Nachtgeflüster WoO VII/23

for voice and piano

Komponiert in Weiden, zwischen August 1899 und Mai 1900

Performance medium
Voice; Piano

Work collection
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Original work
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Reger-Werkausgabe Bd. II/2: Lieder II, S. 76.
Herausgeber Stefan König, Dennis Ried.
Unter Mitarbeit von Alexander Becker, Nikolaos Beer und Christopher Grafschmidt.
Verlag Carus-Verlag, Stuttgart; Verlagsnummer: CV 52.809.
Erscheinungsdatum Oktober 2021.
Notensatz Carus-Verlag, Stuttgart.
Copyright 2021 by Carus-Verlag, Stuttgart and Max-Reger-Institut, Karlsruhe – CV 52.809.
Vervielfältigungen jeglicher Art sind gesetzlich verboten. / Any unauthorized reproduction is prohibited by law.
Alle Rechte vorbehalten. / All rights reserved.
ISMN M-007-24652-5.
ISBN 978-3-89948-404-5.

Text template
First edition

Template edition

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

Note: Die vier Jahrgänge der Sonnenblumen – eine bibliophile Loseblatt-Sammlung mit Bildschmuck von Fidus – waren in Besitz Regers. Im Oktober 1899 äußerte er gegenüber Josef Hösl, es fänden sich “schöne Sachen darin, die direkt zum Komponieren reizen” (Brief vom 24. Oktober 1899). Regers Exemplar des vierten Jahrgangs ist in den Meininger Museen/Max-Reger-Archiv erhalten. Mit Bleistift sind einige Gedichte zur Vertonung angestrichen, darunter Wenn lichter Mondenschein…, Helle Nacht und Hütet Euch!. In Helle Nacht ist in der 2. Strophe das Wort “weint” unterstrichen und übermalt, die dritte Strophe ist ausgestrichen und wurde von Reger auch nicht vertont. In Hütet Euch! ist zudem das Wort “Eros” (Strophe 3) unterstrichen.


Note: In der Erstausgabe innerhalb der Rubrik “Nachtgesänge”.

Note: In Regers Vorlage ist das Gedicht zwei- statt einstrophig.

Note: Das Gedicht erschien ferner in Ludwig Jacobowskis Sammlung Neue Lieder der besten neueren Dichter für’s Volk, S. 24.

Note: Der in allen Ausgaben vorhandene Titel Nachtgeschwätz wurde von Reger geändert.

1. Composition and Publication

From mid-1900 Reger increasingly published shorter organ and piano pieces as well as songs in music and arts periodicals, in order to disseminate his works more widely and to gain a new audience1. After he had placed a single song (In verschwiegener Nacht WoO VII/20) in Redende Künste in June 1899, a first contribution for the Neue Musik-Zeitung, Nachtgeflüster WoO VII/23 appeared at the beginning of July 1900; this was dedicated to that periodical. Reviews of Reger’s works had appeared in the Neue Musik-Zeitung since 1899, but there is no record of when and how he came into contact with it, which was published by Stuttgart publisher Carl Grüninger. The date of composition of Nachtgeflüster, the first setting of a poem by Franz Evers, followed by twelve others, is not known. Reger had the text of the song from the belles lettres anthology Sonnenblumen by August 1899 at the latest.2

On 6 July 1900, a day after the publication of Nachtgeflüster, Reger sent a new selection of musical scores to the periodical, and explained in his covering letter: “Enclosed you will find 4 piano pieces & 5 songs. You will find that in the same, I have made only very modest & the most minor demands of the singer and pianist; therefore technically, the pieces will certainly not be too difficult for your readers. […] For the song Brautring 2 printed pages, all the other 4 songs 1 printed page each. With the greatest pleasure I will also send you more songs & piano pieces later on – until everything has been published as inserts, I have long since sent you another instalment of such pieces & songs. […].” (Letter)3 Although the engraver’s copies do not survive, from Reger’s comments on the estimated number of printed pages, we can conclude that he also submitted Brautring WoO VII/25, because he thought that each of the songs Süße Ruh WoO VII/24, Geheimnis WoO VII/26, Mädchenlied WoO VII/27, and Hoffnungslos WoO VII/28 would fit on one page. The song Sonnenregen WoO VII/29, two pages in print, could have been composed at a later date and submitted afterwards, at least its date of publication was considerably after the five other songs: the latter were published in rough succession and alternating with the first two of what was ultimately ten piano pieces4 between September 1900 and March 1901 5, Sonnenregen on the other hand only in July 1902. In November 1900 the Neue Musik-Zeitung also published a detailed article on Reger’s life and work by his friend and organist Karl Straube 6. In August 1902 Reger’s music inserts appeared there for the last time with the songs Sehnsucht and Kindergeschichte which were incorporated into the collection Twelve Songs op. 66 7 shortly afterwards.

As text sources for his songs WoO VII/23–29 Reger chose exclusively contemporary poems: he found (Frieda Laubsch) and Hoffnungslos (Willibald Obst) in the “Texte für Liederkomponisten” column, which the Neue Musik-Zeitung itself published. He probably also found the by Marie Madeleine (Freifrau von Puttkamer) in a periodical.8 Brautring, Geheimnis, and Sonnenregen by Anna Ritter also came from the 1900 volume of poetry , in which Reger had placed great hopes. However, he now felt “very disappointed” by this.9

In June 1910 the Leipzig music publisher Paul Zschocher approached Reger with the idea of newly publishing some songs and piano pieces which had previously been issued as music inserts in anthologies. Reger himself took on the task of checking through everything and calculated “a fee of 50 M for [his] trouble”.10 The copyright agreement signed by the composer on 29 June lists alongside the “10 Klavierstücke[n]” from the Neue Musik-Zeitung, which were combined with two further pieces and now issued as Blätter und Blüten, and “Kleine Lieder: 8 Lieder”, which had been published before in the Neue Musik-Zeitung and by the Taubald’sche Bookshop in Weiden.11 These were the songs WoO VII/23 to 29 and the Wiegenlied WoO VII/19 published in 1899 in Weiden. The latter, however, was not included in the anthology and was published in 1910 as a new publication by Bote & Bock. Instead, Um Mitternacht blühen die Blumen and Volkslied op. 79c nos. 2 and 3 and the Schlummerlied WoO VII/33 were included in the collection. These were given the title Liebeslieder. To what extent Reger was involved in the final compilation and the choice of title is not known. Reger’s revision of the songs WoO VII/23–29 essentially comprised the correction of mistakes (the addition of missing accidentals and ties, deletion of a parallel octave, etc.). The Liebeslieder were published in November 1910 with German and English text both in the original key and in an edition for low voice.12 At the end of 1928 Breitkopf & Härtel took over Zschocher’s stock of Reger editions13, also including the Liebeslieder. Later editions, however, did not include the two songs from op. 79c, as the original publisher Hermann Beyer & Söhne refused to allow them to be reprinted as part of the collection.Note: See Letter from Breitkopf & Härtel to Elsa Reger dated 11 April 1929.


Translation by Elizabeth Robinson.

See the article Regers Musikbeilagen für Zeitschriften.
Reger bought himself the complete four years’ issues probably after the publication of the last volume in 1898/99. A copy of the last year which Reger owned (with annotations) is now preserved in the Meininger Museen/Max-Reger-Archiv.
The letter was probably addressed to the music critic Ernst Ege, who had taken over the management of the periodical in March from Adalbert Svoboda.
WoO III/12 nos. 1 to 6, 8 and 11 and 12.
WoO VII/24 in September 1900, WoO VII/25 in October, WoO VII/26 in December, WoO VII/27 in February 1901, and WoO VII/28 in March.
Neue Musik-Zeitung 21 Jg., no. 22 (8 November 1900), p. 267f.
See RWA, Vol. II/3.
The poem was first published in the collection , which attracted attention through some of its erotic content, but itself belonged to more traditional love lyrics.
“But there was nothing in it which came up to the standard of her earlier things" (Letter dated 27 June 1900 to Ella Kerndl). Despite this, Reger also returned to the collection Befreiung for Die Glocke des Glücks op. 79c no. 6 and Sterne op. 55 no. 7 (both 1901).
Letter dated 25 June 1910 to Paul Zschocher, last listed and cited in: Autographenhandlung J.A. Stargardt, Marburg, Katalog 560 (November 1962): Autographen aus verschiedenem Besitz, lot 1182, p. 91.
Copyright agreement, now in the ownership of ERES EDITION, Lilienthal.
See Hofmeister 82 Jg., no. 11 (November 1910), p. 301.
See Letter from Breitkopf & Härtel to Elsa Reger dated 21 December 1928.

1. Reception

At present, there are no records of performances in Reger's time.

1. Stemma

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

2. Quellenbewertung

Der Edition liegt als Leitquelle der von Reger für den Verlag Paul Zschocher revidierte Druck der Lieder (»Liebeslieder«) zugrunde. Als weitere Quellen wurden deren Erstdrucke als Zeitschriftenbeigaben herangezogen. Die transponierte Ausgabe der »Liebeslieder« für tiefe Stimme entstand vermutlich ohne Regers Beteiligung und war somit editorisch nicht relevant.

3. Sources

  • Erstdrucke der Zeitschriftenbeigaben
  • Erstdruck der revidierten Ausgabe (in: »Liebeslieder«)
Object reference

Max Reger: Nachtgeflüster WoO VII/23, in: Reger-Werkausgabe,, last check: 13th April 2024.


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