Martin Welzel is clearly
a fine player. He is a student of the
renowned Wolfgang Rübsam - Rübsam
is the producer of this recording, by
the way - and has clearly gained the
measure of Reger's often difficult realm.
More than anywhere in his output Reger's
rather severe musical persona as it
emerges in his organ music means one
either loves or hates this sound-world.
Difficult to imagine
a more staunch advocate than Welzel.
In the most extended work here, the
Introduction, Variations and Fugue,
Op. 73, Welzel's long-range thought
- and it has to be long-range
– the work is over 37 minutes long!
- triumphs to provide a listening experience
as varied as it is enriching. The piece
moves from a hyper-dark, chromatic,
not to mention unsettling, opening through
to an extended set of variations with
far-reaching and absolutely fascinating
harmonic explorations and a separately-tracked
five-minute Fugue. The preparation for
the fugue is required listening, the
final few minutes of the variations
seeming to peter out almost mystically
before the intensity of the fugue's
contrapuntal workings. The climax is
truly impressive; there is no engineer
credited, merely 'RMC Classical Music
The Chorale Fantasia,
Op. 52 No. 1 begins in rather muffled
fashion, opening out magnificently.
Admittedly it is easy to see where Reger
gets his rather dour reputation from,
but it is equally easy to hear Welzel
giving his all to present the piece
in the best possible light. The moment
of repose around 14'10 is a particular
The set of Six Trios,
Op. 47, was published in 1900, placing
it as contemporary with Op. 52 No. 1.
The six trios all have titles (Canon;
Gigue; Kanzonetta; Scherzo; Siciliano;
Fugue). They present a varied little
collection, from the peaceful Canon,
through the rather sweet Gigue - some
acoustic blurring here, though - to
the expressive 'Kanzonetta', past a
rather muddy Scherzo and a nicely angular
Siciliano to a final C minor Fugue.
It is in this latter movement that Reger
is most at home; superb fingerwork from
This Reger series from
is to be applauded and supported. I
welcomed Volume 5 back in June 2005
I welcome this volume just as much –
if anything, even more.