A whole disc of Schubert songs arranged for orchestra by Max Reger -- can you beat that? Possibly: a disc of Berlioz, Liszt, Brahms, Webern, or Offenbach arrangements of Schubert songs for orchestra might be better than these sometimes pompous transcriptions. But then, this is Reger -- Mr. Teutonic Turgidity himself -- and it is expected that the textures will be a bit thick and the colors a bit drab. And they are: the strings seem at times almost oppressive, the winds are rarely used as solo voices, and the brass are used for ballast more often than for color. Neither baritone Dietrich Henschel nor soprano Ina Stachelhaus are among the finest Lieder singers of the age; Henschel is sometimes weepy and Stachelhaus is sometimes whiney. Nor is Dennis Russell Davies one of the most sensitive of Schubert accompanists; although there may not be much he can do about Reger's imponderable scoring, he doesn't do anything much except let it roll out there. But who really cares? Anyone who wants to know what Schubert songs arranged for orchestra by Reger sound like is going to hear this disc anyway. For the rest, this disc is negligible.
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AllMusic Review by James Leonard
Harfenspieler I ("Wer sich der Einsamkeit ergibt"), song for voice & piano (two versions), D. 478 (Op. 12/1)
Harfenspieler III ("Wer nie sein Brot mit Thränen ass"), song for voice & piano (three versions), D. 480 (Op. 12/2)
Harfenspieler II ("An die Türen will ich schleichen"), song for voice & piano (two versions), D. 479 (Op. 12/3)
Greisengesang ("Der Frost hat mir"), song for voice & piano (Vom künftigen Alter), D. 778 (Op. 60/1)