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This is hell in the true sense of the word

Berg’s time in army training leads to physical collapse and he emerges to write a brutal opera – Wozzeck.

Faced with the squalor of conditions at an army training camp and the regular drills and tough exercise required, Alban Berg had a physical breakdown and was taken to hospital. A series of tests revealed the damaged state of his lungs, and he was declared only suitable for orderly duties. He spent the rest of the war on guard duty and in the War Ministry in Vienna.
He turned his attention to a play Woyzeck, written 80 years earlier by George Büchner, based on a historical case of a barber who killed his mistress in a jealous rage. The barber was tried and condemned to death, but for the first time in the history of German law, the question was raised of diminished responsibility on the grounds of mental instability.
Berg’s opera, inspired by Buchner’s play, came to be known as Wozzeck. At the opening night on the 14th of December 1925, it was described as sounding like: Massed attacks and convulsions of instruments….tortured, mistuned cackling….. A capital offence…… A dissonant orgy….scarps, shreds, sobs and belches… But there was also talk of: the strange perfection and uniqueness of this work which places him right next to the most important music dramatist of our time not only was the evening the greatest sensation of the season it was a significant event in history of music drama in general. Berg was finally and firmly on the musical map.

Ferne Lieder – Distant Songs
Jessye Norman, soprano
Ann Schein, piano

Wozzeck: Act 3, Tanzt Alle
Walter Berry, baritone (Wozzeck)
Ingeborg Lasser, contralto (Margret)
Orchestra and Choir Of Paris Opera
Pierre Boulez, conductor

Wozzeck: Act 3, Scenes 4 and 5
Walter Berry, baritone (Wozzeck)
Orchestra and Choir Of Paris Opera
Pierre Boulez, conductor

Three Pieces for Orchestra
Vienna Philharmonic
Claudio Abbado, conductor

Wein, Weib und Gesang (Waltz Op 333 by Johann Strauss II, trans. Berg)
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Mario Venzago, conductor

Produced by Rosie Boulton for BBC Wales

25 days left to listen

59 minutes

Music Played

  • Alban Berg

    Ferne Lieder

    Performer: Ann Schein. Singer: Jessye Norman.
    • Sony SK66826.
    • Sony SK66826.
    • 18.
  • Alban Berg

    Wozzeck: Act III (extract)

    Performer: Walter Berry. Performer: Ingeborg Lasser. Performer: Choirs And Orchestra Of Paris. Conductor: Pierre Boulez.
    • Sony 88697446192.
    • Sony 88697446192.
    • 9.
  • Alban Berg

    Wozzeck: Act III, Scenes 4 and 5

    Performer: Choirs And Orchestra Of Paris. Singer: Walter Berry. Conductor: Pierre Boulez. Singer: Ingeborg Lasser.
    • Sony 88697446192.
    • Sony 88697446192.
    • 8.
  • Alban Berg

    Three Pieces for Orchestra, Op 6

    Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic. Conductor: Claudio Abbado.
    • DG 4458462.
    • DG 4458462.
    • 9.
  • Johann Strauss II

    Wein, Weib und Gesang (arr. Berg)

    Performer: Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Mario Venzago.
    • Chandos CHSA5074.
    • Chandos CHSA5074.
    • 1.

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