WORKS: Sonatas for Solo Violin
PERFORMER: Ulrike-Anima Mathé (violin)
CATALOGUE NO: DOR-90175 DDD
A recording of three unaccompanied sonatas for violin by the German composer Max Reger (1873-1916) might be expected only to confirm his not altogether undeserved reputation as a writer of rather dry, academic works. Not so: this disc is an unexpected pleasure, both for the music itself and for the superb playing of the young German violinist Ulrike-Anima Mathé, who reveals herself as very much an artist to be watched.
The sonatas are from Reger’s Op. 91 set of seven – he deliberately wrote one more than the six solo sonatas and partitas of JS Bach to avoid inviting too direct a comparison. Inevitably the earlier masterworks are recalled – the final sonata (included here) culminates in a magnificent 13-minute chaconne in the style of Bach’s Partita No. 2 in D minor – but Reger is as much concerned with melody and harmony as with counterpoint, and much of the music is expressively lyrical.
Mathé meets the considerable technical demands with assurance and is fully sensitive to the emotional subtlety of this unusual but rewarding repertory. Dorian’s recording is exemplary. David Michaels