Berg's 'Wozzeck' -
'... quite convincing enough ...'
The great joy of this opera, when the treatment meted out to most of its characters becomes
unendurable, is to take refuge in the simple attractions of its musical structures. Act 1 offers
a Suite, Military March and Passacaglia. In Act 2 there is the comfort of a Fantasia and Fugue
plus Scherzo with two trios. The final act is a series of Inventions: during that on one note
Marie is murdered by Wozzeck; in the course of Berg's meditations on a six-note chord Wozzeck
wades further and further into a pool to cleanse himself of Marie's blood (shades of dear Lady
Macbeth) until at last he drowns. Thus in his cunning Berg anchors his music to time-honoured
devices well proved in every composer's workshop.
Dale Duesing as Wozzeck. DVD screenshot © 1996 ZDF
Copyright © 26 July 2006
Robert Anderson, London UK