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Mathe: Reger – Three Sonatas For Unaccompanied Violin (2 CD, APE)

Mathe: Reger - Three Sonatas For Unaccompanied Violin (2 CD, APE)
Mathe: Reger - Three Sonatas For Unaccompanied Violin (2 CD, APE)

Performer: Ulrike-Anima Mathe
Composer: Max Reger
Audio CD
Number of Discs: 2
Format: APE (image+cue)
Label: Dorian Recordings
Size: 535 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

# Sonata for solo violin in D major, Op. 91/2
Composed by Max Reger
with Ulrike-Anima Mathe

# Sonata for solo violin in B minor, Op. 91/4
Composed by Max Reger
with Ulrike-Anima Mathe

# Sonata for solo violin in A minor, Op. 91/7
Composed by Max Reger
with Ulrike-Anima Mathe

This is a CD I saw at the library but somehow didn’t get around to listening to until recently. I am in love with these sonatas, the overtones of Bach and Paganini are undeniable. I can say without hesitation these are the best sonatas for solo violin written after Paganini’s time. The music is rich with polyphonic layers that will delight and please anyone with a reasonable ear and especially the seasoned veteran musician looking for new great music. The a minor chaconne is a wonderful masterpiece to be savored and endulge in.

Ulrike-Anima Mathe was a prize winner at the 1985 Menuhin competition, among other credentials. Her violin is a very bright sounding Amati violin.

To describe her playing would take a few sentences to describe. Her intonation is excellent, I would say her playing is romantic but never overly so, with a lush vibrato that is not too wide and is used tastefully, complimenting the music but not smothering it with sweetness. She has a stong sence of dynamics and is able to create drama by being in control of volume and bowing styles to accent the more important phrases in a very singing-like manor. I would say the playing is inspired although I find that maybe at times her tempo may be rushed just a little bit. It seems obvious Ms Mathe likes this music because there is always a great affection for the composer and the music between the notes.

For me, this is a five star recording, if you like this cd make sure to get volume two.

I can imagine some of this music being used as an audition piece or as an encore and I encourage all violinists to study these great sonatas as they surely should be played more.

6 thoughts on “Mathe: Reger – Three Sonatas For Unaccompanied Violin (2 CD, APE)”

  1. Max Reger turned to the genre of solo violin pieces four times: in 4 solo sonatas Op.41 (1899), in 7 solo sonats Op.91 (1905), in 6 Preludes, Fugues and Chaconne Op.117 (1909-1912) and in 6 Preludes and Fugues Op.131a (1914). In all cases, J.S.Bach was his obvious ideal; I don’t see any parallels with Paganini. Note that Opuses 41 and 91 are finished by Chaconne (Chaconne in Op.41 is especially close to Bach in intonations, but shorter and much less deep). Opus 117 is culminated by the great Chaconne (in the geometric center of the Opus), and the following Prelude and Fugue are written on the theme by Bach. It is evident that Max Reger tried to write modern music of the level comparable with Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas – and maybe to go further.
    Creative life of Max Reger may be subdivided into three periods: 1) early period (approximately 1889-1898), when the young Max was under the strong influence of Brahms; 2) middle period, – avant-guarde period with various attempts to find his own way, sometimes – with very wild escapades; and 3) late period, when we see the mature Reger with more quiet, very personal and very deep style of writing – something like the late period of Gabriel Faure. The late period is usually connected with Reger’s stay in Jena (1915), and it is crowned with the great Clarinet Quintet that was written before his untimely death. But the signs of the late period may be found earlier – in Preludes, Fugues and Chaconne Op.117, in Concerto in Old Style Op.123 (1912), in Sonata No.6 for violin and piano (1912), etc. Here we see that mature Reger has found the necessity to leave both romanticism and Strauss-like avant-guarde and to return to the way of J.S.Bach – on the new, very complex level.
    So, if you like Reger Solo Sonatas Op.91, I would like to recommend you to hear also the mature Prelude, Fugue and Chaconne Op.117. To me, Chaconne from Op.117 is the only worthy analogue of the Chaconne from Bach’s Partita No.2.
    Complete solo violin music by Reger was recorded by Renate Eggebrecht at Troubadisc and my be downloaded at
    I would also recommend to hear the cello solo suites by Reger (Op.131c – mature Reger!), which are also comparable with Bach’s and which have been recorded many times by various great cellists.

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