Reger himself made a piano roll recording of the fifth of his Humoresken
, an elfin Vivace assai with a chorale-style Più tranquillo central section. The rest are as charming, diverting and quietly inventive as the best of Brahms’ lighter short pieces. The first is a perky Allegretto grazioso, again with a chorale-style ‘trio’ (Più meno mosso this time) and a tumbledown return to the first idea. The second opens to a bar’s worth of fortissimo Presto before proceeding in a mode ‘à la hongroise’. Liszt comes to mind, as do Dvorák, Brahms, and even Bartók. The third Humoreske
is a winning Andantino grazioso in 2/4 with a more thoughtful Meno mosso central section and a delightful coda, while the fourth is a vivacious, waltz-like Prestissimo assai. All are delightful and further proof that Max Reger could complement even the heaviest musical meal with delectable sweetmeats.
from notes by Robert Cowan © 1999