Chamber Music between the Centuries: Diogenes Quartet releases works by Max Reger
Max Reger’s oeuvre occupies a unique position between the centuries. His advanced compositional techniques made him one of the most frequently performed composers at the Verein für musikalische Privataufführungen in Vienna and meant that he was held in great esteem by Arnold Schönberg. His affinity for Bach in his settings as well as in his choice of forms, architectonic techniques, and specific instrumentations was just as obvious as his grounding in Romanticism and his veneration for Beethoven and Brahms. Reger’s ties to the tradition – in this case to Mozart and Brahms – were the point of departure for his Clarinet Quintet in A major op. 146, a work radiating an ease that hardly seems to have been disturbed by the circumstances of a world war. The major tonality of the work is unusual in the chamber music from Reger’s late period and something it shares with the String Sextet op. 118. Apart from the sextet, after 1909 it is found only in the Flute Serenade in G major op. 141a and in the clarinet quintet. In contrast to these two other works, however, the sextet is of much greater complexity in formal design and material elaboration, which happens to be assigned to a very obvious thematic presentation. Even though Reger did not live to experience the publication and premiere of the clarinet quintet, the string sextet received a posthumous tribute inasmuch as the study score was immured in the base of Reger’s funerary monument in the Waldfriedhof in Munich on 11 May 1930.