Songs (after Hugo Wolf)
In 1852, a German translation of Spanish poems appeared under the title Spanisches Liederbuch (Spanish Songbook), out of which Hugo Wolf (1860-1903) created a collection of 44 songs published under the same title in 1891. The first ten songs in Wolf’s collection are distinguished from the rest as purely sacred songs, which perhaps gave some guidance to Reger when he conceived and “arranged” some of them for voice and organ (often with little substantial embellishment to the original piano accompaniments).
“Nun wandre, Maria” and “Führ mich, Kind, nach Bethlehem!” are two of these sacred songs, based on texts that describe the arduous journey Mary must have made to Bethlehem. The first text is attributed to an obscure 16th-century poet (Francisco de Ocaña) and the second is anonymous. Wolf symbolizes the journey in both songs with running eighth-note parallel thirds that slowly undulate.
“Gebet” is from another collection of Wolf’s songs, using texts by Eduard Mörike (1804-1875). This slow-moving chorale in E major fits on only one page of music, but carefully chooses its harmonies and dynamics, as well as including a six-bar coda consisting of an uncharacteristic, slowly descending arpeggio and repetitions of the final whole-note chord.
— From program notes by Gregg Wager