Saturday, February 11, 2017

Reger: Serenade for Orchestra (Jochum)

Max Reger, 1906
I have had occasion to comment on the Reger Problem elsewhere (Irving Kolodin famously said that Reger's name sounds the same backwards and forwards, and his music often shows the same trait!). Today I present one of the few works of his which I can really enjoy, possibly because it is the first one I ever became familiar with, long ago, through this very recording, before I knew Reger was supposed to be "difficult":

Reger: Serenade for Orchestra in G Major, Op. 95
Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam conducted by Eugen Jochum
Recorded June 21 and 22, 1943
Capitol-Telefunken set KEM-8026, five 45-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 106.56 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 66.85 MB)

...but I'm also willing to consider the possibility that I enjoy it because it's a fine piece. Composed in 1905-06, this Serenade is symphonic in scope, its two large sonata-form movements flanking a wispy scherzo and a slow movement of almost Elgarian eloquence. Part of the piece's appeal is that it inhabits a unique sound world, for Reger or anyone else. It is scored for a moderate-sized orchestra, with harp and timpani but no trumpets or trombones, the string section being divided into two separate choirs, one with mutes and the other without. Eugen Jochum (1902-1987) seems to have made a specialty of it, for a recording he made two weeks after the Telefunken one, with the Berlin Philharmonic, surfaced on a Urania LP in the 1950s.


  1. Alternate links:



  2. thank you. i look forward to hearing this. reger forward or backward, i'll follow you anywhere. -cheer, a.v.

  3. Thanks! The BPO recording was later reissued on a Guild CD but it seems this RCO recording has not been issued on CD yet.

  4. Thanks a lot Bryan for that special post. As I already wrote you here, I am not a big fan of Reger's music (BTW, you are's a palindrom....never noticed!). But......I have been discovering lately his Clarinet Quintet. a masterpiece indeed !!! Much looking forward to listen to this Serenade....

  5. Thanks, Bryan! I have a love-hate relationship with this composer myself.

  6. Thank you very much! It was once on CD, on Tahra (Centenaire Eugen Jochum, Vol. 1), but your transfer is superior.

  7. The Andante was sweet and serene in a way music rarely is nowadays. Thanks for the refuge it provided. The entire work is wonderful and should be a concert hall staple. Yeah, sure! Seriously, however, will conductors ever champion Max Reger the way they do Carl Nielsen? Reger's piano and violin concertos deserve higher standing in the standard repertoire.