Reger, Max: Serenade for Flute, Violin and Viola, Op. 141a

Although not by any means forgotten, the composer Max REGER has lived for quite some time in the second tier of the classical canon. He wrote a great deal of music in almost every genre except opera, and set himself firmly in the abstract tradition of Johannes Brahms. Reger worked at the Akademie der Tonkunst in Munich, and then was named professor and director of the conservatory in Leipzig in 1908. He continued to work in Leipzig, but gave up his bureaucratic duties to work as court conductor in nearby Meiningen. He moved to Jena in 1915, and died the following year at the age of 43.

His organ music has remained most consistently played since his death, but his reputation in concert music of other kinds has remained a bit shadowy; the singleness of his taste for abstract forms (especially fugues) has left the impression of a somewhat crabbed, academic personality. This may or may not be accurate on the whole, but the serenades for flute, violin, and piano leave no such impression. They are serene, playful, and light in texture. The trio Op. 141a was written in 1915, shortly after his move to Jena, having finally earned a position which allowed him to devote himself entirely to the study and practice of composition.

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