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Alban Berg: Wozzeck

(Arranger: Erwin Stein)

  • Opera in 3 acts (15 scenes) (1917-1922)
  • reduced version (Stein)
  • 3 3 3 3 - 4 3 3 1 - timp(2), perc(4), hp, cel, str; stage: "Heurigenmusik" - fiddle (2-4), cl, acc, guit, bass tuba; pno; chamber orch - 1 2 3 2 - 2 0 0 0 - str(1 1 1 1 1)
  • Duration: 90’
  • Soloists:
    violin (+Kammerorchester)
    violin (+Kammerorchester)
    viola (+Kammerorchester)
    violoncello (+Kammerorchester)
    contrabass (+Kammerorchester)
  • Instrumentation details:
    1st flute (+picc)
    2nd flute (+picc)
    3rd flute (+picc)
    1st oboe
    2nd oboe
    3rd oboe (+c.a)
    1st clarinet in Bb (+cl(A))
    2nd clarinet in Bb (+cl(Bb))
    3rd clarinet in Bb (+bass cl(Bb))
    1st bassoon
    2nd bassoon
    3rd bassoon (+cbsn)
    1st horn in F
    2nd horn in F
    3rd horn in F
    4th horn in F
    1st trumpte in F
    2nd trumpte in F
    3rd trumpte in F
    1st trombone
    2nd trombone
    3rd trombone
    contrabass tuba
    timpani (2 players)
    percussion (4 players)
    violin I
    violin II
    stage (Heurigenmusik): 1st fiddle
    2nd fiddle
    1st fiddle (transposed)
    2nd fiddle (transposed)
    clarinet in Bb
    bass tuba
    stage: piano out of tune
    stage: (chamber orchestra): flute (+picc)
    cor anglais
    clarinet in Eb
    clarinet in A
    bass clarinet in B
    1st horn in F
    2nd horn in F
    1st solo-violin
    2nd solo-violin
    viola, violoncello
  • Choir: Soldaten und Burschen, Tenor I u. II, Bariton I u. II und Baß I u. II Mägde und Dirnen, Soprane und Alte (zweistimmig) Kinder (einstimmig)
  • Composer: Alban Berg
  • Librettist: Alban Berg
  • Arranger: Erwin Stein
  • Text author: Georg Büchner
  • Original language: German
  • Translator: Vida HarfordEric Blackall

Work introduction

Remarks by Alban Berg

“Give unto the theatre what is the theatre’s …“

I did not dream of wishing to reform the art form of opera by composing Wozzeck, nor was that my intention as I began to compose it; nor did I ever consider, assume or expect that the result would be an object lesson in what should be exemplary in creating another opera – either of my own or by another composer.

Apart from the desire to make good music, to musically realise the psychological matter in Büchner’s immortal drama, to translate his poetic language into a musical one, at the moment when I decided to write an opera I had no other notion (not even in terms of compositional technique) than to give unto the theatre what is the theatre’s. That is, designing the music so that it was conscious at every moment of its duty to serve the drama – indeed, to go further; making the music so that everything the drama needs to translate into the reality of the stage comes from the music alone, the composer thus arrogating all the essential tasks of an ideal director – and all that notwithstanding such music’s other absolute (purely musical) right to exist, notwithstanding its own life, unimpaired by anything extra-musical.

Alban Berg, in Musikblätter des Anbruch, Vol. XII, No. 2, January 1930

The complete perusal score (PDF-preview)

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