Manuscripts for Karl Straube

Alexander Becker, Christopher Grafschmidt, Stefan König


For the seven chorale fantasias (“Ein’ feste Burg ist unser Gott” op. 27, “Freu dich sehr, o meine Seele!” op. 30, “Wie schön leucht’t uns der Morgenstern” op. 40 no. 1, “Straf mich nicht in deinem Zorn!” op. 40 no. 2, “Alle Menschen müssen sterben” op. 52 no. 1, “Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme!” op. 52 no. 2 and “Halleluja! Gott zu loben, bleibe meine Seelenfreud’!” op. 52 no. 3), as well as Fantasia and Fugue in C minor op. 29, 1st Sonata in F sharp minor op. 33 and Fantasia and Fugue on B-A-C-H op. 46 Reger created two manuscript copies of each: one went to Karl Straube and the other was sent to the publisher as a copy for the engraver. Reger presented Straube with manuscripts, above all as an interpreter – in the case of opp. 27, 29 and 30 probably not only in the hope of speedily receiving performances, but particularly also to get some relevant reviews to help in the search for a publisher. In comparison, for op. 33 Reger sent the Erstschrift (first copy) to Straube even before making the engraver’s copy, probably to seek his advice.

For all of the other works mentioned Reger wrote out the two manuscripts one immediately after the other. With op. 30 (and probably also opp. 27 and 29)1 Reger used the first copy to find a publisher and sent the more legible copy to the possible performer. On the other hand, of the five fantasias in opp. 40 and 52, as well as op. 46, Straube received the first copy, while the second copy, revised while being copied out, was retained for the publisher.

The Chorale fantasia “Wie schön leucht’t uns der Morgenstern” op. 40 no. 1 represents a special case. Reger had sent the first copy to Straube, and initially himself retained the second copy intended as the engraver’s copy. Straube proposed a substantial alteration which Reger incorporated into the retained engraver’s copy (see Composition of op. 40 no. 1 and the critical report). For the other chorale fantasias, as well as opp. 29 and 46 a similar influence from Straube can be ruled out, for in all these cases, Reger sent out the engraver’s copies and the copies for Straube at the same time and made no further conceptional alterations during the printing. It is unclear to what extent a correspondence between Reger and Straube on artistic questions may have taken place parallel to this, as the correspondence on this matter during the years in question (up to 1901) is lost.2

The engraver’s copies of opp. 27 and 29 are lost. Therefore, it cannot be established with certainty whether the copies which Straube received were the first or the second copy.
Reger threw away most letters addressed to him after answering them. On the other hand, among Straube’s surviving papers only letters and postcards from Reger from May 1901 onwards have survived. In retrospect, Straube wrote about his support during the genesis of the works: “Such an undertaking has nothing to do with other people. It is a discreet matter between individual personalities, and the outside world only needs to express an opinion on the published work as a whole.” (Letter dated 24 April 1943 to Hans-Joachim Nösselt, in Briefe eines Thomaskantors, p. 150).
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Alexander Becker, Christopher Grafschmidt, Stefan König

Elisabeth Robinson (en)

1st July 2015

Module IOrgan worksMusic Manuscripts

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Alexander Becker, Christopher Grafschmidt, Stefan König: Manuscripts for Karl Straube, in: Reger-Werkausgabe,, last check: 16th June 2024.


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