Reger, Max (1873-1916)

Max Reger

born: 19 March 1873
died: 11 May 1916
country: Germany

The image of Max Reger as a composer of long, tortuously chromatic, over-elaborate polyphonic extravaganzas dies hard. But in his amazing fertility he also produced many pieces which show, on the one hand, his passionate commitment to Germanic Romanticism, and on the other the neo-Classical, indeed neo-Baroque vein of inspiration that made him such an important forerunner of Paul Hindemith. Reger was born in Brand, Bavaria, in 1873, the son of a schoolmaster. He gained his first musical education from his parents and from the town organist at Weiden (where he himself became organist at the age of thirteen), then went on to study under the great pedagogue Hugo Riemann. After a series of teaching and organ appointments in Munich, Leipzig and Jena, in 1911 he became music director at the court of Meiningen, where there was a famous touring orchestra; the Brahms tradition was still strong there, and one of Reger’s predecessors had been Hans von Bülow. However, Reger’s health was frequently poor (and aggravated by his heavy drinking). In the summer of 1914 he had to resign from Meiningen and returned to Jena, but he continued also to teach at Leipzig, where he died in 1916, aged forty-three. Despite this comparatively short life he left an immense output. Reger was an amazingly prolific composer (he had reached opus 100 by the age of thirty-four), writing multitudinous organ works and chamber music, as well as music for piano, for orchestra and for voices. His personal idiom evolved in the shadow of Brahms, and vastly developed the archaizing strain—the yearning towards strict Baroque contrapuntal forms—that had been present in Brahms’s make-up. Yet at the same time he was greatly influenced by the complex chromaticism and motivic writing of Wagner, and by his slightly older contemporary Richard Strauss. Towards the end of his life he showed an interest in Impressionism, and was moving towards a neo-Classical stance that would probably have served him well had he survived into the 1920s. In general, however, though his works’ actual expressive import usually identifies with Classical form and traditional Baroque clarity and serenity, Reger’s technical means and vocabulary (a daunting combination of advanced polyphonic techniques with ripe, perhaps overripe, and tonally unstable harmony) mark him out as a child of his time.

from notes by Calum MacDonald

Albums

Reger & Strauss: Piano Concertos
CDA67635
Reger: Cello Sonatas
CDA67581/22CDs
Reger: Choral Music
CDA67762
Reger: Organ Music
SIGCD329Download only
Reger: Organ Music
CDA66223Archive Service
Reger: Piano Music
Studio Master: CDA66996Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Reger: Violin Concertos
Studio Master: CDA67892Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Bach: Piano Transcriptions, Vol. 7 – Max Reger
CDA676832CDs for the price of 1
Organ Fireworks, Vol. 8
CDA66978Archive ServiceDownload currently discounted
Organ Fireworks, Vol. 9
CDA67228Archive ServiceDownload currently discounted
Rare Piano Encores
CDH55109Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Royal Eurostar
CDA66870Archive Service
Strauss & Reger: Piano Concertos
CDA67635

Complete works available for download

Cello Sonata No 1 in F minor, Op 5Alban Gerhardt (cello), Markus Becker (piano)
Cello Sonata No 2 in G minor, Op 28Alban Gerhardt (cello), Markus Becker (piano)
Cello Sonata No 3 in F major, Op 78Alban Gerhardt (cello), Markus Becker (piano)
Cello Sonata No 4 in A minor, Op 116Alban Gerhardt (cello), Markus Becker (piano)
Cello Suite No 1 in G major, Op 131c No 1Alban Gerhardt (cello)
Cello Suite No 2 in D minor, Op 131c No 2Alban Gerhardt (cello)
Cello Suite No 3 in A minor, Op 131c No 3Alban Gerhardt (cello)
Chorale Fantasia on Straf' mich micht in deinem Zorn, Op 40 No 2Graham Barber (organ)
Der Einsiedler, Op 144aConsortium, Andrew-John Smith (conductor), Alexander Learmonth (baritone), Christopher Glynn (piano)
Drei Chöre, Op 6Consortium, Andrew-John Smith (conductor), Christopher Glynn (piano)
Drei Gesänge, Op 111bConsortium, Andrew-John Smith (conductor)
Drei Sechsstimmige Chöre, Op 39Consortium, Andrew-John Smith (conductor)
Five Easy Preludes and Fugues, Op 56David Goode (organ)
Five Humoresques, Op 20Marc-André Hamelin (piano)
Introduction, Passacaglia and Fugue in E minor, Op 127David Goode (organ)
Introduction, Passacaglia and Fugue in E minor, Op 127Graham Barber (organ)
Introduction, Variations and Fugue on an original theme, Op 73David Goode (organ)
Mariä Wiegenlied, Op 76 No 52Leslie Howard (piano)
PalmsonntagmorgenConsortium, Andrew-John Smith (conductor)
Piano Concerto in F minor, Op 114Marc-André Hamelin (piano), Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Ilan Volkov (conductor)
Requiem, Op 144bConsortium, Andrew-John Smith (conductor), Alice Gribbin (soprano), Christopher Glynn (piano)
Two Romances, Op 50Tanja Becker-Bender (violin), Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Lothar Zagrosek (conductor)
Variations and Fugue on a theme of Georg Philipp Telemann, Op 134Marc-André Hamelin (piano)
Variations and Fugue on a theme of Johann Sebastian Bach, Op 81Marc-André Hamelin (piano)
Variations and fugue on Heil dir im SiegerkranzChristopher Herrick (organ)
Violin Concerto in A major, Op 101Tanja Becker-Bender (violin), Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Lothar Zagrosek (conductor)
JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (1685-1750))
Ach wie nichtig, ach wie flüchtig, BWV644Markus Becker (piano)
An Wasserflüssen Babylon, BWV653bMarkus Becker (piano)
Das alte Jahr vergangen ist, BWV614Markus Becker (piano)
Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt, BWV637Markus Becker (piano)
Es ist das Heil uns kommen her, BWV638Markus Becker (piano)
Herzlich tut mich verlangen, BWV727Markus Becker (piano)
Ich ruf' zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV639Markus Becker (piano)
Komm, heiliger Geist Herre Gott, BWV651Markus Becker (piano)
Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier, BWV730Markus Becker (piano)
Nun danket alle Gott, BWV657Markus Becker (piano)
O Mensch, bewein' dein' Sünde gross, BWV622Markus Becker (piano)
Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele, BWV654Markus Becker (piano)
Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV565Markus Becker (piano)
Valet will ich dir geben, BWV736Markus Becker (piano)
Vom Himmel hoch, da komm ich her, BWV606Markus Becker (piano)
Wenn wir in höchsten Nöten sein 'Vor deinen Thron tret ich hiermit', BWV668Markus Becker (piano)
JOHANN PACHELBEL (1653-1706))
Christ lag in Todesbanden, BWVAnh 171Markus Becker (piano)
RICHARD STRAUSS (1864-1949))
Feierlicher Einzug der Ritter des Johanniter-OrdensLondon Brass Virtuosi, David Honeyball (conductor)

Alphabetical listing of all musical works

Abendgang im Lenz  
Abendlied  
Abendlied  
Ach wie nichtig, ach wie flüchtig, BWV644 (Bach/Reger)
An Wasserflüssen Babylon, BWV653b (Bach/Reger)
Aus tiefer Not, schrei' ich zu dir  
Cello Sonata No 1 in F minor, Op 5 (Reger)
Cello Sonata No 2 in G minor, Op 28 (Reger)
Cello Sonata No 3 in F major, Op 78 (Reger)
Cello Sonata No 4 in A minor, Op 116 (Reger)
Cello Suite No 1 in G major, Op 131c No 1 (Reger)
Cello Suite No 2 in D minor, Op 131c No 2 (Reger)
Cello Suite No 3 in A minor, Op 131c No 3 (Reger)
Chorale Fantasia on Straf' mich micht in deinem Zorn, Op 40 No 2 (Reger)
Chorale Preludes, Op 67 (Reger)
Christ lag in Todesbanden, BWVAnh 171 (Pachelbel/Reger)
Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue in D minor, BWV903 (Bach/Reger)
Das alte Jahr vergangen ist, BWV614 (Bach/Reger)
Der Einsiedler, Op 144a (Reger)
Drei Chöre, Op 6 (Reger)
Drei Gesänge, Op 111b (Reger)
Drei Sechsstimmige Chöre, Op 39 (Reger)
Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt, BWV637 (Bach/Reger)
Durch den Wald, den dunkeln, geht  
Er ist's  
Es fiel ein Tau vom Himmel himmlisch mild  
Es ist das Heil uns kommen her, BWV638 (Bach/Reger)
Es ist kein Weh auf Erden  
Feierlicher Einzug der Ritter des Johanniter-Ordens (Strauss/Reger/Koch)
Five Easy Preludes and Fugues, Op 56 (Reger)
Five Humoresques, Op 20 (Reger)
Friedlicher Abend senkt sich aufs Gefild  
Frühling läßt sein blaues Band  
Frühlingsblick  
Fugue  
Herr, wie du willst, so schick's mit mir  
Herzlich tut mich verlangen, BWV727 (Bach/Reger)
Ich ruf' zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV639 (Bach/Reger)
Im Himmelreich ein Haus steht  
Introduction, Passacaglia and Fugue in E minor, Op 127 (Reger)
Introduction, Variations and Fugue on an original theme, Op 73 (Reger)
Komm, heiliger Geist Herre Gott, BWV651 (Bach/Reger)
Komm, Trost der Welt, du stille Nacht!  
Leise geht der Tag zur Rüste  
Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier, BWV730 (Bach/Reger)
Mariä Wiegenlied, Op 76 No 52 (Reger)
Nun danket alle Gott, BWV657 (Bach/Reger)
Nun fallen die Augen müde mir zu  
Nun freut euch, lieben Christen  
Nun um mich her die Schatten steigen  
O Mensch, bewein' dein' Sünde gross, BWV622 (Bach/Reger)
Palmsonntagmorgen (Reger)
Piano Concerto in F minor, Op 114 (Reger)
Prelude and Fugue in D major, BWV532 (Bach/Reger)
Prelude and Fugue in E flat major 'St Anne', BWV552 (Bach/Reger)
Prelude and Fugue in E minor 'The wedge', BWV548 (Bach/Reger)
Requiem, Op 144b (Reger)
Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele, BWV654 (Bach/Reger)
Schweigen  
Seele, vergiss sie nicht  
Selig durch die Fluren gehn  
The well-tempered Clavier Book 1, BWV846-869 (Bach/Reger)
The well-tempered Clavier Book 2, BWV870-893 (Bach/Reger)
Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV565 (Bach/Reger)
Trost  
Two Romances, Op 50 (Reger)
Valet will ich dir geben, BWV736 (Bach/Reger)
Variations and Fugue on a theme of Georg Philipp Telemann, Op 134 (Reger)
Variations and Fugue on a theme of Johann Sebastian Bach, Op 81 (Reger)
Variations and fugue on Heil dir im Siegerkranz (Reger)
Violin Concerto in A major, Op 101 (Reger)
Vom Himmel hoch, da komm ich her, BWV606 (Bach/Reger)
Wenn wir in höchsten Nöten sein 'Vor deinen Thron tret ich hiermit', BWV668 (Bach/Reger)
Wer weiss, wie nahe mir mein Ende  
Zur Nacht