Three Pieces op. 7

for organ

  • No. 1 Prelude and Fugue
  • No. 2 Fantasia about [»Te Deum laudamus«]
  • No. 3 Fugue
Herrn Samuel de Lange gewidmet

Performance medium

Work collection
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Original work
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Reger-Werkausgabe Bd. I/5: Orgelstücke I, S. 2–35.
Herausgeber Alexander Becker, Christopher Grafschmidt, Stefan König, Stefanie Steiner-Grage.
Verlag Carus-Verlag, Stuttgart; Verlagsnummer: CV 52.805.
Erscheinungsdatum Februar 2014.
Notensatz Carus-Verlag, Stuttgart.
Copyright 2014 by Carus-Verlag, Stuttgart and Max-Reger-Institut, Karlsruhe – CV 52.805.
Vervielfältigungen jeglicher Art sind gesetzlich verboten. / Any unauthorized reproduction is prohibited by law.
Alle Rechte vorbehalten. / All rights reserved.
ISMN M-007-14293-3.
ISBN 978-3-89948-206-5.

1. Composition

In summer 1892, through an introduction from his teacher Hugo Riemann, Reger met the London publisher George Augener, who was visiting Wiesbaden. Augener had Reger perform some of his own works for him, as a result of which he entered into a seven-year contract with the composer. For Augener’s regularly-published Cecilia, A Collection of Organ Pieces in Diverse Styles 1 Reger wrote a large organ work during the 1892 holidays in Weiden: “For Cäcilia I have completed a Prelude and Fugue. I will send it to you shortly; the character is joyous – festive – that is, so that you will be able to use this number.” (Letter dated 12 September to George Augener) However, this work (later no. 1 of op. 7) was probably not accepted for publication straight away (see publication). After his return to Wiesbaden, Reger composed two further organ pieces, a Fantasia (on Te deum ladamus; later no. 2) and a Fugue (later no. 3). The Fugue was based on a theme (WoO IV/1) written out in December 1890 in a letter to his then teacher Adalbert Lindner, which could “be used splendidly for strettos”.

2. Publication

Reger then combined these three pieces (Prelude and Fugue, Fantasia on [te deum laudamus] and Fugue, see Composition) to make a separate collection. This must have been ready before the middle of October, for on 22 October Hugo Riemann offered the Leipzig music publisher C.F. Peters “3 organ works by an outstandingly gifted young composer”, basing this opinion on the tentative assessment of his English main publisher: “Herr Reger has a contract with Augener for several years, but the gentlemen have no heart for the organ pieces, finding them ‘too serious for England’.” His “special student” had been, as Riemann noted in the same letter, “brought up on Bach, Beethoven and Brahms (letter). However, a rejection came immediately from Leipzig; Riemann seems to have accepted this when he wrote: “[…] I too would not be able to discern Reger’s independent style from these pieces written in the true Bachian spirit”.2 William T. Best, the then editor of Augener’s Cecilia, also expressed similar thoughts (see Reger’s letter dated 8 December 1892 to George Augener); nevertheless, the publication of the complete op. 7 followed in 1893 with Augener. A practical edition of the Prelude and Fugue (no. 1) in the collection Cecilia was not published until 1903.


Translation by Elizabeth Robinson.

First edited by William T. Best (d. 1897), and later by Edmund H. Turpin.
Letter dated 3 November 1892 to the publisher C.F. Peters, in Der junge Reger, p. 127.

1. Reception

Reger himself stated, as a reason for the supposed “old-fashioned” style of his op. 7, that there had been “no progress made in organ style whatsoever since J.S. Bach16, and that he had therefore “sought to follow on” from his revered role model of Bach in his organ pieces and had “avoided modern styles of writing for organ in them. In my other works, I am naturally on more modern ground” (Reger’s letter dated 8 December 1892 to George Augener). In sending a review copy of his organ work (the first with its own opus number) to Otto Leßmann on 11 December 1893, Reger also stressed its strong rootedness in older traditions: “Don’t be surprised if I even want to play the respectable pigheaded fellow in the pieces, don a wig or even remember the little plait. (I don’t want to make the slightest claim for the originality of these works – I simply wanted to write a couple of solid organ pieces for once!” (Letter) Nevertheless, in later years he distanced himself from his youthful works and wrote to Theodor Kroyer, amongst others, about this: “Everything which is published with Augener is rubbish; I myself start counting from op 27.” 1

As early as January 1894 the first English-langugage review of the Three Pieces op. 7 appeared in Augener’s periodical The Monthly Musical Record: the anonymous reviewer noted that, in his constant striving to avoid clichés, Reger occasionally inclined towards harmonic and rhythmic excesses; the wealth of sequences in the pieces could be traced back to Baroque models (see review). The first review in German-speaking realms was in Arthur Smolian’s critique of Reger’s early works, published at the end of October 1894 in the Musikalisches Wochenblatt, however, his commentary turned out to be rather brief: Reger’s Three Pieces would “certainly be welcomed by all accomplished organists as a valuable addition to their repertoire” (see review). In 1899 an anonymous reviewer in the periodical Urania found that the “youthful works of the extremely promising composer in Weiden (in the Bavarian Upper Palatinate)” revealed “the starting point of the same, from the master of masters, Seb. Bach (see review).2


Translation by Elizabeth Robinson.

Letter dated 22 March 1904, Staatliche Bibliothek Regensburg, shelf number: IP/4 Art.714.
Georg Göhler wrote similarly in a review in Der Kunstwart (13 Jg. [1899/1900], No. 23 [1st September issue 1900], p. 399) and detected in Reger’s opp. 7 and 16 “dependence on the original master of all organ artistry”.

1. Stemma

Die in Klammern gesetzten Quellen sind verschollen.
Die in Klammern gesetzten Quellen sind verschollen.

2. Quellenbewertung

Der Edition liegt als Leitquelle der Erstdruck zugrunde. Als zusätzliche Quelle wurde die autographe Stichvorlage herangezogen. Der Teil-Neudruck der Nr. 1 (Präludium und Fuge) in der Reihe Cecilia, an dem Reger aller Wahrscheinlichkeit nach nicht beteiligt war, wurde für die Edition nicht berücksichtigt; Abweichungen vom Erstdruck sind dennoch ins Lesartenverzeichnis aufgenommen.

3. Sources

    Object reference

    Max Reger: Three Pieces op. 7, in: Reger-Werkausgabe,, last check: 18th May 2024.


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