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Schnittke, Alfred (Garriyevich)

Schnittke, Alfred (Garriyevich) [ Alfred Schnitke, Alfred Shnitke] (b Engel's, nr. Saratov, 1934; d Hamburg, 1998). Russ. composer. Private pf. lessons in Vienna 1946–8. Teacher of counterpoint and comp. Moscow Cons. 1962–72. Also worked in Moscow Experimental Studio of Elec. Mus. Influenced by 12-note composers, also by Stockhausen, Cage, and Ligeti, but after 1966 gave dramatic, programmatic basis to his works, using quotations and pastiche. Has written articles on aspects of Shostakovich's work. Prin. works:OPERAS: The 11th Commandment (Odinnadtsataya Zapoved) (1962, completed in pf. score only); Life With an Idiot (Zhizn's idiotom) (1990–1); Historia von D. Johann Fausten (1989–93); Gesualdo (1993–4).BALLETS: Labyrinths (Labirintï) (1971); Yellow Sound (Zhyoltïy zvuk), mime, 9 musicians, tape, lighting (1974); Othello (1985); Sketches (1985); Peer Gynt (1986).ORCH.: syms. No.1 (1969–72), No.2 (St Florian), chamber ch., orch. (1979), No.3 (1981), No.4, SATB soloists, chamber orch. (1984), No.5 (Concerto Grosso No.4) (1987–8); concs.: ff. (1960), pf., str. (1979), pf. (4 hands), chamber orch. (1989), vn. No.1 (1957, rev. 1962), No.2 (1966), No.3 (1978), No.4 (1981–2), ob., hp., str. (1971), va. (1985), vc. No.1 (1985–6), No.2 (1989–90); Poem of the Cosmos (1961); Music for Chamber Orch. (1964); Music for Piano and Chamber Orch. (1964); Pianissimo (1968); Concerto Grosso, No.1, 2 vn., hpd., 21 str. (1977), No.2, vn., vc., orch. (1981–2), No.3, 2 vns., chamber orch. (1985), No.4 (sym. No.5) (1988), No.5, vn., pf., orch. (1990–1); In Memoriam (orch. of pf. quintet) (1972–8); Requiem, soloists, ch., orch. (1975); Passacaglia (1979–80); Gogol Suite (1980); Ritual (1984–5); (K)ein Sommernachtstraum (1985); Epilogue, Peer Gynt, orch., tape (1987); Quasi una Sonata (orch. of 2nd vn. sonata) (1987); Trio-Sonata (orch. of str. trio) (1987); Four Aphorisms (1988); Monologue, va., str. (1989); Sutartines, org., perc., str. (1990).CHORAL: Nagasaki, oratorio, mez., ch., orch. (1958); Songs of War and Peace, cantata (1959); Voices of Nature, women's ch., vib. (1972); Minnesang, 52 vv. (1980–1); ‘Seid Nüchtern und Wachet …’ History of Dr Johann Faust, cantata, counterten., cont., ten., bass, ch., org., orch. (1982); Concerto, mixed ch. (1984–5); Busslieder, ch. (1988).CHAMBER MUSIC: str. qts., No.1 (1966), No.2 (1981), No.3 (1983), No.4 (1989); vn. sonatas, No.1 (1963), No.2 (1968); Dialogue, vc., fl., ob., cl., hn., tpt., pf., perc. (1965); Serenade, cl., pf., perc., vn., db. (1968); Canon in memory of Stravinsky, str. qt. (1971); pf. quintet (1972–6); Hymns, I-IV, ens. (1974–9); Cantus perpetuus, hpd., perc. (1975); Prelude in memory of Shostakovich, 2 vn. (1975); Moz-Art, 2 vn. (1976); Moz-Art à la Haydn, 2 vn., 11 str. (1977); vc. sonata (1978); Stille Nacht, carol arr. vn., pf. (1978); Stille Musik, vn., vc. (1979); Moz-Art, ob., hpd., hp., vn., vc., db. (1980); septet, fl., 2 cl., str. qt. (1982); Lebenslauf, 4 metronomes, 3 perc., pf. (1982); A Paganini, vn. (1982); Schall und Hall, tb., org. (1983); str. trio (1985); pf. qt. (1988); Klingende Buchstaben, vc. (1988); 3 x 7, cl., hn., tb., hpd., vn., vc., db. (1988); Moz-Art à la Mozart, 8 fl., hp. (1990); 3 Fragments, hpd. (1990).PIANO: sonatas, No.1 (1987–8), No.2 (1990); Prelude and Fugue (1963); Improvisation and Fugue (1965).ORGAN: 2 Short Pieces (1980).TAPE: The Stream (Potok) (1969).

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Schnittke, Alfred

Alfred Schnittke, 1924–98, Russian composer. He studied music in Vienna (1946–48) and at the Moscow Conservatory (1953–58), where he later (1962–72) taught instrumentation. Thereafter, he earned a living mainly by composing more than 60 film scores, which he wrote in a traditional style acceptible to Soviet authorities. However, his signature avant-garde pieces are far from traditional, incorporating a wide variety of styles, from classical harmonics to serial dissonances, and including quotations and references to other works—all frequently within the same composition. Schnittke was little known in the West until the 1980s, when his music was championed by a number of expatriate Russian performers. Extremely prolific, he wrote nine symphonies, six concerti grossi, four violin and two cello concerti, four string quartets, six ballet scores, and numerous orchestral, vocal, choral, chamber, and solo pieces. Among his better-known works are the Concerto Grosso No. 1 (1977) and the operas composed late in his career: Life with an Idiot (1992), Historia von D. Johann Fausten (1993), and Gesualdo (1994).

See A. Ivashkin, ed., A Schnittke Reader (2002); biography by A. Ivashkin (1996).

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Schnittke, Alfred

SCHNITTKE, ALFRED

SCHNITTKE, ALFRED (1934–1998), composer. The son of a German Jewish father and a German mother, Schnittke was born in Soviet Russia. His first music studies between 1946 and 1948 were connected primarily with Vienna, where his father was working after World War ii. He then absorbed the Austrian-German culture that marked him for the rest of his life. However, he was also educated in Russia. He studied in 1949–53 at the Choirmaster Department of the October Revolution Musical College, Moscow, now the Schnittke Institute; and in 1953–58 he studied composition at the Moscow Conservatory. After having taught instrumentation at the Moscow Conservatory (1962–72), he became a freelance composer and between 1962 and 1984 wrote 66 film scores as well as concert and theater works. His early compositions, like the oratorio Nagasaki (1958), were influenced by the Russian tradition of 19th century music. In the 1960s Schnittke himself studied the Western music of the 20th century that was formerly forbidden in the U.S.S.R. but at that time already tolerated. A great sensation of the 1970s was the 1974 premiere of his First Symphony, a polystylistic work following the traditions of Mahler and Berio in a highly individual way. The symphony was banned immediately after the first performance and remained so until Gorbachev came to power (1985). Being always uncommitted to the official Soviet ideology, Schnittke expressed his Christian religious beliefs in many of his works, including the Second Symphony (1979), which followed the Ordinary of the Roman Catholic Mass. In his Fourth Symphony (1983), Schnittke strove, in his own words, "to find the general in the dissimilar," while using melodic elements from Russian Orthodox, Gregorian, Protestant Lutheran, and synagogue chant and combining them in the final section of the work. From 1990 he lived in Hamburg (Germany), where he taught composition at the Hochschule fuer Musik und Theater. He was the recipient of several honors, including the Russian State Prize (twice, 1986 and 1995) and awards from Austria, Germany, and Japan.

bibliography:

NG2; A. Ivashkin, Alfred Schnittke (1996); A. Ivashkin (ed.), Schnittke Reader (1999).

[Yulia Kreinin (2nd ed.)]

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