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Max Reger.

Johann Baptist Joseph Maximilian Reger (March 19, 1873 – May 11, 1916) was a German composer, conductor, pianist, organist, and teacher.


Born in Brandmarker, Bavariamarker, Reger studied music in Munichmarker and Wiesbadenmarker with Hugo Riemann. From September 1901 he settled in Munich, where he obtained concert offers and where his rapid rise to fame began. During his first Munich season, Reger appeared in ten concerts as an organist, chamber pianist and accompanist. He continued to compose without interruption. From 1907 he worked in Leipzigmarker, where he was music director of the university until 1908 and professor of composition at the conservatorymarker until his death. It was during one of his weekly trips to Leipzig in 1916, to teach at the Conservatory, that he died of a heart attack at age 43. He was also active internationally as a conductor and pianist in that period of time. Among his students there were Joseph Haas, Jaroslav Kvapil, Ruben Liljefors, and George Szell.

Reger was the cousin of Hans von Koessler.


During a composing life of little more than 25 years, Reger produced an enormous output, nearly always in abstract forms, although few of his compositions are well known today. Many of his works are fugues or in variation form, including what is probably his best known orchestral work, the Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Mozart (based on the opening theme of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Piano Sonata, K. 331). He also wrote a large amount of music for organ, including the Fantasy and Fugue on BACH (this piece, based on the BACH motif, is considered one of the most difficult and demanding in organ literature). He was particularly attracted to the fugal form his entire life. Once he remarked: "Other people write fugues - I live inside them". He created music in almost every genre — opera and the symphony being the two exceptions.

A firm supporter of absolute music, he saw himself as being part of the tradition of Beethoven and Brahms. His work often combines the classical structures of these composers with the extended harmonies of Liszt and Wagner, to which he added the complex counterpoint of Bach. His organ music, though also influenced by Liszt, was provoked by that tradition.

Of his orchestral pieces, his richly elaborate Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Hiller and Mozart Variations are still performed now and then; few others are. Among his chamber compositions the lighter-textured trios have retained a small place in the repertory, along with some of the works for solo string instruments, although even these turn up much more often on recordings than in concerts. His solo piano and two-piano music places him as a successor to Brahms in the central German tradition. He pursued intensively, and to its limits, Brahms's continuous development and free modulation, often also invoking, like Brahms, the aid of Bach-influenced polyphony.

His works could be considered retrospective as they followed classical and baroque forms such as the fugue and continuo. The influence of the latter can be heard in his chamber works which are deeply reflective and unconventional.


See also


  • Liu, Hsin-Hung. (2004)" A study on compositional structure in Max Reger Phantasie für Orgel über den Choral, "Hallelujah! Gott zu loben, bleibe meine Seelenfreud!" D.M.A. Dissertation, University of Washington, Seattle.
  • Anderson, Christopher (2003). Max Reger and Karl Straube: Perspectives on an Organ Performing Tradition. Aldershot, Hampshire: Ashgate Publishing. ISBN 0-7546-3075-7.
  • Bittmann, Antonius (2004). Max Reger and Historicist Modernisms. Baden-Baden: Koerner. ISBN 3-87320-595-5.
  • Cadenbach, Rainer (1991). Max Reger und Seine Zeit. Laaber, Germany: Laaber-Verlag. ISBN 3-89007-140-6.
  • Grim, William (1988). Max Reger: A Bio-Bibliography. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-25311-0.


External links


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