13 Nov 2014

Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998)

From Appointment, 9:00 am on 13 November 2014
Alfred Schnittke

Alfred Schnittke Photo: Ewa Rudling, Public Domain

The Russian composer was born to German Jewish parents in Russia in 1934. His family moved to Vienna after the war, then to Moscow. Late in his life he settled in Hamburg. All around him nations, societies, institutions, and governments were dissolved, destroyed, remade or reformed. Much of Schnittke’s music is about musical forms being pushed to destruction. He labeled his own composition style ‘Polystylism’ and it’s the language he used to comment on the babble and din of life in the second half of the 20th Century – abrasive, beautiful, stupid, noisy, tender, ironic and sentimental. Peter Hoar explores the music of Schnittke and in particular picks up on the crucial importance that the Faust myth had throughout his career.


Music Details:

Life With an Idiot - Dale Duesing, Teresa Ringholz, Howard Haskin, Vocal Ensemble & Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra/ Mstislav Rostropovich (cond) (Sony S2K 52495)
Ritual, (K)ein Sommernachtstraum, Passacaglia, Seid nüchtern und wachet (Faust Cantata) - Malmö Symphony Orchestra/ Leif Segerstam (cond), Inger Blom, Mikael Bellini, Louis Devos, Ulrik Cold, Malmö Symphony Chorus, Dan-Olof Stenlund, James DePriest (cond), (Faust Cantata) (BIS-CD-437)
Requiem, Concerto for Mixed Chorus - Hymnia Chamber Choir, Flemming Windekilde (cond) (Scandinavian Classics 220591-304)
Concerto for Piano, Variations on One Chord, Improvisation & Fugue - Victoria Lubitskaya, Russian State Orchestra/ Mark Gorenstein (cond) (Fuga Libera 532)
Sonata No.1, Sonata No.2 (‘Quasi una Sonata’), Suite im alten stil, Gratulationsrondo - Ulf Wallin, Roland Pöntinen (BIS-CD-527)
Symphony No.1 - Royal Stockhom Philharmonia Orchestra/ Leif Segerstam (cond) (BIS-CD-577)
Concerto Grosso No.4/Symphony No.5, Concerto Grosso No.3 - Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra/ Vikto Liberman, Jaap van Zweden, Riccardo Chailly (cond) (Decca 430 698)
String Quartet No.3, Piano Quartet (Mahler Schnittke), Piano Quintet - Borodin String Quartet, Ludmilla Berlinsky (Virgin Classic, VC 7 91436)
Concerto Grosso No.6, Symphony No. 8 - Sasha Rozhdestvensky, Viktoria Postnikova, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra/ Gennady Rozhdestvensky (cond) (Chandos CHAN 9359)

Symphony no.5 D minor, op.47, 5 Fragments, op.42 - Royal Philharmonia Orchestra/ Vladimir Ashkenazy (cond) (Decca 421 120-2)

For further information, try the following books and websites:

Alexander Ivashkin, Alfred Schnittke, London, 1996.
Alexander Ivashkin (ed.), Alfred Schnittke: A Schnittke Reader, Bloomington, IN, 2002.
For articles, reviews and videos - http://alfredschnittke.wordpress.com
Schnittke is everywhere - http://www.alfredschnittke.com