Sunday, November 22, 2009

No angel

Wow, I had not realized Max Reger was such a baddie! Yesterday our good friend Prof. G wrote in his own inimitable way:

He was a wild man who ate, drank, did drugs, and composed, all at a tornadic rate. His excesses killed him at 43. He also fought with everybody and wrote some very scatalogical letters. You might have cringed from him if you had encountered him. He pilloried critics in his violin sonata, Op. 72 by composing motifs using the notes AFFE (ape in German) and SC (E flat), H (B natural), AFFE (sheep in German). I mention all this because his life makes zippy reading and his behavior reflects pre Great War German neurotic hysteria.

Ay yi yi!

Well, one thing I can say for Max Reger, he would have liked me.

I just know it!

Even if I have never met that type, I know that type.

As far as whether Max Reger was a devout Catholic, now I will have to double check that. It was one of those zillions of things I read somewhere, or thought I read somewhere. So thank you, Professor, for calling me on that.

We have covered interesting ground this week! Uncovering the dirt on first Carl Maria von Weber and now Max Reger.

I just looked up Max Reger on the site Instant Encore. Poor Max Reger! He did not have one fan! So I signed up as his fan.

I also found the Max Reger Foundation of America. The president of the group has a marvelous name, Inky Song. And two of the directors are Gunther Schuller and Milton Babbitt. Milton Babbitt a biggie in the Max Reger Foundation, I do not know why that surprises me but it does.

The Max Reger Foundation has a link to Max Reger High School in Amberg, Germany. How about that?

Continuing to wander the Internet, I found Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Jorg Demus performing a beautiful little Christmas song, under two minutes long, by Max Reger. What a lovely slide show, with a translation and everything.

What gentle, softly rocking rhythm on the piano.

And that last line: "Ganz sanft im Schlaf behueten." The roses protect that Baby Jesus in his sleep. I love the last three notes the singer sings.

Hmmm. Maybe Max Reger was devout after all! It would be strange to think that someone who was not could write such heartfelt sacred music.

Oh, look! Under the comments on the video, the person who created the video says the same thing.

She writes: "Changed my mind about Max Reger."

One song can do that.

1 comment:

  1. I'm blushing that you've quoted me at length twice within two weeks.

    Jo Ann Falletta has recorded Reger's Bocklin (I know there's an umlaut over the "o" but I can't seem to add it here) Tone Poems and I find them beautiful, especially the first one called " A Hermit Playing His Violin." Another is "The Isle Of The Dead", in response to the same painting Rachmaninoff responded to in music. I know a lot of his organ music, of course, as I've played the organ and a local musician that I knew when I was a kid told me that when he was a child in Munich they used to call Reger "The Modern Bach" for his organ works.

    In the book I talked about, a couple of piano scores were printed. Both pieces were rewrites, intentional, of Chopin's Berceuse. Apparently, one of Reger's quirks was to rewrite pieces that he apparently felt he could do better than the original. Imagine! It was also interesting to find that he wouldn't revise anything. If he decided he didn't like something he composed, he would toss it aside and write something new rather than revise the old piece.

    As for critics, his best known story is the one where he sent a critic who had knocked one of his pieces a note that said "Dear Sir, I am sitting in the smallest room in my house. Your review is before me. Shortly it will be behind me." I didn't know about Schuller and Babbit being Reger fans, but it doesn't surprise me. Not everyone likes Reger's music, but he was a complete master of composition techniques. Arnold Schoenberg also thought highly of him and so did Rudolf Serkin.

    I enjoyed your entries about Reger.