6. Reger: the man


He liked to smoke cigars, to drink beer in large quantities and to eat for hours. In Amsterdam, he ordered in the restaurant "Die Port van Kleef" to bring him beefsteaks for the next two hours. He was a very large man, he was impulsive, overly sensitive, sometimes deeply despairing and then suddenly full of joy, and was probably extremely intelligent. He was not a politician and made stupid remarks about politics, he read the literature of his time. He took his time for his friends. He had a warm heart for the problems of people around him. He was deeply religious, Roman Catholic but very aware of the treasures of Protestantism in his music.

Reger's musical confession

But the very bare truth about Reger is: the man was totally and wholly dedicated to music. He thought music. He was music in the flesh.
His ideal was Johann Sebastian Bach (see Reger's statement above). He was very good informed about the music of other composers, probably more so than most of his contemporaries. He was a learned musician and in this he also followed the steps of his idol Bach. (cf. Christoph Wolf: Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician, Oxford 2000)

Reger in his house in Jena

During his short and turbulent life, Reger had found at last a home in which he lived more at ease (photograph above). In the Beethovenstraße in Jena he bought a house in 1915. He lived there happily for, alas, not even one year.....
Reger worked hard, very hard. He died during reading the corrections of his opus 138. The book lied opened on the page which read "Der Mensch lebt und besteht nur eine kleine Zeit". It was a symbolical end to his life.
Below a very rare moment in Reger's life: taking a break while composing (here on Psalm 100 opus 106).

Reger taking a break during his work

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