By Alfred Schnittke

This compilation assembles formerly released and unpublished essays by way of Schnittke and vitamins them with an interview with cellist and student Alexander Ivashkin. The e-book is illustrated with musical examples, a lot of them in Schnittke’s personal hand. In A Schnittke Reader, the composer speaks of his existence, his works, different composers, performers, and a large diversity of issues in 20th-century song. the quantity is rounded out with reflections via a few of Schnittke’s contemporaries.

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Extra info for A Schnittke Reader (Russian Music Studies)

Sample text

The music of Threepenny Opera had been in my head since 1949 because my father was crazy about it. When old records of it turned up in 1949, he immediately started playing them. And when he got to the GDR in 1955, he had with him a recording of the whole opera. It is curious that even before that, Mayakovsky, in his poem War and Peace, written in 1915, included written music of the Argentinian Death Tango. And there are later examples, too. Remember Bernardo Bertolucci’s famous film Last Tango in Paris, in which the tango still plays the same fateful role.

This new feeling that time is once again expanding has been of great benefit to me. Previously, I constantly felt tired, life seemed to be “wearing me down,” everything grew wearisome, there was so much of everything, and it had all already been. But now I have regained my ability to evaluate various phenomena not merely in the way they are linked together, but each one separately. This lengthens the experience of every second. I do not feel that each second is a momentary grain of sand. It is a segment of time, something in itself.

The phenomenon of “polystylistics” in music existed long before I started to use the word and thought about the interaction of musical material in different styles. The first twentieth-century composers to make use of it were Ives and Mahler. And among the serialists one of the first to use it was Bernd Alois Zimmermann. And Henri Pousseur was fascinated by it—in the general context of serial organization he employs a whole system of interacting styles from different periods. The tonal quotations were like fragmentary remnants of a tonal world that had been absorbed into atonal music.

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