WOZZECK - Pre-Publication Proof Inscribed to Zemlinsky
[Vienna]: Eigentum des Komponisten. [December 1922].
[Op 7]. Georg Büchners Wozzeck Oper in 3 Akten (15 Szenen)... Op. 7 Klavierauszug von Fritz Heinrich Klein. [Piano-vocal score]. Folio. Quarter dark green cloth with marbled boards, dark brown leather label gilt to spine, original publisher's upper wrapper printed in dark green bound in. 1f. (title), 1f. (facsimile of Berg's autograph dedication "Alma Maria Mahler zugeeignet"), 5 ("Szenarium"),  (list of orchestral instruments),  (cast list), 8 (instructions for performing the Sprechstimme), -231 (music), [i] (printed note: "Gestochen und gedruckt von der Waldheim-Eberle A.G. Wien") pp. [PN AB4] Plate numbers flush with outer edge of printed area on pages with footnotes or ossias; shortened to "B4" on p. 182. Upper wrapper professionally repaired; lower lacking. Leaves through p. 16 and final leaf professionally repaired. Some offsetting; ink stains to lower right corner of pp. 189, 191, and 213 and to p. 212; small tears to lower edge of pp. 183-84; occasional fraying at lower edge; final leaf creased. With the composer's autograph inscription to Alexander von Zemlinsky in black ink to lower right corner: "Alexander von Zemlinsky in tiefer Verehrung Alban Berg Dez. 22" (to Alexander von Zemlinsky with deep devotion Alban Berg December 1922).
First Edition, pre-dating the publication of the full score by Universal-Edition in 1926. The arranger of the present edition, Fritz Heinrich Klein (1892-1977), was a student of Berg; the publication of the score was enabled by the financial support of Alma Mahler. Georg Büchner's (1813-1837) fragmentary drama Woyzeck was written in 1836 but remained unpublished until 1879 and did not see the stage before Max Reinhardt produced it in Munich in 1913.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 Online)
The composer and conductor Alexander Zemlinsky (1871-1942) was an important figure in early 20th century music. As a teacher, his pupils included Berg, Schoenberg and Webern. He conducted a fragment of Wozzeck in 1925, the same year in which the complete work was first performed at the Staatsoper in Berlin.
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