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Track(s) taken from CDA67892

Two Romances, Op 50

1900; for violin and small orchestra; No 1 dedicated to Eugen Sptizweg, No 2 to Dr Berthold Rebnitzer

Tanja Becker-Bender (violin), Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Lothar Zagrosek (conductor)
Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Studio Master:
Studio Master:
Recording details: February 2011
Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin, Germany
Produced by Ludger Böckenhoff
Engineered by Stephan Reh
Release date: January 2012
Total duration: 17 minutes 41 seconds


'Full of craft and a lyricism often of inspired quality … Tanja Becker-Bender is more than equal to the demands of the solo part, and Lothar Zagrosek's masterly articulation of Reger's Klangstrom (stream of sound), in all its transparency and modulated colour and variety of incident is, if anything, an even more distinguished contribution' (Gramophone)

'Reger's Violin Concerto … is one of his most heart-warming works, allowing his intensely lyrical streak free rein. It's also superbly written for the soloist … aided by first-rate orchestral playing, Zagrosek finds transparency in Reger's original, bringing out a wealth of significant detail in its rich polyphonic tapestry. Chief honours, of course, go to Tanja Becker-Bender: she not only shows stamina, but also technical command, beauty of tone and clear sympathetic identification with the music' (BBC Music Magazine)

'[Violin Concerto] On its own terms it's remarkably beautiful, and Tanja Becker-Bender does wonderful things with it, shaping its lines with great lyrical force and a tremendous sense of drama. There's strong playing from the Konzerthausorchester Berlin under Lothar Zagrosek, too' (The Guardian)

'Reger's Violin Concerto is probably the longest by a major composer … but such is the beauty of its themes and the master of its developmental invention, to say nothing of the committed nature of Tanja Becker-Bender's playing that … I was unaware an hour had passed … this is a truly outstanding CD of very fine music, excellently performed and recorded' (International Record Review)

'[Violin Concerto] Often considered a 'monster'—Reger's own word—but its time may at last have come. And this lovely, romantic version by Tanja Becker-Bender should help it along' (Daily Mail)

'Max Reger (1873-1916) is a composer whose best music rewards the effort taken to absorb it—and so it proves with the Violin Concerto of 1907 … this huge work has a first movement into which more conventionally ‘romantic’ works by Mendelssohn and Bruch could comfortably fit. It therefore makes demands on the stamina of the violinist, not just technically but in taxing their ability to keep the melodic threads running. Tanja Becker-Bender responds to the challenge magnificently, as do Lothar Zagrosek and his Berlin orchestra. This is a warm hearted performance right from the start' (Classical Source)
Though his style was shaped by the piano and the organ (and he was famed as one of the most sensitive pianists of his time), Reger nourished the universal ambition to write for the most varied forces, interpreters, and categories of listeners. This may be seen in the wide range of works for the violin which run through his entire compositional career. He pointedly began his catalogue of published works in 1891 with the Sonata for violin and piano in D minor Op 1, which was to be followed by eight more sonatas, ending with the Sonata in C minor Op 139 (1915). And whereas his Bach-inspired works for unaccompanied violin of 1899 to 1914 (the Sonatas Opp 42 and 91 and the sets of Preludes and Fugues Opp 117 and 131a) adopt an intimate, monological tone of voice, the Two Romances for violin and small orchestra, written in 1900, were conceived, so to speak, as visiting cards for a big-city public. By having recourse to a favourite genre of bourgeois audiences, thereby following in the footsteps of Beethoven (they even share their opus number with the second of the latter’s two Romances, Opp 40 and 50), Bruch and Dvorák, he hoped to conquer the concert halls of the German Empire’s prosperous large cities. Composed when he was still living in his home town of Weiden, the Romances may be seen to a certain extent as prototypes for the Violin Concerto, since he was already testing in them a fusion of contrapuntal texture and flowing melody which determines the physiognomy of long stretches of the later work. And there may possibly be a slice of autobiography hidden in the effusive, wistful tone of the Romances: Reger dedicated the first to his then publisher Eugen Spitzweg, who managed the Munich firm of Aibl with his brother Otto and did much to promote the composer’s work; the second is inscribed to the Weiden physician Dr Berthold Rebnitzer, who twice rid Reger of neck ulcers that had plagued him during his years in Wiesbaden.

from notes by Wolfgang Rathert © 2012
English: Charles Johnston

Même si son style s’est façonné au piano et à l’orgue (et il était reconnu comme l’un des pianistes les plus sensibles de son temps), Reger nourrissait l’ambition universelle d’écrire pour les effectifs, les interprètes et les catégories d’auditeurs les plus variés. On peut le voir dans la large gamme d’œuvres pour le violon qui traversent la totalité de sa carrière de compositeur. En 1891, il a ostensiblement commencé son catalogue d’œuvres publiées par la Sonate pour violon et piano et ré mineur, op. 1, qui a été suivie de huit autres sonates, la dernière étant la Sonate en ut mineur, op. 139 (1915). Et alors que les œuvres pour violon seul inspirées de Bach des années 1899 à 1914 (les sonates, op. 42 et 91 et les recueils de Préludes et Fugues, op. 117 et 131a) adoptent un ton intime et monologique, les Deux Romances pour violon et petit orchestre, composées en 1900, ont été conçues, pour ainsi dire, comme des cartes de visite pour un public de grande ville. En ayant recours à un genre très apprécié des auditoires bourgeois, suivant ainsi les traces de Beethoven (elles partagent même leur numéro d’opus avec la seconde des deux Romances, op. 40 et 50 de ce dernier), Bruch et Dvorák, il espérait conquérir les salles de concert des grandes villes prospères de l’Empire germanique. Composées lorsqu’il résidait encore dans sa ville natale de Weiden, les Romances peuvent être considérées, dans une certaine mesure, comme des prototypes du Concerto pour violon, car il y testait déjà une fusion de texture contrapuntique et de mélodie fluide qui détermine la physionomie des longues étendues du futur concerto. Et il se cache peut-être une part d’autobiographie dans le son chaleureux et mélancolique des Romances: Reger a dédié la première à son éditeur de l’époque, Eugen Spitzweg, qui dirigeait l’entreprise munichoise d’Aibl avec son frère Otto et fut très actif dans la promotion de l’œuvre du compositeur; la seconde est dédicacée au médecin spécialiste de Weiden, le Docteur Berthold Rebnitzer, qui a guéri Reger à deux reprises de dangereux ulcères au cou don’t il avait souffert au cours des années passées à Wiesbaden.

extrait des notes rédigées par Wolfgang Rathert © 2012
Français: Marie-Stella Pâris

Obwohl vom Klavier und der Orgel geprägt (und als einer der sensibelsten Pianisten seiner Zeit gerühmt), besaß Reger den universalen Anspruch, für die verschiedensten Besetzungen, Interpreten und Hörerschichten zu schreiben. Dies zeigt sich auch am Umfang der Beiträge für die Violine, die Regers gesamte kompositorische Laufbahn begleiten. Seine Opuszählung eröffnete er geradezu demonstrativ 1891 mit der Sonate für Violine und Klavier d-Moll op. 1, der acht weitere Sonaten bis zur letzten in c-Moll op. 139 (1915) folgen sollten. Und während die für Violine solo geschriebenen, dem Vorbild Bach verpflichteten Werke zwischen 1899 und 1914—die Sonaten opp. 42 und 91 und die Serie der Präludien und Fugen opp. 117 und 131a—einen intimen, monologischen Tonfall besitzen, ist das Paar der Zwei Romanzen op. 50 für Violine und kleines Orchester aus dem Jahr 1900 gleichsam als Visitenkarte für ein großstädtisches Publikum gedacht. Indem Reger eine beliebte Gattung des bürgerlichen Musiklebens bediente und sich zudem noch auf die Spuren Beethovens (Romanzen opp. 40 und 50), Bruchs und Dvoráks setzte, hoffte er, die Konzertsäle der prosperierenden Großstädte des Kaiserreichs zu erobern. Noch in Regers Heimatstadt Weiden entstanden, können die beiden Romanzen gewissermaßen als Prototyp des Violinkonzerts gelten, da Reger in ihnen bereits eine Verbindung von kontrapunktischem Satz und strömendem Melos erprobte, das die Physiognomie des Violinkonzerts über weite Strecken bestimmen sollte. Und möglicherweise steckt in ihrem schwärmerisch-wehmütigen Tonfall auch ein Stück Autobiographie: Die erste Romanze widmete Reger seinem damaligen Verleger Eugen Spitzweg, der mit seinem Bruder Otto den Münchner Aibl-Verlag betrieb und viel für Regers Publizität tat; die zweite Romanze ist dem Weidener Arzt Dr. Berthold Rebnitzer zugeeignet, der Reger zweimal von gefährlichen Geschwüren am Hals befreite, die ihn in seiner Wiesbadener Zeit gequält hatten.

aus dem Begleittext von Wolfgang Rathert © 2012

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