Alban Berg: Lulu

(Arranger: Friedrich Cerha)

  • three act version, completed by Friedrich Cerha (1927-1935)
  • only together with opera in 2 acts available
  • 3 3 4 3 - 4 3 3 1 - timp, perc(8), hp, pno, alto sax, str, stage music: 2 fl, 4 cl, alto sax, t.sax, cbsn, 4 jazztpt, 2 jazztbn, sousaphon, jazz drum set(3), pno, bjo, 3 vln, cb
  • Duration: 60’
  • Instrumentation details:
    1st flute (+picc)
    2nd flute (+picc)
    3rd flute (+picc)
    1st oboe
    2nd oboe
    3rd oboe (+c.a)
    1st clarinet in Bb (+cl(Eb))
    2nd clarinet in Bb (+cl(Eb))
    3rd clarinet in Bb
    bass clarinet in Bb
    alto saxophone in Eb
    1st bassoon
    2nd bassoon
    3rd bassoon (+cbsn)
    1st horn in F
    2nd horn in F
    3rd horn in F
    4th horn in F
    1st trumpet in C
    2nd trumpet in C
    3rd trumpet in C
    1st trombone
    2nd trombone
    3rd trombone
    tuba
    timpani
    percussion
    harp
    piano
    violin I
    violin II
    viola
    violoncello
    contrabass
    stage music: piccolo
    flute
    1st clarinet in Bb
    2nd clarinet in Bb
    3rd clarinet in Bb
    bass clarinet in Bb
    alto saxophone in Eb
    tenor saxophone in Bb
    contrabassoon
    1st Jazztrumpet in B
    1st Jazztrumpet in C
    2nd Jazztrumpet in B
    2nd Jazztrumpet in C
    1st Jazztrombone
    2nd Jazztrombone
    sousaphone
    jazz drum set (3 players)
    bjo
    piano
    1st violin
    2nd violin
    3rd violin
    contrabass;
  • Composer: Alban Berg
  • Librettist: Alban Berg
  • Writer of pre-existing text: Frank Wedekind
  • Piano reduction: Erwin Stein
  • Arranger: Friedrich Cerha
  • Editor: Hans Erich ApostelRudolf Stephan
  • Original language: German
  • Translator: Arthur JacobsRichard Stokes
  • Dedication: Arnold Schönberg zum 60. Geburtstag

Stage performances

Work specifications

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Work introduction

Alban Berg died on 24 December 1935, before he could finish his opera Lulu; the orchestration of the third act is incomplete, existing only as a short-score. Of the 1300 bars of this short score (comprising the totality of Act III), 416 are orchestrated by Berg himself; the best part of the remainder consists of instrumental indications, and the music of 88 bars is somewhat uncertain.

Berg wrote his “Symphonic Pieces from the Opera Lulu,” the Lulu Suite, a year before his death, in order to give the eagerly expectant music world an impression of his new creation.

After a long and thorough study of all the related material and similar consideration of the positive and negative aspects involved, Friedrich Cerha decided to make a playable version of Act III. He worked on it from 1962 to 1974 and, after Helene Berg died, he revised it again in 1976 –1977 and 1981 in light of newly accessible sources.

Since comparison of the short score and the full score of the first two acts and the orchestrated parts of Act III shows that there are no significant divergences, Cerha saw no reason why he should not adhere to the layout as it was set down in the short score.

The posthumous premiere of the first two acts took place in Zurich on 2 June 1937, while the first performance of the entire opera was given on 24 February 1979 in Paris. Cerha’s reconstitution of Act III made it possible to choose between the two-act and the three-act versions.

Audiosamples

Lulu
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The complete perusal score (PDF-preview)

Press reviews

“Thirty years on, Berg's opera seems an indisputable candidate for the greatest opera of the 20th century.” (Philip Hensher, The Guardian, 1 June 2009)

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