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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