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Five Easy Preludes and Fugues, Op 56

composer
1901

 
The Five Easy Preludes and Fugues date from 1901, between the great Op 52 Chorale Fantasies and the formidable Symphonic Fantasy and Fugue Op 57; one might speak of them, as of Beethoven’s Bagatelles, as ‘chips from the master’s workbench’.

No 1 in E is one of Reger’s most lyrical inspirations. It begins as a trio, moves through episodes of atmospheric chordal writing before the opening material reappears, deliciously embellished with counterpoint. The Fugue builds steadily from its calm opening; an unusual feature is the appearance of the theme in augmentation for the first pedal entry.

The D minor Prelude is a mercurial conception, mingling scherzando moments with those of a more shadowy nature. The Fugue is fast, restless and intensely chromatic, quite belying its description as ‘easy’.

The G major adopts the pastoral associations of that key, with a meandering Andante Prelude which occasionally threatens to reach a powerful climax but invariably veers to gentler reaches. The Fugue is a spacious affair in alla breve time.

The C major Prelude is the most overtly Baroque of the set—it conjures memories of the style brisé of the C major Prelude from Book II of the Well-Tempered Clavier. The Fugue is a very good-natured scherzo in 2/4 time; it is unusual in ending quietly.

The B minor Prelude looks forward to Op 73 in its melancholy tone and short rhetorical exchanges. It is notable for a contrapuntal central episode whose subject curiously recalls Aus tiefer not, inverted. The Fugue is sinuously chromatic throughout; at bar 32 it presents a counter-exposition with the subject inverted, after which both versions jostle for supremacy towards the conclusion.

from notes by David Goode © 2013

Recordings

Reger: Organ Music
SIGCD329Download only

Details

No 1a in E major: Prelude
Track 1 on SIGCD329 CD2 [6'09] Download only
No 1b in E major: Fugue
Track 2 on SIGCD329 CD2 [3'54] Download only
No 2a in D minor: Prelude
Track 3 on SIGCD329 CD2 [3'18] Download only
No 2b in D minor: Fugue
Track 4 on SIGCD329 CD2 [2'53] Download only
No 3a in G major: Prelude
Track 5 on SIGCD329 CD2 [5'03] Download only
No 3b in G major: Fugue
Track 6 on SIGCD329 CD2 [5'50] Download only
No 4a in C major: Prelude
Track 7 on SIGCD329 CD2 [3'42] Download only
No 4b in C major: Fugue
Track 8 on SIGCD329 CD2 [2'37] Download only
No 5a in B minor: Prelude
Track 9 on SIGCD329 CD2 [6'23] Download only
No 5b in B minor: Fugue
Track 10 on SIGCD329 CD2 [5'08] Download only

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