Reger: Viola Sonata in A flat; Violin Sonata in F sharp minor, Op. 49; Violin Sonata in B flat, Op. 107

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COMPOSERS: Reger
LABELS: Bridge
WORKS: Viola Sonata in A flat; Violin Sonata in F sharp minor, Op. 49; Violin Sonata in B flat, Op. 107
PERFORMER: Barbara Westphal (viola) Jeffrey Swann (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 9075
Reger was a fluent and prolific composer, so much so that one

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unkind critic suggested that his

music, like his name, sounded the same whether heard forwards or backwards. Not so, of course, and

he is well worth investigating.

These sonatas offer a useful introduction to his chamber music. The Op. 49 pair (1900) were inspired by the example of Brahms, whose viola sonatas were also originally for clarinet. Like Brahms, Reger created music which was viable on either instrument, though the phrase structure often suggests the need

for breathing.

The later Op. 107 Sonata of 1909

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is a longer piece, and was also first written for clarinet. The expressive range is by no means restricted, but the trend is towards introspection. As a result, the turbulent passages make a strong impression, if not a lasting one. The inner movements are particularly satisfying, a quicksilver scherzo complementing an eloquent Adagio. The American artists Barbara Westphal and Jeffrey Swann make an excellent partnership, performing all three pieces with great sensitivity; the recording is ambient and truthful. Terry Barfoot