Ten Songs op. 15

for medium voice and piano

  • No. 1 Glück

    Text: Kurt von Rohrscheidt

  • No. 2 Das Blatt im Buche

    Text: Anastasius Grün

  • No. 3 Nelken

    Text: Theodor Storm

  • No. 4 Traum

    Text: Joseph von Eichendorff

  • No. 5 Das Mädchen spricht

    Text: Robert Prutz

  • No. 6 Scheiden

    Text: Daniel Saul

  • No. 7 Der Schelm

    Text: unknown

  • No. 8 Leichtsinniger Rat

    Text: Daniel Saul

  • No. 9 Verlassen hab ich mein Lieb

    Text: Franz Engel

  • No. 10 Trost

    Text: Gustav Falke

Gewidmet »Dir!« [Mathilde Hilf]

Performance medium
Middle voice; Piano

Work collection
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Original work
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Reger-Werkausgabe Bd. II/1: Lieder I, S. 87–106.
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 Ten Songs op. 15 were probably composed in August/September 1894 in Weiden 1, shortly after Reger separated from his fiancée Tilly Hilf in Wiesbaden, to whom the songs are dedicated (“Dir!”). Initially, the opus comprised just seven songs (the future nos. 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 10), some of which were written out separately 2 and only later notated in a continuous engraver’s copy (date of completion: 20. August). Shortly after this, Reger composed three further songs (nos. 3 and 5, as well as no. 7) and compiled them together in a further additional engraver’s copy. On the verso page of the title page of this second manuscript, Reger set out the sequence of the songs, with Trost as the eighth song, and the work ending emblematically with Verlassen hab ich mein Lieb.

Composition · Publication · Early reception

2. Publication

Shortly after completing the work on 5 September 1894 Reger must have sent the two engraver’s copies to the publisher Augener & Co., so he was able to sign the copyright agreement on 13 September before his return to Wiesbaden – the winter semester began on 18 September (see letter to the publisher Augener). On 26 November Reger enquired about the proofs (see letter to the same) and on 6 December reckoned that opp. 14 and 15 would be published in the “next days” (letter to Adalbert Lindner). The engravers’ stamp on the proofs, which probably related to an internal signing-off (“for print”), bears the date 22 December. Finally, on 23 January 1895, Reger was able to inform Anton Gloetzner that both the duets and the solo songs had been published “in the meantime” (letter).

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.

In a letter dated 16 November 1894 to Arthur Smolian Reger described the “autumn holidays” as his time for composing, which is odd, given that holidays were never mentioned otherwise.
There are Erstschriften (first copies) of at least nos. 1, 3 and 5, 7 and 9 which are independent of each other.

1. Reception

As with the Duets op. 14 the first printed edition of the Songs op. 15 was evidently only reviewed in the Allgemeine Musik-Zeitung and of course in the The Monthly Musical Record. Hermann Bischoff saw development potential as regards the choice, as well as the approach to the poems. In the reviewer’s opinion, Reger did not care to “convey a profound insight received from the poetry in his art”, he was much happier “to simply make music in order to eventually make practical use of what he had learned in his rigorous training. And so, even poems such as the highly unpretentious ‘Mond, hast du nicht gesehen’ [no. 5 Das Mädchen spricht] by Prutz are composed with an extravagance of erudition, which kills off the wit of the poem like beating it with cudgels. The composer’s somewhat archaic idiom fits really well with the well-known poem ‘das Blatt im Buche’ [no. 2], it emits a slight smell of mould, similar to that which hits you when you open an old book.” (Review) In the Monthly Musical Record Reger’s technical and, in particular, harmonic capabilities were thoroughly acknowledged. “But he has such a horror of the commonplace that he forgets at times the grace of simplicity; also that excess of colouring and involved rhythm often defeat the very aim of the composer. Max Reger does not use his skill to conceal his poverty of invention; his thoughts are good, and sometimes, as, for example, in Das Blatt, and more especially in Der Schelm 1, Nos. 2 and 10 [recte: 7] of Op. 15, he gives simple melody, and simple rhythm, and yet not commonplace.” In addition to this there was a favorable mention of no. 1 Glück (“very short, but effective”) and, in particular, no. 9 Verlassen hab ich mein Lieb and no. 10 Trost: “They are both attractive; the first shows the influence of Brahms, the second, that of Schubert.” (Rezension)

In the few reviews of concerts in which at least one of the Ten Songs was performed, this opus was only seldom mentioned. The reviewer of the first joint appearance of Reger with Josef Loritz on 8 January 1899 in the Ankersaal in Weiden simply put it, although enthusiastically: “We would particularly like to single out the songs which have found an absolutely unparalleled interpreter in Herr Präparandenlehrer J Loritz of Regensburg. These rather difficult songs could barely be sung more beautifully.” (Review) Even when, years later, Reger was able to draw on a large output of songs, he occasionally included a song from opus 15 in his concerts. After one such a mixed program in a concert on 9 October 1910 in Olmütz (present-day Olomouc) the reviewer Hugo Fleischer detected a certain degree of imitation in Reger’s early song output: “In the opus 15 and 31 songs we see Reger still fully indebted to Schumann’s lyricism. The mood of the poems is accompanied musically, the musical language is still not very individual.” (Review) At a chamber music evening on 22 December 1911 in Frankfurt a.M., Theo Schäfer finally came to a judgement which was at least partly positive: “Even in the songs, there is not much original lyric poetry. Nevertheless the relatively simple ‘Glück’ [op. 15 no. 1], the ‘Äolsharfe’ [op. 75 no. 11] and the lively ‘Vorbeimarsch’ [op. 76 no. 30] appealed.” 2 His colleague Paul Bekker, by comparison, wrote briefly: “Song composition in general is not one of Reger’s specialities, and the songs performed yesterday are also only of relative interest.” 3

Composition · Publication · Early reception


Translation by Elizabeth Robinson.

With Der Schelm (no. 7) Reger had given the poet as “(R....)”, which was interpreted as an indication that the poem was by himself. Otto Michaeli was able to refute this opinion, also spread by Adalbert Lindner, by identifying “R.” as an abbreviation used many times in the column Texte für Liederkomponisten in the Neue Musik-Zeitung (Wer ist der Textdichter von Regers „Schelm“? Eine Umfrage).
Die Musik 11 Jg., no. 8 (2nd January volume 1912), p. 122.
Frankfurter Zeitung no. 355 dated 23 December 1911, 3rd morning paper, p. 1.

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 Quellen wurden die Erstschriften von Nr. 1 und Nr. 9 bzw. der Nrn. 3, 5 und 7, die Zweitschrift der Nr. 9, die Stichvorlagen der Nrn. 1, 2, 4, 6, 8–10 bzw. Nrn. 3, 5, 7 sowie der Korrekturabzug herangezogen.

3. Sources

  • mögliche Erstschrift
  • Erstschrift
  • Erstschrift
  • Erstschrift
  • vermutliche Zweitschrift
  • Zweitschrift
  • 2, 4, 6 und 8-10 - Stichvorlage
  • Stichvorlage
  • Korrekturabzug
  • Erstdruck

Weiterlesen in der RWA

Object reference

Max Reger: Ten Songs op. 15, in: Reger-Werkausgabe, www.reger-werkausgabe.de/mri_work_00016.html, last check: 3rd June 2023.


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