- Audio CD (July 29 2016)
- Number of Discs: 14
- Label: Mps-Jazz
- ASIN: B01CODOACE
- In-Print Editions: Audio CD
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #49,173 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Max Reger: Das Orgelwerk [Box Set]
|Price:||CDN$ 34.49 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 35. Details|
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Max Reger was a master of the organ, so compiling his entire output for the instrument is no small feat. This 14 disc set from MPS Jazz is a rare opportunity to enjoy all of Reger’s organ works in one place. Kurt Rapf, the talented organist to whom we owe this collection, spent fourteen years, from 1970 to 1984, recording these works on Europe’s finest organs. Kurt Rapf (1922-2007) was an outstanding Austrian musician. Not only an incredible organist, he also composed over 150 works which received international acclaim. He is heard on numerous recordings, particularly by MPS. This is the first time that these particular recordings have been available on CD.
|5 star (0%)|
|4 star (0%)|
|3 star (0%)|
|2 star (0%)|
|1 star (0%)|
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Now the not-so-good news: Contrary to the promo blurb on the site, this is NOT the complete Reger Organ Works, not by a long shot. The meager pamphlet insert (one page each in German and English) explains that Rapf may well have RECORDED the complete organ works of Reger for MPS, and MPS released them in 2-LP volumes, but got only as far as vol. 7: the master tapes for vol. 8 are lost, and vol. 9 was recorded on videotape for which the audio portion was apparently omitted. Four stars for that.
Now for the even-less-good news: Rapf's cycle occupies 14 CDs; Rosalinde Haas's cycle occupies 14 CDs. Haas offers not only the truly complete Reger organ works, occasionally even in multiple versions, but all of Reger's Bach arrangements for organ as well. This is only partially explained by the length of the discs: Haas's (in the the MDG box set rerelease currently available) tend to run an average of 75 minutes; Rapf's are probably the length of the individual LP discs: 40-50 minutes each. Four stars; the set is, after all, still absurdly inexpensive.
Now for the just-plain-bad news. If you like pious, beautiful, solemn Reger, Rapf is your man. And indeed his performances are compelling in their own way. For my taste, "somnolent" is, however, about as kind a word as I can imagine. Three stars for performance, which I'll illustrate by comparing Rapf to Haas in their performances of the B-A-C-H Fantasy and Fugue. Haas is regularly and appreciably faster than Rapf, sometimes even maniacally so, but every bit as clear (her anti-Romantic choice of organ helps) -- and she's often closer to both the spirit AND THE LETTER of Reger's scores. Rapf's performance of the B-A-C-H Fantasy and Fugue takes slightly more than 21 minutes; Haas's, a mere 13:58 -- and yes, without cuts. In the Fugue Reger specifies that the tempo gradually accelerate from beginning to end, even specifying new metronome markings every 6-8 bars in milestone fashion. So the fugue starts at half=50, and ends at half=140, nearly three times faster. The effect is not only thrilling but necessary, given the huge quantities of sound Reger is generating already well before the closing bars: How else to achieve cumulative effect, if not by means of constant acceleration? And Rapf, well, guess what: he picks a nice slow tempo for the start -- and maintains it through to the very end. The effect is, well, underwhelming.
This is just one piece; I could go on and on. There's a foolish review in the most recent Fanfare that rakes Haas over the coals for her tempi, her choice of organ, etc.; perhaps the reviewer could've actually opened a score before passing judgment on performance style. Now that public domain scores are easily available on IMSLP (including just about everything Reger wrote), there's really no excuse not to do so. I'll concede that MDG's manner of distributing the works across discs makes little aesthetic sense, but this was probably less motivated by any desire to create "recital programs" (as that reviewer suspects) than to cram all of the music onto just 14 discs. (Running into a set of Reger's chorale preludes is always an annoyance; he wrote several fistfuls of these, probably for quick cash; few of them betray any more imagination than one would expect of a senior-level assignment in an Eighteenth-Century Counterpoint class.) But the inconvenience is a small price to pay for Haas's astonishing and often revelatory set.