The Hiller Variations remind one of Brahms in the Academic Festival Overture.
The variations are claimed to be humorous but this must be a rather porcine
humour. The theme is played andante and evolves through variations which
foreshadow Schmidt (Var 1), echo Brahms' Second Symphony (2), a lullaby;
chirpy woodwind, and a poco vivace chummy jollity like Siegfried Wagner in
his Pancake Dance. Tubby horns scorch and jump (5). Variation 7 has a nice
sense of fantasy and the Ninth is a bubbling allegro con spirito. The allegro
of Var 10 most uncharacteristically sweeps in passion's whirlwinds followed
by a reflective warm dream (Var 11). The fuga - allegro moderato builds from
creeping strings but can do nothing to shake off the sense of the music
congealing. The last two movements are substantial: 6.24 and 7.39. My problems
are with the work and not as far as I can tell with the performance.
The Ballet Suite opens in stately, old-fashioned style with a turgid big-band
sound. By welcome contrast Columbine is almost Tchaikovskian in its subdued
passion leading into Harlequin with its fanciful glycerine glistening textures.
Even so Reger will not forsake his ponderous lumbering bass but the man could
and did write with delicacy as this movement proves. Pierrot and Pierrette
is a salon morceau with a prominent solo cello conveying delicacy and charm.
The Valse D'Amour is a grand Straussian (Johann) waltz. A wonderful opportunity
to catch out your friends with this track. The finale jigs and jogs