Chorale Prelude “O Traurigkeit, o Herzeleid” WoO IV/2

for organ

  • I. 

Performance medium

Work collection
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Original work
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Reger-Werkausgabe Bd. I/4: Choralvorspiele, S. 2–4.
Herausgeber Alexander Becker, Christopher Grafschmidt, Stefan König, Stefanie Steiner-Grage.
Verlag Carus-Verlag, Stuttgart; Verlagsnummer: CV 52.804.
Erscheinungsdatum Juni 2013.
Notensatz Carus-Verlag, Stuttgart.
Copyright 2013 by Carus-Verlag, Stuttgart and Max-Reger-Institut, Karlsruhe – CV 52.804.
Vervielfältigungen jeglicher Art sind gesetzlich verboten. / Any unauthorized reproduction is prohibited by law.
Alle Rechte vorbehalten. / All rights reserved.
ISMN M-007-13938-4.
ISBN 978-3-89948-180-8.

Chorale Prelude “O Traurigkeit, o Herzeleid”

Text template
First edition

Template edition


1. Composition

Following a review of Reger’s opp. 1 to 4 and 6 by Heinrich Reimann in the 7 July 1893 issue of the Allgemeine Musik-Zeitung (AMZ), at a meeting in Berlin, the editor of the periodical, Otto Leßmann, offered Reger the opportunity of contributing to the AMZ both as a music reviewer and by including music inserts (see Reger’s letter). This may have particularly suited the up-and-coming young composer, as through this he could gain access to a wide circle of interested people (see Introduction). It was decided that the first insert should be a chorale prelude, however, Reger first had to obtain the approval of his publisher: “I have written to Augener about the chorale prelude and will let you know as soon as I receive an answer. You’ll include it as an insert in the number with the review of my violoncello sonata op. 5, won’t you?1 Of course!” (Ibid.)

Whether the Chorale Prelude “O Traurigkeit, o Herzeleid” had already been composed by the time of the discussions with Leßmann, and when and why Reger handed over the autograph manuscript to Heinrich Reimann, remains unclear. At any rate, Reger informed Leßmann in the same letter: “Herr Dr Reimann has the manuscript, and will make it available to you at any time.” (Ibid.)

2. Publication

A few days before the first Reger concert in Berlin, the chorale prelude was published in no. 6 of the Allgemeine Musik-Zeitung dated 9 February 1894, accompanied by a comment from the editor: “With the music insert included in today’s number, may we present our newest colleague, the composer Herr Max Reger, to readers of the ‘Allgemeine Musik-Zeitung’. Herr Reger will give a concert in the Berlin Singakademie on the 14th inst exclusively devoted to his own compositions, which we particularly want to bring to your attention here.” 2 “O Traurigkeit, o Herzeleid” remained Reger’s sole contribution of this kind to the AMZ, particularly since his involvement with it ended by October 1894.


Translation by Elizabeth Robinson.

Reger probably brought the first edition of the Sonata published at the end of September with him to Leßmann.
Allgemeine Musik-Zeitung 21. Jg. (1894), No. 6 (9 February), p. 86.

1. Reception

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

1. Stemma

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

2. Quellenbewertung

Der Edition liegt als Leitquelle der Erstdruck zugrunde.

3. Sources

    Object reference

    Max Reger: Chorale Prelude “O Traurigkeit, o Herzeleid” WoO IV/2, in: Reger-Werkausgabe,, last check: 18th May 2024.


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