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When it launched in 2012, Jean-Baptiste Dupont’s complete Reger survey was only the second such undertaking on disc. Seven years on, it has been overtaken by intégrales from Max Schmeding (Cybele) and Naxos (various organists), with others – notably Gerhard Weinberger (CPO), David Goode (Signum), Roberto Marini (Fugatto) and Bernhard Buttmann (Oehms) – snapping at his heels. In this fifth volume, Dupont homes in on the two Sonatas, the op.56 Five Easy Preludes & Fugues, and the 52 op.67 Chorales. Although they were composed just three years apart, the creative distance Reger travelled between the First Sonata in 1899 and the Second in 1901 was considerable, the later work as magnificent and assured as its predecessor is eager and searching.

Dupont approaches the experimentation of the First with a fingertip delicacy that surprises with its aptness, blending its echoes of Bach and Buxtehude through cyclical forms with satisfying dexterity. The Second is afforded a more muscular (but emotionally contained) reading, its intricate architecture described with care, its pithy virtuosity voiced with liquid grace. Allowing himself a deal more freedom in the Preludes & Fugues and Chorales – not all of which are as ‘easy’ as Reger’s description of them suggests – Dupont finds a balance between the apparently simple surfaces of these pieces and their elaborate technical underpinning in a way that pays plentiful dividends throughout.

MICHAEL QUINN Read the full review on Agora Classica

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