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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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