Max Reger

Besides Richard Strauss, Reger (born: 19th March 1873) numbers among the leading composers before the First World War. Reger's first recognition came about through his highly sophisticated and technically masterful organ pieces, such as the "Fantasy and Fugue on the Letters B-A-C-H", following which he composed a large number of works for just about every genre, with the exception of opera and large-scale symphonies. Reger's mastery of musical setting reflects his great inspiration figure, Johann Sebastian Bach, while his harmonic approach can be regarded as the ultimate continuation of Wagner. In this sense, both elements can be found in his Euvre: traditional forms (as evidenced in work titles like "Concerto in Old Style" or "A Romantic Suite") and extreme chromaticism in melody and voice leading, breaking through the barriers of tonality. Psychologically highly sensitive, Reger rode an emotional roller coaster between the extremes of highly concentrated creative power and self-confidence on the one hand while plunging into depression and exaggerated self-criticism on the other, as reflected in the extremely wide spectrum of expression in his works.

Overwork and excessive alcohol consumption brought about his early death from a heart attack (11th May 1916).