ALFRED SCHNITTKE (1934 - 1998)
Alfred Schnittke’s work has won wide acceptance in recent years, particularly since political changes in the former Soviet Union. His early studies in Vienna were followed by formal training at the Moscow Conservatory, where he later taught. His musical language is eclectic, combining a number of styles, contemporary and traditional.
Orchestral music by Schnittke includes a series of interesting concertos or works for solo instrument and orchestra. These include concertos for violin, for cello, for oboe and harp, for viola and for piano. A series of concerti grossi is of significance, along with the ‘St Florian’ Symphony (the second of eight symphonies) and In memoriam for solo viola and orchestra.
Schnittke’s chamber music includes string quartets and sonatas for violin and for cello and piano, along with a Sonata in the Olden Style for violin and piano and a Suite in the Old Style for the same instruments. His Piano Quintet shows some of the influence of Shostakovich, and his String Trio, commissioned to mark the centenary of the birth of Alban Berg and the 50th anniversary of his death, reflects diverse Viennese elements.