From early childhood, Max Reger grew into the tradition of artisanal, practical composition in which Johann Sebastian Bach became his role model. Traditional forms such as canon, fugue, passacaglia and variation gave stable form to his means of expression. But there is also another Reger. In the “Blätter und Blüten” (“Leaves and Blossoms”), whose moods range from the humorous to the melancholic, we find a sentimental, romantic side to Reger that rarely receives attention. The pieces bear titles such as “Spring Song”, “Hunting Piece”, “Moment musical” or “Elegie”. Something of Schumann’s melodic charm, Brahms’s profundity and Grieg’s folk style resonates here. With this Urtext edition, pianists can discover these pieces for themselves. The fingerings are by Helmut Brauss, an expert on Reger’s piano music.
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About the composer
Late-Romantic composer who combines a chromatic tonal language with Baroque and Classical forms, thus anticipating 1920s neoclassicism.
|1873||Born in Brand (Upper Palatinate) on March 19, the son of a teacher. First piano lessons from his mother.|
|1888||After a visit to Bayreuth (for Meistersinger and Parsifal), decides on a career in music.|
|1890–93||Studies 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.|
|1898||Return 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.|
|1901–07||Living in Munich.|
|1903||Publication 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.|
|1904||Breakthrough 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 1905||Instructor at Munich’s Academy of Music. “Sinfonietta” in A major, Op. 90.|
|1907–11||Music 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.|
|1911–14||Director 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|
|1915||He resides in Jena. Late compositions.|
|1916||Death in Leipzig on May 11.|
About the authors
Gleichwohl bezaubert die Klangschönheit und Gefühlsinnigkeit vor allem der ruhigen Sätze immer wieder aufs neue. Es wäre zu wünschen, dass das Heft recht vielen Spielern zu einem Erlebnis wird.