Max Reger's “Dreissig Kleine Choralvorspiele” were written near the end of his life in 1914.
He had already written his elaborate big Choral Phantasies (1898-1899) and his other major organ works, except for opus 135b, the big Fantasie und Fuge in D minor.
It can be argued that in opus 135a he demonstrated the essence of his compositorial technique in a compact way. These little gems are not so much Choral Preludes as exquisitely set Choral Harmonizations. I guess we all played them in one time of our careers. In my humble opinion it's Reger at his best, though I do ofcourse like many of his other organ compositions.
I guess it is a rather personal interpretation. I did not always follow the annotations in the scores exactly. Same goes for tempo, dynamics etc.
Reading a lot of articles about the performance of Reger's works made it clear to me, that the instructions he wrote with his pieces were not very conclusive. Karl Straube did not always follow them, nor did Reger himself. What remains of his own organ playing, recorded on WELTE pianola devices, only shows that he tended to play his compositions at a leisurely pace. His metronome markings were often in double time. He made a lot of use of the general crescendo.
Many of the Chorales are still being sung in de reformed churches in Germany and Holland today.
I chose the Utrecht Dom organ for this recording because of its great acoustics and the excellent blending yet individually beautiful voiced stops in the Dutch romantic tradition.
These are numbers 21-30:
21 O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden
22 Nun ruhen alle Wälder
23 Valet will ich dir geben
24 Vom Himmel hoch, da komm ich her
25 Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme
26 Wass Gott tut, dass ist wohlgetan
27 Wass mein Gott will, dass gescheh' alzeit
28 Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten
29 Wie schön leucht uns den Morgenstern
30 Wunderbarer König