Sophie Bevan / Malcolm Martineau

Songs by Max Reger

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AllMusic Review by

Best known for his prolific output of densely contrapuntal organ works, Max Reger was also an active composer of vocal music, though that body of work is under-performed today. This 2016 release on Hyperion demonstrates that he was a skillful composer of art songs that occasionally rise to the lyrical heights of Franz Schubert and Johannes Brahms, and sometimes evoke the darker psychological depths of Hugo Wolf and Gustav Mahler. Soprano Sophie Bevan presents 33 of Reger's Lieder with veteran accompanist Malcolm Martineau, and the program flows smoothly from the gently atmospheric Mein Traum to the unusually convoluted Christmas song Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe!, revealing along the way the extraordinary variety of Reger's melodic gifts. Bevan's voice is warm and radiant but light in tone, which complements Reger's involved counterpoint and chromatic harmonies, and the clarity of her delivery makes a first-time hearing a pleasure. Martineau's accompaniment is restrained and delicate, and he plays with a controlled evenness that belies the complexity of Reger's rhythms, and never distracts from the singing. Hyperion's sound is clean and reasonably close-up, so the performances have credible presence and clear details without seeming over-produced.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 04:25
2 01:22
3 02:33
4 01:09
5 01:58
6 02:27
7 02:17
8 01:52
9 01:23
10 01:52
11 02:39
12 01:20
13 02:58
14 01:33
15 01:32
16 02:17
17 00:58
18 02:14
19 02:06
20 02:09
21 01:37
22 01:11
23 01:52
24 02:03
25 01:32
26 02:21
27 02:10
28 01:38
29 01:12
30 01:51
31 01:03
32 01:42
33 05:43
blue highlight denotes track pick