Our former weekly diarist, now occasional contributor, Anthea Kreston, has been unexxpectedly immersed in Max Reger.

It was a fantastic 3 weeks in our tiny town in the lush Willamette Valley of Oregon. The girls are settling into college, we have identified a crazy/astounding property constructed into the side of a hill – views from each and every window, each and every area on a diverse level, connected by stairs like a true-life treehouse. Grandparents comfortably and elatedly installed as Jason and I turned about and headed for a week with our Humboldt Streichtrio (and now KlavierQuartett as effectively), to rehearse and execute 3 concerts in the sleepy, picturesque Bavarian town of Weiden. The birthplace of Max Reger – that enigmatic, excessive, really hard-drinking and puzzling composer who in turn crams a million seemingly unrelated notes down your gullet, then lifts you up with moments of pure beauty and clarity.

Volker Jacobsen (original violist of the Artemis Quartet) Markus Becker (pianist – equally dynamic with classical or jazz), Jason and I produced rapid, detailed operate of the applications, 1st in Hannover, exactly where they are Professors at the Hochschule, then in the Rathhaus of Weiden – the council chambers would be the venue for the subsequent 3 nights. Walls and ceiling of dark, strong wide-planked wood, cracked oil paintings of royalty and town elders lining the walls, chandeliers which appear as if they could double as lethal weapons in a pinch – the area held onto the reduce registers, turning them each and every bit as dark and wealthy as the wood which surrounded us.

The points that usually astound me about Germany – the quiet dedication of the audience, the deep, private connections to the composers and performers – attending concerts appears to be just a normal component of normal lives. These points have been evident in spades in that festival – 3 weeks, each and every year, committed to Max Reger – a composer who elicits powerful reactions, and is viewed as fringe, at greatest, in North America, but who is embraced complete-heartedly in Germany – his enigmatic qualities – each as a composer and human – only improve their really like for this quirky man. His pouty, chubby countenance – reduce jaw jutting forward and thick, fleshy lips pursed – he is not 1 of the “top-50” composers that lined our books as students – his bust is likely not even viewed as a back-order item. But 1 would under no circumstances know it in Weiden. The concerts have been packed each and every day – and several of the similar men and women have been there for each and every efficiency. We have been followed into our post-concert pub on the 1st evening by a banker who started to clarify to us, in detail, how the recapitulation in the 1st movement of the piano quartet diverted from the typical kind.

Today’s final concert was a mixed affair – the beloved German actor Udo Wachtveitl (from the crime series Tatort) interspersed the Op. 133 piano quartet movements with readings by and about Max Reger – his correspondences with his imaginary pal Ludwig (he would create letters to himself from Ludwig, posting them to himself from other cities – subjects integrated an impassioned speech on the distracting significant toe of a principal ballerina in an imaginary ballet), his crazed, self-imposed operate schedule – the audience was in turns laughing at the sheer, exuberant character of this strange man, and marveling at his copious musical output. It was my 1st Reger – and, studying it from/with musicians who have grown up with him, who know the language and the secret keys to the funky musical structure, it was a treat to be expand into that globe, and be embraced by all of the men and women who preserve him as a living, active member of their culture and neighborhood.