Max Reger biography

Max Reger

Max Reger Biography

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

Born in Brand, Reger studied music in Munich and Wiesbaden with Heinrich Reimann. In 1901 he settled in Munich, where he taught organ and composition, and from 1907 he worked in Leipzig, where he was music director of the university until 1908 and professor of composition at the conservatoire until his death. Among his students there were Joseph Haas and George Szell. From 1911 he conducted the court orchestra at Meiningen until it was disbanded in 1914, when he moved to Jena. He died of a heart attack.

Reger was a very prolific composer, 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 of 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 (based on the BACH motif), and music in virtually every other genre (opera being a notable exception).

Reger saw his music as being part of the tradition of Ludwig van Beethoven and Johannes Brahms, and his work often combines the classical structures of these composers with the extended harmonies of Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner and the complex counterpoint of Johann Sebastian Bach.


Some Reger Works

Chamber Works

  • Violin Sonatas
    • Without piano
      • Four violin solo sonatas in opus 42
      • Seven violin solo sonatas in opus 91
    • With piano
      • Violin Sonata #1 op. 1 in D minor
      • Violin Sonata #2 op. 3 in D major
      • Violin Sonata #3 op. 41 in A major
      • Violin Sonata #4 op. 72 in C (gave rise to a scandal at its premiere, juxtaposed with the first sonata by Ludwig Thuille)
      • Violin Sonata #5 op. 84 in F-sharp minor
      • Violin Sonata #6 op. 103b/1 in D minor
      • Violin Sonata #7 op. 103b/2 in A
      • Violin Sonata #8 op. 122 in E minor
      • Violin Sonata #9 op. 139 in C minor
  • Cello Sonatas
    • Cello Sonata #1 op. 5 in F minor
    • Cello Sonata #2 op. 28 in G minor
    • Cello Sonata #3 op. 78 in F major
    • Cello Sonata #4 op. 116 in A minor
  • Serenades
    • Serenade #1 opus 77a in D major (flute, violin, viola)
    • Serenade #2 opus 141a in G major (flute, violin, viola)
  • String Trios
    • String Trio #1 opus 77b in A minor
    • String Trio #2 opus 141b in D minor
  • Piano Trios
    • Piano Trio #1 opus 2 in B minor
    • Piano Trio #2 opus 102 in E minor
  • String Quartets
    • String Quartet ''#0'' in D minor, with optional double bass in finale
    • String Quartet #1 opus 54 number 1 in G minor
    • String Quartet #2 opus 54 number 2 in A major
    • String Quartet #3 opus 74 in D minor
    • String Quartet #4 opus 109 in E-flat major
    • String Quartet #5 opus 121 in F-sharp minor
  • Piano Quartets
    • Piano Quartet #1 opus 113 in D minor
    • Piano Quartet #2 opus 133 in A minor
  • Piano Quintets
    • Piano Quintet #1 op. posthumous in C minor
    • Piano Quintet #2 op. 64 in C minor
  • Also
    • Clarinet quintet op. 146 in A major
    • String sextet op. 118 in F major


  • Large-Scale Symphonic
    • Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Beethoven, opus 86
    • Sinfonietta, opus 90 in A major
    • Serenade, opus 95
    • Hiller Variations, opus 100
    • Prologue to a Tragedy, opus 108
    • Variations on a Theme of Mozart, opus 132
  • Organ (a very, very considerable output)
    • Sonata opus 33 in F-sharp minor
    • Sonata opus 60 in D minor
    • Suite opus 92
    • Fantasia and Fugue on a Theme of Bach, opus 64
    • Fantasy and Fugue, opus 135b
  • Piano
    • Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Bach, opus 81
    • Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Telemann, opus 134
  • Choir and Orchestra
    • Psalm 100, opus 106 (arranged also by Hindemith, has also been recorded in this form)

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