Author Topic: Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998)  (Read 138117 times)

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Offline BachQ

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Re: Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998)
« Reply #20 on: May 01, 2007, 12:58:21 PM »
My personal preference would be for the BIS recording, as slightly less ragged than e.g. the Classico/Tim one - but either is fine.

That BIS recording is dynamite . . . . . .

Offline Benji

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Re: Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998)
« Reply #21 on: May 01, 2007, 01:02:04 PM »
Schnittke I love, but I can only take him in small doses, such is the draining effect he has on my psyche.

Peer Gynt is, IMHO, one of the greatest ballet scores of the 20th century. Now, I cannot comment on whether or not it is great for it's original purpose (i.e. the dancing, and in all honesty, I imagine not), but the music itself is a mammoth and pitch black effort and is a world away from Grieg's work, which in comparison to Schnittke's take on the story, is all butterflies, honey and puppies.

Other than that, my favourites are his 5th and 8th symphonies.

Choo Choo

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Re: Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998)
« Reply #22 on: May 01, 2007, 01:02:18 PM »
That BIS recording is dynamite . . . . . .

...and it's coupled with a very good 4th Symphony, worth getting in its own right.

Offline edward

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Re: Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998)
« Reply #23 on: May 01, 2007, 01:46:34 PM »
Peer Gynt is, IMHO, one of the greatest ballet scores of the 20th century. Now, I cannot comment on whether or not it is great for it's original purpose (i.e. the dancing, and in all honesty, I imagine not), but the music itself is a mammoth and pitch black effort and is a world away from Grieg's work, which in comparison to Schnittke's take on the story, is all butterflies, honey and puppies.
Seconded. I think Peer Gynt is probably Schnittke's masterpiece.

Other great works to my mind: 8th symphony, viola, piano and 1st cello concertos, second violin sonata, piano quintet.
"I don't at all mind actively disliking a piece of contemporary music, but in order to feel happy about it I must consciously understand why I dislike it. Otherwise it remains in my mind as unfinished business."
 -- Aaron Copland, The Pleasures of Music

Offline Maciek

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Re: Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998)
« Reply #24 on: May 01, 2007, 02:12:07 PM »
Okay, OKAY! No need to hammer it in! I'll get the Piano Quintet, I'll get the darn Piano Quintet!!!

 ;D

Choo Choo

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Re: Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998)
« Reply #25 on: May 01, 2007, 03:46:18 PM »
...and the Requiem - don't forget the Requiem!!!

Quote from: Alfred Schnittke
The Requiem came into being in 1975 as an offshoot of another work - the Piano Quintet (1972-1976), which is dedicated to the memory of my mother, Maria Vogel.  Originally I wanted to write a movement in the quintet which should summarise in instrumental form all the parts of a requiem, and I composed all the themes for this.  Afterwards, however, I found that the themes had an exclusively vocal character and so I decided to keep them back for a future work.  At this time I was commissioned to write incidental music to Schiller's Don Carlos.  I composed this in the form of a requiem celebrated invisibly in the background of the events on stage; naturally, though, I also considered the possibility of concert performance.

Offline Brewski

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Re: Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998)
« Reply #26 on: May 10, 2007, 10:48:27 AM »
The Concerto for Piano and Strings is a fine, striking piece, and I notice this excellent recording with Rozhdestvensky conducting and pianist Victoria Postnikova has been reissued at a lower price.  The disc includes an excellent Concerto for Piano Four Hands, with Irena Schnittke joining Postnikova.



--Bruce
« Last Edit: May 10, 2007, 12:39:26 PM by bhodges »
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Haffner

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Re: Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998)
« Reply #27 on: May 11, 2007, 02:48:24 AM »
Piano Quintet is absolutely quinte(t)ssential





I just recently was inspired by Schnittke's music, could you please make a reccomendation recording-wise for that particular work, Drasko?

karlhenning

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Re: Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998)
« Reply #28 on: May 11, 2007, 03:52:22 AM »
The Concerto for Piano and Strings is a fine, striking piece, and I notice this excellent recording with Rozhdestvensky conducting and pianist Victoria Postnikova has been reissued at a lower price.  The disc includes an excellent Concerto for Piano Four Hands, with Irena Schnittke joining Postnikova.



Looks very nice, Bruce! If only I could believe I might find it at Borders  ;D

karlhenning

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Re: Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998)
« Reply #29 on: May 11, 2007, 03:52:48 AM »
Okay, OKAY! No need to hammer it in! I'll get the Piano Quintet, I'll get the darn Piano Quintet!!!

 ;D

Spoken like a gentleman, Maciek:)

Symphonien

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Re: Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998)
« Reply #30 on: May 23, 2007, 03:35:46 AM »
Schnittke's piano concerto sounded very interesting to me, at least the parts I heard of it in this very good BBC program. I'd definitely recommend listening to it, although it unfortunately does not contain the full performance of the work at the end.

I'm interested in hearing the entire work now, so for those who know how do the following two recordings compare:





And in the latter, how does the account of the coupled Requiem compare to this one on BIS:


Offline quintett op.57

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Re: Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998)
« Reply #31 on: May 24, 2007, 11:51:36 PM »
A great Naxos CD : Cello concerto + Cello sonata.

You absolutely need to have the quartets if you don't.


Offline Brewski

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Re: Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998)
« Reply #32 on: May 25, 2007, 06:24:32 AM »
You absolutely need to have the quartets if you don't.

Agreed.  The quartets (three at the time) were my introduction to Schnittke.  Back in the late 1980s, the Kronos Quartet did three concerts here, with one quartet on each evening's program, and after the first night I couldn't wait to hear the others.  I had never heard anything like them.  The Kronos' recordings of the complete set are excellent, but by now there are probably a number of other good versions of the individual quartets.  The Alban Berg Quartet has an excellent CD of Schnittke's Fourth, coupled with Rihm's Fourth String Quartet.



--Bruce
« Last Edit: May 25, 2007, 07:18:29 AM by bhodges »
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Offline quintett op.57

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Re: Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998)
« Reply #33 on: May 25, 2007, 07:17:58 AM »

Drasko

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Re: Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998)
« Reply #34 on: May 25, 2007, 12:05:58 PM »
I just recently was inspired by Schnittke's music, could you please make a reccomendation recording-wise for that particular work, Drasko?

This one is very good:

http://www.amazon.com/Schnittke-Chamber-Music-Alexander-Ivashkin/dp/B00004YYQV

I recently got Serov/Kovalenko/Baev/Popov/Timofeev on Northern Flowers but haven't given it decent listen yet. Also Alexei Lubimov/Keller Quartet on ECM had great reviews, haven't heard it myself but Lubimov is usually excellent.

Robert

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Re: Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998)
« Reply #35 on: May 25, 2007, 12:12:06 PM »
This one is very good:

http://www.amazon.com/Schnittke-Chamber-Music-Alexander-Ivashkin/dp/B00004YYQV

I recently got Serov/Kovalenko/Baev/Popov/Timofeev on Northern Flowers but haven't given it decent listen yet. Also Alexei Lubimov/Keller Quartet on ECM had great reviews, haven't heard it myself but Lubimov is usually excellent.
This should make Harry feel good....

Offline edward

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Re: Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998)
« Reply #36 on: May 25, 2007, 12:36:53 PM »
If you can get Kremer-Grindenko-Bashmet-Georgian-Smirnov on Melodiya, that blows away any other Piano Quintet recording I've heard.

Naturally, it's OOP. Can't have truly great recordings of modern masterpieces cluttering up the catalogue, can we?
"I don't at all mind actively disliking a piece of contemporary music, but in order to feel happy about it I must consciously understand why I dislike it. Otherwise it remains in my mind as unfinished business."
 -- Aaron Copland, The Pleasures of Music

Offline Brewski

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Re: Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998)
« Reply #37 on: June 26, 2007, 01:46:35 PM »
And another great-sounding event next fall, on Wednesday Nov. 7, in New York: the U. S. premiere of Schnittke's Symphony No. 9, reconstructed by Alexander Raskatov, with Dennis Russell Davies conducting.  Davies conducted the world premiere in Dresden earlier this month -- article here -- and in New York will lead the Juilliard Orchestra. 

November 7, 2007
Avery Fisher Hall

Juilliard Orchestra
Dennis Russell Davies, Conductor
Singers TBA

Haydn: Symphonia Concertante
Schnittke: Symphony No. 9 (U.S. premiere)
Raskatov: Nunc dimittis (In memoriam Alfred Schnittke, U.S. premiere)

--Bruce
« Last Edit: August 22, 2007, 09:56:31 AM by bhodges »
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Offline edward

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Re: Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998)
« Reply #38 on: June 26, 2007, 02:49:01 PM »
And another great-sounding event next fall, on Wednesday Nov. , in New York7: the U. S. premiere of Schnittke's Symphony No. 9, reconstructed by Alexander Raskatov, with Dennis Russell Davies conducting.  Davies conducted the world premiere in Dresden earlier this month -- article here -- and in New York will lead the Juilliard Orchestra. 

November 7, 2007
Avery Fisher Hall

Juilliard Orchestra
Dennis Russell Davies, Conductor
Singers TBA

Haydn: Symphonia Concertante
Schnittke: Symphony No. 9 (U.S. premiere)
Raskatov: Nunc dimittis (In memoriam Alfred Schnittke, U.S. premiere)

--Bruce
Hopefully this completion will work better than the Rozhdestvensky one.

I heard it, and it was a great disappointment: confused and incoherent (and patching in bits from other Schnittke pieces at various points). Apparently the Schnittke family fell out with Rozhdestvensky after the premiere, so I guess their opinion was similar.
"I don't at all mind actively disliking a piece of contemporary music, but in order to feel happy about it I must consciously understand why I dislike it. Otherwise it remains in my mind as unfinished business."
 -- Aaron Copland, The Pleasures of Music

Offline Al Moritz

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Re: Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998)
« Reply #39 on: August 22, 2007, 10:01:08 AM »
Lately I have listened again to quite of bit of Schnittke, after having taken a long break from the composer’s music – at some point at the time when avantgarde (Stockhausen, Boulez, Carter, Xenakis, Ligeti, Mawell-Davies, Rihm etc.) was new to me, I had started to find him too conservative (there was only a brief episode in 2004 where I listened to and loved again the 6th symphony). Here are a few of my impressions:

String Trio (1985):
Previously I had found to be one of the weaker works – yet I had heard it in the car on Harvard radio the other day (I live in the Boston area), and I was surprised how striking on that occasional listening the textures really were, and then I decided to put on the CD at home. Already the first few bars feature breathtaking harmonies. Whenever the music threatens to die down, the composer consistently comes up with solutions as what to do next that are unusually elegant and imaginative. Very solid and varied thematic development; I have always found this a strong point with this composer. Now I find the string trio compelling music.

Historia von D. Johann Fausten (1991/94):
This opera shows Schnittke’s effortless prowess with vocal expression. Vocal writing tends to be one of the more problematic, weaker points of avantgarde composition, where it often leans toward strain and/or boring one-dimensionality and indistinctiveness. Some composers are notable exceptions, such as Stockhausen and Rihm, whose vocal writing actually tends to be among the strongest aspects of their compositional output. Yet Schnittke’s vocal writing is strong as well. It switches naturally between atonality and tonality, and his “polystilism” in that respect is so unforced and unobtrusive that at least I only notice it when consciously reflecting upon the music. There are, of course, the exceptions where stylistic references are all too (intentionally) obvious.

Cello Concerto # 2 (1990):
This had always been one of my favorites, and did not disappoint me this time either. That opening theme of 12 notes has always struck me as particularly visceral, and I find very successful how the composer treats it in the first movement and has it come back at select places in the second one. The switch from motivic to mainly, rather nervous, gestural language in the second mvmt. is also satisfying and exciting. The ensuing slow movement features beautiful invention. The fourth movement opens in a thrilling manner when the theme bounces from one orchestral group to another, and the final movement, that slow passacaglia, is simply unbelievable in its beauty and complex treatment of the theme and deviating gestures. Like the CD booklet (Rostropovich, Ozawa, London Symphony on Sony) puts it well about the recitative of the cello: “at times it progresses thematically, at times it only reacts spontaneously”. The constant switching between these options is well judged and makes for a gripping listening experience. There are breathtaking timbral textures in this concerto that would do any avantgarde composer proud.

Viola concerto (1985):
Also here striking timbres are found, and the way musical tension is built is exciting. Thematic treatment is very inventive. Unlike the less polystilistic above works, this music makes obvious references to nostalgic and kitschy realms, but in my view in a brilliant manner. Certainly the “devil’s dance” at the end of the second movement is over the top, but how good that sounds and how well the build-up to this passage is done!

What always has drawn me to Schnittke’s music is that, next to the “romantic expression”, his music always works convincingly on the level of “absolute” music. The expressive tension is always founded on a compelling musical tension, and the musical narrative is practically always coherent. Often I am so immersed in the inner logic and power of the musical development that I forget about the emotional expression.

When I was introduced to the avantgarde in 1999 I basically forgot to listen to Schnittke. Now I realize that I was foolish to do so; in fact I find him still, or again, one of the best composers of the last 50 years, and I also find that I was not at all wrong to have been so immersed in his music from 1990-1999: his music is as good as to deserve it.