Max Reger

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Reger, (Johann Baptist Joseph) Max(imilian)

Reger, (Johann Baptist Joseph) Max(imilian) , celebrated German composer; b. Brand, Upper Palatinate, Bavaria, March 19, 1873; d. Leipzig, May 11, 1916. His father, a schoolteacher and amateur musician, gave him instruction on the piano, organ, and various string instruments. In 1874 the family moved to Weiden, where he studied organ and theory with Adalbert Lindner; he then attended the teacher-training college; after visiting the Bayreuth Festival in 1888, he decided on a career in music. He went to Sondershausen to study with Riemann in 1890, and continued as his pupil in Wiesbaden (1890–93); was also active as a teacher of piano, organ, and theory (1890–96). Following military service, he returned to Weiden in 1898 and wrote a number of his finest works for organ. He went to Munich in 1901, first gaining general recognition as a pianist, and later as a composer; was prof. of counterpoint at the KÖnigliche Akademie der Tonkunst (1905–06). Prominent compositions from this period included the Piano Quintet, op.64 (1901–02), the Violin Sonata, op.72 (1903), the String Quartet, op.74 (1903–04), the Variationen und Fuge über ein Thema von J.S. Bachfor Piano, op.81 (1904), and the Sinfonietta, op.90 (1904–05). He went to Leipzig as music director of the Univ. (1907–08) and as prof. of composition at the Cons. (from 1907). His fame as a composer was enhanced by his successful tours as a soloist and conductor in Germany and throughout Europe. While he continued to produce major chamber works and organ pieces, he also wrote such important orch. compositions as the Variationen und Fuge über ein lustiges Thema von J.A. Hiller, op.100 (1907), the Violin Concerto, op.101 (1907–08), the Symphonischer Prolog zu einer TragÖdie, op.108 (1908), the Piano Concerto, op.114 (1910), and the Variationen und Fuge über ein Thema von Mozart, op.132 (1914). As a result of having been awarded an honorary Ph.D. from the Univ. of Jena in 1908, he composed his most distinguished sacred work, the Psalm C, op.106 (1908–09). He was called to Meiningen as conductor of the Court Orch. in 1911, assuming the title of Hofkapellmeister; was also Generalmusikdirektor (1913–14). He settled in Jena in 1911.

Reger was an extraordinarily gifted musician, widely respected as a composer, pianist, organist, conductor, and teacher. A master of polyphonic and harmonic writing, he carried on the hallowed Classical and Romantic schools of composition. Although he wrote major works in nearly every genre, his music has not found a place of permanence in the repertoire.

Writings

Beiträge zur Modulationslehre (Leipzig, 1903; 24th ed., 1952).

Works

ORCH.: Heroide, symphonic movement (1889); Castra vetera, incidental music (1889–90); Symphoniesatz (1890; Dortmund, 1960); Lyrisches Andante for Strings (1898); Scherzino for Horn and Strings (1899); Elegie, op.26/1 (1899; arranged from a piano work); 2 Romanzen for Violin and Orch., op.50 (1900); Variationen und Fuge über ein Thema von Beethoven, op.86 (1915; arranged from the work for 2 Pianos, 1904); Sinfonietta, op.90 (Essen, Oct. 8, 1905); Suite im alten Stil, op.93 (1916; arranged from the work for 2 and Pianos, 1904); Sinfonietta, op.95 (1905–06); Variationen und Fuge über ein lustiges Thema von JA. Hiller, op.100 (Cologne, Oct. 15, 1907); Violin Concerto, op.101 (Leipzig, Oct. 13, 1908); Aria for Violin and Chamber Orch., op.l03a (1908; arranged from the Suite for Violin and Piano, 1908); Symphonischer Prolog zu einer TragÖdie, op.108 (1908); Piano Concerto, op.114 (Leipzig, Dec. 15, 1910); Eine Lustspielouvertüre, op.l20 (1911); Konzert im alten Stil, op.123 (1912); Eine romantische Suite, op.125 (1912); 4 Tondichtungennach Arnold Backiin, op.l28 (Essen, Oct. 12, 1913); Eine Ballettsuite, op.l30 (1913); Variationen und Fuge über ein Thema von Mozart, op.132 (1914; Berlin, Feb. 5, 1915; arranged from the work for 2 Pianos, 1914); Eine vaterländische Ouvertüre, op.l40 (1914); Sinfonische Rhapsodie for Violin and Orch., op.147 (unfinished; completed by F. von Reuter). CHAMBER: Scherzo for Flute and String Quartet (n.d.); String Quartet (1888–89); Violin Sonata, op.l (1890); Trio for Violin, Viola, and Piano, op.2 (1891); Violin Sonata, op.3 (1891); Cello Sonata, op.5 (1892); Piano Quintet (1897–98); Cello Sonata, op.28 (1898); Violin Sonata, op.41 (1899); 4 sonatas for Violin, op.42 (1900); 2 clarinet sonatas, op.49 (1900); 2 string quartets, op.54 (1900); Caprice for Cello and Piano (1901); Piano Quintet, op.64 (1901–02); Prelude and Fugue for Violin (1902); Romanze for Violin and Piano (1902); Petite caprice for Violin and Piano (1902); Albumblatt for Clarinet or Violin, and Piano (1902); Tarantella for Clarinet or Violin and Piano (1902); Allegretto grazioso for Flute and Piano (1902); Violin Sonata, op.72 (1903); String Quartet, op.74 (1903–04); Serenade for Flute, Violin, and Viola, op.77a (1904); String Trio, op.77b (1904); Cello Sonata, op.78 (1904); Wiegenlied, Capriccio, and Burla for Violin and Piano, op.79d (1902–04); Caprice, Kleine Romanze for Cello and Piano, op.79e (1904); Violin Sonata, op.84 (1905); Albumblatt, romanze for Violin and Piano, op.87 (1905); 7 sonatas for Violin, op.91 (1905); Suite im alten Stil for Violin and Piano, op.93 (1906; orchestrated 1916); Trio for Violin, Cello, and Piano, op.102 (1907–08); Suite (6 Vortragstücke) for Violin and Piano, op.l03a (1908); 2 little sonatas for Violin and Piano, op.l03b (1909); 12 kleine Stücke nach eigenen Liedern (from op.76) for Violin and Piano, op.!03a (1916); Sonata for Violinand or Viola and Piano, op.107 (1908–09); String Quartet, op.109 (1909); Piano Quartet, op.113 (1910); Cello Sonata, op.116 (1910); Preludes and Fugues for Violin, op.117 (1909–12); Sextet for 2 Violins, 2 Violas, and 2 Cellos, op.118 (1910); String Quartet, op.121 (1911); Violin Sonata, op.122 (1911); Preludes and Fugues for Violin, op.131a (1914); 3 Duos (Canons und Fugen) im alten Stil for 2 Violins, op.l31b (1914); 3 suites for Cello, op.l31c (1915); 3 suites for Viola, op.l31d (1915); Piano Quartet, op.133 (1914); Allegro for 2 Violins (1914); Violin Sonata, op.139 (1915); Serenade for Flute or Violin, Violin, and Viola, op.141a (1915); String Trio, op.l41b (1915); Clarinet Quintet, op.146 (1915); Prelude for Violin (1915); numerous pieces for piano and organ works. VOCAL: 3 Choruses for Mixed Voices and Piano, op.6 (1892); Tantum ergo sacramentum for 5 Voices (1895); Hymne an den Gesang for Men’s Chorus and Orch. or Piano, op.21 (1898); Gloriabuntur in te omnes for 4 Voices (1898); 7 Men’s Choruses, op.38 (1899); 3 Choruses, op.39 (1899); Maria Himmelsfreud’. (1899); 8 settings of Tantum ergo, op.61a (1901); 4 settings of Tantum ergo for Women’s or Men’s Voices and Organ, op.61b (1901); 4 settings of Tantum ergo for 4 Voices and Organ, op.61c (1901); 8 Marienlieder, op.61d (1901); 4 Marienlieder for Women’s or Men’s Voices and Organ, op.61e (1901); 4 Marienlieder for 4 Voices and Organ, op.61f (1901); 6 Trauergesänge, op.61g (1901); Palmsonntagmorgen for 5 Voices (1902); Gesang der Verklärten for Mixed Voices and Orch., op.71 (1903); 5 cantatas (1903–05); 10 Gesänge for Men’s Voices, op.83 (1904, 1909); Weihegesäng for Chorus and Wind Orch. (1908); Psalm C for Chorus, Organ, and Orch., op.106 (1908–09); Geistliche Gesänge for 5 Voices, op.110 (1912); Vater unser for 12 Voices (1909); 3 Gesänge for 4 Women’s Voices, op.lllb (1909); Die Nonnen for Chorus and Orch., op.112 (1909); Die Weihe der Nacht for Men’s Voices and Orch., op.119 (1911); Lasset uns den Herren preisen for 5 Voices (1911); RÖmischer erNacht for Men’s Voices and Orch., op.1 19 8 geistliche Gesänge for 4 to 8 Voices, op.138 (1914); Abschiedslied for 4 Voices (1914); Requiem for Soloists, Chorus, and Orch. (1914; 2nd movement unfinished); 2 Gesänge, op.144 (1915); 20 Responsorien (1916); works for solo voice.

Bibliography

The Sämtliche Werke was publ. in Wiesbaden (38 vols., 1954–86). F. Stein ed. the Thematisches Verzeichnis der im Druck erschienenen Werke von M. R. einschliesslich seiner Bearbeitungen und Ausgaben (Leipzig, 1953). H. RÖsner ed. a M.–R.-Bibliographie (Bonn, 1968). See also the following: R. Braungart, M. R., Monographien Moderner Musiker, II (Leipzig, 1907); V. Junk, M. R. als Orchesterkomponist (Leipzig, 1910); W. Fischer, über die Wiedergabe der Orgelkompositionen M. R.s (Cologne, 1911); F. Rabich, R.lieder: Eine Studie (Langensalza, 1914); R. Eucken, PersÖnliche Erinnerungen an M. R. (Bielefeld, 1916); H. Poppen, M. R. (Leipzig, 1918; 3rf ed., 1947); H. Grabner, R.s Harmonik (Munich, 1920); R. Würz, ed., M. R.: Eine Sammlung von Studien (4 vols., Munich, 1920–23); K. Hasse, M. R.: Mit R.s Schriften und Aufsätzen (Leipzig, 1921); A. Lindner, M. R.: Ein Bild seines Jugendlebens und künstlerischen Werdens (Stuttgart, 1922; 3rd ed., 1938); G. Bagier, M. R. (Stuttgart and Berlin, 1923); E. Gatscher, Die Fugentechnik M. R.s in ihrer Entwicklung (Stuttgart, 1925); S. Kallenberg, M. R. (Leipzig, 1929); E. Reger, Mein Leben mit und für M. R. (Leipzig, 1930); P. Coenen, M. R.s Variationsschaffen (diss., Univ. of Berlin, 1935); E. Brand, M. R. im Elternhaus (Munich, 1938); F. Stein, M. R. (Potsdam, 1939); idem, M. R.: Sein Leben in Bildern (Leipzig, 1941; 2nd ed., 1956); A. Kalkoff, Das Orgelschaffen M. R.s (Kassel, 1950); special issue of the Zeitschrift für Musik (March 1953); G. Wehmeyer, M. R. als Liederkomponist, KÖlner Beiträge zur Musikforschung, VIII (Regensburg, 1955); E. Otto, M. R.: Sinnbild einer Epoche (Wiesbaden, 1957); G. Sievers, Die Grundlagen Hugo Riemanns bei M. R. (Wiesbaden, 1967); M. Stein, Der heitere R. (Wiesbaden, 1969); H. Wirth, M. R. (Hamburg, 1973); K. RÖhring, ed., M. R. 1873–1973: Ein Symposion (Wiesbaden, 1974); S. Popp and S. Shigihara, eds., M. R.; Am Wendepunkt zur Moderne: Ein Bildband mit Dokumenten aus den Beständen des M.-R.-Instituts (Bonn, 1987; Eng. tr., 1988, as M. R. at the Turning Point to Modernism: An Illustrated Volume with Documents of the M. R. Institute); W. Grim, M. R.: A Bio-bibliography (N.Y., 1988); R. Gadenbach, M. R. und seine Zeit (Laaber, 1991); H. Brauss, M. R.’s Music for Solo Piano (Edmonton, Alberta, 1994); H. Wilske, M. R.: Zur Rezeption in seiner Zeit (Wiesbaden, 1995); P. Zimmermann, Musik und Text in M. R.s Chorwerken ’grossen Styls’ (Wiesbaden, 1997).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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Reger, (Johann Baptist Joseph) Max(imilian) (b Brand, 1873; d Leipzig, 1916). Ger. composer, pianist, organist, and teacher. Wrote most of his org. works by 1900, finding devoted interpreter in Karl Straube. Lived in Munich from 1901, teaching at Acad. of Mus. 1905–6. Dir. of mus. and prof. of comp., Leipzig Univ. 1907–11. Cond., Meiningen Orch. 1911–14. Toured Europe and Russia as organist. Was opponent of ‘programme’ mus. and comp. only in ‘absolute’ forms. Master of polyphony and developed complex harmonic procedures. Prolific composer, chief works incl.:ORCH.: 2 Romances, vn., orch. (1900); Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Beethoven (1915, arr. of 2-pf. work 1904); Sinfonietta in A (1904–5); Serenade in G (1905–6); Variations and Fugue on a Theme of J. A. Hiller (1907); vn. conc. in A (1907–8); Symphonic Prologue for a Tragedy in A minor (1908); pf. conc. in F minor (1910); Comedy Overture (1911); Concerto in Olden Style (1912); Romantic Suite, after Eichendorff (1912); 4 Böcklin Tone-Pictures (1913); Ballet Suite in D (1913); Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Mozart (1914, arr. for 2 pf. 1914).CHORAL: Hymne an den Gesang, male ch., orch. (1898); 7 Male Choruses (1899); 4 Cantatas (1903–5); 10 Gesänge, male vv. (1904, 1909); Psalm 100, ch., orch., org. (1908–9); Geistliche Gesänge, 5 vv. (1912); Die Weihe der Nacht, male vv., orch. (1911); Römischer Triumphgesang, male vv., orch. (1912).VOCAL: An die Hoffnung, alto, orch. or pf. (1912); Hymnus der Liebe, bar. or alto, orch. (1914); 12 Sacred Songs, v., pf. or org. or harmonium (1914); also over 250 solo songs, 12 of them with orch. acc.CHAMBER MUSIC: 6 str. qts. (1888–9, 1900 (2), 1903–4, 1909, 1911); 2 pf. quintets (1897–8, 1901–2); 9 vn. sonatas (1890, 1891, 1892, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1910, 1911, 1915); 3 vc. sonatas (1898, 1904, 1910); 11 sonatas for solo vn. (1900 (4), 1905 (7)); 3 cl. sonatas (1900 (2), 1908–9); 2 pf. qts. (1910, 1914); str. sextet (1910); cl. quintet (1915);PIANO: 12 Waltz-Caprices, duet (1892); 7 Waltzes (1893); Lose Blätter (1894); 6 Morceaux (1898); 7 Fantasie-Stücke (1898); 7 Charakterstücke (1899); 6 Intermezzi (1900); 7 Silhouettes (1900); 12 Blätter und Blüten (1900–2); 10 Pieces (1901–3); Variations and Fugue on a Theme of J. S. Bach (1904); Aus meinen Tagebuch (35 little pieces) (1904–12); Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Beethoven, 2 pf. (1904, orch. 1915); 4 Pieces (1901–6); 4 Sonatinas (1905, 1908); Introduction, Passacaglia, and Fugue, 2 pf. (1906); Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Mozart, 2 pf. (1914, arr. of orch. work); Variations and Fugue on a Theme of G. P. Telemann (1914); Träume am Kamin, 12 little pieces (1915).ORGAN: 3 Pieces (1892); Chorale Fantasia ‘Ein’ feste Burg’ (1898); Fantasia and Fugue in C minor (1898); Sonatas, No.1 in F♯ (1899), No.2 in D minor (1901); Fantasia and Fugue on BACH (1900); 6 Trios (1900); 5 Easy Preludes and Fugues (1904); 12 Pieces (1901); 12 Pieces (1902); 52 Easy Chorale Pieces (1902); 10 Pieces (1903); Variations and Fugue on an Original Theme in F♯ (1903); 13 Chorale Preludes (1901–3); 12 Pieces (1904); 4 Preludes and Fugues (1904); Introduction, Passacaglia, and Fugue in E minor (1913); 9 Pieces (1913); 30 Little Chorale Preludes (1914); Fantasia and Fugue in D minor (1916); 7 Pieces (1915–16).