Masterclass: Reger’s Three Suites for Solo Viola, op.131d

hartmut rohde

Hartmut Rohde provides historical hints and practical tips for performing these innovative viola solos

Falling somewhere between concert pieces and etudes, Max Reger’s Three Suites for Solo Viola (1915) are some of the first major solo works for the instrument. After finishing the Preludes and Fugues for Solo Violin op.131a and the Cello Suites op.131c, Reger clearly intended the viola suites to complete a small cycle of representative works for all three instruments, highlighting their individual sound qualities. The suites are dedicated, in numerical order, to Reger’s close friend Heinrich Walther, conductor and violin virtuoso Richard Sahla, and violinist Joseph Hösl, a gifted violinist who advised Reger in matters of string playing. A fourth suite was due to be dedicated to Karl Doktor, the violist of the Busch Quartet, but Reger’s death in 1916 left this plan unfulfilled…

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