Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Foreward

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pp. vii-x

I believe I have earned the right to provide this introduction, principally because I knew personally many of the composers of whom Alfred Schnittke writes, and have played their music many times. I have read all of Alfred’s essays with enormous interest and enjoyment. To tell the truth, even though I was his friend, I did not know that he was capable of such...

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Translator's Note

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pp. xi-xii

In The Bible as Literature (Oxford University Press, 1990), John B. Gabel and Charles B. Wheeler refer to the “two ends of a spectrum of possibilities in translation” designated by the terms, coined by translation theorists, “formal correspondence”...

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Introduction A Man in Between

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pp. xiii-xvi

Alfred Schnittke died in Hamburg on 3 August 1998 following a fifth stroke; he had been fighting this fatal illness since 1985. His funeral in Moscow on 10 August 1998, attended by thousands of people, was a tribute of honor and admiration to the...

Chronology

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pp. xvii-xxv

I Schnittke Speaks about Himself

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p. 1

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Chapter 1 From Schnittke’s Conversations with Alexander Ivashkin (1985–1994)

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pp. 3-38

IVASHKIN: There is such a marked difference between twentieth-century culture and the cultures that preceded it that some commentators have been inclined to suggest that in the twentieth century a new, fourth age in the development of human civilization has begun. This idea was expressed in 1921 by the Russian poet Vyache...

II Schnittke on the Lenin Prize

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p. 39

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Chapter 2 Letter to theLenin Prize Committee (1990)

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pp. 41-42

The introduction of a multiparty system in our country has completely changed material and spiritual reality. From uniformity and centralization of values to real mutability and flexibility is a giant leap. Thus from day to day the function of everything has changed, and this also applies to historical figures. Whereas in...

III Schnittke on His Own Compositions

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p. 43

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Chapter 3 On Concerto Grosso No. 1 (late 1970s)

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pp. 45-46

In May 1976 Gidon Kremer and Tatiana Grindenko asked me to compose a work for them and the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra under the conductor Saulius Sondetskis. Had anyone told me then that during the next year this would be performed several times and recorded, I would not have believed them, since for the most part I work...

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Chapter 4 On the Fourth Symphony (1984)

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pp. 47-48

The idea of the universality of culture and its unity seems to me very relevant, particularly nowadays in connection with the change in our perceptions of time and space. Today we have an image of the world different, let us say, from what we had twenty or thirty years ago. This relates to the acoustic side of our sensations. Just...

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Chapter 5 On Film and Film Music (1972, 1984, 1989)

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pp. 49-52

I can count on my fingers the number of times I met Mikhail Il’ich Romm—perhaps five, perhaps seven—in the process of his work on The World Today, when there was still a long time to go before my direct involvement in the project of composing and recording the music.1 Alone among the whole group of us, as we watched the rushes...

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Chapter 6 On Staging Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades (1977)

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pp. 53-56

Like any other art, opera, in its endless striving for realism and authenticity, rejects— as it develops—one convention after another. But it is precisely the earlier achievements of realism, derived from real life and so true to life, which now always prove to be more false than those conventional devices long hallowed in practice. The...

IV Schnittke on Creative Artists

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p. 57

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Chapter 7 On Shostakovich Circles of Influence

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pp. 59-60

For the past fifty years, music has been under the influence of Dmitri Shostakovich. During that time his style has been continually evolving, and this has given rise to ever-new types of influence. One could name dozens of composers whose individual characteristics were formed under the hypnotic influence of Shostakovich...

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Chapter 8 On Prokofiev (1990)

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pp. 61-66

The history of humankind has never known progress from worse to better. But if there were no hopes of improvement, life itself would cease to be. Every generation has striven—not cold-heartedly, but with the greatest passion—to bring a secret

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Chapter 9 On Gubaidulina (1970s)

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p. 67

Carl Jung believes that men have a female soul (the anima) and women have a male soul (the animus). I am not sure about the first, but have no doubts about the second. This is borne out by examples from the history of art and the recent past: Akhmatova

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Chapter 10 On Kancheli (1982, 1991)

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pp. 68-69

In Giya Kancheli’s symphonies it is as though in a comparatively short time (twenty to thirty minutes of slow music) we experience an entire life or an entire history. But we have no sense of the jolts of time, we seem to be in an aircraft, not conscious of....

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Chapter 11 In Memory of Filip Moiseevich Gershkovich

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pp. 70-71

It is hard to find anyone who so strongly influenced several generations of composers. Many people (who were later to become well known) passed through his hands, but they were not trained by him in the usual sense. Gershkovich merely had to tell his pupils what Webern had once told him about Beethoven’s sonatas, and from his...

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Chapter 12 On Sviatoslav Richter (1985)

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pp. 72-74

For many people of my generation Sviatoslav Richter represents a certain peak of achievement, where the reality of music becomes its history. The idea that Richter is our contemporary, that we can actually see and hear him, cannot even for a moment make him usual and ordinary. For decades now he has been in the same category as...

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Chapter 13 On Gennadi Rozhdestvensky (1991)

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pp. 75-78

I think the first time I had any experience of Gennadi Rozhdestvensky as a conductor was when I saw him give a performance of Andrei Volkonsky’s Concerto Grosso. I believe this was in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory in 1954 or 1955. But my first real contact with him was at the beginning of the 1960s. On that occasion, to

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Chapter 14 Subjective Notes on an Objective Performance (on Alexei Liubimov) (1973)

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pp. 79-82

A pianist or theorist of pianism would probably have written more objectively about the Mozart concert given by Alexei Liubimov1 on 19 September 1973 in the Small Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, but the impression it made on the writer of these lines was so profound that it was difficult to resist the temptation to share them. The...

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Chapter 15 On Viktor Yerofeev (1988)

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p. 83

Reading Viktor Yerofeev’s1 book Telo Anny, ili konets russkogo avangarda [Anna’s Body, or The End of the Russian Avant-Garde], you experience the dual effect of making contact with something that is both long familiar and yet completely novel. You experience the shock that we have all felt of simultaneously encountering Heaven and

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Chapter 16 On the Paintings of Vladimir Yankilevsky (1987)

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p. 84

The impression made on me by the art of Vladimir Yankilevsky is of something that is, above all, inexhaustibly profound, but also of something powerful. Many of his individual paintings were already long familiar to me as parts of collective exhibitions...

V Schnittke ON TWENTIETH-CENTURY MUSIC

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p. 85

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Chapter 17 Polystylistic Tendencies inModern Music (c. 1971)

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pp. 87-90

It is not possible in a short space to cover all the problems of such a vast and unfamiliar subject as the polystylistic method in modern music. I shall therefore be obliged to confine my comments merely to the exposition of certain questions arising in connection...

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Chapter 18 The Orchestra and the New Music (early 1970s)

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pp. 91-93

The source of many of the achievements of the New Music is the orchestra. The orchestra comprises most of its sound combinations, and their possibilities have by no means been exhausted. Insofar as the orchestra is a model of human society and...

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Chapter 19 The Problem of Giving Outward Expression to a New Idea (1982)

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pp. 94-97

In speaking of the idea in a composer’s head, we must be clearly aware that such an idea has a very complex structure and that it cannot be reduced either to what is purely technological (that goes without saying) or to a single rational concept of a political or philosophical order. It must be remembered that any creative idea...

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Chapter 20 From Schnittke’s Archive (1970s and 1980s)

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pp. 98-99

In speaking of the idea in a composer’s head, we must be clearly aware that such an idea has a very complex structure and that it cannot be reduced either to what is purely technological (that goes without saying) or to a single rational concept of a political or philosophical order. It must be remembered that any creative idea...

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Chapter 21 On Jazz (1984)

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p. 100

We learn a lot from jazz. It liberates musicians from fixed patterns and clichés. Jazz reveals and “resolves” much, prompting us to all kinds of searches and changes from the usual. Previously I had the idea that the most important part of the art of composition was the way the work was made, how successfully the artistic plan was...

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Chapter 22 Timbral Relationships and Their Functional Use

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pp. 101-112

The development of the individual elements of music does not take place simultaneously. Although the system of functional harmony in European music is more than two hundred years old and the period of its obvious dominance has long since passed, the functional use of timbral relationships has become an autonomous...

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Chapter 23 Klangfarbenmelodie—“Melody of Timbres” (1970s)

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pp. 113-119

The first example of the consistent application of the principle of timbral modulation is probably Schoenberg’s orchestral piece “Farben” [“Colors”], the third piece from Opus 16. If we take no account of those details of nuance that are of a decorative...

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Chapter 24 Functional Variability of Line in Orchestral Texture (1970s)

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pp. 120-124

Along with the clear and distinct functions of the instrumental parts in modern orchestral practice, one also encounters the principle of functional variability. Within the span of even a short formal segment (within a statement, a phrase, or a motif) the same voice fulfils different functions in succession. [See example 24.1.]...

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Chapter 25 A New Approach to Composition The Statistical Method

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pp. 125-130

The post-Webern serialist composers of the 1950s (Stockhausen, Boulez, Nono) extended rational control to all parameters of composition, striving to subordinate them to a single structural idea (hence the term “structuralism”). This was initially expressed in the idea of a series: a tone row, most frequently consisting of twelve...

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Chapter 26 Stereophonic Tendencies in Modern Orchestral Thinking (1970s)

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pp. 131-139

The functional use of space in music intended for concert performance is partly a consequence of the experience of electronic music. The first electronic work that went beyond the limits of pure experimentation, Stockhausen’s Gesang der Jünglinge (1955–1956), owes the power of its artistic impact, in many respects, to the author’s...

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Chapter 27 Using Rhythm to Overcome Meter (1970s)

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pp. 140-146

Conflict between rhythm and meter, to a greater or lesser degree, has always characterized music. Rhythmic and dynamic syncopations whose accentuation does not coincide with the meter of a motif (giving rise at times to two simultaneous meters...

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Chapter 28 Static Form A New Conception of Time (1970s)

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pp. 147-150

The concept of “static composition” is usually linked with the works of Ligeti, such as Atmosphères (1961), Volumina (1961–1966), and Lontano (1967). Ligeti was the first to risk formulating a theoretical interpretation of the concept (which previously had only a negative connotation), as well as to create in his micropolyphonic scores an

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Chapter 29 Paradox as a Feature of Stravinsky’s Musical Logic (1973)

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pp. 151-200

A study of Stravinsky’s creative output reveals two seeming contradictions: the first is immediately obvious, the second more obscure but closely linked with the first. The first hits one in the eyes: it is the inexplicable absence of stylistic consistency in his music. Closer analysis reveals the second: the paradoxical character of his musical...

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Chapter 30 Timbral Modulation in Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta

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pp. 201-210

Bart

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Chapter 31 The Principle of Uninterrupted Timbral Affinitiesin Webern’s Orchestration of Bach’s Fuga (Ricercata) A 6 voci

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pp. 211-215

In his orchestration of the six-part ricercare from Bach’s Das musikalische Opfer, Webern perhaps came closer than anyone to achieving a scale of timbres. One cannot say that timbral contrasts are absent from the score. They occur both in the horizontal

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Chapter 32 The Third Movement of Berio’s Sinfonia Stylistic Counterpoint, Thematic and Formal Unity in Context of Polystylistics, Broadening the Concept of Thematicism(1970s)

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pp. 216-224

The third movement of Luciano Berio’s Sinfonia for eight soloists and orchestra (1968–1969) is constructed entirely on quotations from the music of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Each quotation serves a thematic function. This approach represents a new, more generalized type of thematicism, in which the semantic unit...

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Chapter 33 Ligeti’s Orchestral Micropolyphony

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pp. 225-228

Lontano [At a Distance]—the very title of this work expresses Ligeti’s idea and his technical approach. The listener is enveloped in the most delicate web of sound through which, like distant phantoms, appear familiar shadows of romantic music...

VI Schnittke as seen by others

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pp. 229-230

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Chapter 34 Gidon Kremer on Schnittke (1989)

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pp. 231-235

IVASHKIN: When did you first get to know Schnittke’s music, and how has your perception of it changed since that time? Do you think there has been some evolution in it, or do you see it as a kind of single unified composition? KREMER: Those are complex questions. But my general feeling, in any case, is that...

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Chapter 35 Gennadi Rozhdestvensky onSchnittke (1989)

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pp. 236-239

ROZHDESTVENSKY: If I am not mistaken, the first time I came into contact with Alfred’s music was many years ago, in the early 1960s, when we were trying to organize an audition in the Bolshoi Theater of his opera The Eleventh Commandment. But nothing came of it. Then I performed the First Violin Concerto with Mark...

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Chapter 36 Vladimir Yankilevsky on Schnittke

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pp. 240-246

YANKILEVSKY: Alfred’s and my relationship gradually grew more involved, but it started in a very simple way. IVASHKIN: When was that? YANKILEVSKY: I think it was about 1965, just at the time when Alfred had written the music for an animated film, The Glass Harmonica. Soon afterward Andrei Khrzhanovsky...

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Chapter 37 Mstislav Rostropovich on Schnittke

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p. 247

IVASHKIN: You worked with Prokofiev and Shostakovich. Now that you are playing Schnittke’s new Cello Concerto, written especially for you, do you see him as continuing the same tradition? ROSTROPOVICH: Absolutely! I have been very lucky in my life. God has granted me friendship with this composer of genius. Alfred is a continuation of those pages...

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Chapter 38 Schnittke as Remembered byMark Lubotsky (1998)

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p. 248

All this happened a long time ago, but even today I clearly recall that sunny afternoon in 1962, when spring in Moscow was in full bloom. At the entrance to the Small Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, I was approached by a polite young man...

Index of Names and TItles

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pp. 257-268