Palmsonntagmorgen WoO VI/18

for five-part mixed voice unaccompanied choir

Komponiert in München, Februar/März 1902
Herrn Georg Stolz zugeeignet

Performance medium
Mixed choir [Soprano 1, Soprano 2, Alto, Tenor, Bass]

Work collection
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Original work
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Reger-Werkausgabe Bd. II/8: Werke für gemischten Chor a cappella I, S. 166–176.
Herausgeber Alexander Becker, Christopher Grafschmidt, Stefan König, Stefanie Steiner-Grage.
Verlag Carus-Verlag, Stuttgart; Verlagsnummer: CV 52.815.
Erscheinungsdatum Juni 2018.
Notensatz Carus-Verlag, Stuttgart.
Copyright 2018 by Carus-Verlag, Stuttgart and Max-Reger-Institut, Karlsruhe – CV 52.815.
Vervielfältigungen jeglicher Art sind gesetzlich verboten. / Any unauthorized reproduction is prohibited by law.
Alle Rechte vorbehalten. / All rights reserved.
ISMN M-007-18831-3.
ISBN 978-3-89948-302-4.

Text template
First edition

Template edition

Used for comparison purposes in RWA: Emanuel Geibel: Palmsonntagmorgen, in: id.: Neue Gedichte, 11th edition, J. G. Cotta’sche Buchhandlung, Stuttgart 1870, p. 199–200.

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


Note: Georg Stolz, von dem Reger den Text mutmaßlich erhielt, könnte auch durch die Vertonungen Max Bruchs, Ferdinand Hillers oder Max Erdmannsdörfers auf diesen aufmerksam geworden sein.

Note: Die dritte Strophe wurde von Reger nicht vertont (siehe Textvergleich).

1. Composition

Palmsonntagmorgen for five-part mixed voice choir was composed in February/March 1902 at the request of the Chemnitz organist and choral director Georg Stolz. He may also have suggested the text by Emanuel Geibel, set previously by Max Bruch and Ferdinand Hiller for choir or soloist, women’s voices and orchestra; the text “links the image of awakening nature with Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem”.1 With its divisions into sections of the lines of text set, with imitative parts and chordal interpolations, Palmsonntagmorgen looks ahead to Reger’s later motets.

As can be learned from Reger’s letter of 16 August 1901, Stolz had made contact with him shortly before and reported on efforts to rehearse works in various different genres by Reger in Chemnitz – probably with a view to a concert as part of the German Teachers’ Meeting in Chemnitz in May 1902. Reger recommended the Violin Sonata in A major op. 41 instead of the Cello Sonata in F minor op. 5, announced the Organ Pieces op. 59, and pressed for a performance of the Hymne an den Gesang op. 211 by the Teachers’ Choral Society (writing). Further correspondence is incomplete; by the end of January 1901 Reger was at any rate counting on a performance of the Hymne and was more than disappointed when this did not take place: “Your laziness screams to the heavens! Have I not beseeched you to speak with Herr Pohle as soon as possible regarding a performance. No answer from you! It is very annoying!” (Writing dated 31 January)

Whether it really was an omission on Stolz’s part to engage the Teachers’ Choral Society and the City Music Choir (the commercially-organized predecessor ensemble to the City Orchestra), also conducted by Max Pohle, remains open. At any rate he immediately came up with a quite different kind of counter-proposal – a mixed chorus a cappella instead of a male voice chorus with orchestra. Evidently the program planned by Stolz had taken shape in the meantime, with works including the Symphonic Fantasia and Fugue for organ op. 57, as well as finally two unaccompanied contributions from WoO VI/11 and VI/13, four pieces from Opus 59, and a Largo for clarinet and organ (probably from the Clarinet Sonata op. 49 no. 1). Reger immediately agreed, appeased: “[… ]You are the first there for Saxony with Op. 57! From the publisher’s perspective the chorus will not be published by Whitsun, therefore I will make sure that you have the first performance in Chemnitz! […] The whole enterprise is splendid! The unaccompanied chorus will be very fine!” (Writing dated 7 February) From the information which Reger gave about the program in his answer, although it gives no further details of the “a cappella choir” we can deduce that Stolz was in the picture anyway: he may also have sent him a suggestion for the text for the work to be newly composed himself when sending him the program design.

Composition · Publication · Early reception

2. Publication

On 17 March 1902 Reger submitted the engraver’s copy to the publisher Jos. Aibl, and the following day signed the copyright agreement, according to which he assigned the work free of royalties. Palmsonntagmorgen had to be printed quickly so that Georg Stolz was able to rehearse it with his church choir at St. Lukas; on 20 April – probably more or less simultaneously with the despatch of the first printed edition to Chemnitz – Reger was able to send the critic Theodor Kroyer a review copy (letter). In Hofmeister’s Musikalisch-literarischer Monatsbericht, Palmsonntagmorgen was listed in May 1902.2

Composition · Publication · Early reception


Translation by Elizabeth Robinson.

Thomas Seedorf, “Max Reger und die Spätzeit der Motette”, in Reger-Studien 6, p. 238.
See Hofmeisters Musikalisch-literarischer Monatsbericht über neue Musikalien, musikalische Schriften und Abbildungen 74 Jg., no. 5 (May 1902), p. 228.

1. Reception

The first performance took place on Whit Monday, 19 May 1902. The Chemnitzer Tageblatt wrote of a “magnificent church concert […] in the full to overflowing church” of St. Lukas which included three further novelties probably initiated by Georg Stolz (by Nicolai von Wilm and Bruno Mann from Chemnitz). The reviewer wrote of WoO VI/18: “Max Reger’s five-part motet ‘Palmsonntagmorgen’ [captivates] through its highly poetic content, the splendid, highly intertwined movement of the individual parts, the lively coloring of the meaning of the individual lines of text in a rounded bringing together to create a unified whole” (review). Robert Frenzel wrote a little later in the Monatschrift für Gottesdienst und kirchliche Kunst of a “small but fine masterpiece” and summarized that Reger’s setting of Geibel’s text “turned out extremely well in terms of atmosphere and part-writing […]”, so that “the poet must share the accolades with the composer”(review).1

Composition · Publication · Early reception


Translation by Elizabeth Robinson.

7 Jg., no. 8 (August 1902), p. 262.

1. Stemma

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

2. Quellenbewertung

Der Edition liegt als Leitquelle die Erstdruck-Partitur zugrunde. Hinsichtlich der Platzierung der Dynamikangaben ist an einigen Stellen auch auf die handschriftlichen Quellen zurückgegriffen.

3. Sources

  • Stichvorlage Partitur und Stimmen
  • Erstdruck Partitur und Stimmen
Object reference

Max Reger: Palmsonntagmorgen WoO VI/18, in: Reger-Werkausgabe,, last check: 20th May 2024.


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