About this work
Reger's inspiration for the Romantic Suite came from poetry by Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff. He inserted a quotation from "Nachtzauber" at the beginning of the work's first movement. The quote reads:
Hear'st thou not the brooklets streaming Where sweet spring her blossom strewed, Where the woodland lakes are dreaming, By the marble icons gleaming In sweet nature's solitude?
What follows is a nocturne whose theme is carried by flutes and then violins. A new motif is then introduced by violins, carrying the music through several changes of mood, ending quietly.
The following movement, a scherzo, is based upon another von Eichendorff poem titled "Elfe". It reads:
Stay with us! The dancing place down in the valley is bedecked with shining moonbeams. Glow worms illuminate the hall, and the crickets chirp dance tunes. Joy, that lovely child, is cradled in the evening breezes. Most beautiful is it where the silver flows on shrubs and bushes.
This movement is characterized by a lively Vivace, with passages given to woodwinds and strings.
The final movement is based on two stanzas from the poem Morgengruss:
Rise, O Sun on high! Trembling in the sky, Earth quivering with ecstasy. Boldly from the night The wooded splendor bright Is drawn in dreams still stirring.
This movement starts with a reiteration of the theme heard at the work's beginning. The music then opens up to a new melody played by cellos and English horn, gathering strength as the piece rises to a climax. Reger then inserts a more lyrical tune for horns before building to a second climax.