Alban Berg: Wozzeck

Alban Berg Wozzeck
Wozzeck

Alban Berg: Wozzeck

Opus:
op. 7
Year of composition:
1917-1922
Subtitle:
Opera in 3 acts (15 scenes)
Composer:
Alban Berg
Original language:
German
Translator:
Eric Blackall; Vida Harford; Richard Stokes
Librettist:
Alban Berg
Writer of pre-existing text:
Georg Büchner
Roles:
Wozzeck, baritone and Sprechstimme Tambourmajor, heroic tenor Andres, lyric tenor and Sprechstimme Hauptmann, tenore buffo Doktor, basso buffo 1. Handwerksbursch, low bass and Sprechstimme 2. Handwerksbursch, high baritone Der Narr, high tenor Marie,
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)
Soloists:
baritone, speaker
Instrumentation:
4 4 5 4 - 4 4 4 1 - timp(2), perc(4), cel, hp, str, stage: "Heurigenmusik" - fiddle (2-4), cl, acc, guit, bass tuba, military band - 3 2 2 2 - 2 2 3 1 - perc, pno, chamber orch - 1 2 3 2 - 2 0 0 0 - str(1 1 1 1 1)
Instrumentation details:
1st flute (+picc)
2nd flute (+picc)
3rd flute (+picc)
4th flute (+picc)
1st oboe
2nd oboe
3rd oboe
4th oboe (+c.a)
1st clarinet in Bb (+cl(A))
2nd clarinet in Bb
3rd clarinet in Bb (+cl(Eb))
4th clarinet in Bb (+cl(Eb))
bass clarinet in Bb
1st bassoon
2nd bassoon
3rd bassoon
contrabassoon
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
4th trumpte in F
1st alto trombone
2nd tenor trombone
3rd tenor trombone
4th bass trombone
contrabass tuba
timpani (2 players)
percussion (4 players)
celesta
harp
violin I
violin II
viola
violoncello
contrabass
stage (military band): piccolo
1st flute
2nd flute
1st oboe
2nd oboe
1st clarinet in Eb
2nd clarinet in Eb
1st bassoon
2nd bassoon
1st horn in F
2nd horn in F
1st trumpte in F
2nd trumpte in F
1st trombone
2nd trombone
3rd bass trombone
contrabass tuba
percussion
stage (Heurigenmusik): 1st fiddle
2nd fiddle
1st fiddle (transposed)
2nd fiddle (transposed)
clarinet in Bb or C
accordion
guitar
bass tuba
piano out of tune (on the stage)
stage (chamber orchestra): flute (+picc)
oboe
cor anglais
clarinet in Eb
clarinet in A
bass clarinet in Bb
bassoon
contrabassoon
1st horn in F
2nd horn in F
violin I(1)
violin II(1)
viola(1)
violoncello(1)
contrabass(1)
Table of contents:
1. Akt
2. Akt
: 3. Akt
Scenery:
10
Remarks:
Revision after the posthumous final corrections by the composer
Duration:
90’
Dedication:
Alma Maria Mahler zugeeignet
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Audiosamples

Wozzeck
00:00

The complete perusal score (PDF-preview)

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

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Next performances

16 Dec

Wozzeck

Den Norske Opera, Oslo (NO)

18 Dec

Wozzeck

Den Norske Opera, Oslo (NO)

World première

Location:
Berlin
Date:
14.12.1925
Conductor:
Erich Kleiber

Press reviews

If the evening began poignantly, it ended, as a powerful performance of Berg’s opera must, in utter devastation. Kenneth Richardson’s semi-staging had the singers acting on a sliver of stage with a handful of props and costumes. (Kate Molleson, The Guardian, 24.10.2014)

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