19th September 2022, Newly published
Songs III

Volume II/3, published by Carus-Verlag, is now available.

With his Lied-Opera 62, 66, 68 and 70, written in Munich between December 1901 and February 1903, Reger planned his artistic future: these works were appropriate to challenge the musical world in the Bavarian capital and to lead the genre of the solo Lied into the modern age. In the process, Reger, who in his first Munich years was a freelance artist without institutional linkings, became an interpreter of his own works. He organized concerts in the hotel “Bayerischer Hof” as well as in the Palais Portia and consciously sought the artistic competition with the circle of the so-called Munich school around Max Schillings and Ludwig Thuille, whose works he confronted with his own songs. Soon he was considered Munich’s best piano accompanist – and a “musical secessionist.”

Reger’s Munich songs are intransigent in expression and sound, pursuing the equal ranking between the singing and piano voices with the utmost consistency and further developing the declamation song originated by Hugo Wolf in the direction of musical expressionism. From Opus 66 on, they were published by the newly founded publishing house of the lawyers Carl Lauterbach and Max Kuhn, who, following the ideal of “Jugenstil”, produced song editions as lifestyle products in artistically high quality.

As in his previous Weiden song collections, Reger set – almost without exception – contemporary poems to music. Thereby, the development as well as the text selection of the Twelve Songs op. 66 and the Six Songs op. 68 are closely linked to the engagement and wedding with Elsa von Bercken in October 1902. The song texts deal with peacefully fulfilled love and marital dreams of the future. On the other hand, the even more extensive collections of Sixteen Songs op. 62 and Seventeen Songs op. 70, contain not only love poetry but also contemporary poems in an accusing manner that reflect the inner conflict of modern humans.

The songs without opus numbers WoO VII/31–33 as well as the Lied compositions op. 79c are addressed to a broader audience including Hausmusik. They appeared for the most part first in musical periodicals, the Musik-Woche respectively the Blätter für Haus- und Kirchenmusik. In addition to a reliable financial gain, these publications ensured that Reger’s name became widely known. The tonal language in these songs is correspondingly accessible and gentle, without denying Reger’s characteristic style.

Reger-Werkausgabe, vol. II/3: Songs III, Carus-Verlag, Stuttgart 2022, CV 52.810