Berg, Alban. (1885 - 1935) [Redlich, Hans Ferdinand. (1903–1968) & Perle, George. (1915–2009)]

Wozzeck – Printed full score with inscriptions from Redlich and Perle

Vienna-Leipzig: Universal-Edition. 1926. First Edition of full score. [Op 7]. Georg Büchners Wozzeck Oper in 3 Akten (15 Szenen)... Op. 7 Partitur. Upright folio. Lithographed facsimile from copyist's manuscript. Modern green boards, lettering 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"), [1] ("Szenarium"), [2] (list of orchestral instruments), [3] (cast list), [4] (instructions for performing the Sprechstimme), 5–405 (music) pp. [PN] U. E. 7379; second PN, "7382" (referring to Universal's piano-vocal score) to pp. [2] and [3]. Printer's footnote to final page of music: "Waldheim-Eberle A.G. Wien". Signature "H.F. Redlich" to upper right corner of front endpaper, followed by note in Redlich's hand, "(since 1953) binding Dec. 1967. [one more word, illegible]"; below, dedication in the hand of Redlich's widow, Erika Burger: "To George Perle with much love and in memory of H. F. R." One more signature of Redlich to upper right corner of title, again followed by note, "since 1953." Note in pencil to the bookbinder to head of upper wrapper, "Cover to be bound in." Notes and underlinings in blue ink (ball-point pen) to the PNs of pp. [3] and [4], probably by Redlich. Further annotations, difficult to decipher and possibly also in Redlich's hand, to left margin of p. 52, vocal part of p. 56, Wozzeck's part of p. 103 ("Falsett"), and pp. 123, 237 and 292. Upper wrapper browned to edges, scratched and somewhat soiled, with repair to gutter dating to modern binding. Lower wrapper lacking. Otherwise, a very fine copy.

The publication of the full score was preceded by a piano-vocal score by Berg's student Fritz Heinrich Klein, which Berg had self-published in 1925 with financial support from 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 Georg Büchner's (1813–1837) fragmentary drama Woyzeck was written in 1836 but remained unpublished until 1879 and did not see the stage before Max Reinhardt produced it in Munich in 1913.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)

Hans Ferdinand Redlich was an Austrian-born musicologist, conductor and composer. He lived in in Germany from 1921 to 1937; after a brief return to Austria, he emigrated to England in 1938 and established himself there. He wrote the first book on Berg in English (1957). As demonstrated by the second inscription, his widow later donated the present copy to American composer George Perle, who also studied Berg's music and published a book on Wozzeck in 1980. (22239)

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