A Schnittke Reader (Russian Music Studies) by Alfred Schnittke

By Alfred Schnittke

This compilation assembles formerly released and unpublished essays by way of Schnittke and supplementations them with an interview with cellist and pupil Alexander Ivashkin. The booklet is illustrated with musical examples, a lot of them in Schnittke’s personal hand. In A Schnittke Reader, the composer speaks of his lifestyles, his works, different composers, performers, and a large variety of issues in 20th-century tune. the amount is rounded out with reflections through a few of Schnittke’s contemporaries.

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Extra resources for A Schnittke Reader (Russian Music Studies)

Sample text

It is the verse not of Lermontov and Pushkin, but of Rilke, Trakl, or Baudelaire. These are poets whose verse is verse “once again,” but at a different level. And something like this has happened to music and all its rational techniques, regularity, and traditional forms—they have come back, but at a different level. There has been a return to all these things, and in recent years this return can be sensed more acutely than before, and in a great many composers: in Penderecki and Lutoslawski, and to a certain extent in Nono, Stockhausen, Berio, and others.

And at the same time Klimov was talking about so-called “harmonic eclectics,” in other words combining diverse elements into a single quality. Later he apparently gave up the idea. But a film he made in 1965—The Adventures of a Dentist (Pokhozhdeniia zubnogo vracha)—is based on that idea precisely. IVASHKIN: Let’s get back to what we were talking about before—the ways “the spirit of the time” reveals itself. SCHNITTKE: Of course, the meaning of what in general is “hovering in the air” reveals itself in many people at one and the same time.

In short there is nothing in my life that bears witness to nature, and I regard this as my own serious shortcoming. But I am still bold enough to insist that this situation will continue, and that is not just because I should now find it physically difficult to do any of those things. I shall continue not to do any of them, while being fully aware of my shortcomings. I am convinced that culture is important, but less important than nature. My own inadequate contact with nature was to some extent predetermined by the fact that by my origins I half belong to a milieu that had many links with nature!

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