Author Topic: Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998)  (Read 173939 times)

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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998) SQ NO.4
« Reply #1200 on: December 08, 2021, 12:31:00 PM »
String Quartet No.4

One can surely not deny that the Alban Berg Quartet bring refinement and sophistication, and their 'live' performance of Schnittke's last SQ brings out any and all "Old World" feelings that this most inward of Schnittke scores presents. I hadn't really payed attention much to the opening movement, apparently, because this time I heard all the micro-tonal ennui that caught my ear. It seems Schnittke was trying to perfect the effect of "nausea", and here one can feel the shifting moods of angst and despair very well.

This is a long piece, and meaty and weighty, and seems to me to be DSCH's 18th SQ,... I believe Schnittke set out to make a DSCH SQ, and that this is what we got. I certainly will continue with this piece as an appendage of DSCH's legacy.

I'm going to call it a Masterpiece of 'Gotterdammerung' Music, the last gasp of 'Ultra-Late Romanticism' before the final flickering out (snuffing out?) of the light by the forces of darkness. How much more "towards the graveyard" can one go in music of such profound blackness? Sure, we could have special-effects of graveyard sounds, but here Schnittke sticks strictly to emotional states,- "human" feelings as opposed to "macabre".

I profer that there is no piece of Schnittke more representative of his deepest personal statement than this piece, and it is not the most easygoing endeavor to get to the end- but it stands as a huge monument, a gravestone, to what will never be again.


I just popped for the Bashmet/TCA Viola Concerto. I may actually not ever have heard this, being I'm totally getting it confused with Penderecki's of the same era. But, everyone says it's their favorite piece, so, I look forward with expectation.

The only items left of Schnittke's that I'm interested in would be the Symphonies 3-4, which recordings should I go for?

Anyone else got anything to say about the 4th quartet?
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Offline Brewski

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Re: Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998) SQ NO.4
« Reply #1201 on: December 09, 2021, 09:41:54 AM »
Anyone else got anything to say about the 4th quartet?

Until just now, I had never heard it, and am listening to Quatuor Molinari's version. So far, gorgeous. Also very much reflects the somber tone of his final years. These comments by Mark Sealey seem pretty apt: 

"The Molinari players have a majestic command of Schnittke's use of strings, his tortured melodic structure and sense of imminent doom. Without overplaying the place of the fourth quartet as a summation of what he had previously written, they nevertheless make a very compelling case for this work, full of pity and loss, as typifying the best of Schnittke."

http://www.classical.net/music/recs/reviews/a/atm22634a.php

--Bruce
“I set down a beautiful chord on paper—and suddenly it rusts.”

- Alfred Schnittke

Twitter: @BruceHodgesNY

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998)
« Reply #1202 on: December 09, 2021, 03:43:04 PM »
Schnittke's music seems to make more sense when it gets cold out and the days get shorter. Currently listening with rapt attention to the 4th symphony.

Offline Brewski

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Re: Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998)
« Reply #1203 on: December 09, 2021, 03:47:28 PM »
Schnittke's music seems to make more sense when it gets cold out and the days get shorter. Currently listening with rapt attention to the 4th symphony.

Love that comment.

So PS, which version of the 4th is enthralling you? I don't know the piece, and would like to.

--Bruce
“I set down a beautiful chord on paper—and suddenly it rusts.”

- Alfred Schnittke

Twitter: @BruceHodgesNY

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998)
« Reply #1204 on: December 09, 2021, 04:51:09 PM »
Love that comment.

So PS, which version of the 4th is enthralling you? I don't know the piece, and would like to.

--Bruce

Whoah...??? Really? I'd give a listen to the Polyansky performance on Chandos, Bruce. It's magnificent.
"Works of art create rules; rules do not create works of art." - Claude Debussy

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998)
« Reply #1205 on: December 09, 2021, 06:17:37 PM »
Love that comment.

So PS, which version of the 4th is enthralling you? I don't know the piece, and would like to.

--Bruce

Okko Kamu and the Stockholm Sinfonietta on BIS. It's the only one I know, but it's a good one.

Offline Brewski

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Re: Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998)
« Reply #1206 on: December 09, 2021, 06:19:26 PM »
Whoah...??? Really? I'd give a listen to the Polyansky performance on Chandos, Bruce. It's magnificent.

Thanks, I will check that out. I'm more familiar with Schnittke's chamber music and the concertos -- the symphonies, not as much. Though I treasure a live performance of his bleak Eighth a few years back, with the Juilliard Orchestra.

Wow, just found a photo from the performance, from 2014, with conductor Anne Manson.

https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/the-juilliard-orchestra-performing-alfred-schnittkes-news-photo/467762105

--Bruce
“I set down a beautiful chord on paper—and suddenly it rusts.”

- Alfred Schnittke

Twitter: @BruceHodgesNY

Offline Brewski

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Re: Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998)
« Reply #1207 on: December 09, 2021, 06:22:19 PM »
Okko Kamu and the Stockholm Sinfonietta on BIS. It's the only one I know, but it's a good one.

Oh cool, thank you! I know some of the BIS series, but not all. That cycle was probably the first full plunge into Schnittke for many of us -- certainly part of my introduction to his work.

Appreciate your weighing in, and will try to report back with impressions.

--Bruce
“I set down a beautiful chord on paper—and suddenly it rusts.”

- Alfred Schnittke

Twitter: @BruceHodgesNY

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998)
« Reply #1208 on: December 09, 2021, 09:34:04 PM »
Thanks, I will check that out. I'm more familiar with Schnittke's chamber music and the concertos -- the symphonies, not as much. Though I treasure a live performance of his bleak Eighth a few years back, with the Juilliard Orchestra.

Wow, just found a photo from the performance, from 2014, with conductor Anne Manson.

https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/the-juilliard-orchestra-performing-alfred-schnittkes-news-photo/467762105

--Bruce

You're welcome. The 3rd, 4th, 5th and 8th are my favorites of his symphonies.
"Works of art create rules; rules do not create works of art." - Claude Debussy

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998) SQ NO.4
« Reply #1209 on: December 10, 2021, 01:19:08 PM »
Until just now, I had never heard it, and am listening to Quatuor Molinari's version. So far, gorgeous. Also very much reflects the somber tone of his final years. These comments by Mark Sealey seem pretty apt: 

"The Molinari players have a majestic command of Schnittke's use of strings, his tortured melodic structure and sense of imminent doom. Without overplaying the place of the fourth quartet as a summation of what he had previously written, they nevertheless make a very compelling case for this work, full of pity and loss, as typifying the best of Schnittke."

http://www.classical.net/music/recs/reviews/a/atm22634a.php

--Bruce

I’ve decided it’s not for me at the moment, this music! Though I would say that I thought Snyprr was right to praise the ABQ in the 4th quartet.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline Brewski

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Re: Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998) SQ NO.4
« Reply #1210 on: December 10, 2021, 04:33:25 PM »
I’ve decided it’s not for me at the moment, this music! Though I would say that I thought Snyprr was right to praise the ABQ in the 4th quartet.

At least after one hearing, I think it's slightly grueling, and shows signs of the composer's grimmest thoughts. So no, likely not for Sunday morning coffee with birds outside. Will likely give the Alban Berg ensemble a try at some point.

PS, Kronos were my introduction to the first three quartets, which they performed in a cycle of three concerts with one on each (i.e., before the 4th was written). Came away in awe, and then down the Schnittke rabbit hole we went.  0:)

--Bruce
“I set down a beautiful chord on paper—and suddenly it rusts.”

- Alfred Schnittke

Twitter: @BruceHodgesNY

Offline Maestro267

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Re: Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998)
« Reply #1211 on: December 10, 2021, 10:52:56 PM »
Listened to Quartet No. 4 yesterday. Definitely hear the bleakness of late Schnittke in it.