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Suite g minor op. 131d,1
Suite D major op. 131d,2
Suite e minor op. 131d,3

PREFACE

Max Reger’s Three Suites for Solo Viola, op. 131d, were written in the final year of his life immediately after the appearance in print of his six Preludes and Fugues for Solo Violin, op. 131a, Three Violin Duos (Canons and Fugues) in the Ancient Manner, op. 131b, and Three Suites for Solo Violoncello, op. 131c. His intention was presumably to complete this opus by adding ... more

CRITICAL COMMENTARY

About the Composer

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Max Reger

Late-Romantic composer who combines a chromatic tonal language with Baroque and Classical forms, thus anticipating 1920s neoclassicism.

1873Born in Brand (Upper Palatinate) on March 19, the son of a teacher. First piano lessons from his mother.
1888After a visit to Bayreuth (for Meistersinger and Parsifal), decides on a career in music.
1890–93Studies with Hugo Riemann at the conservatory in Wiesbaden, composes chamber works. Thereafter he endeavors to publish his own works as a freelance composer, albeit with multiple failures.
1898Return to his parents’ home in Weiden. Composition of organ works: choral fantasies, “Fantasy and Fugue on B-A-C-H,” Op. 46 (1900); Symphonic Fantasy and Fugue (“Inferno”), Op. 57.
1901–07Living in Munich.
1903Publication of his “On the Theory of Modulation,” causing Riemann to feel attacked because Reger espouses a different understanding of the role of chromatics. “Variations and Fugue on an Original Theme,” Op. 73.
1904Breakthrough with his first performance for the Allgemeine Deutsche Musikverein (General German Music Association). First volume of his “Simple Songs” for voice and piano, Op. 76; String Quartet in D minor, Op. 74, one of the most significant works in that genre at the beginning of the century.
From 1905Instructor at Munich’s Academy of Music. “Sinfonietta” in A major, Op. 90.
1907–11Music director and professor of composition at the University of Leipzig. Orchestral work “Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Hiller,” Op. 100.
1909“The 100th Psalm,” Op. 106, his most popular choral work.
1911–14Director of the royal court orchestra of Saxe-Meiningen.
1912“Concerto in the Old Style,” Op. 123. Orchestral song “An die Hoffnung” (“To Hope”), Op. 124.
1913“Four Tone Poems after A. Böcklin” for large orchestra, Op. 128; “A Ballet Suite,” Op. 130.
1914“Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Mozart,” Op. 132
1915He resides in Jena. Late compositions.
1916Death in Leipzig on May 11.

© 2003, 2010 Philipp Reclam jun. GmbH & Co. KG, Stuttgart

The three "Viola Suites" immediately follow on from his "Six Preludes and Fugues for Solo Violin", three "Violin Duos" and "Three Suites for Solo Cello", and the intention was presumably to complete this cycle with a few works for the viola. ... However given Reger’s propensity and understanding for the instrument, this is by any yardstick, a stalwart work in the viola repertoire and eminently playable and listenable. This Urtext edition is based on the first Simrock edition of 1916. A preface details any small deviations from the Original text that were made in the interests of clarity. Henle here adopts its usual fastidious attention to veracity and critical scholarship.

Stringendo, 2003

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