The three songs for unaccompanied four-part women’s choir that make up Op 111b employ a diverse range of styles within their modest proportions. The first song is set entirely homophonically; this almost medieval effect, reinforced by the curious dissonances that precede each cadence, is an appropriate response to the text, which Will Vesper (1892–1962) based on an anonymous twelfth-century Mittelhochdeutsch song. The second song, a setting of ‘Abendgang im Lenz’ by Hedwig Kiesekamp (1844–1919), writing under the pseudonym L Rafael, reverts to the chromatic harmony we more customarily associate with Reger. The final song, meanwhile, uses a text by Eduard Mörike (1804–1875) that had previously been set by Schumann and Wolf, among many others: part of its appeal to musicians must lie in its invocation of the soft sound of ‘a distant harp’—a sound effectively conjured up by Reger with a rare sustained consonant chord.
from notes by Michael Downes © 2010