Saturday 30 September 2017

Out of Time: The Music of Alfred Schnittke

When I was a nipper, just getting the Russian music bug, it seemed that Alfred Schnittke was the natural successor of Shostakovich, Prokofiev, and all those other Russian composers who had broken into the Western cultural consciousness. You don't seem to see his music on disc or in concert all that much any more, however, and I'm not sure why. I've written something over at Bachtrack, though, with the hope that you might be tempted to fire up the YouTube and dip into the music of this challenging but very rewarding composer. Here's me getting a bit florid on the subject:

"Schnittke’s music is nervy, fragile, and its textures delicate stuff. Even at its most vigorous and agitated, it seems that if we could hold it to the sun, light would bleed through. Past and the present exist together here. Like cities, all music is built on the ruins of the old, but in Schnittke, the sound of centuries otherwise lost to us is still there, like ancient wallpaper revealed where new layers have peeled away. The frisson is in the ragged overlap between both; neither old, nor new, but something else, a distant memory that resurfaced just a moment ago."

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