7. Wozzeck and magic

Operas: Berg’s Wozzeck and Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges [The child and the enchantments].

I suppose Wozzeck could be nominated for the ultimate Expressionist prize, if such a thing existed (perhaps it does!!) Berg cleverly underpins Georg Büchner’s (unfinished) drama Woyzeck with a whole series of abstract musical forms (suite, passacaglia, symphony, inventions…)

Both of Ravel’s operas are comedies and inhabit a world far removed from the darkness of Wozzeck. The first part of L’enfant et les sortilèges is like a variety show, a series of acts by different performers (the result of the composer’s admiration of Broadway, its revues and musicals), while the second half takes us to the magical world of the garden and a moment of redemption that Wozzeck – for good or ill – conspicuously lacks.


Act 1
Act 2
Act 3

Vocal score

L’enfant et les sortilèges

Vocal Score

(with English translation)

Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as “fair use”, for the purpose of study, and critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of the copyright owner(s).