Reger: Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Mozart; Symphonic Prologue to a Tragedy

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Reger
LABELS: BIS
WORKS: Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Mozart; Symphonic Prologue to a Tragedy
PERFORMER: Norrköping SO/Leif Segerstam
CATALOGUE NO: CD-771
A previous release in this BIS series earned my ‘Critics’ Choice’ nomination several years ago. Leif Segerstam’s latest offering, combining his fastidiously concentrated account of Reger’s Mozart Variations with a chastening, soul-baring interpretation of the Symphonic Prologue to a Tragedy (otherwise only available in Gerd Albrecht’s incisive but poorly engineered Berlin RSO performance on Schwann) is equally impressive.

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Segerstam draws playing of arresting impact from this provincial Swedish band, and the wide-ranging BIS recording is admirable. The taxing Variations, their every contrapuntal strand dissected with alluring transparency by Segerstam, find the Norrköping SO hardly less polished than Colin Davis’s Bavarian RSO (Philips), while the near-Brucknerian solemnity attained in the Symphonic Prologue displays masterful resolve and eloquence. Michael Jameson