The German composer Max Reger wrote a lot of music during his foreshortened life, some of it both difficult to perform and difficult to appreciate on first hearing. This is not one of the "difficult to appreciate" works; rather, in his Violin Concerto Reger has penned a genuine masterpiece very much in conscious tribute to the Brahms Violin Concerto. Lush harmonies and mellow themes predominate, very much in the style of other "late" orchestral works from this composer, such as his "Four Tone-Poems After Arnold Böcklin" and the Romantic Suite.
There are several other excellent recordings of this Concerto, the best of which is the Berlin Classics disc with Herbert Blomstedt and the Staatskapelle Dresden, with its concertmaster, Manfred Scherzer, as soloist. I had thought it would be unlikely to be surpassed, but this new CPO surround-sound SACD does exactly that. Violinist Ulf Schirmer, who has been recording the complete violin sonatas of Reger for CPO, is joined by the Munich Radio Symphony for a performance that is ever bit as wonderful as the Berlin Classics disc. The factor that tips the choice in CPO's favor is its superb 5-channel surround sound: the listener is enveloped -- immersed -- in Reger's lush score in a manner that really clarifies the various strands of his dense orchestral texture. Schirmer conquers the difficult violin part with admirable aplomb. Highly recommended!