[Vienna]: Eigentum des Komponisten [PN AB4], [December 1922]. Folio. Full dark green cloth with upper wrapper laid down to upper board, spine with titling gilt.v1f. (title), 1f. (dedication in facsimile of Berg's handwriting: "Alma Maria Mahler zugeeignet"), 5 ("Szenarium" [table of contents]), [i] (list of orchestral instruments), [i] (cast list), 8 (instructions for performing the Sprechstimme), -231 (music), [i] (printer's note: "Gestochen und gedruckt von der Waldheim-Eberle A.G. Wien") pp. Printed photographically from engraved plates. Plate numbers flush with outer edge on pages with footnotes or ossias; shortened to "B4" on p. 182.
With "Universal-Edition A.G. Wien... Leipzig U.E. Nr. 7382" overpaste to title and upper wrapper.
Binding slightly rubbed and bumped; upper wrapper slightly worn, stained and creased; lower wrapper lacking. Minor wear and soiling throughout; corners of first and last leaves slightly turned; final leaves dampstained at lower outer portion.
Quite a good copy overall.
First Edition, first issue. The overpastes by Universal-Edition were most probably added in April 1923, when the publisher acquired the rights and Berg ordered the printer, Waldheim-Eberle, to transfer all remaining copies to Universal. The first issue by Universal, using the same plates but with new plate number U.E. 7382 and new title, was released in 1926.
The arranger of the edition, Fritz Heinrich Klein (1892-1977), was a student of Berg. The publication of the piano-vocal score was made possible by the financial support of Alma Mahler; hence, the dedication.
Georg Büchner's (1813-1837) fragmentary drama Woyzeck was written in 1836, but it remained unpublished until 1879 and did not see the stage before Max Reinhardt produced it in Munich in 1913. Its Viennese premiere, in 1914, prompted Berg to compose his opera—the first atonal opera in history.
"Wozzeck was an epoch-making work that broke new ground musically, emotionally and dramatically. If Büchner's play was discovered and first performed at a time when its techniques and concerns seemed strikingly contemporary, it also appeared at a moment when its extreme states were peculiarly suited to Berg’s musical language – an atonal language that, constantly hovering on the edge of tonal confirmation, becomes a perfect musical metaphor for the emotional and mental state of the opera's chief protagonist. The world that the opera presents is a projection of the tortured mind of Wozzeck himself: a world without normality or humanity and peopled by grotesques, a haunted world of strange, hallucinatory voices and visions and of natural phenomena indifferent to the human tragedy being played out." Douglas Jarman in Grove Music Online. Item #24662
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