The most comprehensive survey ever made of Reger’s organ music, on a range of superb Austrian, German and Swiss instruments: a fitting tribute to the composer on the 150th anniversary of his birth.
With just under 30 of 146 opus-numbered works and 15 further pieces and collections, organ music represents an impressive proportion of Max Reger's oeuvre, comparable to his chamber and piano music, but far more influential in shaping his image. Around 1900, Reger achieved his breakthrough as a controversial composer with his organ works. Organ works kept interest in him alive in times of oblivion and won him lasting international renown.
Roberto Marini's feat of performing Reger's entire output for organ in Italy within a single year (2002) was followed in 2011-13 by this remarkable achievement on record. On the basis of authoritative new critical editions compiled by the Max Reger Institute, Marini recorded the works on historical instruments of Reger's time, which with their orchestral richness of colour and dynamic possibilities correspond to the soundworld of an epoch that believed in progress in every dimension and embodied a kind of striving heroism as an attitude to both life and art.
As a teenage student, Reger demonstrated a comprehensive practical knowledge of Bach’s organ music which naturally fed into his own early compositions such as the Organ Suite Op.16. In his 20s, Reger adapted and enlarged the chorale fantasia into larger-scale forms filled with intense Romantic expression and chromatic harmony. All the same, the Prelude and Fugue in C minor op. 29 (1898), dedicated to Richard Strauss, demonstrates that modern writing and expressive content are perfectly compatible with Baroque forms.
In the Fantasy and Fugue on B-A-C-H op. 46 (1900), he ventures to the extreme limits of harmonic and technical possibilities on the Romantic organ. There are richly evocative character-pieces, simple and touching chorale preludes and Bachian inventions alongside huge monuments such as the Passacaglia and Fugue: in all its diversity, Reger’s organ music defies classification.
First released in individual albums on the Fugatto label, this box compiles Roberto Marini’s Reger albums complete for the first time, together with an authoritative essay by Suzanne Pepp on Reger’s output for organ.
- The reissue in one 17-CD box of one of the best and most important recordings of Max Reger’s (1873-1916) complete organ works, by Roberto Marini!
- The organ works present a substantial and representative part of Reger’s huge oeuvre. Based on the foundation laid by the towering figure of J.S. Bach they are characterized by their rich harmonic language, contrapuntal mastery, and profound spirituality. His music is a bridge between the late Romantic era and the burgeoning modernism of the 20th century, blending the lush harmonies of Wagner and Brahms with the chromaticism of Richard Strauss.
- Praise in the international press: “This series is characterised by Marini's total technical assurance and supreme musical taste and judgement, forged by long familiarity, which is so acutely attuned to the breadth of Reger's output, from apocalyptic, dies irae-type visions to the most tender and delicate of chorale preludes and occasional pieces. Marini's talent, combined with the choice of "authentic" organs, must surely define Fugatto's Reger series as a benchmark of quality.” (Choir & Organ). “Roberto Marini interprets Max Reger with fresh air, clear light and inspired lightness. [...] Reger bundled all this and also demands the highest technical and musical sovereignty from the performer. Roberto Marini possesses it. Technically he stands above the matter [...] The tempi fit perfectly to instrument and acoustics [...] Even in fortissimo one recognises differentiated articulation [...] The volume levels and registrations have the colour of a good orchestra.” (Der Neue Tag).
- Recorded on a variety of the best organs of Germany and Austria, perfectly suited to the late-romantic style of the music.