Notes and Editorial Reviews
Reger was a fluent and prolific composer, so much so that one 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 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, BBC Music Magazine
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