Sheet music

Musical contribution - April 2016

bladmuziek met potlood

Romanze (Max Johann Baptiste Maximilian Reger) (1873-1916)

Among organists, 2016 is the official ‘Reger Year’. 100 years ago, on 11 May 1916, the great composer passed away in his sleep in Leipzig at the age of 43.

In his relatively short life, Max Reger composed a massive oeuvre for the organ. He was fascinated by the music of the Baroque period, especially the works of J.S. Bach; a fascination that is reflected in his compositions. Many Baroque forms, such as variations or preludes in fugues recur in Reger’s oeuvre, but it is in the internal structures of his work that one can discern Bach’s great influence.

Reger began his organ studies under the local organist Adelbert Lindner, then continued his lessons with Hugo Riemann in Wiesbaden. Reger composed no fewer than 160 major and minor works for the organ. Remarkably for a Roman Catholic, Max Reger made an important contribution to the renewed interest in Protestant church music.

In addition to being an organist, pianist, conductor and educator, Reger was also the composer of more than 140 opus numbers, of which several contain multiple works. And then there are his compositions without an opus number, such as this month’s Romanze, which was originally written for violin and piano. We have come up with this arrangement for organ especially for you. The melody was intended for the violin, so we recommend playing it with a leading stop: either a beautiful principal or a soft lingual. The enchanting accompaniment is completely at the service of the melody.

On one hand, we notice Reger’s characteristic sound idiom, but on the other - and in part due to its brevity - he stays closer to home harmonically than we are accustomed from him.

Musical regards,

André van Vliet