Alban Berg: Lulu (arranged by: Eberhard Kloke)

Alban Berg Lulu

Alban Berg: Lulu (arranged by: Eberhard Kloke)

Year of composition:
Opera in 3 acts
version for solo voices and chamber orchestra (2008/09)
Alban Berg
Eberhard Kloke (2009)
min.: 1 1 2 1 - 1 1 1 0 - perc, acc, pno, str (2 2 2 2 1), stage music; max.: 1 1 2 1 - 1 1 1 0 - perc, acc, pno, str (5 4 3 3 2), stage music
Instrumentation details:
flute (+alto fl
oboe (+c.a)
1st clarinet in Bb (+bass cl(Bb)
2nd clarinet in Bb (+alto sax(Eb))
bassoon (+cbsn)
horn in F
trumpet in C
tenor-bass trombone
violin I
violin II
jazz band: flute (+alto fl
oboe (+c.a)
clarinet in Bb (+bass cl(Bb))
alto saxophone in Eb
horn in F
trumpet in C
violin I
violin II
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Work introduction

Before taking on the challenge of arranging Alban Berg’s entire opera Lulu for 11 soloists and chamber orchestra, the unfinished third act had to be transcribed anew. The insight gained thereby – apart from regenerating Lulu – the Three Fragments for three soloists and chamber orchestra, all directly contributed their influence to this version; thus the work was accomplished in two steps:

Step one consisted of arranging Act III for 11 soloists and chamber orchestra. The adaptation is essentially oriented to the orchestral transcription of Lulu’s Act III, divergences naturally arising especially in terms of the scoring. The cast was also reduced in number, the alternation of roles between the acts guaranteeing additional, attractive singing roles for everyone.

Step two involved arranging Acts I and II, which Berg left complete in full score. My main concern when reworking the opera for 11 soloists and chamber orchestra was that my version should be commensurate to the work’s musical-theatrical intent (in the sense of the transparency of “word – music” which Berg strove to achieve). Thus a radical compositional-sonic substance, finely attuned to soloists and chamber orchestra, offsets the notion of supposedly lost “grand opera.”

There are casting advantages in the foreground, thanks to various alternatives in terms of acting, clarity of enunciation and transparency. I also endeavoured to increase sonic range and density by varying the use of the instruments (especially the woodwinds) for each performer. More theatrical compactness can be gained by suspending the classic separation of stage/audience if the small orchestra is positioned on, beside or behind the stage – at least one has the option of positioning the orchestra more freely, if one wishes to dispense with an orchestra pit.

Act III: A special case

With its major alterations, abbreviations and recommendations, this new version of Act III helps to “open up” the opera. This new arrangement makes the inclusion of video a more viable option with respect to stage performance. Many of my own performances of Lulu and the Symphonic Pieces preceded my new version of Act III. Thanks to my scoring and arranging several of Berg’s works, I was also able to see a larger compositional context within his oeuvre (3 Fragments from Lulu for soloists and chamber orchestra, the concert aria Der Wein and Wozzeck – arranged for chamber orchestra).

Arranger’s Report by E. Kloke (excerpt)

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World première

Stadttheater, Gießen (DE)
Orchester des Stadttheaters Gießen
Herbert Gietzen

Playback tape for Lulu (excerpt)

Eberhard Kloke created a playback tape which can be used to perform the stage music and various noises when staging this opera. The CD contains 8 tracks.

The playback tape is an additional product to the rental music material, which Universal Edition offers on request against payment of an additional rental fee.

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