Responsories WoO VI/23

for mixed voice unaccompanied choir

  • No. 1 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord

    Text: unknown

  • No. 10 We know no other God

    Text: unknown

  • No. 11 Fear God, and keep His commandments

    Text: unknown

  • No. 12 Thine, O Lord, is the power

    Text: unknown

  • No. 13 Look down, O Lord, from thy holy place

    Text: unknown

  • No. 14 Bless the Lord at all times

    Text: unknown

  • No. 15 Make me go to in the path

    Text: unknown

  • No. 16 Shall we receive good

    Text: unknown

  • No. 17 I know that my Redeemer liveth

    Text: unknown

  • No. 18 If we believe that Jesus died

    Text: unknown

  • No. 19 Behold, how the righteous dieth

    Text: unknown

  • No. 2 The Word was made flesh

    Text: unknown

  • No. 20 I will lay me down in peace and sleep

    Text: unknown

  • No. 3 Arise, shine, for thy light is come

    Text: unknown

  • No. 4 He was brought as a lamb to the slaughter

    Text: unknown

  • No. 5 Christ being raised from the dead

    Text: unknown

  • No. 6 Go ye into all the world

    Text: unknown

  • No. 7 And there appeared unto the apostles

    Text: unknown

  • No. 8 We bless the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost

    Text: unknown

  • No. 9 Forever, O Lord, thy word is settled

    Text: unknown

Komponiert in Tegernsee, Oppenheim und Leipzig, September 1911

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

Work collection
  • -
Original work
  • -
  • -


Reger-Werkausgabe Bd. II/9: Werke für gemischten Chor a cappella II, S. 102–126.
Herausgeber Christopher Grafschmidt.
Unter Mitarbeit von Nikolaos Beer, Stefan König und Dennis Ried.
Verlag Carus-Verlag, Stuttgart; Verlags- und Plattennummer: CV 52.816.
Erscheinungsdatum Oktober 2021.
Notensatz Carus-Verlag, Stuttgart.
Copyright 2021 by Carus-Verlag, Stuttgart and Max-Reger-Institut, Karlsruhe – CV 52.816.
Vervielfältigungen jeglicher Art sind gesetzlich verboten. / Any unauthorized reproduction is prohibited by law.
Alle Rechte vorbehalten. / All rights reserved.
ISMN M-007-26186-3.
ISBN 978-3-89948-418-2.

1. Composition and Publication

The Responsories were probably composed in September 1911, commissioned by the General Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America based in Philadelphia, represented by the Reverend Luther Dotterer Reed and the organist Harry Glasier Archer. They were the editors of works including “two books providing historic Plainsong settings for the Liturgy of the Lutheran Church in America – the so-called ‘Common Service’. […] In these books we set Plainsong melodies to the English antiphons, Psalms and Canticles of Matins and Vespers. We did not attempt to provide Plainsong adaptions for the Responsories which follow the Lessons in both Matins and Vespers. Later, we decided to ask Max Reger to compose choral settings for these texts, and Harry Archer, in a visit to Germany, personally arranged details with Max Reger.” 1 Archer studied in Europe from 1909 onwards.2 It is not known when this meeting took place. At any rate, Reger was “deeply interested in this work, and he insisted that Mr. Archer give him full information about the English texts, with German translations of each word, with indication of proper English accents, etc. This Archer did, and he [Reger] also agreed to write his compositions in strict liturgical style, that is without any reflections of texts as so often found in English anthems, etc.” 3

Reger spent his summer holidays in Tegernsee from 1 August 1911. Ottmar Schreiber reported that during this time, Reger discussed the work in progress with his pupil and assistant Hermann Unger.4 In its 21 September edition (editorial deadline: 7 September) the Neue Musik-Zeitung reported: “Reger is currently working on the music to Responsories which the American Protestant Church has commissioned from him”.5

On the return from Tegernsee to Leipzig Reger stayed in Oppenheim “for a week” from 15 September in his pupil Johanna Senfter’s parents’ home;6 she had visited him for a lesson during the holidays with her mother and sister Sophie. In a letter to Senfter, Schreiber again referred to a comment by Unger that Reger “is said to have written the Responsories at the time in your house for an American sect”. (Letter dated 22 June 1950)7 The recipient confirmed this to a large extent: “Regarding the American arrangements which Reger made here in 1911, I too only know like all of you that he told us this fact.” (>Letter from Johanna Senfter dated 27 July 1950 to Ottmar Schreiber) The engraver’s copy is dated “Leipzig, Sept. 1911” in another hand, at least roughly giving the end point. Reger presumably went through the completed manuscript once more with Archer and, as a result, altered a few passages with regard to the word-setting.

Archer may have sent the engraver’s copy to Philadelphia after this. Reger appears not to have been informed about the further progress of the publication after this point in time. On 2 June 1912 he wrote to Hans von Ohlendorff: “Regarding these American church hymns – good advice is invaluable there; I myself do not know where you can obtain them. Whether they have already been printed, I do not know!!! You see, it is a difficult birth! And where the American is to whom I gave the manuscript of the songs – I don’t know that either.” (Letter)

Archer and Reed initially planned publication with the New York publisher G. Schirmer, probably in order to secure the widest possible distribution. They had already made the manuscript available to them, but the project faltered over the question of royalties.8 So the Responsories were finally published in 1914,9 like the books with the “Plainsong settings” earlier, by the General Council Publication Board, Philadelphia as part of the Series of Service Books overseen by Archer and Reed. For this, the editors arbitrarily altered the rhythm and allocation of syllables in a few places, and added a colla parte organ part for performance reasons.10 Reger was apparently not involved in the preparation of the work for print and was therefore not informed about these modifications.

After the publication of the work, Reed was also able to interest the New York publisher H.W. Gray in publishing the Responsories“to bring out another edition which I thought might reach a wider public. Unfortunately these publications came out in the early years of World War I and nobody in America was interested in a work by a German composer, however great he might be.” 11 This edition had the copyright date of 1915 and a new foreword, and is entitled Twenty Short Anthems or Responses.12


Translation by Elizabeth Robinson.

Letter from Luther D. Reed dated 31 July 1957 to Ottmar Schreiber. – Harry G. Archer (1864–1954) evidently had a command of German, as he had “studied with Dr. Riemann in Berlin [for three years] about 1890” (ibid.); Reed probably meant Heinrich Reimann. According to (accessed on 3 March 2020) Archer is listed in United States Passport Applications in 1888, which could date the point of his departure for Europe. According to this, Archer may have been a fellow student of Karl Straube.
According to information from Nicholas Scott Sharer of the First English Evangelical Lutheran Church (e-mail of 11 September 2019 to the Max-Reger-Institut), Archer left his organist’s position in Pittsburgh “in 1909 to pursue continuing musical education [in] Europe. He was on the continent for five years”. These dates are confirmed by information on (1909 United States Passport Applications, 1914 United States, Passenger And Crew Lists). Archer is listed in the Berliner Adreßbuch for 1912.
Cf. Ottmar Schreiber, “Unbekannte geistliche Reger-Chöre”, in MMRI, vol. 5 (April 1957), pp. 8–26, here: p. 8.
32 Jg., no. 24, p. 504.
Reger in seinen Konzerten 2, p. 373. – Date according to postcard from c. 11. September 1911 to Elise Senfter (copy in the Max-Reger-Institut, Karlsruhe, shelf number: Ep. X. 2940).
When and where Unger made these “statements at the time” is not known.
A note by Luther D. Reed on a leaf included in the engraver’s copy: “This firm had agreed to bring out an edition, but withdrew its offer because of a clause in the contract between Reger and Archer and Reed, which clause required payment of a fee to Reger’s publishers for any performance of the Responsories at a concert or any other place where admission was charged.”
The edition is not dated more precisely. The foreword gives “Mid-Lent, 1914”, that is, in the middle of Lent (around mid-March).
The engraver’s copy does not contain any indications of these kinds of alterations.
Letter from Luther D. Reed dated 31 July 1957 to Ottmar Schreiber.
In 1916, H.W. Gray then published three of the Eight selected folk songs WoO VI/11 (nos. 7, 1 and 8) with English lyrics.

1. Reception

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

1. Quellenbewertung

Der Edition liegt als Leitquelle die Stichvorlage zugrunde. Da Reger vermutlich keine Korrekturabzüge zu sehen bekam und sich auch kein Exemplar des Erstdrucks in seinem Besitz befand, ist dieser für die Edition lediglich bei Fragen der Textverteilung von Interesse.

2. Sources

  • Stichvorlage
  • Erstdruck

Weiterlesen in der RWA

Object reference

Max Reger: Responsories WoO VI/23, in: Reger-Werkausgabe,, last check: 10th December 2022.


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