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Hyperion’s Bach piano transcription series, which has done so much to illustrate the unique effect of Bach on the nineteenth-century mind, has reached volume 7 with the complete transcriptions by Max Reger.
Reger was described by his contemporaries as ‘the modern-day Bach’, partly because of his frequent use of fugue and other characteristic forms. His skills as a pianist were matched by his abilities as an organist—a situation that influenced his a profound understanding of Bach’s counterpoint. Therefore it is fascinating to see the composer’s direct response to his predecessor.
In the young German virtuoso Markus Becker we have the ideal performer: he has already recorded the complete original piano works of Reger. As Francis Pott writes in his comprehensive booklet notes: ‘In adopting a balance of linear and polyphonic clarity with the full expressive resources of the piano and of virtuoso technique, Markus Becker respects the historic significance both of Bach’s original inspirations and of Reger’s transcriptions as documents of their own time’.