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Thread: Reger Piano Quartets

  1. #16
    Senior Member elgars ghost's Avatar
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    Aug 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enthusiast View Post
    A nice expression! I've been thinking recently of how it is that a work can suddenly start to "become meaningful" after a few listens. It is a strange process that takes over from merely becoming familiar with the music to actually enjoying it. I don't greatly understand what happens or how.
    Thanks, E. Instead of 'the fish began to swim into the net' I was tempted to type 'the machete worked its way through the thickets' instead, but that might have sounded unintentionally negative!

    I'm pretty much in agreement with you on that, and for my part it's a mystery I'm quite happy to leave unsolved!
    '...a violator of his word, a libertine over head and ears in debt and disgrace, a despiser of domestic ties, the companion of gamblers and demireps, a man who has just closed half a century without a single claim on the gratitude of his country or the respect of posterity...' - Leigh Hunt on the Prince Regent (later George IV).

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  3. #17
    Senior Member BrahmsWasAGreatMelodist's Avatar
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    Jan 2019
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    I guess I have to admit this as well:

    I only discovered these works a few hours before making this thread. I was thinking about what piano quartet I wanted to play with friends (Brahms, Mozart, and Faure were my first thoughts and are still my top choices), and I realized I did not know too many quartets by well-known composers. So I looked at the list on Wikipedia... turns out there really aren't that many famous works or names there. I've actually heard of / listened to more piano quintets than quartets. I wonder why...

    Anyway, that led to the discovery of these and the "Phantasy for Piano Quartet" by Frank Bridge.
    Casual composer, pianist, music enthusiast

  4. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by elgars ghost View Post
    Of Max Reger's chamber works I'd say the two piano quartets are among the more challenging on first acquaintance - both were from his later period when I got the impression that he was at times on the verge of tying himself in knots by pushing chromaticism to its absolute limit, leading to ever-thickening textures (detractors would say things like 'impenetrable' and 'stodgy'). This was the kind of densely-packed late romantic music I initially used to baulk at, but with perseverance the fish began to swim into the net and I'm a card-carrying Reger fan these days.

    For contrast, it's worth listening to the two serenades for flute, viola and violin ops. 77a and 141a and the two string trios ops.77b and 141b - they are shorter and with a Mozartian fleetness of foot, proving that Reger could lighten up when he needed to.

    On the other hand, for those who fancy sinking their choppers into a work which is arguably as challenging as the two piano quartets then I suggest the third string quartet op.74.

    I have the piano quartets (paired with the two string trios) on Naxos but haven't heard any other recordings.
    I agree with this, and I also recommend those lovely Serenades, plus the Cello solo suites.

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