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SUPERB STRINGS from RIGHTEOUS REGER...Aug. 5 2007
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. This disc will be difficult to obtain, as it's a 1988 issue on the small Swiss label Jecklin; however, Reger's string Sextet is so excellent a work of Art that I wanted to bring attention to it. It's also available on another small Austrian label Da Camera Magna, Vol. 18 of Max Reger Kammermusik Gesamtaufnahme.
Well, Reger's string Sextet in F, Op. 118 of 1910: a late masterpiece, in the company of his Fifth string Quartet (f#, Op. 121) and clarinet Quintet (A, Op. 146) Reger: The String Quartets; Clarinet Quintet . Large-boned, sometimes forceful and tense, sometimes sublime and lyrical, this monstrous four-movement work is quintessential Reger.
Features his calling-card polyphony; contrapntal density; extended chromaticism; fine filigree work; and energetic multiplicity of climaxes--multi-orgasmic, at it were. Some melodic charm with catchy, sometimes humourous tunes: in fact, the work has a bumptously bodacious boisterous buoyancy--not to say bombastic...
All except for the sublime and magnificent Largo con gran expressione which Reger himself called "Gebet mit dem lieben Gott--[Prayer with the Beloved God]." It is unsurpassed in the entire Reger literature. It is mystical, with great passion, yet serene, approaching Beethovenian heights. It is related to the Largo of his great piano Concerto Reger: Bach Variations; Piano Concerto No.1 [Germany] .
The Jecklin disc features Die Kammermusiker Zürich; the Da Camera disc, the Wührer-Streichsextett--which some old-timers (like myself) will remember on the old Musical Heritage Society LP from the '70s, as this is a re-issue of that performance.