Magazine article Gramophone

Reger: Clarinet Sonatas-Op 49 No 1

Magazine article Gramophone

Reger: Clarinet Sonatas-Op 49 No 1

Article excerpt

Reger

Clarinet Sonatas--Op 49 No 1; Op 49 No 2; Op 107

Michael Collins cls Michael McHale pf

Chandos (F) CHAN10970 (72' * DDD)

A cautionary tale, courtesy of Nicholas Marston's booklet note: Reger bartered the dedication of his First Clarinet Sonata to a local critic in exchange for some good reviews. The critic then forgot his promise, or recovered his conscience. Either way, after reading of the critic's lukewarm reaction to the Op 39 Choruses, Reger got the hump and scratched out the dedication.

Michael Collins should have little to fear from modern-day Beckmessers. The second-movement Scherzo of that sonata bubbles along like a Black Forest brook, with an affable humour that may come as a surprise to listeners familiar only with Reger's organ music or his dyspeptic glare in photographs. Here and in the beautifully weighted chords of the small, slow Trio, the partnership of Collins and Michael McHale sets this disc apart from the modern competition. After all, not the least pertinent resemblance between Reger's three sonatas and the earlier pair of Brahms is the unequal division of labour: like a duck paddling along that brook, the pianist must work harder to complement the serene cast of the clarinet gliding above. …

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