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Max Reger (1873-1916)

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Reger - Cello Sonatas & Cello Suites

Reger - Cello Sonatas & Cello Suites


Reger:

Cello Sonata No 1 in F minor, Op. 5

Cello Sonata No 2 in G minor, Op 28

Cello Sonata No 3 in F major, Op 78

Cello Sonata No 4 in A minor, Op 116

Cello Suite No 1 in G major, Op 131c No 1

Cello Suite No 2 in D minor, Op 131c No 2

Cello Suite No 3 in A minor, Op 131c No 3

Cello Sonata No 4 in A minor, Op 116


Alban Gerhardt (cello) & Markus Becker (piano)

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.

“Exceptionally rewarding … It would be difficult to find more persuasive advocates than cellist Alban Gerhardt and pianist Markus Becker, both of whom are steeped inside the idiom and know exactly how to present the music with cogency and a sure sense of direction. The Four Cello Sonatas provide a fascinating overview of Reger’s musical development, moving from the Brahmsian warmth of the First to the highly expressionist and unsettling Fourth. With the aid of excellent sound, Gerhardt and Becker map out this musical journey with wonderful sensitivity” BBC Music Magazine, May 2008 *****

“Max Reger is often blamed for thickness of musical texture, but although the piano-writing here is certainly prolix, the first two sonatas are imbued with a Brahmsian/classical romanticism and a virility which keeps the music thoroughly alive. The First Sonata surges passionately and heroically at the opening yet the touching second subject sighs very personally, the Adagio 'congran affetto' is gently lyrical and the finale is skittish.
The Second Sonata also sails off agitato and has a brilliant but more muted Scherzo and an engaging Trio. An Intermezzo replaces the slow movement and the finale is a graceful grazioso.
The last two sonatas are more mature, major works in which Reger has left Brahms behind and found his own voice. The highlight of No 3 is a substantial set of variations, Busoni's speciality, and the final sonata is even more impressive, with the cello introducing a kind of motto theme; the melodic writing in the secondary material is characteristically chromatic. There follows a whimsical, tarantella-like Scherzo, a warmly expressive slow movement and an engaging Allegretto con grazia finale.
The Cello Suites are in a direct line from Bach, although not collections of Baroque dances but three- or four-movement works. No 1 ends with a jolly fugue and No 2 includes both a Gavotte and a Gigue. Easily the finest is the Third with its richly sustained, intensely melodic Prelude, a brilliantly contrasted Scherzo and another appealing set of variations for its finale.
This is a stimulating package, very well played: both artists produce the passionate response demanded of them. Alban Gerhardt has a warm, resonant middle register and Markus Becker is well able to undertake the music's considerable virtuosity. The recording is vivid and clear.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“This is a stimulating package, very well played: both artists produce the passionate response demanded of them.” Gramophone Magazine, April 2008

“This is music that makes huge technical demands on the players, and the performances are all outstanding; this set represents an important act of rehabilitation for music that is almost unknown” The Guardian

“Alban Gerhardt sometimes struggles to project his cello above the heavy pianism of Markus Becker in the first two sonatas, but the later two (1904 and 1910) fare better. Here, and in the late trio of solo sonatas (Bachian to the core), Gerhardt's tone has lustre and his playing is intuitive.” The Telegraph, 12th April 2008

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Reger: Choral Music

Reger: Choral Music


Reger:

Der Einsiedler, Op. 144a

Drei sechsstimmige Chöre, Op. 39

Drei Chöre, Op. 6

Drei Gesänge, Op. 111b

Palmsonntagmorgen

Requiem, Op. 144b

with Alice Gribbin (soprano) & Christopher Glynn (piano)


Consortium, Andrew-John Smith

A second disc from new chamber choir Consortium, who were acclaimed for their disc of Brahms’s secular partsongs.

Although Reger’s music has partly recovered from its deeply unfashionable reputation, much of this prolific composer’s work still remains underperformed. This disc offers a chance to redress the balance, both by bringing to light an aspect of Reger’s output that has been relatively neglected, and by demonstrating that the important influences on him were not just musical but literary. Like his near contemporaries, Mahler, Strauss, Wolf and Zemlinsky, Reger responded deeply and imaginatively to the German Romantic poetic tradition. The works recorded here set many of the same poets (and even some of the same poems) that were popular among his colleagues, with a sensitivity and intuitive understanding that belie Reger’s reputation for stodgy academicism. Richard Stokes’s comment, that ‘Reger does not always lose out in comparison’ (when he and Strauss set the same texts as Lieder), could apply equally well to his choral music.

“[Consortium] may not have sanded down all the rough edges in terms of blend and tone but their singing is sensitive and technically impressive. Andrew-John Smith draws from them an infinitely subtle dynamic range and some impeccably moulded phrasing which certainly serves Reger uncommonly well. One suspects this repertoire could have found no finer exponents to bring it to public attention.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2011

“The performances are fine indeed, but more than anything, it's the music itself that strikes you - it's both utterly unique and breathtakingly beautiful...Andrew-John Smith's group are perfectly suited to it. The voices blend well but are never overly polite; this is passionate rather than devotional, and you sense the fine gradations of the composer's intensity.” Classic FM Magazine, January 2011 *****

“These wistful, autumnal choral works...caress the ear - and the soul...Consortium, a London-based professional choir, provides admirable performances of this sometimes tricky music...The accompanist, Christopher Glynn, acquits himself sensitively...A release with very considerable virtues, then” International Record Review, January 2011

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Reger: Songs

Reger: Songs


Reger:

Mein Traum, Op. 31 No. 5

Unbegehrt, Op. 31

Flieder, Op. 35 No. 4

Volkslied, Op. 37 No. 5

Glückes genug, Op. 37 No 3

Zwischen zwei Nächten, Op. 43 No. 1

Meinem Kinde, Op. 43 No. 3

Wiegenlied, Op. 43 No. 5

Sag es nicht, Op. 43 No. 8

Am Dorfsee, Op. 48 No. 6

Träume, träume, du mein süßes Leben!, Op. 51 No. 3

Zwei Gänse Zur weißen Gans sprach einst vertraulich eine graue, Op. 55 No. 8

Viola d'amour, Op. 55

Waldseligkeit, Op. 62 No. 2

Sehnsucht, Op. 66 No. 1

Morgen!, Op. 66 No. 12

Kindergeschichte, Op. 66 No. 12

Aeolsharfe, Op. 75 No. 11

Hat gesagt - bleibt's nicht dabei, Op. 75 No. 12

Du meines Herzens Krönelein, Op. 76 No. 1

Volkslied aus Franken – Waldeinsamkeit, Op. 76, No. 3

Wenn die Linde blüht, Op. 76 No. 4

Glück, Op. 76 No. 16

In einem Rosengärtelein, Op. 76 No. 18

Des Kindes Gebet, Op. 76 No. 22

Die Mutter spricht, Op. 76 No. 28

Das Wölklein, Op. 76 No. 33

Mittag, Op. 76 No. 35

Schelmenliedchen, Op. 76 No. 36

Mariä Wiegenlied, Op. 76 No. 52

Mausefangen, Op. 76 No. 58

Oben in dem Birnenbaum, Op. 76/59

Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe!


Sophie Bevan (soprano) & Malcolm Martineau (piano)

The sunset glow of Max Reger’s late Romanticism is perfectly suited to the lustrous soprano voice of Sophie Bevan, here making her Hyperion debut in a programme of thirty-three of his songs. Malcolm Martineau accompanies.

“If you are looking for a single disc of Reger’s songs, look no further. Bevan and Martineau prove an outstanding partnership in this wonderful music.” Music Week, October 2016

“His music doesn’t deserve its neglect, even if his settings of Meinem Kinde and Morgen won’t displace Strauss’s...[Bevan] is characterful in the song quoting Mendelssohn’s Wedding March ironically, as Mother advises her daughter to remain single.” Sunday Times

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Max Reger - Piano Music

Max Reger - Piano Music


Reger:

Variations and Fugue on a theme of J S Bach

Five Humoresques

Variations and Fugue on a theme of G P Telemann


Penguin Guide

Rosette Winner

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Rare Piano Encores

Rare Piano Encores


Bruckner:

Erinnerung

Busoni:

Serenade ‘Deh vieni alla finestra' from Mozart's Don Giovanni

Friedman, I:

Viennese Dance No. 2 (after Eduard Gärtner)

Gershwin:

Promenade (Walking the Dog)

Grainger:

Blithe Bells

Grieg:

Ich liebe Dich, piano transcription, Op. 41 No. 3

Howard, L:

Yuletide Pastoral Op. 33a

Réminiscences de l'opéra ‘La Wally' de Catalani Op. 24

Liszt:

Valse oubliée No. 4, S.215/4

Soirées de Vienne: valse-caprice No. 6 (after Schubert), D427 No. 6

Valse de concert sur deux motifs de Lucia et Parisina (Donizetti)

Moszkowski:

Chanson Bohème de l'Opéra Carmen de Georges Bizet

Rachmaninov:

Romance in E flat Op. 8 No. 2

Reger:

Mariä Wiegenlied, Op. 76 No. 52

Rossini:

Petite Caprice (style Offenbach)

Rubinstein:

Valse Caprice in E flat major

Wagner:

Albumblatt (In das Album der Fürstin M.)


'Wreathed in laurels for his marathon cycle of Liszt's complete piano works, the Australian born, London based pianist Leslie Howard has come up with a typically bright idea to showcase his digital dexterity' (The Observer)

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Helios - CDH55109

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The Romantic Piano Concerto 53 - Reger & Strauss

The Romantic Piano Concerto 53 - Reger & Strauss


Reger:

Piano Concerto in F minor, Op. 114

Strauss, R:

Burleske for Piano and orchestra in D minor, AV85


The Reger concerto has a formidable reputation – dense, harmonically complex and with far too many notes for the average pianist. Who better then to decipher it than Marc-André Hamelin? In his hands this rarely recorded behemoth reveals both passion and a lyricism so often lost in lesser performances. He is wonderfully partnered by Ilan Volkov and the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester who share the pianist’s desire to elucidate an often misunderstood work.

While the Reger concerto comes from the end of his career, the Strauss Burleske is a product of that composer’s prodigious youth. This ebullient work has long been a Hamelin ‘party-piece’, and he plays it with an unmatched brilliance which surely captures the essence of this humorous music and will have the listener on the edge of his seat.

“even Serkin would surely have marvelled at Hamelin's stunning authority. While an easy majority of pianists would run for cover when faced with such sheerly physical demands, Hamelin relishes every challenge, clarifying and refining Reger's potential for opacity at every point. His first entry, like a thunderclap, makes you leap to attention but so too does his expressive beauty in the subsequent molto tranquillo.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2011

“One of Hamelin's greatest virtues...is his uncanny and apparently effortless ability, in music of this sort, to bring focus to the main lines - and to do so not by playing down the secondary elements but by making sure that they all contribute, harmonically and especially rhythmically...for all the searing virtuosity, this performance [of the Strauss] is even more notable for its with than for its fireworks...Interplay with the orchestra is exceptionally adroit.” International Record Review, April 2011

“A debt to Brahms is acknowledged in both these pieces, brilliantly played by Marc-André Hamelin, who battles manfully through the emotional thicket of Max Reger's sprawling, dramatic piano concerto...Richard Strauss's mercurial Burleske makes a pleasant antidote to Reger's high seriousness, with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra in cracking form.” The Observer, 13th April 2011

“this is one of the most lucid, as well as passionate, readings of the [Reger] I have heard. Hamelin never makes the deep left-hand bass writing in the first movement sound heavy, and he plays the very full chords as crisply as they demand...Hamelin gives one of the most stylish and elegant accounts of [the Strauss] I've heard” BBC Music Magazine, May 2011 ****

“Both performances are formidable. Marc-André Hamelin does powerhouse things with the Reger, and is notably harrowing in the great central largo. The skittish charm with which he plays the Burleske, meanwhile, belies its often atrocious difficulty. Ilan Volkov and the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra are first rate.” The Guardian, 5th May 2011 *****

“The Reger concerto is regarded as difficult to master with its massive harmonic challenges, but Hamelin dispatches it with aplomb. Richard Strauss’ Burleske, though, is the real treat here...Pianist and conductor present it with both charm and efficiency.” london24.com, 17th June 2011

GGramophone Awards 2011

Finalist - Concerto

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Hyperion - The Romantic Piano Concerto - CDA67635

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The Romantic Violin Concerto 11 - Reger

The Romantic Violin Concerto 11 - Reger


Reger:

Violin Concerto in A major, Op. 101

Romances, Op. 50


Tanja Becker-Bender (violin)

Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Lothar Zagrosek

Reger is one of those composers more talked about than listened to—caricatured as a prolific writer of organ music with a penchant for dense musical textures. But he certainly wasn’t averse to a good tune: the two Romances abound in lush lyricism, while the magnificent A major Violin Concerto shows him continuing in the tradition of the violin concertos of Beethoven and Brahms. An unashamedly symphonic work, it’s nearly an hour long—around the same length as the nearly-contemporary Elgar Violin Concerto. No less a figure than Adolf Busch championed it—first performing it when he was just sixteen.

The young German violinist Tanja Becker-Bender, who has already made such an impact in Schulhoff and Paganini, is joined by Lothar Zagrosek and the Berlin Konzerthausorchester for this 11th volume in the Romantic Violin Concerto series—a series that is triumphantly demonstrating how much great music there is out there just waiting to be rediscovered.

“it's remarkably beautiful, and Tanja Becker-Bender does some 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, 5th January 2012 ****

“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 Magazine, March 2012

“I have been a Reger admirer for most of my adult life, but I have not heard a performance of his Violin Concerto which has excited or moved me as much as this one. It is a remarkable achievement on the part of this young violinist...This is a truly outstanding CD of very fine music, excellently performed and recorded.” International Record Review, February 2012

“it's one of [Reger's] most heart-warming works, allowing his intensely lyrical streak free rein...Aided by first-rate orchestral playing, [Zagrosek] finds transparency in Reger's original...Chief honours, of course, go to Tanja Becker-Bender: she not only shows stamina (the violin is seldom silent), but also technical command, beauty of tone and clear sympathetic identification with the music.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2012 *****

“this sprawling work is a constant delight and the performers bring to it rich colours that never cloy” Classical Music, 11th February 2012 ****

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