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Jens F Laurson
MusicWeb International, September 2009

Naxos’ recordings are divided among different organists (with organist Wolfgang Rübsam as producer), which is a fine idea (also used for their Scarlatti-on-piano cycle) that allows each performer to focus sufficiently on the select works they are to record. Josef Still performs on the Johannes Klais Organ of the cathedral of Trier where he is the organist. The first six of the dozen op.65 Pieces, six Choral Preludes, the Chorale Fantasia “Straf mich nicht in deinem Zorn” op.40/2, and the “God Save the Queen” Variations and Fugue are included on his recital…The 2008 recording of Naxos is very fine…For those who wish to have just a little Reger on organ, the varied mix of pieces on Still’s disc is particularly attractive; not the least for including the attractive “God Save the Queen” Variations and Fugue.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, June 2009

Regular readers will know that I grow increasingly enthusiastic with each new edition in this cycle of Max Reger’s organ works, the ninth offering a plethora of stunning virtuosity. It was helping his father rebuild an organ that engendered a deep love for the instrument in the young Reger, though it was hearing Wagner’s music at the Bayreuth Festival that gave him a determination to become a composer. That had yet to blossom when a compulsory period of service in the army left him in such poor health he was never to recover. He battled on composing a sizable output for solo organ, and later turned to orchestral music following his appointment as conductor of the Meiningen Court Orchestra in 1911. It was to be a short-lived joy, his body finally giving up its struggle at the age of 43. This disc covers works written at the outset of the 20th century and opens with the Variations and Fugue on the English National Anthem, the fugue having that ‘all stops pulled out’ feeling so loved of great organ improvisors. It sets the scene for six of the  Twelve Pieces; Six Choral Preludes and the red-blooded Choral Fantasia, Straf mich nicht in Deinem Zorn (Punish me not in they wrath), surely one the great showpieces in the organ repertoire The performer is the cathedral organist at Trier, Josef Still, where this series has achieved such a high quality. He is superb, never allowing the utmost difficulty to modify urgent tempos. Of course he has the massive Johannes Klais organ at his disposal, and it can make the most mighty sounds, yet thins down to the most transparent delicacy. The recording engineers have spared us nothing, and it will test modest equipment, but sounds magnificent on the latest Quad equipment.

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