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CD: JPC (Germany)


Max REGER (1873-1916)
Piano Trio Op.102 (1907-08) [42:33]
Largo from Trio in B – Fantasie caractéristique (1889) [11:53]
Largo from Suite Im alten Stil Op. 93a (1906) [5:55]
Hyperion Trio (Hagen Schwarzrock (piano); Oliver Kipp (violin); Katharina Troe (cello))
rec. Hannover Congress Centrum, Beethovensaal, July 2007
THOROFON CTH2546 [60:31]
Experience Classicsonline

There’s one major work here, the Op.102 Trio written in 1907-08. It has a full complement of romantic turbulence, is powerfully argued, and renews speculation – other than questions of mere length – as to why Reger’s best chamber music is not played more. I suppose the same goes for most of Reger, a composer one feels who is more honoured in the breach, even now.
The Hyperion Trio plays op. 102 with good tight ensemble, responding to the urgency of the writing with well-scaled assurance. The confidently heavy scherzo goes well – the notes call it “quirky” though it’s not especially so or at least not in this performance. The slow movement certainly has a noble character and is played with refinement with the more dramatic and contrastive central panel played with a good appreciation of the ebbing and flowing of the material. The notes describe this movement as “meditative-pious.” The finale is capricious, with mock striding figures and rather military – if half heartedly militaristic – motifs. Lyric reminiscence balance the extroversion and the striking, confident conclusion seals a good performance of a work that should be heard more often. The Göbel trio has recorded it on Etcetera KTC1077 and a trio led by that exploratory violinist Renate Eggebrecht has also recorded it on Troubadisc TROCD 01414.
The Largo from the Trio in B – Fantasie caractéristique – is a much earlier work dating from 1889. It’s cast in a noble Beethovenian form. Once again there’s plenty of turbulent lyricism though I think it’s not unreasonable to note an element of salon phrasing from time to time. Reger may well have been thinking of the Archduke trio here, in which case he has not successfully assimilated his model to his own style. The final work is the Largo from the Suite im alten Stil Op. 93a, which dates from 1906. This is the slow movement from a popular suite for violin and piano, arranged by the violinist of the Hyperion-Trio, Oliver Kipp The composer performed the popular work with such as Ysaÿe, Henri Marteau and Carl Wendling. During the War Reger wrote an orchestral version though this slow movement had won popularity and had also been published separately. It’s charmingly done in this trio form.
A fine case is made for the big Trio in this performance and the two ancillary works, brief though they are - and in the case of the Im alten Stil suite strictly speaking un-Regerian – offer a programme of real enjoyment. The recording is fine and not inflated; notes are by the expert Jürgen Schaarwächter.
Jonathan Woolf

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