Max Reger's suites for solo cello are worthy of being placed alongside J.S. Bach's
I'm off for the next 10 days, and don't expect to be posting, unless I'm so bowled over by something that I have to share it. But I can't leave without putting in a plug for some unduly neglected works.
The unaccompanied cello suites by J.S. Bach have not only inspired performers and listeners, they have also inspired composers.
German composer Max Reger (1873-1916) is a case in point. He wrote three suites for unaccompanied cello (at the same time as a three-suite set for solo viola) just before World War I.
I've tried living with Reger's works for piano and organ, but find that I usually end up getting motion sickness from his endless chromaticism. But the cello suites are different. They are neo-Baroque, tightly structured and tonally anchored. It also looks like they are also ferociously difficult.
It's different to study and work with a piece of music versus just listening to it, but my impression is that these pieces by Reger deserve to be recognized as something special.
I've pieced together a recital for you, with the help of German cellist Guido Schiefen (pictured). I would prefer hearing more lyrical interpretations, but he does an amazing job in laying out the gorgeous structure of these pieces:
SUITE NO. 1 IN G MAJOR, OP. 131
SUITE NO. 2 IN D MINOR, OP. 131
SUITE NO. 3 IN A MINOR