Alban Gerhardt’s profound musicality and charisma have made him one of the most sought-after cellists of his generation. His ebullient personality is present in all his performances; he is nevertheless passionately committed to the intentions of the composer, and his recordings are always the product of an intense personal journey into every aspect of the music. Gerhardt’s espousal of Reger’s cello sonatas and suites is thus greatly welcomed. Pianist Markus Becker has released twelve discs of Reger’s keyboard music and is an ideal interpreter.
Reger’s cello sonatas and suites demonstrate every facet of this complex composer and individual. The composer’s passionate commitment to German Romanticism and his neo-Classical inspirations are both here: the great influence by Brahms and then the conscious shrugging-off of that mantle in the face of a complex and progressive stylistic advance. The sonatas span the duration of his career and culminate in the late unaccompanied suites, whose ambition to emulate J S Bach is both patent and largely fulfilled. The duo sonatas demand—and receive in this recording—not only a cellist of unusual powers of empathy and bravura, but also a first-rate pianist. This is fascinating and difficult repertoire, wonderfully performed and recorded.