Five Songs op. 8

for high voice and piano

  • No. 1 Waldlied

    Text: Ludwig Uhland

  • No. 2 Thränen im Auge

    Text: Ernst von Wildenbruch

  • No. 3 Der Kornblumenstrauß

    Text: Ernst von Wildenbruch

  • No. 4 Scherz

    Text: Adelbert von Chamisso

  • No. 5 Bauernregel

    Text: Ludwig Uhland

Meiner lieben Schwester Emma gewidmet

Performance medium
High voice;

Work collection
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Original work
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Reger-Werkausgabe Bd. II/1: Lieder I, S. 24–35.
Herausgeber Alexander Becker, Christopher Grafschmidt, Stefan König, Stefanie Steiner-Grage.
Verlag Carus-Verlag, Stuttgart; Verlags- und Plattennummer: CV 52.808.
Erscheinungsdatum Juni 2017.
Notensatz Carus-Verlag, Stuttgart.
Copyright 2017 by Carus-Verlag, Stuttgart and Max-Reger-Institut, Karlsruhe – CV 52.808.
Vervielfältigungen jeglicher Art sind gesetzlich verboten. / Any unauthorized reproduction is prohibited by law.
Alle Rechte vorbehalten. / All rights reserved.
ISMN M-007-17140-7.
ISBN 978-3-89948-268-3.

1. Composition

The dates of composition of the Five Songs op. 8 are not known. According to Adalbert Lindner the collection was created from songs composed in 1891/92, like op. 4 (see Composition). The engraver’s copy must have been prepared some time between October 1892 and July 1893. On the first page of music the collection is numbered as Opus 11, but on the title page added subsequently, the opus number 10 is given. The Walzercapricen were submitted in December as Opus 9 and then published in summer 1893, but in the meantime at least two of the works planned for the publisher Augener must have existed, which remained unpublished. These may have included, alongside the Schilflieder WoO VII/16, the Geistliche Arie WoO II/7 composed in October at the earliest, or the String Quartet in C minor WoO II/8 begun next – but also one or other of the later works, now unknown. The first mention of the Five Songs was when the manuscript was submitted in summer 1893; on 15 July Lindner learnt: “A new song collection op 10 just published by Augener.” 1 (Reger’s letter)

Composition · Publication · Early reception

2. Publication

The engraver’s copy of the Five Songs was submitted in summer 1893 (see Reger’s letter dated 15 July). Augener handed the manuscript over for engraving immediately, at any rate before the translation of the text was ready.2 The first proof copy does not survive, but the second was dated 1 December by the engravers. At this point the numbering of the collection was, as before, unknown;3 Reger ultimately left the decision to the publisher: “Please come to an agreement with Herr Augener about the op number!”4
The preparation of the works for print now followed quickly: on 19 December 1893 Reger announced the publication of his ““Songs op 8” for the new year (letter to Adalbert Lindner), but before the end of the year a copy (or an advance copy) was sent to the Berlin concert singer Maria Schmidt-Köhne (letter dated 25 December). In Friedrich Hofmeister’s Musikalisch-literarische Monatsberichte the first publication was listed in the January 1894 edition.5

When Augener & Co. was bought up by the publisher B. Schott’s Söhne in 1910, Reger contacted the publishing director Willy Strecker, distanced himself from his “youthful follies” (particularly from the piano pieces), but expressly made an exception for the songs, his opp. 1–3 and 10 and the Suite in E minor for organ op. 16 (letter dated 29 April 1910). In September 1910 reissues of opp. 4, 8, 12, 14b, and 15 were published.

Composition · Publication · Early reception


Translation by Elizabeth Robinson.

At this point Op. 8 still listed a work which can no longer be identified.
The English text by C. Hugo Laubach was not included in the engraver’s copy, and must have been added before the second proof.
This unclear situation, which continued until the first half of December, is reflected in the manuscripts of the Waltzes op. 11, the Lose Blätter op. 13 and the Duets op. 14, so their opus numbers were missing from the first page of music, or had to be corrected, whereas the correct opus numbers are listed on the title pages at the end of the fair copy (Opus 14 as “14a”).
Reger’s note on the proofs. The numbering on the first page of music as op. 11 may be a simple mistake, as the engraver’s copy of this was never corrected.
Hofmeister, 66. Jg., Nr. 1 (Januar 1894), S. 44.

1. Reception

As early as February 1894 the songs were the subject of a nuanced review in The Monthly Musical Record. The anonymous reviewer praised the modulations in Waldlied as “extremely delicate and effective”, described Der Kornblumenstrauß as “delicate and fanciful” and Scherz as “clever and graceful”. Bauernregel was “of pleasing pastoral character, but the composer’s harmonic skill has tempted him to overcolor his accompaniment”; also with Thränen im Auge the remark “the accompaniment is elaborately evolved” qualified the praise. But as a whole, the review was positive: “Max Reger has something more than talent, and the shortcomings of which we speak are not fatal; it is better, indeed, to have too much to say than too little.” (Review)
Arthur Smolian, on the other hand, came to a negative assessment of the song collections opp. 4 and 8 in his extensive evaluation Max Reger und seine Erstlingswerke at the end of 1894: “The most inferior of Reger’s creations to date seem to be the Walzer-Capricen […] and the songs, despite some successfully accomplished moments in the expression of mood, generally lack a more sensual beauty in the vocal melody.” (Review)

Composition · Publication · Early reception


Translation by Elizabeth Robinson.

1. Stemma

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

2. Quellenbewertung

Adalbert Lindner berichtet, Reger habe bei der Erstellung der Sammlung auf frühere Kompositionen zurückgegriffen (vgl. Entstehung). Die autographe Stichvorlage weist allerdings grundlegende Eingriffe aus, die sie als Erstschrift erscheinen lassen (oder zumindest eine starke Überarbeitung dokumentieren): Ihre Lagenordnung zeigt, dass nach Nr. 3 mehrere Blätter herausgetrennt wurden – möglicherweise mitsamt verworfenen Liedern; die Nrn. 4 und 5 stehen auf separaten Doppelblättern, die nachträglich hinzugefügt worden sein dürften. Darüberhinaus finden sich etliche Korrekturen in allen Liedern, wozu Reger nun auch Rasuren vornimmt.

Der Edition liegt als Leitquelle der Erstdruck zugrunde, der aus verlagspolitischen Gründen mit englischen Übersetzungen erschien. Als zusätzliche Quellen wurden die Stichvorlage sowie der Korrekturabzug herangezogen.

3. Sources

  • Stichvorlage
  • Korrekturabzug
  • Erstdruck

Weiterlesen in der RWA

Object reference

Max Reger: Five Songs op. 8, in: Reger-Werkausgabe,, last check: 3rd June 2023.


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