Alfred Schnittke: Discoveries

The output of Alfred Schnittke (1934-98) has been documented in recordings more thoroughly than that of any other Russian composer since Shostakovich. But there are a number of works which have not yet been released on CD, and four of the five here are not only first recordings; they also document Schnittke's stylistic evolution over more than four decades of creative activity, moving from the relatively traditional Preludes, via the serial Dialogue and the experimental Yellow Sound to the elliptical Variations, one of his last works, written in the teeth of enormous physical difficulty.

Drosostalitsa Moraiti, piano
Alexander Ivashkin, cello
Ensemble Pentaèdre de Montréal, ensemble
Jeremy Bell, conductor
Nelly Lee, soprano
Bolshoi Soloists’ Ensemble, ensemble
Alexander Lazarev, conductor
Liora Grodnikaite, mezzo soprano
Oleh Krysa, violin
Natalia Lomeiko, violin
Konstantin Boyarsky, viola

Listen To This Recording:

    Six Preludes for piano (1953t54)

  1. 1, Moderato
  2. 2, Presto
  3. 3, Lento
  4. 4, Andante
  5. 5, Maestoso
  6. 6, Fugue
  7. Dialogue for cello and ensemble (1967)
  8. Yellow Sound, after Vassily Kandinsky: stage composition for pantomime, instrumental ensemble, soprano and mixed chorus (1974) [Recorded in the presence of the composer]
  9. Magdalina for mezzo soprano and piano (1977)
  10. Variations for string quartet (1997)

2 reviews for Alfred Schnittke: Discoveries

  1. :

    ‘This CD from Toccata is a selection of five works that stretch across Schnittke’s career … from the early 1950s to a year before his death. Significantly, none is currently otherwise available in the catalogue. All of them deserve to be better known; all are likely to be welcomed by devotees of Schnittke and those new to his distinctive sound and musical worlds. What’s more the standard of performance on this generous CD is uniformly high – despite the fact that each work has a different set or sub-set of musicians.’

    —Mark Sealey, MusicWeb International

  2. :

    ‘Think you know Schnittke’s music? Think again. This disc offers a range of new perspectives on his diverse output, some of which tally quite closely with his more famous compositions, while others sound like the music of a different hand, and possibly even a different era. […]

    Moraiti gives a good reading of [the Preludes], and gets the Liszt/Rachmaninoff sensibility just right. […]

    [Dialogue] is still a fascinating piece though, and Ivashkin (now as cellist rather than scholar) gives an emotive yet precise account. This recording was made in Canada, but an impressively Russian-sounding trumpeter has been found to give even the ensemble an appropriately Slavic edge. […]

    The performance [of Magdalina, by mezzo Liora Grodnikaite and pianist Moraiti is excellent. […]

    This album offers a range of fascinating music, and is a must-have for any Schnittke enthusiast.’

    —Gavin Dixon, Fanfare Magazine, June/August 2013

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