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Summary Article: Schnittke (or Shnitke), Alfred Garriyevich
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Russian composer. He experimented with integral serialism and unusual instrumental textures, which are characteristically rich with a prominent use of strings, often using quotations and parodies. Among his many works are ... pianissimo .. (1969) for orchestra, the oratorio Nagasaki (1958), Sinfonia (1972), and Minnesang/Lovesong (1981) for 48 voices.

He studied in Vienna and at the Moscow Conservatory; and taught at the latter 1961–72. His music often plays on the dichotomy between reality and illusion. For example, his cadenza of the Beethoven violin concerto strikes a sensitive balance between an orderly traditional formula and atonal disintegration. He adopted the term ‘polystylism’ to describe music which is many-layered and highly allusive.

The operas Historia von Dr Johann Fausten and Gesualdo were premiered at Hamburg and Vienna respectively in 1995.

WorksOperaLife with an Idiot (1992); Historia von Dr Johann Fausten (1995); Gesualdo (1995).

Orchestral and choral eight symphonies: no. 1 (1969–72), no. 2 St Florian for small chorus and orchestra (1979), no. 3 (1981), no. 4 for SATB soloists and chamber orchestra (1984), no. 5 Concerto Grosso, no. 4 (1988), no. 6 (1992), no. 7 (1993), no. 8 (1994); four violin concertos (1957–82); piano concerto (1960); concerto for piano and strings; five concerti grossi (1977, 1982, 1985, 1988, 1991); two cello concertos (1986, 1990); Ein Sommernachtstraum for orchestra (1985); Epilogue, Peer Gynt for orchestra and tape (1987); Trio-Sonata (orchestration of string trio, 1987); two oratorios Nagasaki (1958) and Songs of War and Peace (1959); Der gelbe Klang for nine instruments, tape, chorus, and light projection, after Kandinsky; Requiem (1975); Minnesang (Lovesong) for 48 voices a cappella (1981); Seid nüchtern und wachet .. (based on the Faust legend of 1587) for chorus (1983).

Chamber two violin sonatas (1963, 1968); three string quartets (1966, 1981, 1984); cello sonata (1978); Moz-art for two violins; Stille Musik for violin and cello (1979); Septet for flute, two clarinets, and string quartet (1982); string trio (1985); piano quartet (1988); Moz-art à la Mozart for eight flutes and harpsichord (1990).

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