Four Songs op. 88

for medium voice and piano

Content
Creation
Komponiert in München, ca. Juli 1905
Status
Dedication

Performance medium
Middle voice; Piano

Work collection
  • -
Original work
  • -
Versions
  • -

1.

Reger-Werkausgabe Bd. II/4: Lieder IV, S. 146–161.
Herausgeber Knud Breyer und Stefan König.
Unter Mitarbeit von Christopher Grafschmidt und Claudia Seidl.
Verlag Carus-Verlag, Stuttgart; Verlagsnummer: CV 52.811.
Erscheinungsdatum September 2023.
Notensatz Carus-Verlag, Stuttgart.
Copyright 2023 by Carus-Verlag, Stuttgart and Max-Reger-Institut, Karlsruhe – CV 52.811.
Vervielfältigungen jeglicher Art sind gesetzlich verboten. / Any unauthorized reproduction is prohibited by law.
Alle Rechte vorbehalten. / All rights reserved.
ISMN M-007-30202-3
ISBN 978-3-89948-447-2.

No. 1


Category
Text template
First edition

Template edition

Copy shown in RWA: DE, Bonn, Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek, Fa 1318/29.

Note: Die Ausgabe befand sich in Regers Besitz.


Annotations

No. 2


Category
Text template
First edition

Template edition

Copy shown in RWA: DE, Karlsruhe, Max-Reger-Institut/Elsa-Reger-Stiftung, G.


Annotations

Note: Der Titel “Stelldichein” spricht für die kurz vor der Komposition des Opus 88 erschienene Anthologie Herzenstöne als Vorlage, wenngleich Regers Lied an einigen Stellen von dieser abweicht.


No. 3


Category
Text template
First edition

Template edition

Copy shown in RWA: DE, Karlsruhe, Max-Reger-Institut/Elsa-Reger-Stiftung, Rara.

Note: In Regers Besitz.

Note: Am 29. Dezember 1900 schrieb Reger an den Musikschriftsteller Arthur Seidl: Franz Evers ist ein famoser Lyriker; ich habe in seinen „Fundamenten“ ganz wundervolle Sachen gefunden!” (Brief, zitiert nach Max Reger. Briefe eines deutschen Meisters. Ein Lebensbild, hrsg. von Else von Hase-Koehler, Leipzig 1928, S. 86.) Reger vertonte insgesamt vier Texte aus diesem Band (siehe Opera 55 Nr. 13, 62 Nr. 3, 70 Nr. 17 und 88 Nr. 3).


Annotations

No. 4


Category
Text template
First edition

Template edition

Copy shown in RWA: DE, Karlsruhe, Max-Reger-Institut/Elsa-Reger-Stiftung, Rara.

Used for comparison purposes in RWA: Karl August Mayer: Spatz und Spätzin, in: Neue Lieder der besten neueren Dichter für’s Volk, ed. by Ludwig Jacobowski, M. Liemann, Berlin 1899, p. 79.

Copy shown in RWA: DE, Karlsruhe, Max-Reger-Institut/Elsa-Reger-Stiftung, Rara.

Note: Die Anthologie hatte Reger bereits in früheren Jahren zur Textsuche genutzt.


Annotations

Note: In Erstausgabe mit Datumsangabe Oldenburg, März 1840.

Note: Beide Vorlagen sind möglich, zumal Reger gegenüber diesen keine Wortänderungen vornimmt. Beide Anthologien verwendete Reger mehrfach bei der Textsuche.


1. Composition and Publication

It was in a letter of 18 March 1905 that Reger first told his publishers of his intention to dedicate a set of songs to the concert singer Lula Mysz-Gmeiner: “This year you’ll still get the Sinfonietta, the easy piano sonatas [op. 89], a new volume of ‘Schlichte Weisen’, – then songs for Mysz-Gmeiner!!!!, then the Chorale Cantata (for Easter) [WoO V/4 no. 5].”1 Mysz-Gmeiner was a mezzo-soprano who had trained in Vienna and Berlin and had begun performing Reger’s songs in the autumn of 1902.2 From 1905 onwards, she regularly included his songs in her repertoire. In February 1903, Mysz-Gmeiner and Reger became personally acquainted on the occasion of a song recital in Munich.3 Their further contact initially seems to have taken place through the auspices of the pianist Emmy Bock, who also lived in Berlin and was a friend of the singer. Reger repeatedly asked Bock to pass on both his best wishes and copies of his songs – accompanied by the request that Bock should persuade Mysz-Gmeiner to sing them. Reger eventually renewed direct contact with the singer, no doubt encouraged by Bock.4 On 13 August 1904, he sent her a copy of Aeolsharfe op. 75 no 11. “With your incomparable art of interpretation, dear madam, you will surely enjoy great success everywhere with this song.” (Postal item to Lula Mysz-Gmeiner of 13 August 1904) Just over two months later, he also informed Mysz-Gmeiner of his latest composing plans: “I shall be writing new songs in March next year; may I dedicate them to you? I should be very pleased if you would accept!” (Postal item of 21 October 1904 an Mysz-Gmeiner) She indeed accepted, and her name was duly appended to the first page of the Four Songs op. 88.

These songs opus 88, composed in July 1905, were published not by Lauterbach & Kuhn, but by the renowned company N. Simrock in Berlin. They had become aware of Reger through the Berlin critic Leopold Schmidt, who had attended the ADMV Festival in Frankfurt am Main in 1904 and had witnessed the ground-breaking performance there of Reger’s Violin Sonata op. 72 on 31 May, with Henri Marteau accompanied by the composer. Schmidt’s review in the Berliner Tageblatt praised Reger as an “‘absolute musician’ [...] who [...] disdains [...] making use of anything but purely musical means.”5 This comment made such an unmistakable link to Johannes Brahms – Simrock’s sometime house composer – that it seemed obvious for Hans Simrock to reach out to Reger in order to convince him that they should work together.

Reger replied to Simrock’s request on 24 June 1904: “Dear Sir, I found your kind letter upon returning from a brief trip. I am very pleased that you wish to enter into a relationship with me, and I ask you to kindly inform me of the type of music that you primarily have in mind, and whether you would be willing to intensify such a relationship with regard to the publication of my works over the long term. [...] Dr Leopold Schmidt will surely also have informed you that mine are not compositions that flatter the taste of the public, or that vie for the favour of everyday tastes.” (Letter to Hans Simrock of 24 June 1904) The thrust of Reger’s letter is clear; after Lauterbach & Kuhn had signalled their intentions by postponing the publication of his op. 75 in favour of his op. 76 – the former more progressive, the latter catchier – Reger feared that his more advanced compositions might also present him with problems in the future. These fears were realised in 1907 when he signed a contractual agreement with Lauterbach & Kuhn that obliged him to submit a number of Schlichte Weisen every year to compensate for their publishing his less ‘popular’ works. Reger could hope for more understanding from Simrock in such matters.

At the same time that he replied to Simrock’s letter, Reger also reported back on this to Lauterbach & Kuhn – though apparently without being entirely aware of the potential legal implications (“please remain always assured that I will do nothing that would be unjust or unfair towards you!”). This letter to his publisher also reveals Reger’s deep sense of grievance on account of their notorious doubts about him: “The fact that you are not fighting a losing or unworthy battle on my part should be clear to you, given that I have received a number of brilliant offers from major publishing companies since Frankfurt; [...] Peters, Simrock and Bote and Bock all want something from me! Please don’t misunderstand me: it is in your interest as well as mine if Peters, Simrock and Bote and Bock also get something from me! Because if Peters, Simrock [and] Bote and Bock also publish my works, I will without any doubt improve my reputation decisively – and this moral issue will retroactively benefit you just as much! Besides, I don’t want to snub Peters, Simrock and Bote and Bock, which would be politically very unwise!” (LetterL to Lauterbach & Kuhn of 23 June 1904 – Also applies to previous quotation) This letter hit a raw nerve with Lauterbach & Kuhn. Reger tried to calm things down in a letter of 27 June: “You have misunderstood me completely in one matter! (concerning Simrock etc.!) [...] For today, please merely rest assured that nothing is further from my mind than not holding to our beautiful relationship forever! So please feel completely reassured about this matter! I know very well that you came to me at a time when I was still very ‘problematic’! I might otherwise be a ‘bad guy’ – but ingratitude is something with which I am not acquainted!” (postcard to Lauterbach & Kuhn of 27 June 1904)

As a result of this, the Wind Serenade WoO I/9 that Reger had intended to give to Simrock remained unfinished, and for the moment all contact with them ceased. Nine months later, on 9  March 1905, Hans Simrock attempted to reestablish their relationship and went to Reger in the artist’s dressing room at a concert in the Bechstein Hall in Berlin. Reger’s sense of loyalty meant that he had to reject any idea of changing publisher, but he nevertheless suggested instead that he might offer Simrock “at least one work every year, inasmuch as it is possible” (letter to Simrock of 21 July 1905), as it would be an honour for him to be allowed to work with the same publisher as Brahms. It would seem that Reger had meanwhile been able to reach a compromise with Lauterbach & Kuhn in this regard. His first opus for Simrock comprised the Four Songs op. 88 for Mysz-Gmeiner, which Reger had mentioned a few months earlier to Lauterbach & Kuhn. In early July, Simrock confirmed that they would publish the songs,6 and Reger replied on 10 July to confirm that the manuscripts would be sent the following week: “Thank you very much for your kind telegram. I am very pleased that you have agree to publish these songs; I am just in the process of completing the fair copies of them, then I will go through them with a good singer. The manuscripts will certainly be with you by next Monday (17th)! [...] If you can send the songs directly to the engraver on Monday (17th), I will easily be able to get the proofs by 25 or 26 July!” (postcard to Hans Simrock of 10 July 1905) Reger accordingly sent off the manuscripts on 14 July 1905: “Enclosed you will find the 4 songs; there are 2 serious songs and two cheerful ones, all of which are splendidly suited to Mrs Mysz-Gmeiner.” (Letter to Hans Simrock of 20 July 1905) As Reger had requested, the songs were published in individual editions and with dual-language texts, in German and English.7 His fee was 600 marks – in other words, considerably more than he was paid by Lauterbach & Kuhn. Reger returned the corrected proofs on 1 August 1905,8 and sent additional corrections to the title pages on 10 August.9 Finally, on 15 September, Reger received his author’s copy and thanked Simrock “for the very beautiful publication of my songs op. 88” (Letter to Hans Simrock of 15 September 1905).10 Reger requested free copies11 for the dedicatee, Lula Mysz-Gmeiner, and for Ludwig Hess, Louise Wolff and Walter Fischer; the last of these had published articles on Reger, and had only recently written about Reger’s organ works12 and about his Schlichte Weisen op. 76.13

2.

Translation by Chris Walton.


1
letter to Lauterbach & Kuhn of 18 March 1905.
2
Concert in Berlin on 18 November 1902, see the review in the Allgemeinen Musik-Zeitung vol. 29 (1902), no. 48 (28 November), p. 808.
3
“When Mrs Lula Mysz-Gmeiner sang my songs (2 of them) in Munich last Monday, she had 6 curtain calls; I spoke with her and this coming summer she will study a lot of Reger and sing them next winter!” (letter .letter from Reger to Carl Lauterbach of 14 February 1903.
4
See Reger’s postcard to Emmy Bock of 21 June 1904: “I have already written to Mrs Wolff; I shall shortly be writing to Mrs Mysz-Gmeiner”
5
Leopold Schmidt, “Die Tonkünstlerversammlung in Frankfurt a. M.”, in Berliner Tageblatt vol. 33, no. 289, 9 June 1904.
6
Louise Wolff was presumably an intermediary in establishing contact between Reger and Simrock, because the former thanked her in a letter of 12 July, expressly referring to “4 new songs that Simrock will be getting next Monday”.
7
Translated by Elsa Ebertz.
8
His letter to Hans Simrock of 1 August 1905 was erroneously dated “1904”.
9
“Spätzin (not Spätzlein) […] Then for the songs: No 2, 3 and 4 lack the name of the poet!” (postcard to Hans Simrock of 10 August 1905)
10
Simrock chose a much simpler design for his editions than Lauterbach & Kuhn, who decorated their covers with lavish art nouveau designs by renowned artists.
11
See postcard and letter to Hans Simrock of 28 August and 15 September 1905 respectively, ibid., pp. 37 and 41.
12
Walter Fischer, “Reger als Orgelkomponist”, in Allgemeine Musik-Zeitung vol. 32 (1905), nos. 32/33 (11/18 August), pp. 508–510, 525–527.
13
Walter Fischer, “Max Reger. Schlichte Weisen. op. 76”, in Allgemeine Musik-Zeitung vol. 31. (1904), no. 36, p. 576.

1. Reception

The first known performance of a song from op. 88 was given on 5 October 1905 in the Museum Room of the Palais Portia in Munich. Ottilie Hey was accompanied by Reger himself in Stelldichein (“Tryst”, op. 88, no. 2).1 As can be gathered from Elsa Reger's concert book2, Spatz und Spätzin (“Boy and girl sparrows”, no 4) was given its first performance by Sanna van Rhyn at a Reger evening in the Adlersaal in Nuremberg on 26 October 1905.3 As Reger had hoped, Lula Mysz-Gmeiner performed songs from op. 88 in several of her concerts.4 Other Reger interpreters also swiftly took up these songs in their they were published, including Adele Münz, Clara Rahn, Sophie Rikoff, Martha Ruben und Mathilde Knauer-Haas. Stelldichein proved especially popular; by mid-December 1905 it is known to have been sung a total of eight times in concerts by all the above singers except for Rikoff and Ruben.5 Spatz und Spätzin, on the other hand, proved less in demand.6 Notturno (no. 1) was also heard only sporadically in the concert hall after its first performance. repertoire after

Relatively few concert reviews referred specifically to op 88. They emphasise the stylistic shift that Reger had undergone since his avant-garde phase that had brought forth his songs opp. 62 to 75. The reviews of his opp. 62, 68 and 70 in particular had overwhelmingly expressed disconcertment and disapproval,7 primarily because of the harmonic complexity that characterised his powerful piano accompaniments and the declamatory style of the vocal lines that eschewed any conventional melodiousness. But the reviewers had now become markedly friendly. After a concert by Clara Rahn in Berlin’s Bechstein Hall on 18 November 1905, Leopold Schmidt wrote of Reger’s new songs as follows: “Just this week we have been able to hear the best of his songs; these were melodies that strike a heartfelt, often new tone, and whose compositional design is as happy as it is subtle and original.”8 And after a concert in Gotha on 2 December 1905, Max Puttmann wrote in the Neuen Musikalischen Presse in Vienna that “Reger’s songs breathe much poetry; Mrs Adele Münz from Barmen sang about a dozen of them. She sang [...] “Stelldichein” delightfully, which was one of the most beautiful of the songs she performed [...].”9

2.

Translation by Chris Walton.


1
See R[udolf] L[oui]s, review of the song recital of 5 October 1905 in Münchener Neueste Nachrichten vol. 58, no. 469 (7 October 1905), morning edition, p.  2.
2
See Elsa Reger, Concert-Buch Saison 1905–06 Saison 1905–06 (vol. 2), Meininger Museen, Sammlung Musikgeschichte/Max-Reger-Archiv, p. [8].
3
See the following reviews: Generalanzeiger für Nürnberg-Fürth of 27 October 1905 (no. 253), p. 5; Nordbayerische Zeitung no. 254 of 28 October 1905, and Die Musik vol. 5 (1906), no. 8 (second January issue), p. 134. – The song is not mentioned in these reviews, however.
4
On 28 October 1905 in Karlsruhe, Lula Mysz-Gmeiner gave the first performance of Notturno op. 88 no. 1. Her programme also included op. 88,no. 2, Stelldichein. She repeated this combination in Anklam on 8 November. On 6 November 1905 in Kassel and on 10 November in Greifswald, she sang Flötenspielerin (no. 3). On 20 December, she also sang the first three songs of op. 88 in the Mainz City Theatre (in the sequence 1, 3, 2), when she was accompanied by the composer. (See Elsa Reger, Concert-Buch Saison 1905–06 [vol. 2] [see note 196], pp. [18 ff.] and [50]. See also Max Reger in seinen Konzerten, vol. 2. Programme der Konzerte Regers, edited by Ingeborg Schreiber, Bonn 1981, p. 292).
5
Ruben and Rikoff nevertheless sang Flötenspielerin (“The woman flautist”, no. 3).
6
Besides Sanna van Rhyn, only Mathilde Haas-Knauer sang it in her concert of 16 December 1905 in the Munich Museum.
7
See RWA vol. II/3, pp. XV, XIX f. and XXII f.
8
Leopold Schmidt, “Aus den Konzerten”, in Berliner Tageblatt vol. 34 (1905), no. 595 (21 November), evening edition, p. 1.
9
Concert review by Max Puttmann in Neue Musikalische Presse (Vienna) vol. 15 (1906), no. 1, p. 10.

1. Stemma

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

2. Quellenbewertung

Der Edition liegt als Leitquelle und einzige Quelle der Erstdruck zugrunde.

3. Sources

  • Stichvorlage (verschollen)
  • Erstdruck (ED)
Object reference

Max Reger: Four Songs op. 88, in: Reger-Werkausgabe, www.reger-werkausgabe.de/mri_work_00105.html, last check: 13th April 2024.

Information

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