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Anthony Burton
BBC Music Magazine, March 2011

The sonatas sound at home here in a relatively intimate acoustic. Janet Hilton revels in the Art Nouveau tendrils of Reger’s melodic lines, and Jakob Fichert in the intricate cross-rhythms of his piano parts; and their teamwork is exemplary.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, November 2010

‘Fine, I am also going to write two such things,’ said the twenty-seven year old Max Reger having just heard the first of Brahms’s clarinet sonatas. Three weeks later he had kept his promise. They came in a golden part of his short life that had started in Bavaria in 1873 as the son of a gifted amateur musician. Today he is best known for his organ music, though he was prolific in many genre having been inspired by hearing music by Wagner at the 1888 Bayreuth Festival. A period of military service had left him in poor health and on his return to civilian life his compositions were considered reactionary, though today we see him as a mainstream product of the Romantic era, and certainly a consummate craftsman. Why then has he remained on the outer fringe of the concert repertoire? I suppose the answer can be found in this disc, the three works lacking that easily remembered thematic invention that gains music a ready commercial acceptance. Not that the first two lacked a welcoming audience at the time of their early performances. The Third, and most extensive, came eight years later, and just eight before his death at the age of 43. The adagio is laden with sadness, but with such a bright and virtuoso scherzo, and a vivacious finale, it is strange that it is seldom heard. Played by one of the UK’s most popular clarinettists, Janet Hilton, the tonal quality is suitably smooth and mellow, high notes played without an edge to the tone. The recording is very close to the instruments, but admirably clear.

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