is a beautifully recorded organ disc. The SACD medium might
be custom-made for the King of Instruments. Reger’s work
ranges from the quietest pianissimo to the largest fortissimo
– if it is a tester for your hi-fi you are after, look no further.
Op. 73 Variations and Fugue works on the largest of canvasses.
The introduction itself is nearly nine minutes long and is typically
exploratory; Reger really does stretch tonality to its limits
here. The theme itself is subdued, slow and pregnant with possibilities
just waiting to be explored.
range of expression is remarkably varied, from the hyper-slow
Fourth Variation to the massive sounds of the Ninth. The end
is simply huge. It is true the lines of the fugue can emerge
as somewhat blurred at times, but Tanke’s achievement remains
remain less sure about Tanke’s own music. His two Fantasies
recorded here apparently ‘tell’ of ‘the coming into being of
the organ’. The first concerns itself with the historical breadth
of the organ, the second with ‘the breath audible in the moment
when the organ sounds’, i.e. the wind when the bellows send
the air into the pipes. The first is, in the event, very slow-moving,
focusing on shifting timbres and rather scrunchy harmonies.
There is a fairly upbeat moment of timbral brightness around
ten minutes in. The second Fantasy seems to commune with stasis.
the Reger is surely the best piece, though. Organ collectors may
well already own the Marin Welzel Naxos
recording of this piece. If Reger’s keyboard works in general
appeal, I take this opportunity to restate my allegiance to Mark
Latimer's Warner recording and would suggest giving this a
go, too. I do wish we would hear more Reger in the concert hall,