Notes and Editorial Reviews
This selection received a Grammy Award nomination for "Best Opera Recording."
Wozzeck' is one of those rare works that manages to use a difficult, experimental musical language purely in the service of heightening the listener's involvement in a compelling musical drama. The connoisseur can uncover all the fascinating details of Alban Berg's ingenuity--the fugues, sonata and variation forms, and baroque dance allusions that almost subliminally structure each scene--but the surface and flow of the music are so involving that deeper analysis is unnecessary, almost undesirable. The inexorable dramatic sweep of 'Wozzeck'--a popular success for Berg in its time despite its modernism--is best experienced in the theater, which is perhaps why so many of the opera's great recordings have been taken from live productions, particularly those directed by Mitropolous, Abbado and Barenboim.
Now joining their company is Ingo Metzmacher's recording, from 1998 Hamburg performances in what was, to judge from the enclosed photographs, a very interesting production indeed. There is much to admire here: Metzmacher has an excellent sense of the multiple levels of this dense score, and Bo Skovhus and Angela Denoke are compelling as Wozzeck and Marie, sympathetic yet convincing in their outbursts of rage, passion and violence. The live acoustic occludes some detail but is generally convincing in re-creating the theatrical experience.
Opera News (2/2000) - "...a solid piece of work....Metzmacher sets a personal stamp on['Wozzeck']...[his flexible pacing makes]telling points ....Skovhus sketches a youthful, mercurial[Wozzeck]...he suggests a loose cannon....The Hamburg musicians...[help make this] a smart 'Wozzeck.'"