In 1904 Max Reger wrote what was to be the first in a major sequence of variations on themes by his great predecessors. The Variations and Fugue on a Theme by J.S. Bach was written for piano but its richness and virtuosity exceed the scope of the instrument. Ira Levin’s orchestration clarifies the structure, intensifies climaxes and reduces its length. The Four Tone Poems explore the paintings of the symbolist Arnold Böcklin and form symphonic mood pictures that veer from delicacy to Bacchanalian frenzy.
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