MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2023
Approaching 60,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing



CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS

Max Reger (1873-1916)
Piano Transcriptions, Volume 7
Complete Bach transcriptions for piano two hands by Max Reger
Markus Becker (piano)
rec. September 2008, Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Complete tracklist at end of review
HYPERION CDA67683 [55:03 + 55:16]
Experience Classicsonline

Maybe Max Reger is better known for the best ever response of an artist to a critic than any of his works. What a shame… although his famous quip is so good that it bears repeating again, even if you’ve heard it a couple times before: “I sit in the smallest room of my house. I have your review in front of me. Soon I will have it behind me.” Snap.

It’s not the only invective hurled by or at Reger. Bartók, Schoenberg, and Prokofiev were fond of his music, but for every fan he had a couple of vociferous detractors. Joseph Way summarized well-known stories when he wrote that “Reger drank, ate, smoked and composed to excess. His critics charge that he wrote too much music and that his music contained too many notes.” The intemperance only ended when Reger’s body gave in on 11 May 1916, after just 43 years of excess.

Last year, I had the dubious pleasure of listening to one of the Reger suites for solo viola (mostly the G minor) almost three dozen times in three days. After that, I was ready to join the chorus of vociferous Reger detractors. Fond memories associated with Reger kept me from making the leap, though. His marriage of counterpoint to high romantic, his love and understanding of Bach, the transcriptions of Bach’s and his own works - the Suite for Organ op.16 is perhaps an even greater masterpiece in the version for four pianos - and a slew of ambitious, surprisingly easily appreciable orchestral works all count heavily in his favor.

Hyperion has now hit upon Reger in its seventh volume of Bach Piano Transcriptions with 110 minutes of transcribed organ works. “Complete”, as collectors will know, can be a relative term. And although Hyperion claims to have included the “complete Bach transcriptions by Max Reger” on these two discs (for the price of one), that’s true only if you add “… for two hands”. Because the Four Hand transcriptions (most notably of the Passacaglia, the Orchestral Suites, and the Brandenburg Concertos) are obviously not included here and - more distressingly - apparently won’t be added to the series. You will have to go to Speidel-Trenkner on MDG (two 2 CD sets) for those works. Especially the Passacaglia transcription, when well played, rivals (maybe surpasses?) the original - and the orchestral suites are stunning, too.

The rest is in very good hands with Markus Becker, a Reger-veteran who has recorded Reger’s complete piano works for Thorofon and - discussed below - the Cello Sonatas For Hyperion. Whether the delicacy of a small scale work like “Ich ruf’ zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ” (BWV 639) or the massive “St. Anne” and “Wedge” Preludes & Fugues (BWV 552 in E flat major and BWV 548 in E minor, respectively), Becker is on top of the technical as well as the expressive demands. Only the (“famous”) Toccata & Fuge in D minor starts out sounding a little underpowered … but that’s not something to lay at Becker’s feet than Reger’s… and in any case an impression that wanes as the cumulative power of the transcriptions builds up.

The piano neutralizes a little of the edge that organs can have to ears that are not predisposed to it. As such, these very literal transcriptions are a milder, gentler way to take in 110 minutes of Bach organ works than they would be in the original. The technical term, I believe, is: more “wife-suitable”; of course a Reger/Bach obsession is not exclusive to husbands, nor prolonged organ-music irritations a purely female phenomenon, but the term is conveniently expressive. If you are new to Bach transcriptions, whether by Reger or others, I’d recommend to start elsewhere: either with Reger’s four-hand transcription of the Passacaglia or with volume 2of this excellent series, featuring the more flamboyant Busoni transcriptions. If you know what you are getting into, you will find nothing but delight here.

Jens F. Laurson

The complete Bach transcriptions for solo piano by Max Reger 
CD 1
Prelude and Fugue in D major, BWV532 (Movement 1: Prelude [5'26]; Movement 2: Fugue [6'19])
O Mensch, bewein' dein' Sünde gross, BWV622 [6'26]
Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt, BWV637 [1'52]
Ach wie nichtig, ach wie flüchtig, BWV644 [0'56]
Nun danket alle Gott, BWV657 [4'14]
Herzlich tut mich verlangen, BWV727 [1'46]
Wenn wir in höchsten Noten sein 'Vor deinen Thron tret ich', BWV668 [3'22]
Valet will ich dir geben, BWV736 [3'35]
Es ist das Heil uns kommen her, BWV638 [1'52]
Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier, BWV730 [2'06]
Vom Himmel hoch, da komm ich her, BWV606 [0'41]
Prelude and Fugue in E flat major 'St Anne', BWV552 (Movement 1: Prelude [8'38]; Movement 2: Fugue [6'42])

CD 2
Prelude and Fugue in E minor 'The wedge', BWV548 (Prelude [7'35]; Movement 2: Fugue [8'53])
Christ lag in Todesbanden, BWV Anh 171 [4'05] Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706), arr. Reger
Ich ruf' zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV639 [2'48]
An Wasserflüssen Babylon, BWV653b [4'17]
Komm, heiliger Geist Herre Gott, BWV651 [6'21]
Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele, BWV654 [6'47]
Das alte Jahr vergangen ist, BWV614 [2'56]
Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV565 ( [10'42]) 



Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Past and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.