Personalities | Alfred Schnittke (also Shnitke) | Contemporary | Classical
(Al-fred Shnit’-ke) 1934–98
The most striking aspect of Schnittke’s music is its combination of a multitude of styles. His Symphony No. 1 (1972) contains quotations from many composers – from Joseph Haydn (1732–1809) to Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840–93). The Concerti grossi parody Baroque styles with a degree of wit. Unlike other exponents of collage style, Schnittke retains a personal voice, gradually refining and paring his technique down to the taut expression of the Symphony No. 5 (1988). Schnittke’s music lends itself to the satirical plot of Life with an Idiot (1991). Other operas include Historia von D. Johann Fausten (1990) and Gesualdo (1994), based on the life of the sixteenth-century composer and premiered under Rostropovich at the Vienna State Opera in 1995.
Homage to Schnittke (Concerto Grosso No. 1, Viola Concerto, Piano Concerto, Suite in the Old Style, etc.), various orchestras (cond) Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Mstislav Rostropovich, Vladimir Spivakov (RCA/Sony)
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