Schubert sonatas

Newest Releases

Piano solo and duet
  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

Free classical music concerts by Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.


Moravec - Twelfth Night Recital
15%off £17.21 (until Dec 7)

Katerina Englichová - harp
15%0ff £10.83 (until Dec 7)

  • Today's leading<br>clarinet-piano duo
  • Stellar debut<br>piano recital
  • Clarinet transcriptions Jonathan Cohler
  • Jonathan Cohler & Claremont Trio
  • French clarinet masterpieces
  • Today's leading<br>clarinet-piano duo

Sibelius Symphonies Maazel
4CDs + Blu-ray audio
Special Price £36.75

RVW A Sea Symphony - Elder

Shostakovich Symphony 10 Nelsons

Verdi Requiem

Dvorak Opera Premiere

Grieg, Mendelssohn sonatas




Would you like a hyperlinked weekly summary of the CDs we have reviewed?

Click for further details

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
Classical Editor
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS
Download: Classicsonline

Max REGER (1873–1916)
Organ Works - Volume 8
Chorale Fantasia on Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott, op.27 (1898) [16:11]
Scherzo in F sharp minor (Twelve Pieces, op.80/7) (1904) [5:14]
Thirty Little Chorale Preludes, op.135a (nos.11 – 16) (1914) [8:15]
Romance in A minor (Twelve Pieces, op.80/8) (1904) [4:29]
Thirty Little Chorale Preludes, op.135a (nos.17 – 23) (1914) [12:26]
Romanze in A minor (1904) [4:12]
Thirty Little Chorale Preludes, op.135a (nos.24 – 30) (1914) [9:16]
Prelude and Fugue in F sharp minor (1912) [6:33]
Introduction and Passacaglia in D minor (1899) [7:55]
Martin Welzel (organ)
rec. 24-25 October 2007, Trier Cathedral, Germany DDD
NAXOS 8.570455 [75:38]
Experience Classicsonline

There, surely, cannot be an organist anywhere in the world who has not, at some time, played one of Max Reger’s pieces, whether it be the Benedictus, op.59/9 (1901) or the gigantic
Variations and Fugue in F sharp minor, op.73 (1903) or the Introduction, Passacaglia and Fugue in E minor, op.127 (1913). Reger’s organ works cover a vast amount of music from the smallest – Thirty Little Chorale Preludes, op.135a – to the truly symphonic – the works already mentioned. Like Schubert before him, he seemed to need a large time-span to allow him fully to express exactly what he wanted. Thus there are large-scale orchestral, chamber and choral works none of which, to me, seem a moment too long. There are many who believe exactly the opposite and wish that he would simply get on with it. However to rush this man’s music is to miss the mystical quality of much that he wrote. He was also not without a sense of humour, and there are some delightful smaller pieces, such as the Lustspielouverture, op.120 (1913) and Eine Ballettsuite, op.130 (1913). If ever a composer wrote something for everybody it has to be Reger. Where to begin is the problem because despite his mere 43 years his output was prodigious and his 140–plus opus numbers don’t give any idea of the real number of compositions. Some of the opus numbers contain several different works. There are probably as many works again, not to mention arrangements of other composer’s works, without opus numbers. 

This is a good collection of organ pieces with which to start. There’s one big work, the Chorale Fantasia on Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott, op.27 which is very serious and treads a large late-romantic path. This is followed by the hilarious Scherzo in F sharp minor. This could almost be one of those pieces heard live from the Blackpool Tower ballroom, played by Reginald Dixon. It’s so much in the light music, comic, character mould. In its registration and execution I was reminded of some of Edwin Lemare’s marvellous arrangements of orchestral works for the organ – such as the Saint–Saëns Danse Macabre. 

The twenty pieces from the Thirty Little Chorale Preludes, op.135a – heard in three groups – are lighter in texture, treating their material simply and in a very straightforward manner. There are no surprises in either harmony or melody. Here, Welzel uses all his artistry and knowledge of the instrument to create perfect miniatures by the judicious and intelligent choice of the registration employed for each work. These are delightful. The first ten pieces from this set can be found on volume 2 of this series – Naxos 8.553927 – played by Ludger Lohmann on the organ of the Evangelical Church, Giengen an der Brenz. 

The Romance in A minor, op.80/8 is a devotional piece, delicate and quiet, like a prayer. The similarly named piece from 1904 is more passionate and intense. Being the devotee of J.S. Bach that he was, it will come as no surprise to find a Prelude and Fugue amongst these pieces. Indeed, there are many spread throughout his catalogue. Here’s the genius of Reger the composer – the Toccata isn’t the overt display piece it so usually is. The fugue has a restraint to it, the music never raising its voice and the textures remain pure and simple.

This collection ends with the superb, and large-scale in feel, Introduction and Passacaglia in D minor. A loud Introduction leads into a really well built and sustained Passacaglia, with lots of event and movement. Although this is a relatively early work it is as well wrought as anything he ever wrote. 

This is a well planned and very interesting recital of little known, if known at all to the general public, music for organ by one of the most prolific and profound composers who ever wrote for the instrument. Welsel plays very well indeed. As already noted his choice of registration has been intelligently thought out and his performances are perfect for the music. Naxos’s sound captures the acoustic of the Trier Cathedral perfectly; there is a full five and a half second reverberation at the end of the Introduction and Passacaglia – a wonderful sound. Naxos is doing us a real favour by recording the organ music of Reger for it is music which cannot, and should not, be ignored.

Bob Briggs


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Cameo Classics
Prima voce
Red Priest
Toccata Classics

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
Classical Editor
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


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

Pat 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.