|Three chorale fantasias|
|by Max Reger|
Reger in 1901
Three chorale fantasias (Drei Choralphantasien), Op. 52, are chorale fantasias for organ by Max Reger. He composed the fantasias on three chorales in September 1900: Phantasie über den Choral "Alle Menschen müssen sterben", Phantasie über den Choral "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme" and Phantasie über den Choral "Halleluja! Gott zu loben bleibe meine Seelenfreud". They were all first performed individually by Reger's friend Karl Straube, and were first published by Breitkopf & Härtel.
Straube and others regarded especially No. 2 highly, Straube called it "großartigste Leistung" (most extraordinary achievement).
Reger composed the works in September 1900 in Weiden in der Oberpfalz. He dated No. 2 on 15 September 1900, and sent the works to the publisher on 22 October 1900.Reger wrote dedications:
No. 1 was first performed by Karl Straube in the summer of 1901 at the Sauer organ of the Willibrordi Domin Wesel. No. 2 was first performed by Straube at that organ on 28 April 1901, and repeated on 12 May 1901 at the Garnisonkirche in Berlin. No. 3 was first performed by Straube on 9 November 1901 at the Walcker organ of the Kaim-Saal in Munich.
The duration is given as 16–17 min. for No. 1, 17–19 min. for No. 2, 15–17 min for No. 3.
The text of the chorale "Alle Menschen müssen sterben" was written by Johann Georg Albinus in 1652. The melody was probably composed by Jacob Hintze(1678):
The fantasia is structured in six sections, based on four of the seven stanzas of the hymn.
Unlike other chorale fantasias, this work ends not with a fugue. I alternates stanzas with relation to the chorale tune with free stanzas. The introduction ("Introduzione") presents several motifs, including a large leap downward as a "Todesmotiv" (motif of death), and a downward sequence of chords as an "Auferstehungsmotiv" (motif of resurrection).
Reger wrote a copy for Straube and added the dedication: "Recht inniges Vergnügen, lieber Carl! Im Falle es beim Anhören dieses 'Verbrechens' Todte geben sollte, übernehme ich die Beerdigungskosten. Besten Gruß Dein alter Organiste Max Reger" ("Quite heartfelt pleasure, dear Carl! In case of deaths when listening to this "crime" , I will assume the costs of the funerals. Best greeting, your old organist, Max Reger").
The fantasia is based on Philipp Nicolai's hymn in three stanzas "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme", published in 1599.
Reger uses the last lines as they still appeared in the Evangelisches Kirchengesangbuch (EKG) of 1950:
Philipp Nicolai 1599
Deß sind wir froh / jo / jo
Ewig in dulci iubilo.
Des jauchzen wir und singen dir
das Halleluja für und für.
The fantasia is structured in four parts, an introduction and one four each stanza, the last one as a fugue:
The introduction is marked grave assai. Form and rhythm of the beginning, marked pppp, appear undecided. The sombre atmosphere is interrupted only by two forceful entries (marked fff) which have been characterized as "niedersausende Blitze" (striking lightning).Martin Weyer regarded the section as contrasting quiet night and commencing judgement".
The chorale tune appears first in measure 11, in "sehr lichte Registrierung" (very light registration). The lines of the poem are interrupted by interludes. Reger establishes a contrast of "himmlische Herrlichkeit" (heavenly glory) and "irdische Finsternis" (earthly darkness).Straube notes:
Die Einleitung zu "Wachet auf" bezeichnete Max Reger als den "Kirchhof" und die Choralmelodie ist die Stimme eines Engels, die Toten werden allmählich erweckt; Dis-E-Dis (Takte 18 ff.) im Pedal deutet symbolisch, wie sie sich in den Gräbern rühren. So hat mir mein Freund sein künstlerisches Wollen gedeutet. (Reger described the introduction of "Wachet auf" as the churchyard, and the chorale melody the voice of an angel; the dead are raised gradually; the figure "D-sharp / E / D-sharp" (measures 18 ff.) in the pedal symbolize how they move in their graves. This is how my friend explained his artistic intention.)— Straube in a letter to Hans Klotz on 28 June 1944
The text of the chorale "Halleluja! Gott zu loben" was written by Matthias Jorissenas a paraphrase of Psalm 146. The melody is by Johann Georg Bätzler.
The fantasie is structured in an introduction, marked vivace assai – vivacissimo, and seven chorale stanzas, concluded by a coda:
In the coda, the first two lines of the chorale melody as a canon in soprano and bass.
On organs from Reger's era:
On modern organs:
Johann Baptist Joseph Maximilian Reger, commonly known as Max Reger, was a German composer, pianist, organist, conductor, and academic teacher. He worked as a concert pianist, as a musical director at the Leipzig University Church, as a professor at the Royal Conservatory in Leipzig, and as a music director at the court of Duke Georg II of Saxe-Meiningen.
In music, a chorale prelude or chorale setting is a short liturgical composition for organ using a chorale tune as its basis. It was a predominant style of the German Baroque era and reached its culmination in the works of J.S. Bach, who wrote 46 examples of the form in his Orgelbüchlein, along with multiple other works of the type in other collections.
Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 140, also known as Sleepers Wake, is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach, regarded as one of his most mature and popular sacred cantatas. He composed the chorale cantata in Leipzig for the 27th Sunday after Trinity and first performed it on 25 November 1731.
Hugo Distler was a German organist, choral conductor, teacher and composer.
Philipp Nicolai was a German Lutheran pastor, poet, and composer. He is most widely recognized as a hymnodist.
Sechs Chorale von verschiedener Art: auf einer Orgel mit 2 Clavieren und Pedal vorzuspielen, commonly known as the Schübler Chorales, BWV 645–650, is a set of chorale preludes composed by Johann Sebastian Bach. Johann Georg Schübler, after whom the collection came to be named, published it in 1747 or before August 1748, in Zella St. Blasii. At least five preludes of the compilation are transcribed from movements in Bach's church cantatas, mostly chorale cantatas he had composed around two decades earlier.
Wolfgang Friedrich Rübsam is a German-American organist, pianist, composer and pedagogue.
Chorale fantasia is a type of large composition based on a chorale melody, both works for organ, and vocal settings, for example the opening movements of Bach's chorale cantatas, with the chorale melody as a cantus firmus.
"Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme" is a Lutheran hymn written in German by Philipp Nicolai, first published in 1599 together with "Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern". It appears in German hymnals and in several English hymnals in translations such as "Wake, Awake, for Night Is Flying", "Wake, O wake! with tidings thrilling", and "Up! Awake! From Highest Steeple". Johann Sebastian Bach based a chorale cantata on the hymn, Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 140, one of its many musical settings.
Robert Theodore Anderson was an American organist, composer and pedagogue.
"Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern" is a hymn by Philipp Nicolai written in 1597 and first published in 1599.
Zwei Choralphantasien, Op. 40, are fantasias for organ by Max Reger. He composed the fantasias in 1899 on two chorales: "Wie schön leucht't uns der Morgenstern" and "Straf mich nicht in deinem Zorn!" They were published by Musikverlag Josef Aibl in Munich in May 1900.
"Straf mich nicht in deinem Zorn" is a Lutheran hymn with a text written by Johann Georg Albinus as a paraphrase of Psalm 6. It was first printed with a formerly secular melody in Dresden in 1694. The song was included in 31 hymnals. The melody inspired musical settings both for organ and vocal works. The hymn was translated by Catherine Winkworth as "Not in anger, Mighty God", which appeared in 13 hymnals.
Zwölf Stücke, Op. 80, is a group of twelve pieces for organ by Max Reger. He composed them in Munich in 1902 and 1904. They were published by C. F. Peters in Leipzig in September 1904.
Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott, Op. 27, is a chorale fantasia for organ by Max Reger. He composed it in 1898 on Luther's hymn "Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott". The full title is Phantasie über den Choral "Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott".
Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, Wf XV:2, is a German chorale motet composed around 1780 by Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach, a son of Johann Sebastian Bach. It is based on Philipp Nicolai's hymn "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme". The motet in E-flat major is written for a four-part choir. It is structured in three movements, quoting in the last movement his fathers's chorale setting.
Sieben Stücke für Orgel, Op. 145, is a collection of seven compositions for organ by Max Reger. He composed the work in three groups in 1915 and 1916. The titles of seven individual character pieces reflect aspects of World War I and Christian feasts. The compositions are based on traditional German hymns, sometimes combining several in one piece. Reger's last work for organ, it was published, again in three installments, in 1915 and 1916.
52 chorale preludes, Op. 67, is a collection of 52 settings of popular Protestant hymns for organ by Max Reger, composed between 1900 and 1902. Originally published in three volumes between 1900 and 1903 with the cover title "52 Choralvorspiele für Orgel", the full title of the collection was "Zweiundfünfzig leicht ausführbare Vorspiele zu den gebräuchlichsten evangelischen Chorälen".
Introduction, Passacaglia and Fugue in E minor, Op. 127, is an extended composition for organ by Max Reger, composed in 1913 and dedicated to Karl Straube who played the premiere in Breslau on 24 September. It was published in November that year in Berlin by Bote & Bock.
Martin Welzel is a German organist, musicologist, and pedagogue.