“Great – I too will write two such things!” This was Max Reger’s comment on a performance including Brahms’s clarinet sonatas, and only a few weeks later he kept his word, delivering his first two clarinet sonatas in his op. 49. The Dresden State Orchestra’s young solo clarinetist Robert Oberaigner and the ARD prizewinner Michael Schöch have now joined forces to present not only this double stroke of genius but also Reger’s Sonata op. 107. And their performance is guaranteed to convince even the most inveterate Reger skeptics! Two welcome encores supplying a surprisingly different tone, “Tarantella” and “Albumblatt,” round off the Weiden master’s clarinet oeuvre.
Right from the beginning Reger’s op. 49 No. 1 is absolutely enthralling: “Allegro affannato” is his interpretive prescription here, and Oberaigner and Schöch’s rendering of a character situated somewhere between “breathless,” “hurried,” and “pressured” has to be heard to be believed! The passage in the second movement including the interwoven folk song “Ach, wie ist’s möglich denn” moved the premiere audience and continues to have a very special appeal.
Reger’s third sonata, composed some eight years after the first two, produces its effect in a very similar manner: classical in its design, this work wins over the listener with clarity and simplicity reflecting the greatest mastery. The premiere, at which the dedicatee Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig zu Hesse himself was in attendance, must have been an overwhelming success – which is hardly surprising. Just listen to the conclusion of the first movement: how Oberaigner and Schöch enable it just to fade away – now that is first class!
The two soloists form a chamber dream duo of a kind that is only rarely found. Tone colors and expressive gestures are exchanged and further developed, so that the result is pure joy: competition occurs in the field of dynamic expression, and the quest for the unknown becomes a common cause. Luxurious 2+2+2 sound, a Super Audio CD of the highest recording quality, and everything that even the most highly discriminating music fans hope to find!