There was a story about Max Reger (1873-1916) which I learned in graduate school and still remember to this day. In answer to a music critic, Reger wrote: “I am sitting in the smallest room of my house. I have your review before me. In a moment it will be behind me!”
Here’s another quote about Max Reger: “This Reger is a sarcastic, churlish fellow, bitter and pedantic and rude. He is a sort of musical Cyclops, a strong, ugly creature bulging with knotty and unshapely muscles, an ogre of composition. I also learned that Reger is the only composer whose name can be spelled the same forwards and backwards! (The things you learn in graduate school!) The works I’m playing this Sunday are “Benedictus” (prelude),”Pastorale” (communion) and the “Toccata in D minor” (postlude). I actually learned the Benedictus and the Toccata in D minor with McNeil Robinson, right here on the Beckerath. Normally you would take advantage of a crescendo pedal to go from pianissimo to fortissimo (soft to loud), which brings on more and more stops as you press it. But because we don’t have any such gadget on our tracker organ, I’ve had to set up combinations in a sequence, each one getting louder and louder, which I press with my right foot with every beat, while my left foot plays the pedal notes. So within the space of a few seconds, I’ll be able to create the crescendo. I’ll do the reverse for the decrescendo. All this shows that we are not limited to just Baroque music on our organ.
Carl was first introduced to the music of Peter Cornelius (1824-1874) when he went on his first sabbatical (1992) to Luther Memorial Church in Madison, WI, and where our good friend, Bruce Bengtson, is the organist/choirmaster. Carl tried to order the music of Cornelius shortly thereafter, but had some difficulty. It was not until after LCH chorister, Larry Nitz, spent his sabbatical in Leipzig that a large box arrived at LCH with the scores. We about fell over when we saw the invoice, which came out to more than $15 per copy for about 20 pages of music. Apparently the publisher printed up the scores especially for us (what we now call Print on Demand) and charged us accordingly! Yikes!