Wien... Leipzig: Universal-Edition [PN U.E. 7379], . Folio. Black-cloth backed decorative paper boards with titling gilt to spine, original publisher's light green upper wrapper printed in dark green bound in. 1f. (title), 1f. (dedication in facsimile of Berg's handwriting: "Alma Maria Mahler zugeeignet"), [i] ("Szenarium" [table of contents]), [i] (list of orchestral instruments), [i] (cast list), [i] (instructions for performing the Sprechstimme), 5-405 (music), [i] (blank) pp. Printer's note to lower right corner of last page of music: "Waldheim-Eberle A.G., Wien, VII."
A facsimile of the copyist's manuscript.
Extensive markings in pencil and red crayon by an unknown conductor to pp. 55-89, 123-171, 215-237, 246-256, 275-348, and 364-405. Handstamp "00006" to upper left corner of upper wrapper.
Binding slightly worn and rubbed; upper wrapper slightly worn and soiled; lower wrapper lacking. Slightly worn; tear to verso of blank outer edge of title repaired; corners of some leaves slightly creased; minor repair to blank outer edge of final leaf.
The spellings "orkester" (passim) and "kor" (p. 291) suggest that the performance for which this copy was used either took place in Scandinavia or was led by a Scandinavian conductor.
Georg Büchner's (1813-1837) fragmentary drama Woyzeck [not "Wozzeck"] was written in 1836, but it remained unpublished until 1879 and did not see the stage before Max Reinhardt produced it in Munich in 1913.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 and arguably the most successful one to this day.
"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 #24664
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