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Opera in English - Berg: Wozzeck / Daniel, Shore, et al

Album Summary

>Berg, Alban : Wozzeck, opera, Op. 7
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

"[This] recording manages to create the impression of theatre conditions with the added benefit of presenting a more natural balance between singers and orchestra than in the rival live recordings from Barenboim and Abbado. As Wozzeck, Andrew Shore delivers a multi-faceted interpretation, often unhinged but also with moments of lucidity and compassion." ***** - Erik Levi, BBC

bbc.co.uk - Andrew McGregor
This is one of the finest recordings so far in Chandos's 'Opera in English' series, and there's certainly no need to make allowances for the performance because of the language. A Wozzeck to be measured against the very finest modern recordings, a genuine alternative to any one of them, linguistically and musically.

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
This is a fine Wozzeck; the perfect complement to the outstanding Abbado version which has been the top recommendation for so long.

Abbado's was recorded live in Vienna, and any studio recording of an opera risks sounding score-bound when compared with a real, live performance in the theatre. But with Wozzeck a studio ambience can bring real advantages, especially if it underlines the kind of claustrophobic intimacy and obsessiveness which theatrical histrionics inevitably broaden and - in some instances - coarsen. Ranting and raving are kept to a minimum in Paul Daniel's interpretation, and the result is intensely moving without in any way underplaying the music's visceral dramatic power.

One result of Daniel's concentrated yet warmly expressive moulding of the score is a strong sense of its late-Romantic background in Strauss and also in Mahler. The Philharmonia play superbly throughout, and the recording successfully balances a spacious orchestral canvas of the widest dynamic range while placing the voices effectively. Nor are there any weak links in the cast, with three tenors, John Graham- Hall, Stuart Kale and Alan Woodrow, making particularly telling contributions. Josephine Barstow has one or two squally moments in delineating Marie's bewilderment and fear, but her voice remains in remarkably good shape, and the character's conflicting impulses are brilliantly conveyed. Shore is one of the best operatic baritones of our time, and he dominates the drama with an utterly convincing blend of the menacing and the pathetic. Moreover, his way with the text is exemplary.

This performance proves that an English Wozzeck can easily match the impact of the best German performances. Its virtues are such that it makes as powerful a case for this extraordinary work as any other version.


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Works Details

>Berg, Alban : Wozzeck, opera, Op. 7
  • Performers: Josephine Barstow (Soprano); Clive Bayley (Bass); Peter Bronder (Tenor); Leslie Flanagan (Baritone); John Graham-Hall (Tenor); Stuart Kale (Tenor); Iain Paterson (Bass); Jean Rigby; Andrew Shore (Baritone); Alan Woodrow (Tenor)
  • Conductor: Paul Daniel
  • Ensemble: Philharmonia Orchestra
  • Notes: Watford Colosseum (07/14/2002-07/18/2002)
  • Running Time: 44 min. 36 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1917-1922