When Max Reger and his chamber music are mentioned, music lovers immediately think of compositions for organ, lieder or the great piano variations. The fact that over the course of many years the composer created at regular intervals a considerable number of compositions for solo strings remains an insider tip. This was a genre which was considered relatively unimportant by the 19th century and was therefore forgotten.
At the young age of 26, in 1899, Reger started working with the baroque genre for the first time and created Four Sonatas for Solo Violin op. 42. Six years later followed the Seven Sonatas for Solo Violin op. 91, about which the composer wrote to the Heidelberg musical director Philipp Wolfram on the 5th September 1905, “I am well – how the violin players are, however, I don’t know!” Once again, between 1909 and 1912, Reger devoted himself to this type of chamber music and composed Preludes and Fugues for Solo Violin op. 117.
TracklistPlease note that the below previews are loaded as 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.
Total time: 01:05:38
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Ev. Kirche Honrath,
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|Release Date||March 18, 2016|
While separated by 10 years, these two recordings together offer all four of Bach’s Suites for Solo Cello arranged for viola, superbly performed by Tabea Zimmermann. In each album, the Bach Suites are separated by complementary works by contemporary composers. In Solo 1, Zimmermann has chosen the three Suites for Solo Viola by Max Reger. In Solo II, she gives us six pieces for viola from Signs, Games and Messages by György Kurtág. Both choices work very well contrasting, but not clashing, with the Bach Suites.
The Kurtág works I found intriguing, as much for their inherent beauty as for their intimacy. Among the pieces is “…eine Blume für Tabea…” (“A Flower for Tabea”), dedicated by Kurtág to Zimmermann after the untimely death of her husband. “There seems to be no beginning and no end in this piece. It requires the most delicate tones—mere suggestions, and then it’s already over, as if Kurtág had wanted to set the fleeting passage of time to music.” A friend of mine describes this work as “a haunting minute of two voices talking through time.” And it does play softly, so turn up the volume and do not miss this piece. It is treasurable.
Enjoy for the Reger and Kurtág works; they are well worth the journey. Treasure the album for her Bach. Altogether, a very nice album.
Tabea Zimmermann’s playing is profound, sculptural, and woven with unpretentious zeal. The autumnal colors of her instrument (a 1980 Vatelot) surround rather than charm you, thereby revealing her musical discourse’s basic humanism, which makes this instrumental singing like suspended time, one that the music requires. Here is an admirable DSD recording from start to finish.
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