The Reger Concerto has not had a great deal of attention over the years.
I know of only three recordings: Edith Peinemann (Vox LP?) who was persuaded
to record the piece by Rudolf Serkin; Walter Forchert (a Koch CD that I hope
to review in due course) and the present recording. Does anyone know of any
I heard the Peinemann at least ten years ago. I have never heard the Forchert
although I know his utterly passionate approach to Reger from his recording
of the Reger Symphonic Rhapsody and Suite (both for violin and orchestra
and both on Koch Schwann 3-1498-2 H1). Forchert will be worth hearing.
Scherzer is very convincing and his tone and the intensity of the music-making
present the concerto in a very strong light. It is a work of lyrical autumnal
blaze, a grand landscape but with gentle contours. There are quite a few
passages that are decidedly Elgarian - listen to the grandeur of the end
of the first movement. The Elgar violin concerto dates from two years later.
This concerto is big (longer than the far from compact Elgar concerto) -
almost an hour long.
Reger saw his concerto as a natural continuation of the 'grand tradition'
in the line of Bach, Beethoven and Brahms. Coming fresh to such an epic concerto
I wondered if my attention would wander but was held by the quality of the
music-making: concentration (listen to his intakes of breath at his first
entry - I did not notice this breathiness later), passion and ability to
articulate a long golden spinning line. There is little violinistic display
(there are some showy moments in the cadenza at the end of the first movement);
or at least not in the sense of obvious cheap excitement. The second movement
Largo is dreamy and the Finale has lighter-hearted moments but the sense
of autumnal passion arches over everything.
The design of the disc is excellent and the notes are usefully populated
with the composer's own quotes and with some solid information. I recommend
this disc warmly and look forward to hearing it again.