Alfred Schnittke

Composer and pianist. Born 24 November 1934. Died 3 August 1998
Alfred Schnittke
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1934-11-24
https://musicbrainz.org/artist/2382cbc9-dd4e-4fc8-a92e-5391f70bd3b2
Alfred Schnittke

Alfred Schnittke Biography (BBC)

The title of successor to Shostakovich was not actively sought by any Russian composer, but it has been conferred with some justice on Schnittke. His four operas, nine symphonies, numerous concertos, sonatas, chamber and choral works, plus a plethora of film scores, are an imposing enough legacy. But it is above all their quality of unflinching confrontationalism, symbolised by daring juxtapositions of style, that gives them the feel of authentic documents of their time and place. They capture something of the glaring contradiction between appearance and reality in the last phases of the Soviet Union; and they pose the question whether such contradiction is not endemic to the human condition. Schnittke pursued his disquieting agenda at the expense of musical elegance, subtlety and professional finish, yet also with a compelling flair for Gothic-horror exaggeration. His taboo-breaking boldness made him an idol for those Soviet composers of his and the next generation who were determined to shake off the constraints of official Socialist Realism.

Schnittke’s musical education began in 1946 in Vienna, where his German-born father worked for two years as a journalist. He then studied choral conducting in Moscow and from 1953 to 1958 attended the Moscow Conservatory, studying officially under Nikolay Rakov (instrumentation) and the Nikolay Myaskovsky-pupil Yevgeny Golubev (counterpoint and composition), remaining with Golubev as a postgraduate until 1961. He also met Philip Herschkowitz, the Romanian-born Webern pupil, who fed the rebellious instincts of Schnittke and his contemporaries with a passionate commitment to Second Viennese School serialism, long prohibited in the Soviet Union.

From 1962 to 1972 Schnittke taught instrumentation at the conservatory, developing a portfolio of works that would see him become one of the most widely performed, commissioned and recorded composers of the late 20th century.

Initially blending modernist techniques with a rhythmic and gestural language indebted to Shostakovich, Schnittke’s style underwent a change in the late 1960s, incorporating quotations, pastiche and stylistic references in a manner summed up by the composer as ‘polystylistic’. This was by no means an innovative concept – the term itself had been current in Leningrad composing circles in the 1920s, and the pioneering examples of Berio and the Polish ‘sonoristic’ school were not lost on Schnittke. In 1985 Schnittke suffered the first of a series of strokes that led to a greater austerity of means but only put a temporary brake on his prolific output. In 1990 he moved to Hamburg, where he took charge of a composition class at the conservatory and where he died in 1998.

Profile © David Fanning




Alfred Schnittke Tracks

Alfred Schnittke
Symphony No. 1
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Symphony No. 1

Symphony No. 1

Orchestra
Stockholm Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

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Alfred Schnittke
Suite in olden style
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Suite in olden style
Alfred Schnittke
The Census List Incidental Music: Gogol Suite - Overture (Live)
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The Census List Incidental Music: Gogol Suite - Overture (Live)
Alfred Schnittke
Organ Piece No.2 (2 Small Organ Pieces)
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Organ Piece No.2 (2 Small Organ Pieces)

Organ Piece No.2 (2 Small Organ Pieces)

Choir
The USSR Ministry Of Culture Chamber Choir
Alfred Schnittke
Ritual for orchestra
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Ritual for orchestra
Alfred Schnittke
Polka
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Polka
Alfred Schnittke
Pantomime (Suite in Olden Style)
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Pantomime (Suite in Olden Style)
Alfred Schnittke
Stille Nacht
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Stille Nacht
Gidon Kremer
Tabula Rasa: II. Selentium (live) (Arvo Part)
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Tabula Rasa: II. Selentium (live) (Arvo Part)
Alfred Schnittke
Piano Sonata No. 1
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Piano Sonata No. 1

Piano Sonata No. 1

Performer
Simon Smith
Alfred Schnittke
Symphony No. 6
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Symphony No. 6
Alfred Schnittke
Stille Nacht
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Stille Nacht
Alfred Schnittke
Minuet for Violin, Viola and Cello
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Minuet for Violin, Viola and Cello
Alfred Schnittke
Faust Cantata
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Faust Cantata
Alfred Schnittke
Concerto Grosso No. 4
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Concerto Grosso No. 4
Alfred Schnittke
Viola Concerto
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Viola Concerto
Alfred Schnittke
Moz-Art a la Haydn
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Moz-Art a la Haydn
Alfred Schnittke
Psalms of Penitential
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Psalms of Penitential

Psalms of Penitential

Singer
Raul Mikson
Toomas Toohert
Choir
Estonian Philharmonic Chorus
Alfred Schnittke
O master of all living (Concerto for Choir)
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O master of all living (Concerto for Choir)
Alfred Schnittke
Symphony No. 2
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Symphony No. 2

Symphony No. 2

Orchestra
Stockholm Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Alfred Schnittke
Complete this work which I began (Concerto for Choir)
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Complete this work which I began (Concerto for Choir)
Alfred Schnittke
Hymn No. 3
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Hymn No. 3
Alfred Schnittke
Suite in the Olden Style
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Suite in the Olden Style

Suite in the Olden Style

Performer
Roman Mints
Olga Martynolva
Andrei Doynikov
Dmitri Vlasik
Alfred Schnittke
Voices of Nature
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Voices of Nature
Alfred Schnittke
Concerto Grosso No. 3
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Concerto Grosso No. 3
Alfred Schnittke
IV. The Cloak (Gogol Suite)
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IV. The Cloak (Gogol Suite)
Alfred Schnittke
Symphony No. 1
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Symphony No. 1

Symphony No. 1

Orchestra
Stockholm Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Alfred Schnittke
Sonata No. 1 for violin and piano
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Sonata No. 1 for violin and piano
Alfred Schnittke
Piano Quintet
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Piano Quintet

Piano Quintet

Performer
Erato Alakiozidou
Ensemble
Lutoslawski Quartet
Alfred Schnittke
Violin Concerto No. 1
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Violin Concerto No. 1
Alfred Schnittke
Concerto Grosso No. 1
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Concerto Grosso No. 1
Alfred Schnittke
The Ball (excerpt The Census List)
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The Ball (excerpt The Census List)
Alfred Schnittke
Moz-art à la Haydn
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Moz-art à la Haydn
Alfred Schnittke
Fugue & Pantomime (Suite in the Old Style)
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Fugue & Pantomime (Suite in the Old Style)
Alfred Schnittke
String Quartet No 3
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String Quartet No 3
Alfred Schnittke
Complete this work which I began (Choir Concerto)
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Complete this work which I began (Choir Concerto)
Alfred Schnittke
Hymn no.2 for cello and double bass
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Hymn no.2 for cello and double bass

Hymn no.2 for cello and double bass

Performer
Torleif Thedéen, cello,
Entcho Radoukanov, double bass
Alfred Schnittke
The Sledge (The Story of an Unknown Actor)
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The Sledge (The Story of an Unknown Actor)
Alfred Schnittke
Remorse
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Remorse
Alfred Schnittke
Suite in the Old Style (Pastorale)
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Suite in the Old Style (Pastorale)
Alfred Schnittke
Violin Sonata No. 1: Allegretto Scherzando
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Violin Sonata No. 1: Allegretto Scherzando
Alfred Schnittke
Complete this work which I began (Choir Concerto)
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Complete this work which I began (Choir Concerto)
Alfred Schnittke
Suite in the Old Style - Pastorale
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Suite in the Old Style - Pastorale
Alfred Schnittke
Concerto Grosso no 1
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Concerto Grosso no 1
Alfred Schnittke
Choir Concerto - 1st movement
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Choir Concerto - 1st movement

Choir Concerto - 1st movement

Performer
Russian State Symphony Cappella
Alfred Schnittke
Concerto For Mixed Chorus
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Concerto For Mixed Chorus
Alfred Schnittke
Fugue (Suite in the Old Style)
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Fugue (Suite in the Old Style)
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