The Chorale Fantasias of Max Reger

CD cover Demers performs Reger by Acis

Isabelle Demers, organist
Aeolian-Skinner Opus 1024 (1942)
St Andrew’s Episcopal, Amarillo, TX

“technically excellent, rock-solid, and authoritative…warm but very clear and with excellent presence…the perfect recording…to hear every detail…”
American Record Guide

Double Disc

A tour de force from the 20th century king of counterpoint Max Reger and his leading exponent Isabelle Demers.


Amazon | Isabelle Demers | Specification | YouTube

Disc: 1
1. Ein’ feste Burg, op. 27
2. Freu dich sehr, op. 30
3. Wie schoen leucht’, op. 40, no. 1
4. Straf mich nicht, op. 40. no. 2

Disc: 2
1. Wie schoen leuchtet, Heinrich Reimann
2. Alle Menschen, op. 52, no. 1
3. Wachet auf!, op. 52, no. 2
4. Halleluja! Gott zu loben, op. 52, no. 3


Reviews:

“This recording is a must-have on all fronts. Isabelle Demers is a “vehement virtuoso” and much more. She is a consummate musician who harnesses her formidable technical powers and musical understanding to render performances that are breathtaking, memorable, compelling, and fully satisfying. One of its builder’s finest, the world-class instrument is the perfect choice on which to perform Reger’s music, which in turn provides an unparalleled opportunity to witness the organ’s glory in all of its manifestations. This recording of Reger’s Chorale Fantasias will surely set the standards for many years to come.”

JAMES HILDRETH, The American Organist, December 2015

“Reger’s op.73 Variations proved a highlight on Isabelle Demers’s 2010 debut The Old and the New, making the prospect of this double-disc set of the composer’s eight Chorale Fantasias tantalising. Composed in a concentrated 30-month period, the Bach-indebted works infused traditional Lutheran sobriety with fresh Catholic flamboyance aspects Demers holds in buoyant (and often brilliant) balance to revivify church organ music towards the end of the 19th century. Superbly sensitive playing throughout, with the Opus 1024 Aeolian-Skinner articulating symphonic scale and contrapuntal richness with captivating character.”

MICHAEL QUINN, Choir & Organ, 4/5 Stars

“From the opening bars of the first CD – which obviously opens with ‘Ein feste Burg’ – you might notice that the young Demers chooses her own path with an almost staccato pedal solo – and in this non legato playing style she is highly original. In ‘Ein feste Burg’ I had to get used to it, but quickly began to share her musical joy. Her way of playing Reger is very transparent, and you can almost follow note for note. With this different approach, Reger also gets another face…The Church of Amarillo is home to an organ of the American builder Aeolian-Skinner…remarkable is the beauty of many individual stops also showcased extensively by Demers…the acoustics for an American church is not bad but still inferior to that of a European cathedral. For me this does not detract from the quality of the CD, and the choice introduces us to a truly American instrument. Hopefully we will hear Isabelle Demers more often in Europe. This Reger must have a sequel!”

MARTIN MOREE, Orgel Nieuws.nl, 5/5 Stars