The Op 6 songs for mixed four-part choir and piano were composed in 1892 (though not performed until much later), and deploy a simpler style with clear debts to the choral music of Brahms. The first song uses a text by Anton Müller (1792–1843); the second, much briefer though still expansive in style, illustrates the theme of night in Engel’s poetry with melodic lines that regularly plunge to the bottom of the vocal register of each part. As with Op 39, Reger draws on Lenau for the final text; a further intriguing link with the Op 39 set is that this Abendlied
, too, is in E major. In both songs, the key has a radiance that, we may assume, Reger associates with evening—though in Op 6, the vocal parts end in a state of harmonic ambiguity, and it is only the substantial piano epilogue (a device perhaps inspired by Schubert) that returns us to the stability of the home key.
from notes by Michael Downes © 2010