Story of his life: Max Reger

„Max Reger was the last musical giant. My work is unthinkable without him.” Paul Hindemith
„... I think he’s a genius.“ Arnold Schönberg

May 11, 2016 is the 100th anniversary of the death of Max Reger. Back in his times he was a super star who fascinated as well as put off listeners, friends and colleagues with his compositions. He was considered one of the greatest composers of his age, celebrated as the “new Bach”, but he was also faced with incomprehension. Schönberg, Hindemith and Prokofjew called him a genius, Strawinsky found him rather obnoxious.
Reger was extraordinary in many ways. His short life was overshadowed by his work mania, success, disappointment, illness and exuberance. In only 25 man-years he composed 240 pieces. He wrote excessively: one piece after the other. He drank like a fish, devoured huge amounts of meat. His enormous workload resulted in several breakdowns.

The film illustrates the life of an excessive person for whom only the music counted. Letters and diaries offer insights into Reger’s thinking and feeling, his relationships to his wife and colleagues are explored. The film also shows the so far unpublished recording of the state orchestra of Dresden, conducted 2011 by Christian Thielemann, of Reger’s “Romantic Suite” with Eichendorff’s lyrics. Recorded at the very same place where the piece, conducted by Ernst von Schuch, once premiered in 1911.
Written by: Anna Schmidt
Direction: Anna Schmidt
Director or Photography: Simon Roloff, Achim Köhler
Sound: Rougé Reinsperger
Editor: Mario Biehl
Air date: 2016.05.12. MDR