Reger: Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Mozart; Four Tone Poems after Arnold Böcklin

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Reger
LABELS: Berlin Classics
WORKS: Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Mozart; Four Tone Poems after Arnold Böcklin
PERFORMER: Dresden Staatskapelle, Dresden PO/Heinz Bongartz
CATALOGUE NO: BC 2177-2 ADD (1970/65)
The sumptuously scored Mozart Variations are a masterpiece of inventiveness and wit – an ideal place to start if you think you don’t like Reger. This performance comes with the advantage of the fine Dresden Staatskapelle, but Heinz Bongartz’s rather staid conducting gets in the way of the four tone poems inspired by the then fashionable paintings of the Swiss artist Arnold Böcklin (The Isle of the Dead had already fired Rachmaninov’s imagination): there’s no friskiness about these naiads disporting themselves in the second piece; and the concluding Bacchanalia is a somewhat tame affair. Misha Donat

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