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Thread: Alfred Schnittke

  1. #106
    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kontrapunctus View Post
    True, but don't expect any Yngwie Malmsteen style shredding!
    If you decide to try a recording of the Concerto Grosso No.2, see if you can get hold of the Moscow Studio Archives CD. This is the definitive recording.

  2. #107
    Senior Member BurningDesire's Avatar
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    One thing I love about Schnittke's music is the drama. Alot of people say his music sounds schizophrenic, and to certain extent it kinda does... but I think its really amazing how he so genuinely captures the drama that both baroque/classical orchestration and form and harmony can create at their best, and combines it with the drama that 12-tone and pitch set and tone cluster composition, it really does fit well together. Not everything is like the first Symphony (I love that piece, don't get me wrong). He manages to combine these different things so well, so serve whatever kind of drama he wants to make. Schnittke was a true master.
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  3. #108
    Senior Member neoshredder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BurningDesire View Post
    One thing I love about Schnittke's music is the drama. Alot of people say his music sounds schizophrenic, and to certain extent it kinda does... but I think its really amazing how he so genuinely captures the drama that both baroque/classical orchestration and form and harmony can create at their best, and combines it with the drama that 12-tone and pitch set and tone cluster composition, it really does fit well together. Not everything is like the first Symphony (I love that piece, don't get me wrong). He manages to combine these different things so well, so serve whatever kind of drama he wants to make. Schnittke was a true master.
    I think his best might either be Concerto Grosso 1 or Concerto Grosso 4/Symphony 5. Though I still got a lot to listen to. Those 2 grabbed me right away. I like that he does use some tonal and mixes it with atonal. To me, he is the most accessible Modern Composer. He seems to mix in Baroque, Classical, and Romantic in a Modern way.
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  4. #109
    Senior Member Arsakes's Avatar
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    I should get something of Schnittke soon, probably Symphonies and Concertos first as it's my method of knowing a composer.
    His description of works seems very interesting.
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  5. #110
    Senior Member Crudblud's Avatar
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    You're in for a treat, I wish I could listen to his symphonies for the first time again.
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  6. #111
    Senior Member ArthurBrain's Avatar
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    The piano quintet was one of the first pieces by Schnittke to get my undivided attention several years ago, and still has the same affect today. The sheer intensity of emotion throughout - be it haunting fragmented melodies or sheer sound clusters is expertly handled that it's just 'magical' in the experience of it. Following that, the 'Faust Cantata', Requiem and especially the viola concerto remain firm favourites to this day. I love the collage of modern and 'traditional' styles in several other works, especially as Schnittke has a grasp of making the tonal passages sound interesting in their own right along with any dissonance. The viola concerto is probably my favourite in that regard.

    This following is also one of my favourites by the guy. Old & new converge in an almost playful manner, but not quite....

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  7. #112
    Senior Member Igneous01's Avatar
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    I agree with ArthurBrain about the faust cantata and viola concerto.
    The viola concerto especially is just such a unique work, im always amazed by the 'second' movement (after the initial prelude/intro) The solos sound so alien when combined with the orchestra, but when you look at the score, he is using diatonic arpeggios for the solo.
    Faust Cantata is another great example of Schnittke's unique orchestration. It makes me think of impressionism for some reason, like a ravel who lived another 30 years and went mad. Amazing composer.
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    I can't play Rachmaninoff etude.

  8. #113
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    I think a large part of the enthusiasm for Schnittke lies in his ability to be expressive in his music, and I think this owes something to Shostakovich. In his Sonata for Violin and Chamber Orchestra (1963) (Nimbus NI 5582), Schnittke manages to be expressive in spite of the fact that it uses arguably inexpressive serial techniques.
    Last edited by millionrainbows; Nov-14-2012 at 01:48.
    Your closing key is not the same,
    This gives the Masters pain;
    But Hans Sachs draws a rule from this:
    In Spring, it must be so! 'Tis plain!


    "In Spring! In the creation of art it must be as it is in Spring!" -Arnold Schoenberg

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  9. #114
    Senior Member Vaneyes's Avatar
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  10. #115
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Then, on the other hand, Schnittke is continuing the post-Romantic tradition of Shostakovich. He uses familiar forms. While on the one hand it is good to see this many people agree and give positive feedback on a modern composer, I find it odd that so many of these same people have problems accepting John Cage or serial music.
    Your closing key is not the same,
    This gives the Masters pain;
    But Hans Sachs draws a rule from this:
    In Spring, it must be so! 'Tis plain!


    "In Spring! In the creation of art it must be as it is in Spring!" -Arnold Schoenberg

    "I think that all right-thinking people in this country are sick and tired of being told that ordinary, decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired. Iím certainly not! But Iím sick and tired of being told that I am!" - Monty Python

  11. #116
    Senior Member Neo Romanza's Avatar
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    For me, Schnittke is one tough nut to crack. Some of his music I find goes nowhere and has no kind of purpose but then there are works like Peer Gynt which really sound fantastic to me. I also like his Symphony No. 2. I find it deeply compelling, but nothing else has grabbed me as much.
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  12. #117
    Senior Member Neo Romanza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nickgray View Post
    Yeah, Schnittke is amazing, I love his late works. What I particularly like about him is that he got over the experiments and simply started to write music that suited him, which is, errrr... well, awesome?
    I know this quote is from awhile back and I don't know if this member still frequents here but I would like to make a comment anyway. I think the 'polystylism' suits Schnittke just fine and was very much apart of his development as a composer whereas in the early works he seemed heavily influenced by Shostakovich. With this new style, he found his compositional voice. This style wasn't experimental anymore than Stravinsky's Neoclassical phase. Schnittke's late phase is a result of being haunted by death (he survived a vicious cycle of strokes throughout his later life) and the music turns more inward. Is the music better because it expresses something more personal? Absolutely not. There's plenty of expression to be found in all of his music really. I don't think he ever stopped being himself.
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    "Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music." - Sergei Rachmaninov

  13. #118
    Senior Member Neo Romanza's Avatar
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    I didn't see any kind of proper introduction to Schnittke on this thread so allow me to provide some information:



    Alfred Schnittke was born on 24 November 1934 in Engels, on the Volga River, in the Soviet Union. His father was born in Frankfurt to a Jewish family of Russian origin who had moved to the USSR in 1926, and his mother was a Volga-German born in Russia. Schnittke began his musical education in 1946 in Vienna where his father, a journalist and translator, had been posted. In 1948 the family moved to Moscow, where Schnittke studied piano and received a diploma in choral conducting.

    From 1953 to 1958 he studied counterpoint and composition with Yevgeny Golubev and instrumentation with Nikolai Rakov at the Moscow Conservatory. Schnittke completed the postgraduate course in composition there in 1961 and joined the Union of Composers the same year. He was particularly encouraged by Phillip Herschkowitz, a Webern disciple, who resided in the Soviet capital.

    In 1962, Schnittke was appointed instructor in instrumentation at the Moscow Conservatory, a post which he held until 1972. Thereafter he supported himself chiefly as a composer of film scores; by 1984 he had scored more than 60 films.

    Noted, above all, for his hallmark "polystylistic" idiom, Schnittke has written in a wide range of genres and styles. His Concerto Grosso No. 1 (1977) was one of the first works to bring his name to prominence. It was popularized by Gidon Kremer, a tireless proponent of his music. Many of Schnittke's works have been inspired by Kremer and other prominent performers, including Yury Bashmet, Natalia Gutman, Gennady Rozhdestvensky and Mstislav Rostropovich. Schnittke first came to America in 1988 for the "Making Music Together" Festival in Boston and the American premiere of Symphony No. 1 by the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He came again in 1991 when Carnegie Hall commissioned Concerto Grosso No. 5 for the Cleveland Orchestra as part of its Centennial Festival, and again in 1994 for the world premiere of his Symphony No. 7 by the New York Philharmonic and the American premiere of his Symphony No. 6 by the National Symphony.

    Schnittke composed 9 symphonies, 6 concerti grossi, 4 violin concertos, 2 cello concertos, concertos for piano and a triple concerto for violin, viola and cello, as well as 4 string quartets and much other chamber music, ballet scores, choral and vocal works. His first opera, Life with an Idiot, was premiered in Amsterdam (April 1992). His two new operas, Gesualdo and Historia von D. Johann Fausten were unveiled in Vienna (May 1995) and Hamburg (June 1995) respectively.

    From the 1980s, Schnittke's music gained increasing exposure and international acclaim. Schnittke has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including Austrian State Prize in 1991, Japan's Imperial Prize in 1992, and, most recently the Slava-Gloria-Prize in Moscow in June 1998; his music has been celebrated with retrospectives and major festivals worldwide. More than 50 compact discs devoted exclusively to his music have been released in the last ten years.

    In 1985, Schnittke suffered the first of a series of serious strokes. Despite his physical frailty, however, Schnittke suffered no loss of creative imagination, individuality or productivity. Beginning in 1990, Schnittke resided in Hamburg, maintaining dual German-Russian citizenship. He died, after suffering another stroke, on 3 August 1998 in Hamburg.

    [Biography taken from G. Schirmer Inc. website]
    "Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music." - Sergei Rachmaninov

  14. #119
    Senior Member berghansson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neo Romanza View Post
    For me, Schnittke is one tough nut to crack. Some of his music I find goes nowhere and has no kind of purpose but then there are works like Peer Gynt which really sound fantastic to me. I also like his Symphony No. 2. I find it deeply compelling, but nothing else has grabbed me as much.
    Then you haven't tried the Choir Concerto. I totally agree about Peer Gynt and No. 2
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  15. #120
    Senior Member Neo Romanza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by berghansson View Post
    Then you haven't tried the Choir Concerto. I totally agree about Peer Gynt and No. 2
    No, that's one work I haven't heard yet, although I've seen several recordings that feature this work. Kudos for mentioning it. By the way, I've started coming around to Schnittke a good bit over the last few days. I think my problem lied within myself and my own pre-conceived notions of the way I thought his music should sound. A composer I'm definitely going to be paying more attention to now.
    "Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music." - Sergei Rachmaninov

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