Having begun his musical studies in his native Germany, Rainer Moog finished his training with the legendary Walter Trampler at the Juilliard School, New York. After graduating he gained valuable orchestral experience with the Berlin Philharmonic under Karajan, and has more latterly co-led the conductor-less Seoul-based Hwaum Chamber Orchestra. He also found opportunities in chamber music with the Berlin Philharmonic Octet and Van Hoven, Glink and Végh Quartets (succeeding Bruno Giuranna as violist in the latter), as well as performing string quintets with the Amadeus Quartet at various music festivals. He is a prolific pedagogue, having held permanent and visiting posts worldwide and served on juries of several international competitions, and is artistic director of a programme of international masterclasses in Greece.
Moog’s playing indicates an eclectic approach with quite considerable tonal variety according to repertoire. In Baroque music he gives a very fine 1996 performance of the Telemann Viola Concerto which, whilst on modern instruments and with a certain largesse (complete with vibrato of an entirely modern nature) is nonetheless a thoughtful performance with some sensitivity to eighteenth-century aesthetic evidenced by ornamented first and second movements and a vivid approach to phrasing (from the orchestra too), in the finale especially. Repertoire of the twentieth century ranges from the very thin and anti-Romantic opening of Schnittke’s Monologue for Viola and Chamber Orchestra (1996) which opens out into a strong and emotive performance of this dramatic and feverish work, to the rich textures at the opening of Martinů’s Viola Sonata No. 1 (recorded at the 1994 Australian Chamber Music Festival), with particularly effective and percussive articulation in the second movement. The Viola Sonata by German composition and theory professor Herbert Nobis (2002) is densely argued and tight, conveying the compressed structure of this brief work very convincingly, whilst Britten’s Lachrymae (première recording of the orchestral version, 1978) has some wonderful dark and brooding sonorities.
Moog’s playing is, as one might expect, technically highly polished, but it is his ability to adapt according to stylistic context that is particularly impressive.
© Naxos Rights International Ltd. — David Milsom (A–Z of String Players, Naxos 8.558081-84)