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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wozzeck
I had known Berg, but not Wozzeck. I am listening to it now because ENO is performing it in summer. This version shows eccentricity, humour and contorted lyricism. It is a good introduction to modern operatic music - and the fact that it was written at the time of the Great War gives it poignancy. The CD allows you to download the libretto online, as seems to be the case...
Published 19 months ago by Mr. Richard P. Bridge

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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece ruined by shoddy conducting
Alban Berg's opera `Wozzeck' is a powerful score which is one of the great masterpieces of the twentieth century. The text is a heavily cut version of the play of the same name by the influential Playwright Georg Büchner who died at a tragically young age. I will not go into the actual story of this significant work as the synopsis is easily found on the internet. At...
Published on 25 April 2012 by Robber


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wozzeck, 13 Dec 2012
By 
Mr. Richard P. Bridge (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Berg: Wozzeck (Audio CD)
I had known Berg, but not Wozzeck. I am listening to it now because ENO is performing it in summer. This version shows eccentricity, humour and contorted lyricism. It is a good introduction to modern operatic music - and the fact that it was written at the time of the Great War gives it poignancy. The CD allows you to download the libretto online, as seems to be the case with all Decca CDs - and this is more use than a little book with the ilbretto.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent recording, 27 May 2012
This review is from: Berg: Wozzeck (Audio CD)
This is probably as satisfying as any other version of Wozzeck available. The score is movingly realised and performed by the Vienna Philharmonic and singers. Abbado and Daniel versions are important alternatives for this ceaselessly fascinating, profound and beautiful opera. Contrary to another review, this is certainly a recording that was worth reissuing.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking, 10 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Berg: Wozzeck (Audio CD)
This was a good introduction to this opera which I saw at Covent Garden on 8th November - which was terrific. There was some problem downloading the libretto but I was helped by Amazon to contact Decca and they sent me the libretto as an email attachment
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5.0 out of 5 stars THE BEST RECORDING, 16 May 2013
This review is from: Berg: Wozzeck (Audio CD)
IN MY OPION THIS IS THE BEST RECORDING AND THE WHOLE CAST AND WIENER PHILHARMONIKMER ARE RECOMMENDEE.ANJA SILJA IS PEERLESS AS MARIE.
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece ruined by shoddy conducting, 25 April 2012
This review is from: Berg: Wozzeck (Audio CD)
Alban Berg's opera `Wozzeck' is a powerful score which is one of the great masterpieces of the twentieth century. The text is a heavily cut version of the play of the same name by the influential Playwright Georg Büchner who died at a tragically young age. I will not go into the actual story of this significant work as the synopsis is easily found on the internet. At face value, this would seem to be a noteworthy performance of the complex score, as it boasts the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and a `must' for any serious collector of opera - however, it is badly let down by lacklustre conducting (Christoph von Dohnányi) and unfortunate recording balance. The singers are far too close so that much of the orchestral details are lost. Whatever happened to the advances made in Decca recordings from the 1960s and 1970s? Now and then the orchestra rises up but the effect is to make the recording sound too engineered. Apart from the bass drum and a few other percussion instruments, the rest of the important kitchen department might as well not be there. One gets the impression that this is a mere `play through' and not any serious attempt to make a recording. CD 1 contains Acts 1 and 2 and the second CD has Act 3 and an `extra'. Eberhard Waechter (Wozzeck) is a fine singer and actor, though a little past his best, and the first scene with the remarkable actor/singer Heinz Zednik (Hauptmann) is effective in gently introducing us into Wozzeck's grim world. The first orchestral interlude (and, indeed, most of these vital links) is a dreary affair with poor orchestral blending and an almost complete lack of tension. The scene with the cutting of the canes, Andres (Horst Laubenthal) is well sung. Anja Silja (Marie) may not have a voice which is to everyone's taste and, to be frank, when she made this recording she was also past her prime, but her acting more than makes up for any faults in her singing. I will not detail each and every scene but merely point out anything which ought to be brought to your attention. Alexander Malta's wonderfully sung and eccentric Doktor is a delight. The Drum Major is sung by Hermann Winkler and he manages to sound superbly arrogant. The brief orchestral coda to Act 1 doesn't get there as it is far too matter-of-fact. Marie's solo and the following duet with Wozzeck are impressively delivered. The scene with the Captain and Doctor trying to out-do one another is nicely dark so that when they simultaneously turn on the passing Wozzeck the resulting scene is subtly vicious. For me, the important `Dance' scene is a disaster. As the orchestra is distant, the distinction between the `pit' and stage band is hardly noticeable. There is almost nothing of the mounting stresses which are highlighted in this scene. The Chorus of the Sleeping Soldiers is wonderful and, though the singers act this confrontational scene well, the conducting lets it down. CD2 begins with the Bible Scene. Silja copes with the music very well but, as ever, the tedious conducting leaves me cold. The eerie moonrise and murder goes for nothing and the two mighty orchestral crescendos which follow are fairly loud but hardly the shattering experience one should have. Wozzeck's finding of the body and his drowning is casual, to say the least - even Waechter sounds as though he has given up. In Dohnányi's hands, the final powerful Mahlerian interlude, which should utterly demolish the listeners and reduce them to an emotional shell, is nice, which is not the superlative one should be using. Because of all the preceding scenes, the last one, with the mocking of Marie's child by the children, means nothing. I always end up by thinking, "Why have I bothered wasting my time listening to this appalling performance when virtually any other version is infinitely better?" To sum up, this is a wasted opportunity for a first rate performance because of a third rate conductor. As the opera is modest in length, Decca has added Schoenberg's short opera `Erwartung' as a fill up with Silja as the `Woman'. The work uses a large orchestra and it is used to colour, underline and expand on the solo character's confused emotions. The score is complex and requires an expert conductor to bring it off. Sadly, Dohnányi doesn't rise to anywhere near the challenge. He takes it far too fast and the interpretation is messy with little attention to the details in the score. Silja tries to cope with the erratic conducting but, on the whole, this version of this upsetting work leaves me emotionally cold. The subtle orchestral interludes add nothing to the drama - which is insulting to the music. Again, the soloist is too close so we never get any feeling of a dark, deserted and threatening garden and the finding of the body is, frankly, a trifling affair. I really don't know why Decca bothered to issue (and re-issue) this drably conducted work and inflict it on the discerning public.
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Berg: Wozzeck
Berg: Wozzeck by Anja Silja (Audio CD - 2012)
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