          Radio Symphony Orchestra/Gerd Albrecht, coupled with the easy going Romantic Suite, Op.125)

The Piano Concerto, Op.114-a natural successor to the Brahms No.2(BIS-Love Derwinger and the Norrkoping SO/Segerstam, coupled
       with the attractive Suite in the Olden Style, Op.93)

The delightful Concerto in the Olden Style, Op.123(Koch-Bamberg/Stein, coupled with the prolix, wearisome Sinfonietta, Op.90)


The Violin Concerto, Op.101 has been quoted by David Wright(of Musicweb) as one of the three greatest 20th century violin concertos,
        along with the Sibelius and the Berg. That seems to me a ridiculous claim-the work is far too long and rambling at 54 minutes-but
        it is worth hearing(Koch-Walter Forchert and the Bamberg SO/Stein)

You can also add the Serenade, Op.95-at 43 minutes one of the longest serenades ever written!(Koch-Bamberg/Stein, coupled with the
        Suite in the Olden Style) or the Symphonic Prologue to a Tragedy, Op.108(33 minutes long!)-(Koch-Berlin RSO/G.Albrecht, coupled
        with the Two Romances for Violin and Orchestra, Op.50)

I have very much picked and mixed to get most of the orchestral works; the Berlin Classics box is missing the Suite in the Olden Style, the Serenade and the Two Romances but does compensate with two of Reger's works for voice and orchestra "An die Hoffnung" and
"Hymnus der Liebe". Reger did write several works for voice and/or chorus and orchestra, of which I know and admire Psalm 100(Koch again-Bamberg SO/Stein).

If the Koch discs are unavailable or difficult to find then the Berlin Classics box would be a good alternative although the performances/recordings are rather elderly-

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2006/may06/Reger_0183992BC.htm
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Josquin des Prez on October 27, 2008, 05:25:40 PM
Reger is some sort of a proto Schoenberg, except he was born more or less around the same time as the latter. Perhaps that's why his name felt into obscurity so fast. That, and the fact his works tend to sound the same. I'm sort of addicted to his chamber music though. I enjoy his contrapuntal density.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Kullervo on October 27, 2008, 08:03:02 PM
His clarinet quintet is a gem.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: SonicMan46 on October 28, 2008, 02:29:30 PM
Well, I'm a fan of Max Reger and probably own just over a dozen discs of his music - believe that our Harry is also an enthusiast, so surprised that he has not 'chimed' into this thread!  :D

I'll just start w/ a couple of recommendations:

String Quartets + Clarinet Quintet w/ Drolc Quartet (Karl Leister on clarinet) - outstanding 3-CD bargain on the DG Trio offerings!

Piano Selections w/ Marc-Andre Hamelin - just superb (7/8 5* ratings on Amazon HERE (http://www.amazon.com/Reger-Variations-Fugue-Theme-Bach/dp/B00000I4JQ/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1225232347&sr=1-4)) -  :)

But there is so much more interesting music from this composer - enjoy!

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/416KE9CN1QL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41YK05GXRTL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Superhorn on November 01, 2008, 09:43:35 AM
  I wish I knew Reger's music better; he is definitely a composer I would like to explore. I have an excellent recording on Berlin Classics of the Hiller variations with Konwitschny and the Leipzig Gewandhaus orchestra, and a Naxos CD of some of his short piano works played by French pianist Jean Martin, which I like.
  I have also heard the BIS recording of the piano concerto and  several other recordings. I don't remember the name of the pianist, but the conductor is Leif Segerstam. Rudolf Serkin also recorded it with Ormandy and the Philadelphia orchestra lonf ago; I have no idea whether this has been issued on CD.
   I don't believe Reger ever wrote any symphonies; this is puzzling. Perhaps he would have if he had lived longer.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Dundonnell on November 01, 2008, 02:40:22 PM
  I wish I knew Reger's music better; he is definitely a composer I would like to explore. I have an excellent recording on Berlin Classics of the Hiller variations with Konwitschny and the Leipzig Gewandhaus orchestra, and a Naxos CD of some of his short piano works played by French pianist Jean Martin, which I like.
  I have also heard the BIS recording of the piano concerto and  several other recordings. I don't remember the name of the pianist, but the conductor is Leif Segerstam. Rudolf Serkin also recorded it with Ormandy and the Philadelphia orchestra lonf ago; I have no idea whether this has been issued on CD.
   I don't believe Reger ever wrote any symphonies; this is puzzling. Perhaps he would have if he had lived longer.

The pianist on the BIS disc is Love Derwinger who also recorded the Grieg and the Stenhammer 1st Piano Concerto for that company.

Serkin's performance is on a Sony CD but is relatively difficult to find and expensive.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Sydney Grew on November 01, 2008, 04:41:13 PM
Some of Reger's best Productions are choral. May we especially recommend Die Nonnen (The Nuns) opus 112 with large orchestra?

The Hundredth Psalm is pretty good too.

Here is the Composer while yet a Youth; what a distinctive Hair-style he sported!
(http://s176.photobucket.com/albums/w164/sydgrew/Pic2.jpg)
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Herman on November 03, 2008, 08:34:54 AM
I have always liked Reger's late chamber music. The string quartets from nr 3 onwards, the clarinte quintet, there's a great string sextet too, if I recall, and a beautiful violin sonata.

My experience however is mentioning Reger isn't the best way to make friends and influence people. His fugal finales can be punishing.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Dundonnell on November 03, 2008, 08:38:36 AM
I have always liked Reger's late chamber music. The string quartets from nr 3 onwards, the clarinte quintet, there's a great string sextet too, if I recall, and a beautiful violin sonata.

My experience however is mentioning Reger isn't the best way to make friends and influence people. His fugal finales can be punishing.

Oh dear! So starting this thread has not done wonders for my social life? :) :)
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: bwv 1080 on November 03, 2008, 08:38:58 AM
I have always liked Reger's late chamber music. The string quartets from nr 3 onwards, the clarinte quintet, there's a great string sextet too, if I recall, and a beautiful violin sonata.

My experience however is mentioning Reger isn't the best way to make friends and influence people. His fugal finales can be punishing.

Welcome back Herman

I would recommend for anyone this as a first foray into Reger's piano music - if you wind up not liking the Reger, there is a stunning performance of Schumann's Humoreske:

http://www.naxosdirect.com/title/8.220408 (http://www.naxosdirect.com/title/8.220408)
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Herman on November 03, 2008, 08:48:07 AM
My daughter got off my lap, allowing me to check the violin sonata. It's in C minor, Op 139.

I'd say it's one of the best ways to access Reger (stunning slow mvt), along with the clarinet quintet, and the Mozart Variations for orchestra.

Thanks for the welcome, bwv
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: vandermolen on November 03, 2008, 09:20:30 AM
I love the Tone poems after Boecklin, especially the Old Hermit and the Isle of the Dead (just as effective as Rachmaninov's piece based on the same painting). I am not so keen on the last piece..a kind of beer-drinking song!
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Martin Lind on November 03, 2008, 11:37:19 AM
I know some Reger pieces. The Hiller Variations, the Mozart Variations, the Romantic Suite. I really like the Mozart variations - it has a good tune but this is from Mozart. I know too little to have a good judgment about Reger. My first impression is that he was an enourmesly talented composer who still could not write a good tune or invent interesting melodical material to construct a really great work of music. Therefore he is admired but rarely loved. But as I said, I can't judge him properly, I should have known him better for a really fair judgement.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Herman on November 03, 2008, 12:29:38 PM
My first impression is that he was an enourmesly talented composer who still could not write a good tune or invent interesting melodical material to construct a really great work of music.

Spitting image of Beethoven.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Josquin des Prez on November 03, 2008, 12:39:40 PM
Spitting image of Beethoven.

The hell, Beethoven is one of the greatest tunesmith in existence.  ???
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: karlhenning on November 03, 2008, 12:46:53 PM
Spitting image of Beethoven.

Well observed!
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: karlhenning on November 03, 2008, 12:48:45 PM
The hell, Beethoven is one of the greatest tunesmith in existence.  ???

He is a brilliant manager of snippets far oftener than a great melodist.  Nothing wrong with that (and anyway, as we've observed many times before, "a great melody" means different things according to era and place).
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Herman on November 03, 2008, 01:13:42 PM
The hell, Beethoven is one of the greatest tunesmith in existence.  ???

Sorry, friend, but (as Karl apparently would agree) Beethoven's genius is about manipulating motivs to the nth degree. Not melodies.

Compared to, say, Mozart, Schubert or Tchaikovsky, there are very few real melodies in Beethoven, and often they are rather banal. Come to think of it, even Reger would be a more sophisticated melodist than Beethoven.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: mn dave on November 03, 2008, 01:19:54 PM
Well, if a "riff" is a motif or snippet, he had some damn good riffs.
Title: Re: Max Reger (1873-1916)
Post by: karlhenning on November 03, 2008, 01:21:19 PM
I think of a riff more as an ostinato, rather than as a motif or snippet.
Title: Re: Max Reger (1873-1916)
Post by: mn dave on November 03, 2008, 01:22:49 PM
I think of a riff more as an ostinato, rather than as a motif or snippet.

Oy vey! At any rate, I hope you know what I meant.
Title: Re: Max Reger (1873-1916)
Post by: karlhenning on November 03, 2008, 01:23:31 PM
Oy vey! At any rate, I hope you know what I meant.

I hope I do.  I agree.
Title: Re: Max Reger (1873-1916)
Post by: karlhenning on November 03, 2008, 01:26:45 PM
Oh.  Dave, this could mean we're a gang.

Sort of a music-discussion-group terror cell.
Title: Re: Max Reger (1873-1916)
Post by: mn dave on November 03, 2008, 01:36:40 PM
Oh.  Dave, this could mean we're a gang.

Sort of a music-discussion-group terror cell.

The West Side Ludwigs?
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Josquin des Prez on November 03, 2008, 02:47:33 PM
Sorry, friend, but (as Karl apparently would agree) Beethoven's genius is about manipulating motivs to the nth degree. Not melodies.

You said tunes, not melodies.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Dundonnell on November 03, 2008, 03:11:58 PM
This is Threadjacking ;D :)

Max would have known what you do with your posts ;D

I don't need to remind you of the famous story-".........they will shortly be behind me!"

Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Hector on November 04, 2008, 07:47:11 AM
Elgar and he were great friends.

I do detect an element of Elgar in Reger's orchestral music or is it the other way round? I've never checked composition dates.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Dundonnell on November 04, 2008, 10:12:06 AM
Elgar and Reger?

What an unlikely couple ;D The upright, proper Edwardian Englishman and the sarcastic, boorish, foul-mouthed...(sorry, I have forgotten Reger's nationality!) ;D
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: The new erato on November 06, 2008, 11:28:01 AM
I've been making my way through the 23 disc set of  comlete Chamber Music on da Camera Magna, and finding more and more to enjoy. I'm just now playing a really superb clarinet sonata op 107 on disc 5, really good music and very fine performance, and have made other discoveries like the beautiful Pino Trio op 79 b. At around 75 euros this is unmissable. Though there are still 17 discs left to play I feel pretty confident.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Hector on November 07, 2008, 06:41:15 AM
Elgar and Reger?

What an unlikely couple ;D The upright, proper Edwardian Englishman and the sarcastic, boorish, foul-mouthed...(sorry, I have forgotten Reger's nationality!) ;D

You were going to put German were you not, go on, admit it.

This was the man who said of a critic: "I am sitting in the smallest room and your review is before me. Soon it will be behind me."
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Dundonnell on November 07, 2008, 06:54:59 AM
You were going to put German were you not, go on, admit it.

This was the man who said of a critic: "I am sitting in the smallest room and your review is before me. Soon it will be behind me."

Ok...yes, I admit it but I suddenly thought of * ******* and thought that might be misinterpreted ;D
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: snyprrr on February 16, 2010, 11:02:46 PM
I have always liked Reger's late chamber music. The string quartets from nr 3 onwards, the clarinte quintet, there's a great string sextet too, if I recall, and a beautiful violin sonata.

My experience however is mentioning Reger isn't the best way to make friends and influence people. His fugal finales can be punishing.

Who do you have for the SQs? I just ordered the Bern on CPO.

I also have the Volger on Nimbus in Op.108, which I listened to again recently, and, Reger does appear to be the kind of "more shall be revealed" composer (meaning it's going to take more listens!). Always dense, but always fluid,... more like taffy than molasses! ;D

I also see that Naxos has a Complete String Trios & Piano Quartets!
Title: Taneyev vs. Reger
Post by: snyprrr on February 16, 2010, 11:03:40 PM
Who wins?
Title: Re: Taneyev vs. Reger
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 17, 2010, 07:14:26 AM
Who wins?

What game or sport are they playing? If it's Skat, I'll bet on Reger. If it's Russian roulette, though...

Sarge
Title: Reger Beaver
Post by: snyprrr on February 18, 2010, 09:16:41 PM
Reger SQs Complete (Bern Qrt./CPO)



Wow,... revelation time!


I've had Op.108 (Volger) for 10years, and, until last year, I had an eh attitude towards it. That all changed today.

I listened around Reger for a while. the usual suspects. Pfitzner was the lastest. I keep saying, over and over in my head, to get it straight:

Brahms-Busoni-Wolf-Reger-Berg-Webern (maybe there's someone else around there, I don't know ::))

But I kept getting confused with the plethora of second tier composers : Marx, Mittler, Toch, Wellesz,... I don't even know how many there are! ???



I'll be perfectly honest. I totally planned to do a direct comparison between Brahms' Op.51, and Reger's Op.54. I put on Op.54 1-2, and,... BOOOOM!!... wow, the opening of the g minor just goes right for it, and the mvmt doesn't let up for 12mins! I may still go back and try to do some comparative study, but I so totally enjoyed the Reger so much more than the Brahms that it will be a trek back there.

Reger's relentlessness in the first mvmt. was just overwhelmingly impressive to me. Big boned yet supple, thick without being choked, the instruments move forward with a force heard not since the Grosse Fuge (perhaps some may not give Reger that much credit?). The rest of the quartet proceeds with the same manly expansiveness to a bravo conclusion,... and,...THEN!,...

Op.54 No.2 in A Major. The first mvmt is marked Allegro assai e bizarro, and, unlike the Boccherini mvmt, Allegro bizarro (which,...isn't!), this mvmt is...truly...the most...jawdropping... From the get go it careens and lurches and runs all over town proclaiming it's overarching bizarreness. It doesn't make sense as much as just... GO!!!... and I don't really know how to compare this to Berg or Schoenberg or Webern. Reger here is simply taking the logical course to the end game, without the needed system of Schoenberg. It may be the most thought provoking mvmt for the Canon that I've heard, but most definitely up until it was written (the notes make a mistake with a date, and it isn't clear from the CPO release when it was actually written. The premiere was in 1904 (No.2 was written much later than No.1 (1900))). I still haven't made it through this SQ.

Wilhelm Altmann writes (1904-05) that, in comparison to Reger's quartet "Beethoven's last works... both in intellectual and technical respects" seemed to be "mere child's play"! Truly, these SQs are the bad boys of the Romantic Era. Wow! I am so impressed right now.



I compared the Eb, Op.108, with the Volger. Basically, the sound for the Volger is so rich and deep and upfront, that a sonic comparison is not really fair. The Berners are afforded a very creepy and bald recording that actually highlights the morbidity of much of the proceedings; however, the recording isn't the last word in clincal detail, though, let me emphatically state that this does not hinder hearing all the complexity. The music appears to be on this side of hysterical, but never is there any listening pain. You just have to crank it up a bit, but when you do, the dynamic is just fine. Differences between the performances are no big deal.

I am saving the gigantic Op.74 for later, but I dipped into Reger's last, Op.121 in f#minor (Schoenberg!). The first mvmt is Reger at his most commandingly awesome. Profuse comes to mind. I made it half way through to the slow mvmt, and, I just haven't heard a more MORE MORE kitchen sink SQ. The intellectual complexity of the Viennese style started over 100years earlier here receives its end game. Already in my mind there is a war between Reger and Schoenbergianism. Reger's way is just as valid. Who's fruit was/would have been richer? Hmmm,... interesting.



Reger's gonna be a fun nut to crack! I look forward!

Oh,... did I mention Reger's student work with a bass in the finale? Yea, Reger's da man!



The particular sound qualities of the Bern/CPO set sort of trigger my CDCDCD into wanting to get the Drolc/DG set just to compare sound (I checked timings, and they're pretty consistent).

There appears to be this Philharmonia group that recorded Op.74 for Thorofon, and has now recorded Op.108 & the Clainet Quintet for Naxos? There is also an old recording of Op.54/2, w/ Busoni and Pfitzner, by different groups. The only other recording I see is with the Joachim on Koch playing the last two SQs (mmm, sounds interesting).

Does anyone have the Drolc? Sound? Performance?
Title: Op.74
Post by: snyprrr on February 19, 2010, 11:55:56 PM
Op.74 is Reger's 'Schoenberg Op.7'. It is massive like Mahler (53' here), but Reger's gothic angst is all his own. This music really sounds like "Wuthering meets Poe", echt Romantic drama, from the minor key opening onward.

And, it really goes by pretty fast. That's how I can immediately tell it is a masterpiece!

Reger is just absolutely and totally in control of this gigantic canvas of complexity, all couched in an elusively beautiful melodic line: the melody style is quite hummable, but Reger is alway pulling notes away from the melody to disguise it, though it remains intact.

The first thing that popped into my head was that this was the largest scaled work since Schubert's Quintet, which this SQ seems to emulate, to me, though, through Reger's world of course, perhaps a haunting of the "decadence of the fin-de-s...".



I am just truly impressed with all of Reger's SQs. The sheer profusion of invention is exhausting, gigantic, and ever changing, all the while exuding an unconsciously creepy undertone of decadence (gluttony, my dear Reger??) in that Art Nuveaououho(!) turn of the century way. The density of these 3 cds is heavy indeed! Reger has truly solved The Question!
Title: Re: Op.74
Post by: kentel on February 20, 2010, 04:38:08 AM
I am currently in the process of listening to everything I can find by Reger, and my opinion is very divided.

For the most, I must confess that I don't share you enthusiasm. In rough, his style is heavy, his harmonies are so overloaded with chromaticism and his counterpoint is so inextricable that, for the most, you just have a faint idea about what's going on, his pieces are excessively long considering the weakness of his thematic material, and he is a very poor orchestrator.

It can be worse : in all his piano pieces without a single exception (12 cds Thorofon by Markus Beker : a challenge), he has a naive bouncy and perky style which I find highly exasperating.

BUT, the surprise is that among this ocean of platitude, some true masterpieces are hidden.

For example, among the organ works (which is to me the most exciting part of his work), some pieces are pure hallucinations, they introduce the listener into strange, magical and shimmering sound worlds which I find fascinating. The organ's Reger is not the same composer : inventive, audacious, original, imaginative, dense. Among others I recommend :

- The 6 Trios op.47 (1900)
- The Monologue op.63 (1902)
- The Variations sur un thème original op.73 (1903)
- The 12 Pieces op.80 (1904)
- The 9 Pieces op.129 (1913)

these are the best, but there are other very good pieces : the Fantasy op.27 (1898), the Fantasy & Fugue op.29 (id.), the Fantasy & Fugue "Inferno" op.57  (1901) and the 10 Pieces op.69 (1903)...

The best version is by far  the one with Rosalinde Haas :

(http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/t_200/mdgmdg3150355.jpg)

This is very important, as Reger did not indicate accurately which registration should be used for his organ pieces, the choices of the organist are crucial : Rosalinde Haas proves to be very inventive and clear there.

And for the rest : I love the very first String Quartet in D minor , the 5 others are just schmooze to me. I also like very much the velvet-like Clarinet Sonatas n° 2 & 3 (I agree with Erato here), the Violin Sonatas nr. 3 & 4 and the Viola Sonata nr.1. The 2 concertos are not for me : the Violin concerto is like a soup with too much water and the gigantic piano concerto with its wacky choir part is like a big cake with too much cream. I almost forgot the other violin concerto "im alten stil".  Among the orchestral pieces I liked the Mozart Variations, and that's all but I haven't heard everything yet. The 2 Piano Quartets are OK too, but too long and too brahmsian.

That's all for the moment, I still have about 10 Cd's to listen  :)

--Gilles
Title: Re: Op.74
Post by: Josquin des Prez on February 20, 2010, 04:41:45 AM
And for the rest : I love the very first String Quartet in D minor , the 5 others are just schmooze to me.

Opinion dimismissed. The later string quartets (op.109 and op.121) are clearly superior in every way, not to mention the Clarinet Quintet (op.146).
Title: Re: Op.74
Post by: kentel on February 20, 2010, 04:50:47 AM
Opinion dimismissed. The later string quartets (op.109 and op.121) are clearly superior in every way, not to mention the Clarinet Quintet (op.146).

"are clearly superior in every way" :  tell me which ways and tell me how :)



Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: snyprrr on February 20, 2010, 10:06:30 AM
UH OHHH!!...

...run for cover!!...
Title: Reger is Da Man!
Post by: snyprrr on February 22, 2010, 09:26:56 AM
Still lovin these Reger SQs one week later.


Op.54 is just some of thee thee wildest Romantic Music, or any, I think, for that matter.

Op.74 is one of the great 1hr SQs.

Opp.108/121 get progressively more elusive...looking forward to cracking the last one.


Those organ recommends look really interesting, too, and I feel like I will soon need to come up for air. Reger is like whacking through the brambles, haha! Love it!

Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Herman on February 22, 2010, 01:06:15 PM
Well, that's the first time I've seen such excitement about Max Reger.

Er, Snips, I am assuming you mean Vogler Quartet when you're saying Volger? That Nimbus disc is pretty marvellous.

Back in the seventies (my Reger thing goes way back, though on the other hand it isn't really going anywhere, and why should it?) I used to have turnoubout LPs with a quartet which I believe was called the Reger Quartet.

However the current recommendation would arguably be the Mannheimer Quartet on MDG, which has issued the five quartets coupled with the piano quartets (nr 2, opus 133 is beautiful) and the piano trios.

In general I would say the later the better the music, due to the textures being lighter.

Music like this  -  longish and sometimes rather abstract  -  would benefit a lot from a hearing a live performance, but of course no one is ever going to play Reger on a concert. The violin sonata op 139 would be a great addition to the repertory of any violin soloist; drop the Beethoven for a year or two and play Reger in its stead, and people would be happily surprised, but I doubt many violinists know about Reger.

Recenty I listened to the solo sonatas (or suites?) for violin, and these are very nice pieces.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: snyprrr on February 22, 2010, 10:10:16 PM

Well, that's the first time I've seen such excitement about Max Reger.

 That Nimbus disc is pretty marvellous.

Back in the seventies (my Reger thing goes way back, though on the other hand it isn't really going anywhere, and why should it?) I used to have turnoubout LPs with a quartet which I believe was called the Reger Quartet.

However the current recommendation would arguably be the Mannheimer Quartet

Music like this  -  longish and sometimes rather abstract  -  would benefit a lot from a hearing a live performance,

The violin sonata op 139

Recenty I listened to the solo sonatas (or suites?) for violin, and these are very nice pieces.

Ah, thank's for noticing! ;)

That Nimbus disc's cover has a deep blue and black color scheme that perfectly matches the extraordinarily deep and rich up close recording that seems to squeeze out perfectly those thick fourths and fifths. The CPO recording is more of a pale, bay, blue, like a small tomb, but the highs are more contained (the Nimbus, by compare, gets a little bright in giant climaxes (though not unpleasantly so)). Playing wise there isn't that much to choose from between the two (the Berner may be the more rigorous).

I think the Reger Quartet shows up on that rogue disc with SQs by Reger, Busoni, and Pfitzner, each done by a different group (I have the exact Pfitzner on VoxBox w/Hartmann and Zimmermann (s. Lautenbacher)).



I had imagined what sitting through the last SQ would be like. The audience would be full of intent and furrowed brows, no doubt, haha!,... all leaning forward...



It is tough keeping up with Reger's output. Is it seven VSs? All I've heard so far are the Cello Suites, with Wispelway (Channel). I've gotten them regularly from the library for years, every time thinking I'm going to hear them differently, but I just can't get into them as solo cello pieces (I think I'm spoiled that way here). Nothing wrong with them for those inclined. Ha,... see?,... even I'm picky about my Reger, haha!! ::)
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: abidoful on February 24, 2010, 02:13:56 AM
A strange composer, something about his music though that is haunting..(the Piano Concerto :)) Just that i usually find myself exhausted when listening to his music >:(
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: snyprrr on February 24, 2010, 09:48:00 PM
I was just listening to the slow mvmt. of SQ Op.121, the big one. Reger's world reminds me of a field of scattered ruins on a Tragic Night that happened long ago. When I think of Gothic Poe, I thought I was thinking "creepy", but Reger's take on Decadence is of the highest refinement, so that any elegiac qualities transcend any real subjective take. Reger's Mastery exudes Serenity.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: snyprrr on February 01, 2011, 08:17:21 AM
I was just listening to the slow mvmt. of SQ Op.121, the big one. Reger's world reminds me of a field of scattered ruins on a Tragic Night that happened long ago. When I think of Gothic Poe, I thought I was thinking "creepy", but Reger's take on Decadence is of the highest refinement, so that any elegiac qualities transcend any real subjective take. Reger's Mastery exudes Serenity.

Wow, I'm quite the poof! ::) haha, that's some flowery language there, haha...


I've been listening to Reger's two Piano Quintets, very rare. They are both in c minor!, which makes comparing quite a game indeed! I found all the hair pin qualities that I find in MR's first two SQs: very busy, and exacting,... they do remind me of Brahms' SQs (Reger does remind me of Brahms' fiery younger cousin).

I've only listened once so far, so it's hard to pick out bits. Both are similar, though the latter does seem a bit more mature.

No.1, Op.21 (1897)

No.2, OP.64 (1903)

Is anyone else familiar with these pieces?


Which brings up: do we have a Reger Works List? I'd like to see what else we have. I hear the Sextet has the most wonderful slow mvmt. Will get back.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: mc ukrneal on February 01, 2011, 08:33:32 AM
Wow, I'm quite the poof! ::) haha, that's some flowery language there, haha...


I've been listening to Reger's two Piano Quintets, very rare. They are both in c minor!, which makes comparing quite a game indeed! I found all the hair pin qualities that I find in MR's first two SQs: very busy, and exacting,... they do remind me of Brahms' SQs (Reger does remind me of Brahms' fiery younger cousin).

I've only listened once so far, so it's hard to pick out bits. Both are similar, though the latter does seem a bit more mature.

No.1, Op.21 (1897)

No.2, OP.64 (1903)

Is anyone else familiar with these pieces?


Which brings up: do we have a Reger Works List? I'd like to see what else we have. I hear the Sextet has the most wonderful slow mvmt. Will get back.
Oi. That is a long list -exactly the sort of thing wikipedia is great at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_compositions_by_Max_Reger (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_compositions_by_Max_Reger)
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: snyprrr on February 02, 2011, 03:16:26 PM
Oi. That is a long list -exactly the sort of thing wikipedia is great at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_compositions_by_Max_Reger (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_compositions_by_Max_Reger)

That's a bracing list for sure! :o 8)

Those Piano Quartets look very interesting.


I see how close the Piano Quintet No.2 is to the two SQs Op.54. That explains the similarity. Yes, this PQ No.2 is one of Reger's most adventurous works.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: The new erato on February 04, 2011, 12:14:51 AM
That's a bracing list for sure! :o 8)

Those Piano Quartets look very interesting.


I see how close the Piano Quintet No.2 is to the two SQs Op.54. That explains the similarity. Yes, this PQ No.2 is one of Reger's most adventurous works.
There's a complete chamber music on 23 CDs on the German da Camera Magna label, used to be available reasonably cheap on jpc. I have it; never less than eminently listenable.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Herman on February 04, 2011, 04:51:46 AM
That's a bracing list for sure! :o 8)

Those Piano Quartets look very interesting.


I see how close the Piano Quintet No.2 is to the two SQs Op.54. That explains the similarity. Yes, this PQ No.2 is one of Reger's most adventurous works.

The Piano Quartets are interesting, as is the Piano Trio. I think Reger gets better as he matured; I rarely listen to double digit opus numbers.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: snyprrr on February 04, 2011, 01:54:19 PM
The Piano Quartets are interesting, as is the Piano Trio. I think Reger gets better as he matured; I rarely listen to double digit opus numbers.

Come to think of it, I do have a prejudice against double digit opus numbers! Just don't trust them,... though, with Reger, his middle stuff is his most adventurous (Op.54).
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: SonicMan46 on February 04, 2011, 05:12:24 PM
Reger's Cello Works, i.e. Sonatas & Suites - any recommendations?

Recent good review of a 2-CD set on Hyperion (below, left), plus a few other considerations - any comments?  Thanks -  :D

(http://www.wesleyclassics.com.au/library/images/CDA675812.jpg)  (http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/t_200/channelccs9596.jpg)  (http://i43.tower.com/images/mm106516353/max-reger-cello-suites-nos-1-3-guido-schiefen-cd-cover-art.jpg)
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Lethevich on February 04, 2011, 08:59:01 PM
I have an ASV disc (which used to be super cheap) that I am content with although haven't compared it to any other. I'd like to throw this second disc into consideration (I am interested in recs for these works too), although it looks hard to find:

(http://img525.imageshack.us/img525/7309/regercellolvc1103.jpg) (http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2011/Jan11/reger_cello_lvc1103.htm)
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: SonicMan46 on February 16, 2011, 01:49:50 PM
Well, I picked up the Cello Suites w/ Guido Schiefen; and I had a CPO disc of the Cello Sonatas, which I prefer.  The solo suites are presumably a tribute to Bach, and often do sound similar but the melodious flow and well integrated polyphony are not as evident in Reger's compositions; but still like them - I have just several other discs w/ Schiefen - I could nickname him Gusto Guido - his playing is quite dramatic & dynamic and the recording sound is excellent on this label.

However, I may wait to see if that Hyperion 2-disc set shows up on BRO or might be released as a Dyad?  Both the Sonatas & Suites are included and are alternated - see the attachment (which includes 2 reviews from Fanfare - one from 2008 of the Hyperion recording, and another just released by Dubins of yet another offering of the Suites) - now the set listed by Sara above may be another consideration w/ all works included - there seems to be a plethora of Reger cello recordings!  :D


(http://giradman.smugmug.com/Other/Classical-Music/RegerCelloSchiefen/1184622794_RA7ia-O.jpg)
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Guido on February 18, 2011, 04:54:59 PM
Just discovered Mariä Wiegenlied - a gorgeous miniature (soprano and orchestra).
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Herman on June 29, 2011, 03:09:23 AM
I have been saying for years Reger's Violin - Piano sonata op 139 is outrageously good, really a shame that it isn't part of the regular repertory.

So I thought I should give the previous one a shot, too: op 122 in e minor, from the year 1911.

First I tried the 1991 recording by Hansheinz Schneeberger and Jean-Jacques Dünki on Jecklin (which used to have a lot of Reger in the catalogue). This recording was touted by various critics over later recordings.

Naturally, it's not so good. Even the lyrical op 139 sounds labored and slow.

So I got the cpo issue with Ulf Wallin and Roland Pontinen, as I should have done right away (I have their 139, too).

The 122 is a more difficult sonata than the 139; it lasts 37 minutes in this version; particularly the first movement is pretty steep. However, the rest is beautiful: even the finale is lovely.

I believe I have the Wallin - Pontinen Reger survey complete now, but it would be a very good idea if cpo combined the 122 and 139 on one disc.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Lethevich on August 15, 2011, 06:47:42 AM
I've been playing Reger's various preludes and fugues for solo violin recently. On one side, they can feel academic and sometimes lacking in material, but on the other, hearing music mining the same vein Bach explored is a rewarding experience and I feel with more committed performances than my ones on Da Camera Magna these could come across better. The Op.117 and 131a have moments of great beauty, and are a testament to Reger's intriguing neo-baroque style which emerged before any other composer seems to have even thought about it, and more than any actually seems to resemble and understand the works of that period rather than simply rebelling against Romanticism with a sewing machine style of music.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Sergeant Rock on August 15, 2011, 07:06:43 AM
I believe I have the Wallin - Pontinen Reger survey complete now, but it would be a very good idea if cpo combined the 122 and 139 on one disc.

All the volumes are oop except #5 (op.22, op.103a). Maybe they plan to box them now...either that or we'll never see them again.

Sarge
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Martin Lind on January 29, 2012, 04:04:48 PM
After my last contribution to this thread im am very much into Reger during the last time.  Some weeks ago I bought the string quartetts with the Bern quartett from CPO. This is very difficult music but highly rewarding. I especially love the 3rd quartett Opus 74. Difficult music but highly rewarding. It helped me when somebody told me the structure of the first set which is in sonata form but has a very long exposition which is alone over 10 minutes and lasts as long as the rest of the piece. So seeing the structure in this music helped me.

I also like Opus 109 although especially in the first set the music fells into little pieces and it is difficult to see the structure.

So during the last 3 or 4 weeks I develloped a strong interest into Reger and bought - apart of the string quartetts the Cello sonatas 1 and 4 from CPO and the box of the symphonic pieces from Berlin classics and the piano concerto with Korstick. I hope we can revive this interesting thread ( I have read it with much interest again!) and can talk again.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Mirror Image on October 22, 2012, 07:18:03 AM
It's a shame Reger didn't live longer. I think his music would have gone on to become quite possibly more chromatic/atonal, but this is just speculation. We really don't know. He was admired by many during his time even getting a nod from Schoenberg. I would liked to have heard more concerti from him. After listening to his Piano Concerto last night and his Violin Concerto just awhile ago, I thought there were so many directions he could have gone in. I think he's a good composer, but I'm still trying to get a firmer grasp of his music.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Mirror Image on November 05, 2012, 06:52:45 PM
It seems that Reger doesn't get much love around here and that's a shame because I think he's a great composer. This past month I've really been examining his orchestral music. I would very much like to get into his chamber music at some point as well. There's an aggression to his music that resonates with me.

What's your favorite Reger orchestral work?
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: The new erato on November 05, 2012, 11:23:26 PM
The Bøcklin suite. But I like his chamber music best, I had the pleasure of playing through all 23 CDs of it a few years ago.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Dundonnell on November 06, 2012, 03:08:44 AM
MAX REGER: A CATALOGUE OF THE ORCHESTRAL MUSIC

1898:      “Hymne an den Gesang” for chorus and orchestra, op. 21
1900:      Romance No.1 in G major for Violin and Orchestra, op.50: 9 minutes
                Romance No.2 in D major for Violin and Orchestra, op.50: 10 minutes
1903:      “Gesang der Verklarten” for chorus and orchestra, op.71
1904/15:Variations and Fugue on a theme by Beethoven for orchestra, op.86: 22 minutes
1904-05:Sinfonietta in A major, op.90: 50 minutes
1905-06:Serenade in G major for orchestra, op.95: 41 minutes
1906/16:Suite in the Olden Style in F major for orchestra, op.93: 22 minutes
1907:      Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Johann Adam Hiller for orchestra, op. 100: 41 minutes
1907-08:Violin Concerto in A major, op.101: 54 minutes
1908:      Symphonic Prologue to a Tragedy in A minor for orchestra, op.108: 33 minutes
                “Weihegesang” for contralto, chorus and wind orchestra: 10 minutes
1908-09:Psalm 100 for chorus, orchestra and organ, op.106: 32 minutes
1909:      “Die Nonnen” for chorus and orchestra, op.112
1910:       Piano Concerto in F minor, op.114: 43 minutes
1911:      “Die Weihe der Nacht” for contralto, male chorus and orchestra, op.119: 16 minutes
                Comedy Overture, op.120
1912:      Concerto in the Olden Style in F majorfor orchestra, op.123: 19 minutes
                “An Die Hoffnung” for mezzo-soprano and orchestra, op.124
                A Romantic Suite for orchestra, op.125: 27 minutes
                “Romischer Triumphgesang” for male chorus and orchestra, op.126
1913:      Four Poems after A. Bocklin for orchestra, op.128: 28 minutes
                 Ballet Suite in D major for orchestra, op.130: 19 minutes
1914:      “Hymnus der Liebe” for contralto or baritone and orchestra, op.136
               “Eine Vaterlandische Ouverture”, op.140   
1914-15:Variations and Fugue on a theme by Mozart for orchestra, op.132: 34 minutes
1915:      “Der Einsiedler” for chorus and orchestra, op.144a
                Requiem for contralto or baritone, chorus and orchestra, op.144b: 18 minutes
1916:      Andante and Rondo for Violin and Orchestra, op.147

Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Mirror Image on November 06, 2012, 09:20:54 AM
MAX REGER: A CATALOGUE OF THE ORCHESTRAL MUSIC

1898:      “Hymne an den Gesang” for chorus and orchestra, op. 21
1900:      Romance No.1 in G major for Violin and Orchestra, op.50: 9 minutes
                Romance No.2 in D major for Violin and Orchestra, op.50: 10 minutes
1903:      “Gesang der Verklarten” for chorus and orchestra, op.71
1904/15:Variations and Fugue on a theme by Beethoven for orchestra, op.86: 22 minutes
1904-05:Sinfonietta in A major, op.90: 50 minutes
1905-06:Serenade in G major for orchestra, op.95: 41 minutes
1906/16:Suite in the Olden Style in F major for orchestra, op.93: 22 minutes
1907:      Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Johann Adam Hiller for orchestra, op. 100: 41 minutes
1907-08:Violin Concerto in A major, op.101: 54 minutes
1908:      Symphonic Prologue to a Tragedy in A minor for orchestra, op.108: 33 minutes
                “Weihegesang” for contralto, chorus and wind orchestra: 10 minutes
1908-09:Psalm 100 for chorus, orchestra and organ, op.106: 32 minutes
1909:      “Die Nonnen” for chorus and orchestra, op.112
1910:       Piano Concerto in F minor, op.114: 43 minutes
1911:      “Die Weihe der Nacht” for contralto, male chorus and orchestra, op.119: 16 minutes
                Comedy Overture, op.120
1912:      Concerto in the Olden Style in F majorfor orchestra, op.123: 19 minutes
                “An Die Hoffnung” for mezzo-soprano and orchestra, op.124
                A Romantic Suite for orchestra, op.125: 27 minutes
                “Romischer Triumphgesang” for male chorus and orchestra, op.126
1913:      Four Poems after A. Bocklin for orchestra, op.128: 28 minutes
                 Ballet Suite in D major for orchestra, op.130: 19 minutes
1914:      “Hymnus der Liebe” for contralto or baritone and orchestra, op.136
               “Eine Vaterlandische Ouverture”, op.140   
1914-15:Variations and Fugue on a theme by Mozart for orchestra, op.132: 34 minutes
1915:      “Der Einsiedler” for chorus and orchestra, op.144a
                Requiem for contralto or baritone, chorus and orchestra, op.144b: 18 minutes
1916:      Andante and Rondo for Violin and Orchestra, op.147


Colin comes through again! :) Thanks for this my friend. Those Romances for violin and orchestra are flat-out gorgeous.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: mszczuj on November 06, 2012, 09:41:42 AM
What's your favorite Reger orchestral work?

Violin Concerto. This is the great scale work which never lose depth and inspiration (unless you hear to if fot the first or second time). It can give more satisfaction even than Brahms Concerto.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Mirror Image on November 06, 2012, 09:55:48 AM
Violin Concerto. This is the great scale work which never lose depth and inspiration (unless you hear to if fot the first or second time). It can give more satisfaction even than Brahms Concerto.

Like the Piano Concerto, it gets better and better with repeated listens.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on December 20, 2012, 06:17:37 AM
Oh.  Dave, this could mean we're a gang.

Sort of a music-discussion-group terror cell.

What fun to poke around past posts . . . .

But the reason:

If there be one must-have CD of Reger organ music — what is it?

TIA
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Lethevich on December 20, 2012, 06:24:36 AM
I would also be interested in such a disc (I have access to tons, but don't know which to pick).

I have been enjoying his VC a lot recently, thanks to the Hyperion recording.
Title: Re: Max Reger (1873-1916)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on December 20, 2012, 05:45:56 PM
Meanwhile I see a disc played by Peter Sykes; is this among the lot you've got, Sara?

Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Lethevich on December 20, 2012, 11:57:04 PM
Nein, although with a little title like that, I am sad for not having it.

edit: I can't type
Title: Re: Max Reger (1873-1916)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on December 21, 2012, 03:01:40 AM
I've met him now and again; he's got a job in Cambridge (Mass.) Could be another chap to float the new Organ Sonata towards, when it's done.

Back on topic: There are just volumes and volumes of the organ music on Naxos, aren't there?
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Herman on January 26, 2013, 05:48:14 AM
For some reason I have been listening a lot to Reger's two last String Quartets, op. 109 and 121, lately. So much so that the MDG disc has been in de cdplayer almost continuously for the past two weeks.

It's such amazing music.

Theonly useful thing I can say is that the Mannheim String Quartet (on MDG) is significantly better than the Vogler on Nimbus.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 26, 2013, 06:17:45 AM
Thanks for that, Herman.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Leo K. on January 26, 2013, 07:20:28 AM
(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_250/MI0000/968/MI0000968296.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

My newest Reger aquisition, the three cello suites, haven't listened yet, but will comment when I do. Completely new to this work.

Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Mirror Image on January 26, 2013, 07:35:44 AM
(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_250/MI0000/968/MI0000968296.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

My newest Reger aquisition, the three cello suites, haven't listened yet, but will comment when I do. Completely new to this work.

That looks good, Leo. By the way, love the avatar. :)
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Mirror Image on January 26, 2013, 07:37:52 AM
As far as his orchestral music is concerned, this recording is still unbelievably good:

Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: The new erato on January 26, 2013, 07:44:53 AM
As far as his orchestral music is concerned, this recording is still unbelievably good:


Yes it is. Strong recommendation from me as well.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Purusha on January 27, 2013, 11:27:28 AM
It's a shame Reger didn't live longer. I think his music would have gone on to become quite possibly more chromatic/atonal, but this is just speculation.

I don't think a change in technique would have mattered in altering the quality of his music. Reger is one of those composers who's language is formulated almost completely at a very early stage and after that its just a prolonged and painstaking process of refinement. Brahms is an obvious example here.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Herman on January 28, 2013, 10:43:24 AM
I don't think a change in technique would have mattered in altering the quality of his music. Reger is one of those composers who's language is formulated almost completely at a very early stage and after that its just a prolonged and painstaking process of refinement. Brahms is an obvious example here.

That's an interesting thought. Welcome , Purusha!
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Leo K. on January 22, 2014, 02:42:13 PM
As far as his orchestral music is concerned, this recording is still unbelievably good:



I am just pondering the fact that I want to acquire more orchestral works of Reger, I have plenty of Reger's chamber music but I'm in the dark concerning his orchestral work.

Thanks for the recommend John.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Mirror Image on January 22, 2014, 06:16:52 PM
I am just pondering the fact that I want to acquire more orchestral works of Reger, I have plenty of Reger's chamber music but I'm in the dark concerning his orchestral work.

Thanks for the recommend John.

You're welcome, Leo. I hope you decide on that Jarvi recording because it's freakin' great! 8)
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: bwv 1080 on April 16, 2014, 05:39:56 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51-4yk9pGkL._SY300_.jpg)

the MP3 version of the 11-CD set is only $8.99 on Amazon US

The recordings are excellent and in no way inferior to major label editions
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on April 16, 2014, 06:50:30 PM
I've heard basically zilch by Reger. But Robert Simpson's Introduction and Allegro on a Bass by Max Reger is a powerful piece for brass ensemble. Fans of serious brass music should check it out.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Brian on January 12, 2016, 12:11:10 PM
Today, inspired by the Dave Hurwitz/"Role of the Critic" thread, I've been revisiting the music of Max Reger.

(http://cdn.naxosmusiclibrary.com/sharedfiles/images/cds/hires/BIS-CD-711.jpg)

The piano concerto's slow movement is really a thing of beauty, very quiet, calm, restrained. It seems Reger was here trying to be as economical as possible with instrumentation, development, even notation. And the ending of the slow movement, which deliberately quotes directly from Beethoven's Fourth Concerto, is rather gratifying. Unfortunately, I thought the two outer movements were overblown. They're basically imitations of Brahms' First Concerto (a comparison Reger himself acknowledged in his description of the work), but without the melodies or panache. The concerto's ending, in particular, seems to come out of nowhere, as if he just got tired of writing.

The Suite im alten Stil is better as imitation than Grieg's Holberg Suite, but a less fanciful/inventive work. It has some real echoes of J.S. Bach, and there are passages in the Largo which are real highlights. But, again, this is one of those pieces that's hard for me to have an opinion about, because it's well-crafted, and has nice things, but without ever really forcing my memory cells to commit to preserving anything.

(http://cdn.naxosmusiclibrary.com/sharedfiles/images/cds/hires/BIS-CD-1211.jpg)

With the three solo viola suites Reger is taking Bach as his beginning, which is the style where I think Reger is most successful. This is beautiful music, especially as played by Nobuko Imai, a violist who produces a soulful tone and never sounds tentative or ugly. For whatever reason, I am and always have been a total sucker for solo viola suites in a rigorous classical style. (Also love Lillian Fuchs's compositions, and Maxim Rysanov's recordings of the Bach cello suites.)

(http://cdn.naxosmusiclibrary.com/sharedfiles/images/cds/hires/CD50-1005.jpg)

"Traume am Kamin" is a suite of 12 character pieces, like Schumann, although the voice is more like late Brahms - except No. 12, which is a blatant rewrite of Chopin's Berceuse. There are interesting harmonies and there is skillful writing, but I don't detect the soul that you get in late Brahms (or in Chopin's Berceuse). So far, only the slow movement of the piano concerto has demonstrating anything that could be called an emotion; Reger composed for different reasons than that, with his head, not his heart. Not to denigrate that. I don't judge that choice. But I think it must be pointed out.

The CD's couplings, by Alexander Scriabin and Joseph Jongen, both exhibit the kind of color and personality that Reger was reluctant to express.

(http://cdn.naxosmusiclibrary.com/sharedfiles/images/cds/hires/BIS-CD-601.jpg)

The Four Bocklin Tone Pictures would seem to give Reger the chance to bust out of his formal self and do some color-painting. And he does just that. Still, it does amuse me that in No. 1, "The Fiddling Hermit," the very considerable violin solo is discreet, polished, and classy: not what you'd expect from a fiddling hermit! Also, "Isle of the Dead" is more nocturnal and peaceful than Rachmaninov's more famous and better version. A final "Bacchanal" promises a chance for Reger to finally indulge in a bit of fun, and...hey, it is kinda fun!

(http://cdn.naxosmusiclibrary.com/sharedfiles/images/cds/hires/8.570455.jpg) (http://cdn.naxosmusiclibrary.com/sharedfiles/images/cds/hires/8.570960.jpg)

Now this is the good stuff! Reger was a master of the organ, in total command of its colors and its massive range. As a result, even the 'feste Burg' Chorale Fantasia is a fun listen despite being too long; the shorter works are pearls. Doesn't hurt that the organ of Trier Cathedral is more or less what an ideal organ sounds like, in my mind (even the weird nasal hautbois sound in Little Chorale Prelude No. 13). The Preludes and Fugues update Bach with a 1900s man's views on chromatic harmony.

I think the conclusion of this cursory, not-at-all-in-depth 3-4 hour exploration of Reger's music is that, while the Bocklin piece is attractive, Reger is at his best when being the Late Romantic Bach rather than the Late Romantic Brahms. And in particular, on the organ.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: amw on January 14, 2016, 02:32:32 AM
The Reger in "normal mode" (ie Late Romantic Brahms) that I listen to is the Violin Concerto. I don't know why. It's an hour long rehash of the Brahms Violin Concerto, except with every trace of melody and actual energy surgically removed and replaced with incredibly weird, recherché harmonic progressions. I mean, it's possible he meant it to have a compelling forward drive and Tanja Becker-Bender and her conductor are just taking it in an incredibly relaxed, introspective way, (or that he meant for it to have a compelling forward drive and wasn't able to realise this in the music, which is more likely) but it has this air of aimless floating and free fantasy in a recogniseable but defamiliarised musical world. Like an hour-long nocturne or something (all the movements are probably in strict sonata or rondo forms, knowing the composer—but I've never cared enough, or been able to follow the main themes enough, to identify them).

On the other hand, sometimes the directionlessness and lack of emotional engagement is not what I'm looking for, and I instead put on the Busoni Violin Concerto, which does almost all of the same things but Busoni could write a melody or create a real and seemingly unstoppable forward drive when he saw fit, and is half the length. Actually what surprises me is that there seem to be more recordings of the Reger concerto than the (almost objectively better and equally slushy late-romantic) Busoni one.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: The new erato on January 14, 2016, 02:37:48 AM
The Reger in "normal mode" (ie Late Romantic Brahms) that I listen to is the Violin Concerto. I don't know why. It's an hour long rehash of the Brahms Violin Concerto, except with every trace of melody and actual energy surgically removed and replaced with incredibly weird, recherché harmonic progressions. I mean, it's possible he meant it to have a compelling forward drive and Tanja Becker-Bender and her conductor are just taking it in an incredibly relaxed, introspective way, (or that he meant for it to have a compelling forward drive and wasn't able to realise this in the music, which is more likely) but it has this air of aimless floating and free fantasy in a recogniseable but defamiliarised musical world. Like an hour-long nocturne or something (all the movements are probably in strict sonata or rondo forms, knowing the composer—but I've never cared enough, or been able to follow the main themes enough, to identify them).

On the other hand, sometimes the directionlessness and lack of emotional engagement is not what I'm looking for, and I instead put on the Busoni Violin Concerto, which does almost all of the same things but Busoni could write a melody or create a real and seemingly unstoppable forward drive when he saw fit, and is half the length. Actually what surprises me is that there seem to be more recordings of the Reger concerto than the (almost objectively better and equally slushy late-romantic) Busoni one.
Good post! The Reger I prefer is invariably the Chamber Music one.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: amw on January 14, 2016, 02:47:09 AM
I like the five big variation sets in a non-problematic way—most of all the Telemann Variations. Also all the solo string music (viola and cello suites and violin sonatas). Most of the chamber music I can recall is sort of like more aggressive, miasmic versions of the Violin Concerto that (apart from a very good Clarinet Quintet) lack its tenderness. But I'm possibly being unfair to a few other works that aren't coming to my memory right now.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: The new erato on January 14, 2016, 04:02:57 AM
I remember liking the viola sonatas a lot.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on January 14, 2016, 09:26:05 AM
Today, inspired by the Dave Hurwitz/"Role of the Critic" thread, I've been revisiting the music of Max Reger.

Thank for you this. I haven't started my Regerthon yet. I keep meaning to, but somehow more than with most composers, approaching Reger feels like such a chore.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on November 26, 2016, 03:54:51 AM
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CxIa0uwXAAAXbbb.jpg)
#morninglistening to #MaxReger w/Bernhard Buttmann, far and away the most attractive Reger… http://ift.tt/2fnEMeR (http://amzn.to/2grX7s9)

Love this series! Vol.1 hooked me; v.4 continues the journey; must explore the two between.

I don't think I can write a review without resorting to puerile humor... But Benny, as no one calls Prof. Buttmann, just brings out the inner Bart Simpson in me.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on March 15, 2017, 05:29:46 PM
Classical CD Of The Week: Amid Debussy and Arno Breker
(https://blogs-images.forbes.com/jenslaurson/files/2017/03/Forbes_Classical-CD-of-the-Week_PROFIL-Haenssler_Pfitzner-Busoni-Reger_Laurson_1200-1200x469.jpg?width=960)
http://bit.ly/CDoftheWeek50 (http://bit.ly/CDoftheWeek50)
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: The new erato on March 15, 2017, 10:16:30 PM
Nobody commented on the Buttman name? OK, now I've done it.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Jo498 on March 16, 2017, 12:55:08 AM
I like the five big variation sets in a non-problematic way—most of all the Telemann Variations.
I also think that the orchestral and piano variations are among the most accessible pieces. Also the clarinet quintet and the two latest string quartet rather than the earlier ones. The concertos are just too long for me but the "Böcklin suite" (tone poems/Suite) is also quite accessible and more colorful than "typical Reger".
Of the solo string pieces I only know the cello suites and I like them but this kind of repertoire is bound to be not for everybody.

Overall, I don't like Reger as much as one could expect (because I like the Bach-Beethoven-Brahms lineage and chamber music) but the sheer amount of music he composed is impressive. And I don't even know any of the organ and only a little of his choral stuff. In these two niche fields Reger is still very present in Germany
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on March 16, 2017, 03:03:50 AM
Nobody commented on the Buttman name? OK, now I've done it.

It's almost too obvious. :-)

(Actually, I thought I had, in some review, but now I can't find any evidence of it. Probably for the better!)
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: cilgwyn on March 16, 2017, 08:09:36 AM
Nobody commented on the Buttman name? OK, now I've done it.
Makes me think of that episode of Seinfeld! ::)
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Turner on September 24, 2017, 07:35:46 AM
Bump; the main content as regards my Reger recordings.

I don´t plan to buy more, I´ll probably never get into his complete organ music, but as far as I remember the two Troubadisc chamber music recordings (piano quartets, piano quintet+trio) could perhaps be changed for better ones, in case Naxos or Brilliant Classics should decide to relase some economical ones.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Jo498 on September 24, 2017, 08:33:54 AM
MDG has all/most of the chamber music for trio and larger ensembles (Mannheim string quartet, Trio Parnassus and additional musicians if necessary). They are usually full price but some might be found cheaply from re-sellers.

Naxos has the piano quartets and string trios with an apparently Berlin based ensemble (two former members of the Petersen Quartet are listed) "Aperto Piano Quartet" and also a good disc with the clarinet quintet and a string quartet. But the clarinet quintet is the by far most frequently recorded chamber piece by Reger and there is no lack of good recordings. I have one the "Aperto" disc and thought it was fine but I am not too familiar with the music.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: vandermolen on September 24, 2017, 09:03:02 AM
I like this disc very much - I especially like the 'Isle of the Dead' (Boecklin Suite) as an interesting alternative to Rachmaninov's tone poem:


Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Turner on September 24, 2017, 09:06:51 AM
MDG has all/most of the chamber music for trio and larger ensembles (Mannheim string quartet, Trio Parnassus and additional musicians if necessary). They are usually full price but some might be found cheaply from re-sellers.

Naxos has the piano quartets and string trios with an apparently Berlin based ensemble (two former members of the Petersen Quartet are listed) "Aperto Piano Quartet" and also a good disc with the clarinet quintet and a string quartet. But the clarinet quintet is the by far most frequently recorded chamber piece by Reger and there is no lack of good recordings. I have one the "Aperto" disc and thought it was fine but I am not too familiar with the music.

Oh - some Reger piano quartets on Naxos I hadn't t seen, thank you. A music theory student I talked to and who wrote his main paper on Reger said that they were among his best works, and as far as I remember the string sound of the Troubadisc recordings just doesn't appeal much to me.
The Clarinet5 I have on the old DG LP with Leister and the Drolc quartet ... But like you I haven't heard it thoroughly through.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Jo498 on September 24, 2017, 09:53:38 AM
The Naxos have pretty good sound. It's a coproduction with Deutschlandradio and hessischer Rundfunk, respectively.



@Vandermolen: I do not know the disc in question but the Böcklin suite and the variations (Hiller and Mozart) are probably the most accessible of Reger's usually longish and sometimes thorny orchestral music.

The music of Reger that is in practice most frequently performed is certainly his organ and choral stuff, both are commonly performed in Germany (not quite as common as Bach, but probably next for the organ and right after Brahms and Mendelssohn for the romantic choral stuff)
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Turner on September 24, 2017, 10:00:12 AM
The Naxos have pretty good. It's a coproduction with Deutschlandradio and hessischer Rundfunk, respectively.


Yes, I sampled the JPC & Presto websites for mp3 excerpts, and those recordings seemed lively.
MDT has their big Naxos campaign sales a couple of days more. I´m not 100% sure I´ll be buying them right now, however.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: amw on September 24, 2017, 10:05:55 AM
For the Clarinet Quintet, Sabine Meyer & her groupies on EMI is good, paired with the String Sextet which is much more rarely recorded and a bit denser/less attractive.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: SymphonicAddict on September 24, 2017, 11:13:31 AM
I like this disc very much - I especially like the 'Isle of the Dead' (Boecklin Suite) as an interesting alternative to Rachmaninov's tone poem:



Yes, that disc is excellent. The Böcklin Suite is quite successful, perhaps my favorite work by Reger. That atmosphere from 'Isle of the Dead' is haunting, even a little bit darker than the Rachmaninov's.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: vandermolen on September 24, 2017, 11:53:28 AM
Yes, that disc is excellent. The Böcklin Suite is quite successful, perhaps my favorite work by Reger. That atmosphere from 'Isle of the Dead' is haunting, even a little bit darker than the Rachmaninov's.
Yes, the Boecklin Suite is my favourite work by Reger too.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: kyjo on September 24, 2017, 12:02:34 PM
I like this disc very much - I especially like the 'Isle of the Dead' (Boecklin Suite) as an interesting alternative to Rachmaninov's tone poem:



+1 The Boecklin Suite shows Reger at his most colorful and approachable (not a bit "academic") and is a fantastic work. I also greatly enjoy his graciously beautiful Mozart Variations and lush Romantic Suite. The only chamber work of his I'm familiar with is his Cello Sonata no. 4, which didn't really grab me too much until its nostalgically elegant finale.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: schnittkease on September 24, 2017, 12:09:48 PM
The only chamber work of his I'm familiar with is his Cello Sonata no. 4, which didn't really grab me too much until its nostalgically elegant finale.

My first recommendations would be the charming Clarinet Quintet and 4th String Quartet. The fiendishly difficult Cello Suites are not to be missed either (especially by a fellow cellist). Erling Blöndal Bengtsson's CD, which emphasizes Reger's strong ties to Bach, is superb.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: kyjo on September 24, 2017, 12:20:42 PM
My first recommendations would be the charming Clarinet Quintet and 4th String Quartet. The Cello Suites are not to be missed either; being a fellow cellist, I hope you have heard these (fiendishly difficult!) gems. The Bengtsson CD is superb - he emphasizes Reger's strong ties to Bach nicely.

Thanks for recommendations! Ah yes, I know the cello suites (mainly the first two) and they are indeed great and fiendishly difficult! I learned the Prelude to no. 1 a while back and have tried (unsuccessfully ;D) to sightread some of the other movements.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Jo498 on September 24, 2017, 11:40:24 PM
For the Clarinet Quintet, Sabine Meyer & her groupies on EMI is good, paired with the String Sextet which is much more rarely recorded and a bit denser/less attractive.
I have that one but unfortunately this one is by now hard to get as a single disc. There was a box for the Reger anniversary (I don't know the other recordings in there) that contains it. There used to be also a Swiss recording (Jecklin) that was highly regarded but is probably even harder to get.
The sextet is a little more thorny but fairly accessible compared to a lot of other Reger chamber music. Generally his later stuff is often more accessible and less dense, e.g. the op.121 quartet rather than the op.54 and especially op.74.

Reger was really good at variations and he used themes that are far more memorable than those of his own invention, so the two big solo piano variations (on themes by Bach and Telemann) are also comparably accessible and I'd recommend them to all who like e.g. Brahms' Handel variations.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: SymphonicAddict on September 25, 2017, 03:41:07 PM
My first recommendations would be the charming Clarinet Quintet and 4th String Quartet. The fiendishly difficult Cello Suites are not to be missed either (especially by a fellow cellist). Erling Blöndal Bengtsson's CD, which emphasizes Reger's strong ties to Bach, is superb.

I find the Clarinet quintet too dry and simple, I was utterly disappointed. However, I don't know the cello suites. The chamber work I like the most is the intense String sextet.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: André on September 25, 2017, 04:19:18 PM
The Naxos have pretty good sound. It's a coproduction with Deutschlandradio and hessischer Rundfunk, respectively.



@Vandermolen: I do not know the disc in question but the Böcklin suite and the variations (Hiller and Mozart) are probably the most accessible of Reger's usually longish and sometimes thorny orchestral music.

The music of Reger that is in practice most frequently performed is certainly his organ and choral stuff, both are commonly performed in Germany (not quite as common as Bach, but probably next for the organ and right after Brahms and Mendelssohn for the romantic choral stuff)

I have these discs but haven't listened to them yet (still in wraps, actually). Lately I have listened to the violin and cello sonatas, the string quartets, the solo violin sonatas (gorgeous stuff), some of the organ works (I'm taking my time with that one), the two concertos. Next, I'll turn to these string trios and piano quartets.

I find Reger a thoroughly fascinating composer. His music may sound a bit like he himself looks in his portraits (frownish, aloof, unsmiling), but upon closer acquaintance it is surprisingly ingratiating, passionate and emotional.

Yesterday I played the first movement of his op. 74 string quartet to a good friend unfamiliar with the composer. He was amazed - "never heard anything quite like this". Indeed, the movement unfolds not like a conversation between friends, but rather like a learned discussion, with surprising twists to the argument, changes of subject, returns to the main or secondary topic, etc. You can actually hear the different "participants" arguing. I feel I have learned something when I listen to a Reger work.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Herman on April 22, 2019, 08:57:04 AM


I find Reger a thoroughly fascinating composer. His music may sound a bit like he himself looks in his portraits (frownish, aloof, unsmiling), but upon closer acquaintance it is surprisingly ingratiating, passionate and emotional.


There are people, though, who hear a lot of humor in Reger's music, otherwise I agree with the above.

I have been, I don't know why, a Reger fan all my adult life, having purchased my first Reger LPs (the string quartets) forty years ago.

These days I have been listening a lot to his three viola solo suites, op 131d. Beautiful stuff.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Herman on April 22, 2019, 09:03:28 AM
The Reger I prefer is invariably the Chamber Music one.

Same here. Usually the Clarinet Quintet is mentioned, and I'd like to recommend a newish recording by Sharon Kam on clt and Isabelle van Keulen and Ulrike-Anima Mathe on violins, Volker Jacobsen and Gustav Rivinius.
The Reger is coupled with the Brahms clt quintet. It's a great cd.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia on April 22, 2019, 09:17:39 AM
There are people, though, who hear a lot of humor in Reger's music, otherwise I agree with the above.

I have been, I don't know why, a Reger fan all my adult life, having purchased my first Reger LPs (the string quartets) forty years ago.

These days I have been listening a lot to his three viola solo suites, op 131d. Beautiful stuff.

I have to try those string quartets again. I have three sets, the DGG set that you are presumably referring to, as well as sets on cpo and MDG. They are very dense with ideas and I remember really struggling but finally breaking through and starting to enjoy them. One thing that I remember bugging me, his tendency to keep the violins in their highest register for a large fraction of the time, which I found grating on the ears.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Herman on April 22, 2019, 10:05:11 AM
I'm not familiar with the Drolc Quartet on DG.
The LPs I used to have in the seventies and eighties were on Turnabout and the ensemble was called the Reger Quartet. Probably an ad hoc ensemble, I'm not sure.
I like the Mannheim on MDG a lot. There is also a recording of the 109 by the Vogler quartet (coupled with the Clarinet Qt with Karl Leister).

And, yes, the first violin part is often extremily virtuosic, not just in its high range, but the music is very 'unsafe' as well, with tons of accidentals. You can't coast on the key. In addition the composer is extremily demanding as to fingerings: the violinists are constantly told which string to use.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: André on April 22, 2019, 12:06:22 PM
The op. 91 solo violin sonatas are absolutely wonderful. Ulrike-Anima Mathé recorded them beautifully (IMO) on a Brilliant twofer (ex-Dorian).
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Herman on April 24, 2019, 10:30:19 PM
I have had copies of the Dorian since way back, though as I said before on this relentlessly unstoppable topic, I prefer triple digit Reger, works past opus 100.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: hvbias on May 07, 2019, 10:36:27 AM
I found a CD of the solo Cello Suites and Cello and Piano at my parent's house, performances by Pieter Wispelwey and Paolo Giacometti, what wonderful music. This disc will be going into my heavy listening.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia on May 07, 2019, 10:40:57 AM
I found a CD of the solo Cello Suites and Cello and Piano at my parent's house, performances by Pieter Wispelwey and Paolo Giacometti, what wonderful music. This disc will be going into my heavy listening.

I have the works with Gerhardt on Hyperion. I should find time for them...
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia on May 09, 2019, 07:27:13 AM
As promised, I listened to the first of Reger's suites for Cello Unaccompanied (Gerhardt).



It was pleasantly succinct, I enjoyed it. But it follows the pattern I have for Reger in my head, he tries too hard. He tries to pack so many ideas into every measure that they crowd each other. Comparing with the Bach pieces upon which these are obviously modeled the ideas seem to lack air, room to breath.

In any case, a positive listening experience and I will continue with the other pieces in this collection. Performance is impressive. Is this recording the best alternative, according to Reger fanatics?
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: schnittkease on May 09, 2019, 08:03:08 AM
Admittedly, I haven't heard the Gerhardt, but Erling Blöndal Bengtsson on Danacord makes a great case for Op. 131c. His interpretation is similar to how one might approach Bach's own suites: less rubato, taut phrasing, and no semblance of the overblown Romanticism that cellists often bring to Reger. True, most of his works require such treatment, but in the solo string works (where he is far more conservative) it seems less appropriate.

The coupling on Danacord is Ysaÿe's Op. 28; Gerhardt is great as it includes the four sonatas.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia on May 09, 2019, 08:16:37 AM
Admittedly, I haven't heard the Gerhardt, but Erling Blöndal Bengtsson on Danacord makes a great case for Op. 131c. His interpretation is similar to how one might approach Bach's own suites: less rubato, taut phrasing, and no semblance of the overblown Romanticism that cellists often bring to Reger. True, most of his works require such treatment, but in the solo string works (where he is far more conservative) it seems less appropriate.

The coupling on Danacord is Ysaÿe's Op. 28; Gerhardt is great as it includes the four sonatas.

My initial take is that Gerhardt does not approach the suites from a romantic perspective. The Sonatas are another matter. I have not listened to them, except for a quick sampling of the first track, the beginning of the first sonata. It was like a fire hose of romanticism aimed at me, which is what is required, I take it. :)
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: André on May 09, 2019, 09:05:48 AM
I have the solo cello suites by Guido Schiffen and the sonatas on the CPO set. I can’t say if they are too romantic or just enough, but I like both, especially the solo suites.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia on May 10, 2019, 08:02:01 AM
This time I listened to all three Suites for Cello Unaccompanied. Perhaps being a little more familiar with the musical argument helped be get passed my preconceptions of Reger. They really struck me as fine works, clever and melodic with engaging passage work. Gerhardt acquits himself well and the recording is excellent.



The release alternates Cello and Piano Sonatas with the suites, but I elected not to follow that scheme because the idea of juxtaposing hyper-romantic sonatas with neo-baroque sonatas didn't appeal to me. Probably I'll go on to the sonatas next.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: kyjo on May 12, 2019, 09:01:00 AM
I’ve been discovering some gems in Reger’s output recently. Sure, there may be some passages in his music which teeter on the “academic”, but there’s also material of great inspiration and appeal.
One of my greatest discoveries has been the beautiful orchestral song Der Einsiedler, which in its subtly shifting harmonies and lush textures is a delicious slice of Austro-Germanic late-romanticism at its best: https://youtu.be/T_OwMA4PlJs
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 12, 2019, 11:43:41 AM
I’ve been discovering some gems in Reger’s output recently. Sure, there may be some passages in his music which teeter on the “academic”, but there’s also material of great inspiration and appeal.
One of my greatest discoveries has been the beautiful orchestral song Der Einsiedler, which in its subtly shifting harmonies and lush textures is a delicious slice of Austro-Germanic late-romanticism at its best: https://youtu.be/T_OwMA4PlJs

Sounds like I’m going to have to get to listening to some Reger! :)
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: vandermolen on May 12, 2019, 11:48:47 AM
The Bocklin Pictures remain my favourite and certainly 'The Old Violinist' and the 'Isle of the Dead', an interesting and equally moving alternative to Rachmaninov's take on the work. I'm afraid that I do find much of his other output rather 'academic' but should listen to more.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia on May 12, 2019, 12:32:37 PM
The Bocklin Pictures remain my favourite and certainly 'The Old Violinist' and the 'Isle of the Dead', an interesting and equally moving alternative to Rachmaninov's take on the work. I'm afraid that I do find much of his other output rather 'academic' but should listen to more.

I should revisit those pieces, but for Reger the general rule is the smaller the ensemble the more I like it. The suites for unaccompanied cello, great. The cello and piano sonatas, one instrument too many. :)
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Herman on May 12, 2019, 04:15:17 PM
in that case, check out the viola suites.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: schnittkease on May 12, 2019, 04:17:26 PM
in that case, check out the viola suites.

Good call. Those are Tabea Zimmermann's stomping grounds.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia on May 12, 2019, 08:25:59 PM
in that case, check out the viola suites.

Oh, I saw the opus numbers and assumed they were the same suites, transcribed for viola. :)
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: schnittkease on May 12, 2019, 08:29:47 PM
Oh, I saw the opus numbers and assumed they were the same suites, transcribed for viola. :)

Yeah, Op. 131 is like four opuses (oppi?) in one!
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: vandermolen on May 12, 2019, 09:42:12 PM
Many thanks for the suggestions which I would like to explore.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Irons on May 12, 2019, 11:26:48 PM
I should revisit those pieces, but for Reger the general rule is the smaller the ensemble the more I like it. The suites for unaccompanied cello, great. The cello and piano sonatas, one instrument too many. :)

Not a bad call. I prefer the string trios to the string quartets.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia on May 13, 2019, 07:39:43 AM
Yeah, Op. 131 is like four opuses (oppi?) in one!

I discovered I have them! Imai on BIS. Also the solo violin sonatas, Mathe on Dorian. Turns out I have a lot of Reger. I think I'll stick with Chamber music for now.

On another note, I continued with the Cello Sonatas, but jumped ahead to #4. Much better! Much greater clarity of texture and melodic interest. I think my lack of engagement with the first cello sonata was an issue of Early vs Late Reger.  The later works have a touch of classicism that works well.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Maestro267 on May 26, 2019, 07:33:29 AM
Gradually working my way through the 11-disc Brilliant box-set "Reger Collection" which I picked up on Friday. While I see the accusations of "academia", to me there are a few hooks that grabbed me in the music, particularly in the Variations sets. Far more so than, say, Max Bruch's symphonies which didn't grab me at all.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: schnittkease on May 26, 2019, 01:08:47 PM
I'd say that Reger's variations are his single greatest body of work—one that can rival Brahms and Schumann. A cursory glance at his middle-late output shows that he was fond of the form; there are many (near-)masterpieces here.

- Variations and Fugue on an Original Theme, op. 73
- Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Bach, op. 81
- Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Beethoven, op. 86
- Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Johann Adam Hiller, op. 100
- Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Mozart, op. 132
- Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Telemann, op. 134
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: kyjo on May 27, 2019, 12:42:16 PM
I agree about the mastery of the sets of variations, particularly the Mozart and Hiller ones. It seems to me that Reger’s orchestral music is generally more immediately appealing and less dense than his chamber music. I haven’t heard an orchestral work of his I haven’t liked (granted, I haven’t tried the gargantuan violin and piano concerti yet), but most of the chamber works I’ve heard are a
bit impenetrable. Though, to be honest, I’m not as familiar with his chamber works as I am with his orchestral ones.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: SonicMan46 on April 28, 2020, 07:38:37 AM
Well, this Reger thread seems to get periodically rejuvenated!  ;D

At the moment, I'm re-evaluating my Max collection, just a dozen and a half CDs - last few days, I've been listening to the ones below - enjoy all of these works, although the Mozart/Hiller Naxos recording has received some 'bad press' (several reviews attached) - I'd probably do at least 4* on Amazon but see no other offerings w/ these works on a single disc - any suggestions?   Dave :)

P.S. just perusing Reger on Amazon, a LOT of boxes have appeared since my last look (likely years ago!) - just curious what our 'Reger Fans' are doing w/ their collections currently?

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81ajz9UkZHL._SL1200_.jpg)  (https://d1iiivw74516uk.cloudfront.net/eyJidWNrZXQiOiJwcmVzdG8tY292ZXItaW1hZ2VzIiwia2V5IjoiODYwNjg4My4xLmpwZyIsImVkaXRzIjp7InJlc2l6ZSI6eyJ3aWR0aCI6OTAwfSwianBlZyI6eyJxdWFsaXR5Ijo2NX0sInRvRm9ybWF0IjoianBlZyJ9LCJ0aW1lc3RhbXAiOjE1NTEwOTUyMTZ9)  (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41lWUWeTDCL.jpg)  (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71cOOt1-dGL._SL1055_.jpg)
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Maestro267 on April 28, 2020, 08:19:40 AM
Well, I picked up the 11-disc Brilliant set at some point in 2019, and while it's not a set I dive into regularly, I do really enjoy it when I'm in the mood. The orchestral variations are all wonderful, especially the Mozart. Which says something as I'm not a massive fan of Mozart personally. Mozart dressed up in Romantic colours though I can deal with.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Jo498 on April 28, 2020, 09:12:25 AM
As there was an anniversary 2016 a bunch of boxes were created or re-issued. Hardly any new recordings, I believe. Cpo boxed their recordings of the accompanied violin and cello sonatas that had been oop but I had the cello already complete and found two discs of the violin sonatas enough. For the orchestral or mixed boxes I also had already "too much" of the ingredients. Becker's box with all piano works was also re-issued by a cheap label but again I was not sufficiently enthusiastic to get the whole thing. Reger had a huge output and it is surprisingly well covered. There are roughly two (mostly) complete recordings of the orchestral works; one on Eterna/Berlin/Brilliant and the other one on Koch/schwann that was boxed unter the DG label (Universal owns the recordings, I guess). There are at least three available ones of the string quartets (Danish/cpo, Drolc/DG, Mannheim/MDG) and MDG has also lots of the mixed chamber music.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Mahlerian on April 28, 2020, 09:43:05 AM
Well, this Reger thread seems to get periodically rejuvenated!  ;D

At the moment, I'm re-evaluating my Max collection, just a dozen and a half CDs - last few days, I've been listening to the ones below - enjoy all of these works, although the Mozart/Hiller Naxos recording has received some 'bad press' (several reviews attached) - I'd probably do at least 4* on Amazon but see no other offerings w/ these works on a single disc - any suggestions?   Dave :)

P.S. just perusing Reger on Amazon, a LOT of boxes have appeared since my last look (likely years ago!) - just curious what our 'Reger Fans' are doing w/ their collections currently?

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81ajz9UkZHL._SL1200_.jpg)  (https://d1iiivw74516uk.cloudfront.net/eyJidWNrZXQiOiJwcmVzdG8tY292ZXItaW1hZ2VzIiwia2V5IjoiODYwNjg4My4xLmpwZyIsImVkaXRzIjp7InJlc2l6ZSI6eyJ3aWR0aCI6OTAwfSwianBlZyI6eyJxdWFsaXR5Ijo2NX0sInRvRm9ybWF0IjoianBlZyJ9LCJ0aW1lc3RhbXAiOjE1NTEwOTUyMTZ9)  (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41lWUWeTDCL.jpg)  (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71cOOt1-dGL._SL1055_.jpg)

I'm a fan of his Piano Trios, especially the later one in E minor.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71ZSo-zLE3L._SX425_.jpg)

The Bach Variations are great:
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/5103Fl97ojL._SX425_.jpg)
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: André on April 28, 2020, 09:45:34 AM
The DG box set of orchestral/vocal/choral works is a mandatory purchase IMO.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81BHMKKQsyL._SX522_.jpg)

The two cheapo boxes (Warner, Brilliant) offer a wide assortment of his output, but if you miss something, you’ll have to duplicate some stuff.

The chamber music has been well covered, with sets of sonatas for violin, cello, clarinet, string quartets, trios etc. His huge output for unaccompanied choral music may not be comprehensively covered, though. And, depending on your proclivities for solo instrumental music, Reger’s output for organ, piano and even violin is easily and economically available. I have 75+ cds of his music and am still buying.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: SonicMan46 on April 28, 2020, 09:50:07 AM
As there was an anniversary 2016 a bunch of boxes were created or re-issued. Hardly any new recordings, I believe. Cpo boxed their recordings of the accompanied violin and cello sonatas that had been oop but I had the cello already complete and found two discs of the violin sonatas enough. For the orchestral or mixed boxes I also had already "too much" of the ingredients. Becker's box with all piano works was also re-issued by a cheap label but again I was not sufficiently enthusiastic to get the whole thing. Reger had a huge output and it is surprisingly well covered. There are roughly two (mostly) complete recordings of the orchestral works; one on Eterna/Berlin/Brilliant and the other one on Koch/schwann that was boxed unter the DG label (Universal owns the recordings, I guess). There are at least three available ones of the string quartets (Danish/cpo, Drolc/DG, Mannheim/MDG) and MDG has also lots of the mixed chamber music.

Thanks all for the 'box' comments - I'm happy w/ what I own (could add a little more chamber music) - I agree w/ the above, i.e. the complete piano works, the orchestral boxes, numerous organ pieces, etc. just don't pique my interest - plus, not a frequent listener to his recordings.  BUT, for the afternoon, the CDs below - my remaining discs are the piano & violin concertos, plus serenades and suites.  Dave :)

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71CL8R9WxxL._SL1200_.jpg)  (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41EcG4UB%2BWL.jpg)  (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71ZSo-zLE3L._SL1200_.jpg)  (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/513nS8bz2VL.jpg)
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Jo498 on April 28, 2020, 09:56:55 AM
I can highly recommend the Hamelin variation disc. The Gerhardt cello is probably very good but I had the stuff already in other recordings. As I wrote above, the clarinet quintet is a favorite and quite well covered. I just realized that I also have the MDG recording of the trios...
Reger's (chamber) music became somewhat more relaxed and accessible later on. The opus numbers >100 are often more acccessible than the earlier ones. Nevertheless, a lot of it is still fairly tough listening.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: SonicMan46 on April 28, 2020, 12:22:30 PM
The DG box set of orchestral/vocal/choral works is a mandatory purchase IMO.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81BHMKKQsyL._SX522_.jpg)

The two cheapo boxes (Warner, Brilliant) offer a wide assortment of his output, but if you miss something, you’ll have to duplicate some stuff.

The chamber music has been well covered, with sets of sonatas for violin, cello, clarinet, string quartets, trios etc. His huge output for unaccompanied choral music may not be comprehensively covered, though. And, depending on your proclivities for solo instrumental music, Reger’s output for organ, piano and even violin is easily and economically available. I have 75+ cds of his music and am still buying.

Sacré bleu, André!   :laugh:  Amazing!  Six+ dozen CDs - you must have the piano & organ boxes along w/ a bunch of choral works?  Actually, I'm going to listen to a few more chamber recordings on Spotify which I might add, getting me to only a measly 18 discs -  ::) ;D  Dave
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: JBS on April 28, 2020, 02:25:17 PM
I'd suggest the Haas set of organ works on MDG and Becker's set of piano music (on NCA now). There's another set of the organ music on Naxos that takes up more shelf space, is about the same quality of performance and was at the time I bought it more expensive than the Haas set.   

I like the set of orchestral music on Berlin Classics better than the Warner and DG boxes, but the latter two are not confined to  orchestral music.

Chamber music I have too little.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: André on April 28, 2020, 04:33:44 PM
I'd suggest the Haas set of organ works on MDG and Becker's set of piano music (on NCA now). There's another set of the organ music on Naxos that takes up more shelf space, is about the same quality of performance and was at the time I bought it more expensive than the Haas set.   

I like the set of orchestral music on Berlin Classics better than the Warner and DG boxes, but the latter two are not confined to  orchestral music.

Chamber music I have too little.

Yes and yes. Treasure chests both. I can’t get over how this music is simply inexhaustible even in the most mundane or didactic pieces (of which there are a few).
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Jo498 on April 28, 2020, 10:28:59 PM
The Berlin Classics orchestral recordings should also be easier to find separately whereas the Koch, mostly led by Stein that were collected in the DG box had been oop for many years.

correction: Above I wrote "Danish quartet" on cpo, actually this is the obviously Swiss, not Danish Bern string quartet.

It is deplorable that Peter Serkin apparently never made any official Reger recordings, except one with Schiff (Beethoven variations for two pianos) and Rudolf so few that are also hard to find. Both were maybe the most prominent Reger champions among well known pianists.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Herman on April 29, 2020, 03:50:14 AM
I should revisit those pieces, but for Reger the general rule is the smaller the ensemble the more I like it. The suites for unaccompanied cello, great. The cello and piano sonatas, one instrument too many. :)

I don't feel that way. My rule is the music gets better, less dense and notey, when the opus nrs reach triple digits, and it keeps getting better as the nrs climb.

So the 2nd Piano Trio nr 102 may be the first work that really appeals to me.

The unaccompanied violin works don't appeal to me much, but the late sonatas for violin and piano, opp 122 and 139, are really terrific.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Ratliff on April 29, 2020, 05:28:25 AM
I don't feel that way. My rule is the music gets better, less dense and notey, when the opus nrs reach triple digits, and it keeps getting better as the nrs climb.

So the 2nd Piano Trio nr 102 may be the first work that really appeals to me.

The unaccompanied violin works don't appeal to me much, but the late sonatas for violin and piano, opp 122 and 139, are really terrific.

I also have the experience that the later works are more appealing, but I generally like the smaller ensembles. His orchestral music is too plush and saccharine for my taste, the chamber music more appealing.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Jo498 on April 29, 2020, 07:09:50 AM
I could agree that Reger's music is often overdone in many ways, overspiced, overly complex, overly long etc. But plush and saccharine would be among the very last attributes I could think of to describe Reger. It's more like dark meat that is still not tender even after having been cooked forever with darker gravy, cabbage and heavy dumplings ;)
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: JBS on April 29, 2020, 09:30:15 AM
The Berlin Classics orchestral recordings should also be easier to find separately whereas the Koch, mostly led by Stein that were collected in the DG box had been oop for many years.

correction: Above I wrote "Danish quartet" on cpo, actually this is the obviously Swiss, not Danish Bern string quartet.

It is deplorable that Peter Serkin apparently never made any official Reger recordings, except one with Schiff (Beethoven variations for two pianos) and Rudolf so few that are also hard to find. Both were maybe the most prominent Reger champions among well known pianists.

The Berlin Classics is still listed on Amazon US, although there may not be many copies available

Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Dry Brett Kavanaugh on June 27, 2020, 04:49:51 AM
I have been listening the piano box set by Becker for years, and I like it a lot.
I wish the recording sound were a little better.
I heard that there is another complete piano works set, but cannot find one.

Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Maestro267 on June 27, 2020, 05:28:12 AM
It's just hit me...how much music this guy wrote in such a short space of time!
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Mahlerian on June 27, 2020, 05:53:50 AM
It's just hit me...how much music this guy wrote in such a short space of time!

My composition teacher claimed that Reger could write a four or five voice fugue in his head. That's an exceptional level of facility. I think the reason his music can get so densely clotted is because in his mind all of these things were clear, but in real performance they're difficult to untangle.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: André on June 27, 2020, 08:03:34 AM
I have been listening the piano box set by Becker for years, and I like it a lot.
I wish the recording sound were a little better.
I heard that there is another complete piano works set, but cannot find one.

It’s a great set, with no weak links, even in the smaller works (there’s tons of them, actually). Same with the same label’s set of the organ works.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: kyjo on June 28, 2020, 07:13:19 AM
It's just hit me...how much music this guy wrote in such a short space of time!

I know, right? According to Wikipedia, all of his works were composed within the span of 25 years. And most of them aren’t short either!
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Mirror Image on June 28, 2020, 07:18:19 AM
I know, right? According to Wikipedia, all of his works were composed within the span of 25 years. And most of them aren’t short either!

Or enjoyable. ;) ;D
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Herman on July 15, 2020, 09:03:57 AM
I have been listening to the recently maligned Reger Piano Concerto, performed by Gerhard Oppitz with the Bamberger Sym conducted by Horst Stein.

I had not taken this off the shelf in many years; I usually listen to chamber music when I listen to Reger. In my memory it was a very full and busy piece, but I'm not hearing any congestion now. It was composed and premiered in 1910, so formally it is a later work. Oppitz, Stein and the people at Koch Schwann have kept the textures open. The concerto was conceived for a female pianist, a pupil of Reger's, maybe that's part of it. There are big chords, sure, but the work does not rely on power. Also, there are no cadenzas.

There is a center of deep roiling agitation in this piece, but peace, too, as is shown by the relative brevity of the development section in the 18 minute first movement. The coda of the first mvt is just amazing.

The slow movement is one of those gorgeous prayer-like largos Reger wrote in his later years, with long melodic lines going from  ppp to crescendo and back to ppp. I remember how I used to love this music when I was a young man, 45 years ago, listening to the Rudolf Serkin / Ormandy recording. And I still am awestruck at this music. This combination of the sacred and the profane (the jolly finale) is unique to Max Reger. The finale is truly amazing in that it is a full orchestra plus piano playing chrystal clear chamber music.

I'm not going to put this back on the Reger shelf but listen to this piece some more in the rest of the week.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: André on July 15, 2020, 11:13:19 AM

Nice post, Herman !

Of course I concur with your (very perceptive) appreciation  0:).
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Mirror Image on July 15, 2020, 12:37:08 PM
I could agree that Reger's music is often overdone in many ways, overspiced, overly complex, overly long etc. But plush and saccharine would be among the very last attributes I could think of to describe Reger. It's more like dark meat that is still not tender even after having been cooked forever with darker gravy, cabbage and heavy dumplings ;)

Well, you’ve managed to ruin dark meat, cabbage and dumplings for me. ;) Thanks a lot, jerk! :P
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: kyjo on July 15, 2020, 05:45:19 PM
I have been listening to the recently maligned Reger Piano Concerto, performed by Gerhard Oppitz with the Bamberger Sym conducted by Horst Stein.

I had not taken this off the shelf in many years; I usually listen to chamber music when I listen to Reger. In my memory it was a very full and busy piece, but I'm not hearing any congestion now. It was composed and premiered in 1910, so formally it is a later work. Oppitz, Stein and the people at Koch Schwann have kept the textures open. The concerto was conceived for a female pianist, a pupil of Reger's, maybe that's part of it. There are big chords, sure, but the work does not rely on power. Also, there are no cadenzas.

There is a center of deep roiling agitation in this piece, but peace, too, as is shown by the relative brevity of the development section in the 18 minute first movement. The coda of the first mvt is just amazing.

The slow movement is one of those gorgeous prayer-like largos Reger wrote in his later years, with long melodic lines going from  ppp to crescendo and back to ppp. I remember how I used to love this music when I was a young man, 45 years ago, listening to the Rudolf Serkin / Ormandy recording. And I still am awestruck at this music. This combination of the sacred and the profane (the jolly finale) is unique to Max Reger. The finale is truly amazing in that it is a full orchestra plus piano playing chrystal clear chamber music.

I'm not going to put this back on the Reger shelf but listen to this piece some more in the rest of the week.

Your enthusiasm has encouraged me to put the Reger PC on my "need to listen" list. It certainly seems to be a piece that divides opinion!
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: vers la flamme on July 16, 2020, 02:36:13 PM
I really want to explore more of Reger's music. All I've heard is some of the organ music (which is quite mind blowing, but I really have to be in the mood to hear it) plus two sets of orchestral variations on Naxos (I could take it or leave it, but I suspect it's not a great performance—I've never been super impressed with the NZ Symphony).

What's a good single disc to start with for his chamber music?
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Herman on July 16, 2020, 05:25:17 PM
there's a good naxos disc with the clarinet quintet + the string quartet nr 4, perhaps his two most succesful chamber works.

another option would be the violin sonatas op 122 & 139.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Herman on July 17, 2020, 02:11:50 AM
I have been listening to the recently maligned Reger Piano Concerto, performed by Gerhard Oppitz with the Bamberger Sym conducted by Horst Stein.

I had not taken this off the shelf in many years; I usually listen to chamber music when I listen to Reger. In my memory it was a very full and busy piece, but I'm not hearing any congestion now. It was composed and premiered in 1910, so formally it is a later work. Oppitz, Stein and the people at Koch Schwann have kept the textures open. The concerto was conceived for a female pianist, a pupil of Reger's, maybe that's part of it. There are big chords, sure, but the work does not rely on power. Also, there are no cadenzas.

There is a center of deep roiling agitation in this piece, but peace, too, as is shown by the relative brevity of the development section in the 18 minute first movement. The coda of the first mvt is just amazing.

The slow movement is one of those gorgeous prayer-like largos Reger wrote in his later years, with long melodic lines going from  ppp to crescendo and back to ppp. I remember how I used to love this music when I was a young man, 45 years ago, listening to the Rudolf Serkin / Ormandy recording. And I still am awestruck at this music. This combination of the sacred and the profane (the jolly finale) is unique to Max Reger. The finale is truly amazing in that it is a full orchestra plus piano playing chrystal clear chamber music.

I'm not going to put this back on the Reger shelf but listen to this piece some more in the rest of the week.

Since I am still listening to the Piano Concerto, with much pleasure (this is really a terrific recording), I'd like to add that one of the features of this concerto is its particular sound world. There's a roiling darkness to it, coming out of stopped brass and violas and celli, right out of the gate.

In the wonderful largo the whole sound spectrum shifts upward, there are much more highs. However in the busy middle part the entire sound picture gets pulled down again towards the dark, with a nagging motiv that at its most intriguing gets picked up by a horn near the end of the climax (in bar 54) as a sort of signal for the piano and then the peaceful music returns. That horn signal, coloring the entire proceedings, is (for me) characteristic of the way this symphonic piano concerto sounds.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Mahlerian on July 17, 2020, 06:42:23 AM
I really want to explore more of Reger's music. All I've heard is some of the organ music (which is quite mind blowing, but I really have to be in the mood to hear it) plus two sets of orchestral variations on Naxos (I could take it or leave it, but I suspect it's not a great performance—I've never been super impressed with the NZ Symphony).

What's a good single disc to start with for his chamber music?

I second Herman's recommendation of the Naxos disc with his Clarinet Quintet, which is one of his best single works.

His two piano trios are also a good introduction to Reger, early and late:
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71ZSo-zLE3L._SX425_.jpg)

Most people don't love the Op. 54 quartets as much as I do, but they're very inventive:
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71DFWkKawqL._SX425_.jpg)
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Jo498 on July 17, 2020, 12:50:04 PM
The Naxos chamber CD is very good. Even more appealing might be Hamelin (Hyperion) with the two big variation cycles for piano solo. If one likes Brahms' Handel- and Haydn-Variations, one should try the ones by Reger. I think the most "picturesquely romantic" orchestral pieces are the "Böcklin" Tone poems (incl. an "Isle of the Dead"). If one loves cello, the cello solo suites could also be an option.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: André on July 17, 2020, 04:32:31 PM
I love the solo violin sonatas (two sets, op 42 and 91). Superb. So are the two-piano works.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71nQ5mU40bL._AC_SX400_.jpg)
(https://www.amazon.com/images/I/615cjyprl2L._SL400_.jpg)
(https://www.amazon.com/images/I/51IS53A7BUL.jpg)

I find the Mozart and Beethoven variation sets even better in this format than in their orchestral versions (the Mozart set was composed for orchestra and transcribed for two pianos. The Beethoven set was for two pianos and transcribed for orchestra).
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Mirror Image on July 17, 2020, 04:34:00 PM
I love the solo violin sonatas (two sets, op 42 and 91. Superb. So are the two-piano works.

What are some Reger works that you don’t like, Andre? I’m trying to figure out if you’re a Reger fanboy who feels he can do no wrong or actually have some kind of criticism about his music. As much as I love say Shostakovich or Sibelius, I feel there are many works that just don’t do much for me.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: André on July 17, 2020, 04:50:20 PM
If the music is good, it’s good, John. No need to be a fanboy (what a silly term).
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Mirror Image on July 17, 2020, 06:13:39 PM
If the music is good, it’s good, John. No need to be a fanboy (what a silly term).

I’m just trying to figure out what works you dislike from Reger. Also, I can’t claim the term ‘fanboy’ as it’s been around for quite some time.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fanboy (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fanboy)
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Maestro267 on July 17, 2020, 09:58:50 PM
Nothing about "claiming" it at all. It's a derogatory term that should be removed from our vocabulary. No gatekeeping here. Everyone's enthusiasm is welcome here, no matter how much experience one has with this music, or any composer's music.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Herman on July 17, 2020, 11:54:21 PM
Maybe I can respond to the 'dislike' question.

I'm not too hot about the large solo works in which Reger doesn't check his facility in spinning notes.

So, the big op. 81 Bach variations are not my thing. Nor do I have a lot of succes with the solo violin sonatas as recorded by the wonderful Ulrike-Anima Mathé. It's just so many notes. I have the complete Ulf Wallin set, but the two violin - piano sonatas op 122 and op 139 suffice for me. They are great pieces that deserve to be performed in recitals more. Same for the three Suites for solo viola op 131. These are works of artistic heroism to me, in the way Reger has conquered his facility and has found restraint.

In the Reger literature people talk of his last years (the Jena era) when he was looking for a more Mozartian openness in his sound, culminating in the Clarinet Quintet, but it's there already in the Piano concerto from 1910. For me the big Piano Trio op 102 is the starting point of the good stuff. The works with the double (rather than triple) opus numbers often suffer (in my mind) from too thick textures and a habit of just going on and on. One cannot help but think what great chamber works he could have composed had he eaten a little less and lived a little longer, so that there would have been more works from the Jena era.

I have great respect for the craftsman type artist who doesn't wait for inspiration but finds it while he's working. Bach, Reger, Hindemith, in the German music tradition. However that attitude means you have a great many opus nrs and people will need to shift when the dust has settled.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on July 18, 2020, 12:44:10 AM
Max Reger also wrote an incredibly moving* love letter to the woman he had adored and courted for 7 years before, now a widow by now divorced, he tried again. (And succeeded.)

If you speak German and are interested in it al all (but too lazy to google it), here's me reading it, set to his music.

https://surprisedbybeautyorg.files.wordpress.com/2020/06/the_quarantine_poems_no10_max-reger_werbungsbrief-an-seine-frau_2.mp3 (https://surprisedbybeautyorg.files.wordpress.com/2020/06/the_quarantine_poems_no10_max-reger_werbungsbrief-an-seine-frau_2.mp3)

(* Especially if you leave out his detailed listing of his finances.)
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Herman on July 18, 2020, 01:28:01 AM
Elsa was not a widow when she and Reger married; she had divorced her first husband, a most unusual step at the time. She had taken voice lessons with Reger. He probably composed a lot of songs with her voice in mind.

When they married at long last, in 1902, he was excommunicated from the catholic church; Elsa was a protestant and and a divorced woman. Marrying Reger was a bit of a step down, socially, for her, her dad was a 'von' and her mother was a baroness.

They adopted two daughters (she was over thirty when they married) and when she (at last) became a widow after Reger had eaten and drank himself to death* thirteen years later she kept his name alive by running the Max-Reger-Institute, with enormous archives and funds to sponsor Reger projects, such as the biography that appeared a couple years ago. I wouldn't be suprised if the large cd boxes of his works that keep appearing aren't part-sponsored by the Institute, too.

*I know people weren't saying "cheese" for the camera back in 1910, but still, in the pictures we have of the Regers big and small they do not look exuberantly happy, to put it mildly.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Mirror Image on July 18, 2020, 06:02:00 AM
Maybe I can respond to the 'dislike' question.

I'm not too hot about the large solo works in which Reger doesn't check his facility in spinning notes.

So, the big op. 81 Bach variations are not my thing. Nor do I have a lot of succes with the solo violin sonatas as recorded by the wonderful Ulrike-Anima Mathé. It's just so many notes. I have the complete Ulf Wallin set, but the two violin - piano sonatas op 122 and op 139 suffice for me. They are great pieces that deserve to be performed in recitals more. Same for the three Suites for solo viola op 131. These are works of artistic heroism to me, in the way Reger has conquered his facility and has found restraint.

In the Reger literature people talk of his last years (the Jena era) when he was looking for a more Mozartian openness in his sound, culminating in the Clarinet Quintet, but it's there already in the Piano concerto from 1910. For me the big Piano Trio op 102 is the starting point of the good stuff. The works with the double (rather than triple) opus numbers often suffer (in my mind) from too thick textures and a habit of just going on and on. One cannot help but think what great chamber works he could have composed had he eaten a little less and lived a little longer, so that there would have been more works from the Jena era.

I have great respect for the craftsman type artist who doesn't wait for inspiration but finds it while he's working. Bach, Reger, Hindemith, in the German music tradition. However that attitude means you have a great many opus nrs and people will need to shift when the dust has settled.

Thanks for answering my question (even though I didn’t ask you ;)). All I get is attitude and overly sensitive replies from other members if I dare question their enthusiasms. I’ll have to check out some of the later works as you suggested.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Mirror Image on July 18, 2020, 09:33:14 AM
I want apologize to Andre if my comments were seen as rude or abrasive. This wasn’t my intention at all. Sorry, my friend! I write similar to the way I talk, so without being able to see my body language, I can understand how my posts sometimes come off sounding discourteous.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: André on July 18, 2020, 09:55:39 AM
No harm done, John  ;).

I must admit I do love a lot of Reger.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Herman on July 18, 2020, 10:01:02 AM
Yeah, I think it's fun the way Andre and I are both (apparently) 'Reger fanboys' with not a whole lot of overlap.

I'm listening to the BRSO Hiller Variations now, btw, yet another example of Reger swinging between the sacred and profane.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Mirror Image on July 18, 2020, 10:06:13 AM
No harm done, John  ;).

I must admit I do love a lot of Reger.

Good to read, Andre. I should try and get back into the composer, because I own a good bit of his music.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Mirror Image on July 18, 2020, 10:07:40 AM
Yeah, I think it's fun the way Andre and I are both (apparently) 'Reger fanboys' with not a whole lot of overlap.

I'm listening to the BRSO Hiller Variations now, btw, which yet another example of Reger swinging between the sacred and profane.

Yes and it’s certainly nice to have some Reger fans here, because if I have any questions, I know who to ask. :)
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Mirror Image on July 18, 2020, 10:10:29 AM
By the way, guys, what do you make of this (taken from Wikipedia):

Max Reger: The Last Giant, a documentary film about the life and works of Max Reger, was released on 6 DVDs around December 2016 to mark the 100th anniversary of Reger's death. It is produced by Fugue State Films and includes excerpts from Reger's most important works for orchestra, piano, chamber ensemble and organ, with performances by Frauke May, Bernhard Haas, Bernhard Buttmann and the Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester Frankfurt.

Has anyone seen this documentary?

Here’s the introduction to the series:

https://www.youtube.com/v/KGv80K1-bbc

A link to the 6-DVD set on Reger:



This looks like a must-buy, Andre and Herman!
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: André on July 18, 2020, 12:06:19 PM
It certainly looks like a giant serving of Reger ! Not sure I’d treat myself to 5 DVDs of organ music, though. I do have an integral set - wonderfully arranged for maximum variety and sustained interest on each disc. And the same goes for Becker’s integral set of piano music. Reger does need that kind of dedicated advocacy. He was not a ‘theme and melodies’ type of composer - an anti Tchaikovsky in that regard. With architectonic design in mind first, and musical phrases second, his music can appear austere and unwieldy. But patience and an inquisitive mind reveal great beauties.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Mirror Image on July 18, 2020, 12:13:29 PM
It certainly looks like a giant serving of Reger ! Not sure I’d treat myself to 5 DVDs of organ music, though. I do have an integral set - wonderfully arranged for maximum variety and sustained interest on each disc. And the same goes for Becker’s integral set of piano music. Reger does need that kind of dedicated advocacy. He was not a ‘theme and melodies’ type of composer - an anti Tchaikovsky in that regard. With architectonic design in mind first, and musical phrases second, his music can appear austere and unwieldy. But patience and an inquisitive mind reveal great beauties.

It’s actually 6 DVDs. I don’t think it’s 5 DVDs of organ music, Andre. There are a multitude of works from the genres that Reger wrote in spread throughout. Also, there are three documentaries on the composer in this set. I’m thinking about springing for it myself as I want to learn more about the composer.

Here is the back of the DVD set:

[Right click to enlarge]
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71u8PKjOYuL._SL1200_.jpg)

From Presto Classical’s site:

This beautifully presented box-set consists of an in-depth documentary spanning three discs: a 210-minute film entitled Max Reger: The Last Giant, which covers the whole of Reger’s life and art. The story ranges from his extensive organ works and his use of complex counterpoint; his unconventional life and his problems with anxiety and alcohol; all the way to the triumphantly boundary-pushing works in which he expressed his own, singular relationship with the tensions between tonality and chromaticism that defined the period.

This unprecedented journey through the work of one of the early 20th century’s great artists also includes twelve hours of performances of Reger’s best music by an exceptional line-up of musicians. These specially filmed performances cover all or part of more than 50 of the composer’s 146 opus numbers. They have all been all specially commissioned and performed for the Maximum Reger project, and are available only with this box-set.

These recordings include performances by two German symphony orchestras, as well as some of Reger’s most significant instrumental and chamber works, plus a major survey of his substantial and varied organ music, recorded on five magnificent organs in Bremen, Chemnitz, Ludwigsburg, Ulm and Weiden.

As a Fugue State Films production, Maximum Reger boasts handsome production values with first-rate video and audio recording, and stars a host of world-class musicians and Reger scholars, who together paint a rich and vivid portrait of a true giant of classical music. It was filmed on location in many parts of Germany, and was created with full access to the Max Reger Institute’s massive archive of manuscripts, artworks and photographs.

This set of films compellingly places the composer in the context of the social and artistic maelstrom of the early 20th century, showing that in a musical world bequeathed by Bach, Brahms and Wagner – and about to be dominated by Schoenberg, Webern and Berg – Reger’s voice is one we should cherish. Maximum Reger demonstrates that Reger’s more experimental and chromatic music often rivalled – and sometimes even surpassed – the efforts of acknowledged giants of the period such as Schoenberg. This collection shows that Reger pushed with equal wildness against the limits of tonality, but did so while retaining an elegiac lyricism that, unlike his contemporaries, he never abandoned. This is what makes Reger both unique and relevant today. His singular voice is one whose lyricism coexists with its avant-garde experimentalism; whose sometimes immensely complex compositions and technical advances coexist with an appealing attitude towards the virtue of a beautiful melody on its own terms.

Reger has sometimes been overlooked by musical histories but, as this collection amply proves, his work boasts a unique richness of expression that deserves a central place in our musical appreciation. Reger's humour and vividness, his richness and variety of expression, and his own unique response to the questions surrounding tonality at that time, all mark him out as thoroughly deserving of the description given to him by Hindemith – ‘the last musical giant’.

Musical Highlights include:

• Awe-inspiring performances of Reger's most colossal organ works.

• An acknowledgement that Reger's greatest work was in the field of chamber music, with sensational performances of his quartet Op.54ii and sextet Op.118.

• The first ever recording of a new orchestration of Reger's signature work, the Bach Variations, Op.81.

• An exploration of his vast treasure trove of works for violin, including performances by Sayaka Shoji of Op.87 and 117.

• A rendition of his orchestral song An Die Hoffnung, Op.124, a work as haunting and beautiful as anything by Mahler or Strauss.

• Exquisite performances of unknown masterpieces for piano, violin, viola and cello, plus the very best of his lieder.

Artists

Aris Quartett, Graham Barber (organ), Markus Becker (piano), Julius Berger (cello), Andrew Brownell (piano), Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester, Ira Levin (conductor) Bernhard Buttmann (organ), Diogenes Quartett, Roland Glassl (viola) Bernhard Haas (organ) Hyperion Trio, Oliver Kern (piano) Frauke May (mezzo), Rudolf Meister (piano), Julien Quentin (piano), Bernhard Renzikowski (piano), Evgenia Rubinova (piano), Sayaka Shoji (violin), Hagen Schwarzrock (piano), Egidius Streiff (violin), Alessandro Tardino (piano), Katharina Troe (cello), Katharina Wildermuth (violin), WDR Funkhausorchester, Wayne Marshall (conductor)
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Symphonic Addict on July 18, 2020, 01:37:35 PM
Nor do I have a lot of succes with the solo violin sonatas as recorded by the wonderful Ulrike-Anima Mathé. It's just so many notes.

That's what I felt with many of the violin sonatas (with piano). A mere succession of notes with nothing memorable, so are the Clarinet Sonatas IMO. I do have Reger in high esteem, but I also think he suffered from being too intellectual with what he wanted to express in music (sometimes, not always).
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Symphonic Addict on July 18, 2020, 01:38:44 PM
My favorite Reger is represented on these works:

String Quartets, String Sextet, Clarinet Quintet, Piano Trios, Piano Quartets, Piano Quintets, Serenades for Flute, Violin and Viola, Cello Suites, piano variations, orchestral music (except the Serenade in G major and possibly the Sinfonietta), Psalm 100, Die Nonnen and some organ music. I don't have strong memories of the concertos.

To my ears those works have more identity and interesting material.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Mirror Image on July 18, 2020, 01:51:06 PM
That's what I felt with many of the violin sonatas (with piano). A mere succession of notes with nothing memorable, so are the Clarinet Sonatas IMO. I do have Reger in high esteem, but I also think he suffered from being too intellectual with what he wanted to express in music (sometimes, not always).

I can’t believe I’m coming to Reger’s defense after being rather dismissive of him in the past, but I don’t really agree with the criticism of ‘intellectual’. From the intellect can come beauty and has in many instances from the Renaissance up until our present era. Schoenberg was often accused of writing intellectual music, but, for me, his music burns with the fiery passion of a thousand suns. I think Reger is a slow burn and it’s just going to take time for me to fully assimilate his style, what I believe his music expresses and just the general feeling behind everything. He’s a different kind of animal that I’m going to enjoy picking apart and getting to know.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: André on July 18, 2020, 01:53:59 PM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71u8PKjOYuL._SL500_.jpg)

Thanks for this, John. Certainly a most interesting issue, I agree.

I read ‘5 DVDs’ of organ music, but it’s 5 hours, my mistake. A total of 15 hours of music, to be enjoyed over many evenings !
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Mirror Image on July 18, 2020, 01:56:11 PM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71u8PKjOYuL._SL500_.jpg)

Thanks for this, John. Certainly a most interesting issue, I agree.

I read ‘5 DVDs’ of organ music, but it’s 5 hours, my mistake. A total of 15 hours of music, to be enjoyed over many evenings !

Yes, I’m probably going to be placing an order for it in due time. 8)
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: kyjo on July 18, 2020, 02:01:57 PM
Two of Reger’s most beautiful and accessible works (IMO) are his substantial orchestral songs An die Hoffnung and Der Einsiedler, recorded by none other than Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau on this superb Orfeo disc:



https://youtu.be/tDexPdrnrkw
https://youtu.be/WqsHGcB_B5s
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Mahlerian on July 18, 2020, 02:06:35 PM
I can’t believe I’m coming to Reger’s defense after being rather dismissive of him in the past, but I don’t really agree with the criticism of ‘intellectual’. From the intellect can come beauty and has in many instances from the Renaissance up until our present era. Schoenberg was often accused of writing intellectual music, but, for me, his music burns with the fiery passion of a thousand suns. I think Reger is a slow burn and it’s just going to take time for me to fully assimilate his style, what I believe his music expresses and just the general feeling behind everything. He’s a different kind of animal that I’m going to enjoy picking apart and getting to know.

I think Reger also has a sardonic wit to his music that presages Prokofiev at times. There's a surprising amount of humor in his music despite his reputation for stodginess. I don't think he's as passionate as Schoenberg, but there is a good deal of emotional inner life to his music.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Mirror Image on July 18, 2020, 02:31:27 PM
I think Reger also has a sardonic wit to his music that presages Prokofiev at times. There's a surprising amount of humor in his music despite his reputation for stodginess. I don't think he's as passionate as Schoenberg, but there is a good deal of emotional inner life to his music.

I’m not disagreeing with you, but I have yet to fully embrace his music.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Mirror Image on July 18, 2020, 02:32:00 PM
Two of Reger’s most beautiful and accessible works (IMO) are his substantial orchestral songs An die Hoffnung and Der Einsiedler, recorded by none other than Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau on this superb Orfeo disc:



https://youtu.be/tDexPdrnrkw
https://youtu.be/WqsHGcB_B5s

From what I’ve heard of that recording, yes, I’d agree. Beautiful works.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: André on July 18, 2020, 02:34:58 PM
Absolutely. This disc is one of the cornerstones of a Reger collection.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Symphonic Addict on July 18, 2020, 04:30:17 PM
I can’t believe I’m coming to Reger’s defense after being rather dismissive of him in the past, but I don’t really agree with the criticism of ‘intellectual’. From the intellect can come beauty and has in many instances from the Renaissance up until our present era. Schoenberg was often accused of writing intellectual music, but, for me, his music burns with the fiery passion of a thousand suns. I think Reger is a slow burn and it’s just going to take time for me to fully assimilate his style, what I believe his music expresses and just the general feeling behind everything. He’s a different kind of animal that I’m going to enjoy picking apart and getting to know.

Each of us hears something different from every composer, so it's perfectly valid your position. But to my ears, Reger did stamp certain cerebral/intellectual attribute in many of his works, rather similar as his idol Bach did, hence I don't like Bach that much as the vast majority do.

And regarding Schoenberg... well, better I don't comment anything about it.  :)
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Mirror Image on July 18, 2020, 04:39:20 PM
Each of us hears something different from every composer, so it's perfectly valid your position. But to my ears, Reger does stamp certain cerebral/intellectual attribute in many of his works, rather similar as his idol Bach did, hence I don't like Bach that much as the vast majority do.

And regarding Schoenberg... well, better I don't comment anything about it.  :)

I’m not a Bach fan either, but to be even more honest, I’m more attracted to the Russian/Soviet composers than German/Austrian ones. Good idea about Schoenberg as Mahlerian will launch into another tirade. :P
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Herman on July 18, 2020, 11:11:19 PM
I recall watching the intro to the Maximum Reger 6-dvd and thinking "not really for me".

Yeah, I would like to read a good, not too long biography of Reger's, although, obviously, a man who wrote so much music, and in addition gave a 100 + concerts per year was mostly busy with the above.

Somehow even the title's 'maximum' gives me the feeling these people (obviously the Max-Reger-Institute is an important force here) aren't doing what I think should be done.

Make a selection first. Pick the best works from the different genres, put them in context and present the music in the most attractive way. You can do this on 2 dvds. Six is just crazy.

In terms of biography, it would be interesting to know where Reger came from, where his drive came from, what was his musical context and how did it happen that he did not sound one bit like Bach and Brahms (there were plenty of lesser composers who did just that) and, indeed, the story of his marriage. Clearly he desperately wanted Elsa, but why was she unable to keep him from drinking / eating himself to death?
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: vers la flamme on July 19, 2020, 05:46:36 AM
Two of Reger’s most beautiful and accessible works (IMO) are his substantial orchestral songs An die Hoffnung and Der Einsiedler, recorded by none other than Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau on this superb Orfeo disc:



https://youtu.be/tDexPdrnrkw
https://youtu.be/WqsHGcB_B5s

For those interested, this is currently half price on Qobuz, along with many other Orfeo selections:

https://www.qobuz.com/us-en/album/reger-orchestral-songs-dietrich-fischer-dieskau/4011790209128
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Mirror Image on July 19, 2020, 05:56:33 AM
I recall watching the intro to the Maximum Reger 6-dvd and thinking "not really for me".

Yeah, I would like to read a good, not too long biography of Reger's, although, obviously, a man who wrote so much music, and in addition gave a 100 + concerts per year was mostly busy with the above.

Somehow even the title's 'maximum' gives me the feeling these people (obviously the Max-Reger-Institute is an important force here) aren't doing what I think should be done.

Make a selection first. Pick the best works from the different genres, put them in context and present the music in the most attractive way. You can do this on 2 dvds. Six is just crazy.

In terms of biography, it would be interesting to know where Reger came from, where his drive came from, what was his musical context and how did it happen that he did not sound one bit like Bach and Brahms (there were plenty of lesser composers who did just that) and, indeed, the story of his marriage. Clearly he desperately wanted Elsa, but why was she unable to keep him from drinking / eating himself to death?

Yes, you’re probably right. It would be too much to plow through, especially if all you want is some biographical information on the composer. I’m much less interested in musical analysis or why the commentators feel a composer to be underrated. I read comments about this or that composer or work being undervalued every day on GMG and other musical forums, why would I pay money to watch it? Anyway, I’m glad I backed out of buying the DVD set. It would most definitely have been a waste of money for me.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Herman on July 19, 2020, 06:14:11 AM
much better idea to get a couple of recordings and enjoy the music as music.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Mirror Image on July 19, 2020, 06:16:17 AM
much better idea to get a couple of recordings and enjoy the music as music.

Well, I’ve got a good bit of Reger on disc (several box sets and single issues), but I’m not sure about the enjoying part just yet. ;)
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Herman on July 19, 2020, 10:09:46 AM
The last part sounds like a typical ol' time "That's what my wife said last night" bad joke.

https://interlude.hk/always-trust-mother-law-max-elsa-reger/

The link explains a lot about the dour faces on pictures of the Regers.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Dry Brett Kavanaugh on July 20, 2020, 09:07:56 AM
Any opinion/info on these albums?
Thinking about buying them.
Thanks.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Herman on July 22, 2020, 08:56:40 AM
My GF is getting rather used to the sound of Reger's piano concerto coming from my study, because I'm still listening.

However, I've also been getting into the two big orchestral variation pieces, Hiller (op 100) and Mozart (op 132).

The Hiller Variations are larger and longer; the Mozart Variations are, of course, on the famous tune from Mozart's piano sonata in A minor. Both feature humor, a stunningly beautiful slow movement / variation with gorgeous long melodic lines in intricately divided string sections (sometimes divided in six just for the violins I and II) and a great fugue as the final movement.

The best recordings, as far as I can tell are in both works by Sir Colin Davis and the BRSO. I have no idea whether these still can be had.

There's a first-rate live performance of the Mozart Variations by the Frankfurt Rundfunk, cond Peter Eötvös, on youtube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tflcg4yymr4&t=98s
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Herman on August 07, 2020, 01:06:42 AM
Maybe I'm getting to be a bore, but I'm still listening to Reger's big orchestral variations.

The Mozart Variations may be the more perfect piece, exactly as long as it should be, but the Hiller Variations have huge attractions too. There's a kind of ribald humor in the piece, kind of a family resemblance to Beethoven's Diabellis. However, there's also two slow movements in the Hillers, first a typical Reger yearning hymn andante in 2/4+3/4 meter in A major and towards the end a big Andante in E major with great strings - winds contrasts and amazing chromatic lines hoovering the music ever upwards. Also, the concluding fugue is relatively simple, ending in a giant held E chord rivalling the end to Mahler 3.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: André on August 07, 2020, 04:31:44 AM
I love the Hiller Variations, more than the Mozart ones actually. There’s a fantastical element that I find very fetching.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Herman on August 07, 2020, 07:53:26 AM
I love the Hiller Variations, more than the Mozart ones actually. There’s a fantastical element that I find very fetching.

at the mo I would agree, since the Hillers have been in my cd-player for more than a week now.

I love the  as if classical-ness of the Mozart Variations  -  with, mind you, a whole bit of churning Wagnerian chromaticism in the slow variation  -  and perhaps the concluding fugue is just a tad better.

However the Hillers have this same wild, crazy deep-in-the-night sound world as the piano concerto. They are op 100 and op 101.

The orchestration in both of these variation suites is just do die for. No triangle or other funny sound effects, just the technical mastery of mixing instrument groups and dividing instrument groups infinitely. Sometimes all the string groups are divided up, and you have four different lines in the violins alone.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: vers la flamme on August 07, 2020, 02:11:03 PM
at the mo I would agree, since the Hillers have been in my cd-player for more than a week now.

I love the  as if classical-ness of the Mozart Variations  -  with, mind you, a whole bit of churning Wagnerian chromaticism in the slow variation  -  and perhaps the concluding fugue is just a tad better.

However the Hillers have this same wild, crazy deep-in-the-night sound world as the piano concerto. They are op 100 and op 101.

The orchestration in both of these variation suites is just do die for. No triangle or other funny sound effects, just the technical mastery of mixing instrument groups and dividing instrument groups infinitely. Sometimes all the string groups are divided up, and you have four different lines in the violins alone.

The way you describe the Piano Concerto makes it sound appealing. Is there a recording you particularly like?
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Herman on August 07, 2020, 06:23:56 PM
I have Oppitz and the Bamberger Orchestra. But Hamelin seems to be fine, too.
Title: Reger's famous quote
Post by: schnittkease on October 11, 2020, 09:43:59 PM
Even if they don't know his music, most people are familiar with Reger's famous letter to music theorist and critic Rudolf Louis following a negative review:

Quote from: Reger
"I am sitting in the smallest room of my house. I have your review before me. In a moment it will be behind me."

But no one seems to talk about the actual review. This got me curious, and it didn't take too long to find out that it was published on February 7, 1906 in the newspaper Münchner neueste Nachrichten following a performance of Reger's Sinfonietta, Op. 90. Finding the full review was trickier, but thankfully German libraries seem to love scanning their historical journals/newspaper and uploading them online... great! Since I don't speak German, I had to translate the whole damn thing with Google and a bit of "filling in the blanks." Anyways, here it is. Run-on sentences and references to obscure fin de siècle stuff incoming!

Quote from: Rudolf Louis
"After the lesser event, that was undoubtedly signified by the performance of Debussy's String Quartet, followed on the next day the great event, the first Munich performance of Sinfonietta by Max Reger, who has this — but only this — in common with Debussy: that he has been nominated by the verbal leaders of the anti-Wagnerian reaction to carry the banner as the proper Man of the Future. The Sinfonietta, the composer's first major orchestral work, achieved a brilliant success at its premiere in Essen, was then more or less harshly rejected in Berlin and Vienna, and finally found a reception in Stuttgart that was somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. Therefore, one had to be all the more curious to get to know this controversial, as well as highly praised and abysmally damned creation for oneself. If you had not heard or read anything about the work before its performance, you would have been in for a surprise. For the designation "Sinfonietta" suggests something small and delicate, a diminutive or miniature symphony, perhaps something like the two Trios, Op. 70 [sic.]. What we instead have in front of us in Reger's Op. 90 is a dense score of 244 pages (Bruckner's most extensive symphonic score, that of the VIII., is — albeit in a slightly larger format — not much more than half as long), and in this voluminous vessel "a lavish wealth of musical and thematic design, as hardly any other modern score should have." (Dr. Eugen Schmitz, Max Reger's Sinfonietta, Munich and Leipzig with Georg Müller.) Under these circumstances, a modesty seems to come to light in this "shameful" title, the authenticity of which is somewhat discredited precisely because it is so completely out of place. For what the aforementioned Dr. Schmitz, in justifying the name Sinfonietta, teaches — "Sinfonietta" relates to “symphony” like “comedy” to “tragedy" (!!) and the designation chosen by Reger indicates the "essentially harmless and light thought-content of his work” — is probably too logically and etymologically abominable to be taken seriously. Yes, even the “restriction in the use of orchestral means” for which the Sinfonietta is acclaimed by those who, understandably, find it quite difficult to make a musician like Reger the champion of the longed-for return to simplicity and simpleness, is not too great. That Reger writes only two woodwind parts each, in contrast to the modern triple woodwind, is amply compensated by the fact that he (according to the score) may wish to double the instrumentation of these instruments, and from the normal modern orchestra he lacks only the third trumpet and a bass tuba. No, this Sinfonietta is certainly not simple, and it can be compared, even if only "from the broadest possible point of view," with Wolf-Ferrari's [1903 comic opera] Le donne curiose, just like that Dr. Schmitz does with enviable confidence in the lack of judgment of those to whom he speaks. Of course, one thing cannot be misunderstood: Reger has manifestly wished it to be simple. But it remained just wishing; he has been unable to carry out his intention. The intent for simplicity is revealed above all in the themes of the Sinfonietta, whose motivic material leaves nothing to be desired in terms of "spiritual harmlessness." But the fact that this thought-material, which weighs so lightly in itself, is exaggerated by means of hypertrophic counterpoint, as it is characteristic of Reger, to a large musical pomp and circumstance, brings an insoluble conflict into the work, and it is almost amusing when you see that Reger has made the same mistake which his admirers — and certainly not wrongly — accuse the representatives of modern program music: namely that he serves us a dish in which the broth is more expensive than the chunks [German idiom meaning that the additional costs are higher than the thing itself; the benefit is small when one considers the disadvantages; despite the great effort, the result is unsatisfactory], a product in which the "presentation" is the main thing. From a general impression that the Sinfonietta, even compared to other compositions by Reger, is not inherently a significant work, that its tonal language essentially depends on conjuring up the illusion of significance by a thousand contrapuntal, harmonic, and modulatory tricks, the sole exception from this general impression is the Larghetto. The short two-part motif on which it is based is, however, only a harmonic, not a melodic one, and is also very reminiscent of Brahms; but it has a peculiar charm, its implementation structures the movement in a clear manner, and we have here much less of the unpleasant sensation that someone, placing full faith in the psychological phenomenon of suggestive power, as so delightfully illustrated in the well known fairy tale "Talisman" dramatized by [Ludwig] Fulda, is taking us for fools. Incidentally, there is no lack of bright spots, especially in the Scherzo (Trio), even in the last movement, which is otherwise the greatest of all. It goes without saying with Reger that the work is interesting, that it reveals an abundance of spirit, wit, and astonishing combinations, as well as with regard to the compositional ability demands the highest respect, even admiration. On the other hand, the orchestration is rather less pleasing because it is completely devoid of tonal stimuli, in that it very often denigrates, even blurs, the melodic lines rather than working them out in a sharp and sculptural way.

"The reception by the audience was divided: a strong one? A minority clapped enthusiastically and persistently, the majority behaved neutrally, a few hissed, and occasionally someone, by going crazy, tried to prove his good musical taste, or his lack of lifestyle. Felix Mottl, who had already conducted the work at the premiere in Essen, placed all his eminent conducting skill at the service of the novelty, which, meticulously rehearsed, was perfectly rendered. Only the tempo of the Larghetto should have been a little livelier in the sense of the composer's instruction ("but not dragging"), even at the risk that details would have lost their clarity. Like the conductor, honor and fame also belong to the orchestra itself, which fulfilled its difficult and strenuous task with devotional zeal. The beautiful execution of violin solos in the slow movement by Herr Concertmaster [Bruno] Ahner deserves special mention."

... and there it is. Hopefully someone found that interesting. The Sinfonietta is not one of my favorite Reger works, so I tend to agree with most of Louis' points. The idea that "light" themes are incompatible with rigorous development has obviously been thrown out the window by Schnittke, Ligeti, and others, but I doubt that Reger was going for something quite so polystylistic/sardonic! A noble failure, then.

As a side note, I suppose Louis wasn't the most progressive of thinkers: he didn't like Mahler's music for its "Jewishness" (*sigh*) and was appalled by Pierrot lunaire. Oh, well.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Scion7 on October 12, 2020, 01:14:29 AM
^ so that tells you something about following anything he has to say critically.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: schnittkease on October 12, 2020, 08:30:03 AM
^ so that tells you something about following anything he has to say critically.

I think it's very interesting to see what contemporary critics had to say. Just because they had a completely different perspective than us doesn't mean their opinions are any less "right" (unless downright anti-Semetic, of course). I especially like reading reviews of Brahms by 19th-century critics; they don't deify the composer as is common today.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Herman on October 13, 2020, 01:09:20 AM
The extreme partisan nature of music reviewing in that era makes it sometimes less than useful.

It's only natural, but at the time critics felt they had to make two-way choices (either Brahms or Wagner / Bruckner) etc and that meant if they chose for the other camp they focused on the bad things of, in this case, Reger.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Scion7 on October 13, 2020, 01:30:41 AM
I especially like reading reviews of Brahms by 19th-century critics; they don't deify the composer as is common today.

If one is reading the critics in Brahms corner at the time, they were very complimentary of his music - no one more than Schumann, of course.  The problem with the whole Brahms vs. Wagner silliness was a lot of great music was trashed in the press, which took decades to correct.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Jo498 on October 13, 2020, 01:39:05 AM
Schumann overlapped only with the very young Brahms befor the factions of the "conservatives" and the "Neudeutsche" had really formed, so he is hardly a good example for deifying anyone. He was also most of the time quite generous in his reviews towards music that was puzzling or irritating to him, overall certainly one of the nicer and more balanced critics in the history of music criticism.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: schnittkease on October 13, 2020, 08:22:22 AM
The extreme partisan nature of music reviewing in that era makes it sometimes less than useful.

It's only natural, but at the time critics felt they had to make two-way choices (either Brahms or Wagner / Bruckner) etc and that meant if they chose for the other camp they focused on the bad things of, in this case, Reger.

Wasn't the "War of the Romantics" practically over by 1906? I know for a fact that this critic in particular valued both Brahms and Wagner/Bruckner.

If one is reading the critics in Brahms corner at the time, they were very complimentary of his music - no one more than Schumann, of course.  The problem with the whole Brahms vs. Wagner silliness was a lot of great music was trashed in the press, which took decades to correct.

I was reading a review by Hermann Zopff of Brahms' Piano Quintet in the NZM. Zopff was an advocate of the New German School, but he recognizes Op. 34 as a highly important work. He's not entirely complimentary, of course, but the criticism isn't baseless. No piece of music is ever "perfect," after all.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Scion7 on October 13, 2020, 07:39:02 PM
Excuse me?  Wherever did that idea come from??

Brahms wrote many masterpieces that changing anything about them would have been a disaster.
Monkey with Beethoven's 7th or 9th?  Or the late piano sonatas or late string quartets?  Sacrilege.
Bach's Goldberg Variations?  Mozart's last three symphonies?
Mahler's 'Song of the Earth'??

There are many great pieces of music that are, indeed, perfect.
When the voice of God speaks through gifted people, let us be humbled!
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: 71 dB on October 14, 2020, 02:41:57 AM
I have never gotten into Reger. He is supposed to be a counterpuntal composer, but the only Reger disc I own:


doesn't show much counterpoint to my ears. Instead it's pretty anemic and boring chamber music. I guess Reger only uses counterpoint in his organ music? What are the most counterpuntal works of Reger? Where should I go to give Reger a fair second chance?
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: vers la flamme on October 14, 2020, 03:08:40 AM
I have never gotten into Reger. He is supposed to be a counterpuntal composer, but the only Reger disc I own:


doesn't show much counterpoint to my ears. Instead it's pretty anemic and boring chamber music. I guess Reger only uses counterpoint in his organ music? What are the most counterpuntal works of Reger? Where should I go to give Reger a fair second chance?

Listening to the samples for 5 seconds, I'm definitely hearing some interesting counterpoint here. Maybe try again?
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: 71 dB on October 14, 2020, 03:44:00 AM
Listening to the samples for 5 seconds, I'm definitely hearing some interesting counterpoint here. Maybe try again?

I did and still not hearing it. Maybe I am expecting Bachian counterpoint. I also have this:


Maybe I just don't care about Reger's counterpoint?
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: schnittkease on October 14, 2020, 03:15:56 PM
Excuse me?  Wherever did that idea come from??

Brahms wrote many masterpieces that changing anything about them would have been a disaster.
Monkey with Beethoven's 7th or 9th?  Or the late piano sonatas or late string quartets?  Sacrilege.
Bach's Goldberg Variations?  Mozart's last three symphonies?
Mahler's 'Song of the Earth'??

There are many great pieces of music that are, indeed, perfect.
When the voice of God speaks through gifted people, let us be humbled!

There's a reason why I put "perfect" in quotes - the word is highly subjective. Objective perfection may be defined as not having any flaws/defects. But who defines what a flaw is? Reger's blocky orchestration may be too thick to Person A but perfect to Person B. Person B calls the work perfect because they don't detect any flaws, but Person A obviously doesn't agree. But since Person B thinks it's perfect, does that make it objectively so? No.

When did I say that I wanted to change anything about the pieces you list (or any piece, for that matter)? Objective perfection is unattainable, so there's nothing anyone could do to make them more "perfect." I also don't like the idea of "the voice of God" speaking through people's music... what is that even supposed to mean?
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: schnittkease on October 14, 2020, 03:17:11 PM
I did and still not hearing it. Maybe I am expecting Bachian counterpoint. I also have this:


Maybe I just don't care about Reger's counterpoint?

Why are you looking specifically for counterpoint?
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: 71 dB on October 14, 2020, 04:24:07 PM
Why are you looking specifically for counterpoint?

Because Reger is said to be counterpuntal composer. As a matter of fact I listened to the other CD and it has more counterpoint to my ears. I had completely forgotten the disc and how I actually like it. It even reminds me a little bit of Elgar's lesser orchestral works. Now I remember how the chamber music CD "killed" my interest in Reger, but the Op. 132 & Op. 100 disc is nice.  :)
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: vers la flamme on October 15, 2020, 02:16:35 AM
I did and still not hearing it. Maybe I am expecting Bachian counterpoint. I also have this:


Maybe I just don't care about Reger's counterpoint?

Perhaps, yes. I wouldn't describe it as Bachian counterpoint at all. Maybe closer to Brahms's counterpoint.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Scion7 on October 15, 2020, 04:12:50 AM
Let us not forget Reger was Johanna Senfter's teacher and mentor.  A "Brahmsian grand daughter" of sorts.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: 71 dB on October 15, 2020, 04:55:55 AM
Perhaps, yes. I wouldn't describe it as Bachian counterpoint at all. Maybe closer to Brahms's counterpoint.

Yes, as I said it reminds me of Elgar's lesser ochestral music such as the Nursery Suite.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Herman on October 15, 2020, 07:07:14 AM
You seem to have, on two cds, the four best, or most successful pieces of Reger's oeuvre: the Hiller and Mozart Variations; the Clarinet Quintet and the 4th String Quartet.

And these remind you "of Elgar's lesser music".

I guess to each his own.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: schnittkease on October 15, 2020, 08:50:33 AM
You seem to have, on two cds, the four best, or most successful pieces of Reger's oeuvre: the Hiller and Mozart Variations; the Clarinet Quintet and the 4th String Quartet.

And these remind you "of Elgar's lesser music".

I guess to each his own.

My favorite is the Bach Variations, and (just for the record) I don't think Elgar wrote anything on that level. I also like Reger's 4th String Quartet, but it's a conscious receding from the harmonic daring of earlier works. I can take or leave the Clarinet Quintet.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: kyjo on October 15, 2020, 09:40:23 AM
Yes, as I said it reminds me of Elgar's lesser ochestral music such as the Nursery Suite.

Well, that's certainly the first time I've seen Reger and Elgar compared! :laugh:
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: 71 dB on October 15, 2020, 09:48:22 AM
Well, that's certainly the first time I've seen Reger and Elgar compared! :laugh:

I'm not saying the composition style is same, but I got similar vibes and it wasn't as if it was a 100 % match.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: 71 dB on October 15, 2020, 09:50:27 AM
My favorite is the Bach Variations

Variations and Fugue on a Theme of J.S. Bach, Op 81 ?
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: schnittkease on October 15, 2020, 12:13:32 PM
Variations and Fugue on a Theme of J.S. Bach, Op 81 ?

That's the one.

https://www.youtube.com/v/QijUP_0yehw
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: amw on October 15, 2020, 12:49:43 PM
Reger is a bit bipolar, his more contrapuntal music (e.g. the organ works, or the fugues in the two big variation sets for piano) tends to also be extremely melodramatic whereas some of his other music exists in a state of constant chromatic haze that prevents any real tension from developing (e.g. the violin concerto, which is probably my favourite of his pieces, and will appeal to anyone who likes the Elgar concerto but wishes it had less stuff happening and fewer melodies and less excitement*). Like Szymanowski it's very much an acquired taste. The pieces I'd recommend as introductions to Reger and his style would actually be the four Sonatinas for piano, op. 89—if you don't like them, you probably won't like any of his stuff.

* I do like it better than the Elgar concerto but I have specific manias when it comes to music
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: vers la flamme on October 15, 2020, 04:21:50 PM
I find that the only Reger that has hooked me, so far, is his organ music. I have two of the Naxos discs, vols. 1 & 4 of that series (both random record store finds) and I enjoy returning to them from time to time. His organ music seems to have two moods (@amw, I agree with your bipolar assessment)...: tranquil/meditative/eerie calm and ecstatic/psychedelic/explosive/completely psychotic. I don't often go for organ music, but his is impressive!
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Symphonic Addict on October 15, 2020, 04:59:20 PM
I also like Reger's 4th String Quartet, but it's a conscious receding from the harmonic daring of earlier works.

I remember that quartet made a strong impression on me. Even the longest one (which lasts more than 50 minutes IIRC) is astonishing and doesn't feel too long.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: 71 dB on October 16, 2020, 02:26:15 AM
That's the one.

https://www.youtube.com/v/QijUP_0yehw

I listened maybe 40 %. Interesting. I need to explore it better when I have time ( =state of mind for it)
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: vers la flamme on October 23, 2020, 03:38:58 AM
Getting more and more into Reger, mostly the organ music, but I listened to this CD yesterday and it finally clicked:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71Jf5EC9hnL._SL500_.jpg)

Excellent orchestration. Both of these works are kind of like Brahms's Haydn Variations on steroids, but w/ Reger's original voice. I enjoyed both works but especially the Mozart Variations.

Trying to decide where to next with Reger. Looking at Hamelin's disc of piano works, plus the Järvi and Segerstam discs with the Böcklin Poems, not sure which of the two to go for.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Jo498 on October 23, 2020, 05:08:58 AM
The Hamelin disc seems very good to me, although I am by no means an expert (I have the piano variations also with Becker and I once heard Peter Serkin in concert with the Bach variations although I could hardly appreciate the piece then in my early 20s). But for these two sets of variations it's basically true what you wrote about the orchestral variations, they are pretty close to Brahms Händel- or Haydn-Variations. I don't know the other discs but the Böcklin suite also seems to me one of the most accessible orchestral Reger that is NOT a variation sequuence.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: vers la flamme on October 24, 2020, 06:02:06 AM
I ended up ordering the Böcklin Suite on BIS with Leif Segerstam, plus the Hamelin with the Bach & Telemann Variations. I'm really racking up a lot of Reger. I also managed to get 4 volumes of the organ music set for 9 bucks.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: André on October 24, 2020, 10:31:19 AM
I ended up ordering the Böcklin Suite on BIS with Leif Segerstam, plus the Hamelin with the Bach & Telemann Variations. I'm really racking up a lot of Reger. I also managed to get 4 volumes of the organ music set for 9 bucks.

Nice haul, and good choices all !

..............

Listening to the sonata op 122 and the Suite op 103a for violin and piano. The latter work is made up of 6 pieces that Reger specifically composed in the dual role of standalone recital pieces or of a suite in 6 movements. Reger always had practicality in mind when composing works, in the wake of Haydn and preceding Hindemith in that regard. Very romantic works, played with great feeling by Wallin and Pōntinen.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51lE7g3SSdL._AC_.jpg)
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: vers la flamme on October 24, 2020, 02:37:47 PM
Nice haul, and good choices all !

..............

Listening to the sonata op 122 and the Suite op 103a for violin and piano. The latter work is made up of 6 pieces that Reger specifically composed in the dual role of standalone recital pieces or of a suite in 6 movements. Reger always had practicality in mind when composing works, in the wake of Haydn and preceding Hindemith in that regard. Very romantic works, played with great feeling by Wallin and Pōntinen.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51lE7g3SSdL._AC_.jpg)

Thanks! I'm looking forward to hearing all of it (eventually), and to clarify my previous post, the organ music in question is on Naxos. That CPO looks nice too, but I think I'm going to hold off on any more Reger for now until I can assimilate my recent acquisitions.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Herman on November 24, 2020, 02:54:21 AM
at the mo I would agree [with Andre's preceding comment, preferring the Hiller Variations], since the Hillers have been in my cd-player for more than a week now.

I love the  as if classical-ness of the Mozart Variations  -  with, mind you, a whole bit of churning Wagnerian chromaticism in the slow variation  -  and perhaps the concluding fugue is just a tad better.

However the Hillers have this same wild, crazy deep-in-the-night sound world as the piano concerto. They are op 100 and op 101.

The orchestration in both of these variation suites is just do die for. No triangle or other funny sound effects, just the technical mastery of mixing instrument groups and dividing instrument groups infinitely. Sometimes all the string groups are divided up, and you have four different lines in the violins alone.

I'm not "responding to self" because I find myself so interesting, I was actually responding to Andre.

There may be some tiredness in the works near the end. For instance I find those big orchestral Lieder (opp 136 and 144) not too hopping. It's like Reger is trying to tone himself down in those works.

There is part of this in the Mozart Variations, too, but it's like he can't keep his true nature down, and the last variation (molto sostenuto) is just deeply chromatic and in the concluding fugue the sound world gets that wild woodsy character familiar from the Piano Cto and the Hiller Variations. Even though there are nog trombones or tuba in the Mozart Variations. Officially it's scored for "small orchestra"  -  though you'd never know this while listening.

The Mozart fugue's material is perhaps better than in the Hillers, and the concluding pages with the horns / trumpets in a celestial waltz (in 6/8) knocks it out of the park for me.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Symphonic Addict on January 05, 2021, 06:35:02 PM
The other day I was listening to this relatively recent CPO release. Bold, confident performances of two works whose moods are different each other.

(https://cdn.naxosmusiclibrary.com/sharedfiles/images/cds/hires/555340-2.jpg)
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Herman on January 07, 2021, 01:09:22 AM
That's a good combo, 146 and 118.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Jo498 on January 07, 2021, 01:27:02 AM
This coupling was also done by Sabine Meyer and the Vienna Sextet but it has been long oop as a single disc, I think. There are many recordings of the clarinet quintet but far fewer of the sextet, so it is good to have another one available.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Herman on January 07, 2021, 04:24:59 AM
I also have a 1977 recording of the Sextet on Jecklin, by the socalled Kammermusiker Zürich.

There is reason to believe someone at Jecklin liked Max Reger.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: JBS on January 07, 2021, 09:16:39 AM
This coupling was also done by Sabine Meyer and the Vienna Sextet but it has been long oop as a single disc, I think. There are many recordings of the clarinet quintet but far fewer of the sextet, so it is good to have another one available.

The Sabine Mayer recording is part of Warner's Reger: Centenary Collection set.  The musicians in the Sextet are listed individually, but I would presume they are the Vienna Sextet you refer to.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Jo498 on January 07, 2021, 10:00:09 AM
Yes, this centenary collection was the only re-issue I know of



MDG also has a disc of the same pieces with Villa Musica, they have all? of his chamber music for trio or larger, not sure about the solo and duo sonatas.

Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Herman on January 19, 2021, 01:23:30 PM
The past weeks I have been listening to the Clarinet Quintet, op 146, a lot. It's Reger's last completed work, before he died at age 43.

I seem to have three recordings, Karl Leister and the Vogler Quartet; Sabine Meyer and members of the Vienna Sextet and Sharon Kam with Isabele van Keulen, Ulrike Anima Mathé, Volker Jacobsen and Gustav Rivinus. All are very good performances (although I have long ceased to be a fan of Leister), but at the moment I prefer the Kam recording, if only because they avoid at all times a cloying sound in the strings, which the Vogler Quartet don't always do. The Meyer / Vienna recording is perhaps the most routine / boring in this batch. I should get the new CPO recording with the Diogenes Quartet soon. Edit: I have opted for the Villa Musica on MDG instead.

The work is extraordinary. I rate it higher than the Brahms quintet, which I find playing into the soaring clarinet thing too much. Reger often lets the clarinet merge, if not submerge, in the strings. There is a lot of pp writing for the wind instrument. It goes both ways; in the Scherzo's Trio the upper strings play shimmery figures that make them sound like wind instruments.

It's also a work of radical (faux) simplicity for Reger. The Largo in E major has a lot of chromaticism after the opening bars in simple E major, however the lines never get clogged. It's intriguing to find that in the entire work motives reappear, particularly a three-note chromatic motiv that keeps driving all four movements. The simplicity climaxes, as it were, in the last variation in the finale, when the strings are reduced to rhythmic accompaniment for a dozen bars, just to give the clarinet one last song.

In spite of the apparent serenity there is a kind of impatience to op. 146. There are no exposition repeats, and in the variation finale there are no repeats either. Everything is over when it's over, and it's off to the next thing, which is quite devastating if one thinks it's Reger's valedictory work which he himself never got to hear. Another intriguing structural thing is the final variation movement is constructed on a vaguely incomplete sounding theme, seventeen bars long, instead of the eighteen bars you'd expect.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Herman on January 25, 2021, 01:53:24 PM
I feel a little embarrassed about this, like I want to bump up the Reger topic.

However, I found this really good live vid of the Reger Clarinet Quintet and wanted to share it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOFJDuCRnwU
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: André on January 25, 2021, 01:58:22 PM
I feel a little embarrassed about this, like I want to bump up the Reger topic.

However, I found this really good live vid of the Reger Clarinet Quintet and wanted to share it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOFJDuCRnwU

https://www.youtube.com/v=IOFJDuCRnwU

Thanks for that Herman. I feel chamber music greatly benefits from being seen as well as heard. I’ll program this sometime later.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Herman on January 25, 2021, 02:01:21 PM
The two violinists are a real pleasure to watch, they are almost polar opposites in their approach, and it works wonderfully.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: calyptorhynchus on January 25, 2021, 03:04:14 PM
I’ve recently discovered the String Trio no.2. I’m not normally much of a Reger enthusiast, but this seems a very effective work. As it’s a very late one I guess it’s a product of his new simplicity.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Symphonic Addict on February 13, 2021, 08:44:10 PM
Listening to the monumental String Quartet No. 3 in D minor. What a canvas of fine craft and counterpoint. This is music patiently and meticulously written, you really need to pay attention to how music unfolds and develops. Doesn't work like background music in the least. I think this kind of music is amazingly rewarding once the work is over. The almost-21-minute 1st movement (as played by this ensemble) could be taken like an independent string quartet itself.

(https://cdn.naxosmusiclibrary.com/sharedfiles/images/cds/hires/999069-2.jpg)
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: André on February 14, 2021, 06:36:52 AM
A superb set indeed !
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: Herman on February 27, 2021, 01:57:48 PM
I’ve recently discovered the String Trio no.2. I’m not normally much of a Reger enthusiast, but this seems a very effective work. As it’s a very late one I guess it’s a product of his new simplicity.

Yeah the late trio is a great work.

As noted before, I have been listening to Reger's valedictory Clarinet Quintet a lot, I would almost say, this year. And I have come to the conclusion that the Sharon Kam and friends (Isabelle van Keulen, Ulrike-Anime Mathe on violins) recording for Berlin is the one that satisfies me most. It's got the Brahms as coupling. This is a record I can recommend to everyone.
They avoid lacrimosity best, they have clearly thought about the piece a lot and the playing and recording is just stellar.
The Villa Musica sounds too rushed, in concept and execution, the same goes for Sabine Meyer and the Vienna people.
The Vogler Quartet with Karl Leister is very good, but just not as good as Sharon Kam c.s.
Title: Re: Max Reger(1873-1916)
Post by: André on February 27, 2021, 02:44:32 PM
Yeah the late trio is a great work.

As noted before, I have been listening to Reger's valedictory Clarinet Quintet a lot, I would almost say, this year. And I have come to the conclusion that the Sharon Kam and friends (Isabelle van Keulen, Ulrike-Anime Mathe on violins) recording for Berlin is the one that satisfies me most. It's got the Brahms as coupling. This is a record I can recommend to everyone.
They avoid lacrimosity best, they have clearly thought about the piece a lot and the playing and recording is just stellar.
The Villa Musica sounds too rushed, in concept and execution, the same goes for Sabine Meyer and the Vienna people.
The Vogler Quartet with Karl Leister is very good, but just not as good as Sharon Kam c.s.

I have this one lined up for listening some time in the coming weeks:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51%2BiI48ftKL._AC_.jpg)