Five Duets op. 14

for soprano, alto and piano

  • No. 1 Nachts

    Text: Joseph von Eichendorff

  • No. 2 Abendlied

    Text: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

  • No. 3 Sommernacht

    Text: Daniel Saul

  • No. 4 Gäb's ein einzig Brünnelein!

    Text: unknown

  • No. 5 O frage nicht!

    Text: Rudolf Nawrocki

Seinem lieben Vetter Prof. Hans Koessler gewidmet

Performance medium
Soprano; Alto; Piano

Work collection
  • -
Original work
  • -
  • -


Reger-Werkausgabe Bd. II/1: Lieder I, S. 54–76.
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 and Publication

Nothing is known about the composition of the Duets op. 14. Reger probably discovered the poem Sommernacht (no. 3) by Daniel Saul at the end of August 1893 in the Neue Musik-Zeitung 1. He may subsequently have bought the relevant volume of poetry, which may have been used as a direct source and which also contains both the poems by Saul set in Opus 15. Whilst a specific opus number is consciously avoided on the first page of music of the engraver’s copy, the title page gives the collection as Opus “14a”. This discovery dates the manuscript to around the same time as the Waltzes op. 11 and Lose Blätter op. 13 composed in the first half of December; only with this was it possible to clarify the numbering of opp. 8ff, which had previously been mixed up2. At this point a combined publication of the duets and the song Ich stehe hoch überm See! op. 14b, dedicated to Reger’s cousin Hans Koessler, was planned.

Reger probably submitted the engraver’s copy to the publisher at the beginning of 1894, since he complained on 30 October that year to Waldemar Meyer: “Augener always keeps things so long in his bookcase. He has had a book of duets since January, a new book (10) Songs [op. 15] since September – to date I have only received the money for these, but no proofs.” (Letter) The proofs must have reached him in the following weeks, for he returned them to Augener on 26 November (see letter). On 6 December he expected the publication of the first printed edition in “the next days” (letter to Adalbert Lindner), but was only able to send a dedication copy to his friend Max Löwe at New Year 1895.

Composition and publication · Early reception


Translation by Elizabeth Robinson.

Otto Michaeli reports that he drew Adalbert Lindner’s attention to the column Texte für Liederkomponisten later, following which Lindner wrote to him: “Our master was then indeed constantly on the search for usable song texts. During the summer holidays 1893 he probably flicked through the 16 issues for the year which I had and marked what appealed to him.” (In Otto Michaeli, Wer ist der Textdichter von Regers „Schelm“? Eine Umfrage.)
Also with the piano works, 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.

1. Reception

Shortly after the publication of the Five Duets op. 14 reviews appeared in the Allgemeine Musik-Zeitung and in the Augener house magazine, the The Monthly Musical Record. Hermann Bischoff described how he missed a deeper penetration into the subject which was hindered by, amongst other things, Reger’s enthusiasm for his own technical capabilities: “In the duets the composer’s desire for the greatest possible independence of the parts was naturally beneficial. The two vocal parts contrast with each other vividly, but here too [see Opus 15], it is noticeable that it is not the longing for increased expression, but simply the pleasure in truly artistic music-making which was crucial. And therefore some aspects seem stiff and forced, and make only for that cool pleasure rather like, for example, a cleverly-resolved arithmetical problem.” (Review) In the Monthly Musical Record Reger’s technical ability was similarly acknowledged, and there was separate mention of just no. 1 Nachts (“very fine”) and no. 3 Sommernacht (“the harmonies are, as it were, a reflection of the fragrance of summer-eve”). (Review)

After Reger’s death, the publication of an edition of various early works by B. Schott’s Söhne led to a positive reaction to the structure of the duets compared with the unevenness of “inspiration and the concretely-musical” in the songs: ““The many kinds of significance in the duets was immediately surprising. Here, too, the accompaniment mainly Regerish-pianistic.” (Review)”

Composition and 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

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

3. Sources

  • Stichvorlage
  • Korrekturabzug
  • Erstdruck

Weiterlesen in der RWA

Object reference

Max Reger: Five Duets op. 14, in: Reger-Werkausgabe,, last check: 28th March 2023.


This is an object entry from the RWA encyclopaedia. Links and references to other objects within the encyclopaedia are currently not active. These will be activated with an update later in 2022.