Gurlitt: Wozzeck

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Gurlitt
LABELS: Capriccio
WORKS: Wozzeck
PERFORMER: Roland Hermann, Celina Lindsley, Anton Scharinger, Jörg GottschickRIAS Chamber Choir, Berlin Radio Children’s Choir, Deutsches SO Berlin/Gerd Albrecht
CATALOGUE NO: 60 052-1 DDD
I wrote about the background to Manfred Gurlitt’s opera in last month’s News section. Suffice it to repeat that it was written and performed at the same time as Berg’s own adaptation of Georg Büchner’s earthy tragedy, which immediately sent Gurlitt’s into oblivion. From the evidence of this stunning new recording, it can only have been this unfortunate timing that precluded the opera’s long-term success.

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Gurlitt treats the text and the flow of short scenes more cinematically than Berg; intriguingly, his scenes are similarly constructed around various formal types, though the language is more tonally Romantic. It is intriguing to hear a text so familiar from the Berg set in so different and no less imaginative a way.

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This recording should certainly win the opera a new audience. Roland Hermann is a totally involving Wozzeck, and is ably teamed with the Marie of Celina Lindsley and the Drum Major of Jörg Gottschalk. Albrecht, a familiar figure in the revival of inter-war opera, is an ardent advocate of the score, while the Deutsches SO is as fine as ever. An essential addition to the adventurous collector’s CD library. Matthew Rye