By Alfred Schnittke
This compilation assembles formerly released and unpublished essays via Schnittke and supplementations them with an interview with cellist and pupil Alexander Ivashkin. The publication is illustrated with musical examples, lots of them in Schnittke’s personal hand. In A Schnittke Reader, the composer speaks of his lifestyles, his works, different composers, performers, and a large diversity of subject matters in 20th-century song. the amount is rounded out with reflections by means of a few of Schnittke’s contemporaries.
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Additional info for A Schnittke Reader (Russian Music Studies)
This is not because they imitate each other or are careless of their own individuality. It is inevitable because it is part of the spiritual reality, the force field in which the composers are working. So when they do the same things it is because they are under the influence of the same forces. They are not stealing from each other. It is the effect of a kind of general sphere of influence that unites them all, not merely the way they influence one another. IVASHKIN: Do you regard yourself as a man of nature or a man of culture?
It is as though one were reading not a description of music, but a literary work of art. One also experiences a musical feeling. And this is exactly the kind of literature about music that has no harmful effects. I could give other examples. Everything that Thomas Mann wrote about music in Doctor Faustus produces a most powerful impression—at any rate it once produced such an impression on me. I cannot say the same about descriptions of music written by 6. Konstantin Svasyan: Russian-Armenian writer and critic who published many philosophical essays, especially during the period of perestroika under Gorbachov (in the early 1980s).
IVASHKIN: Which events in the twentieth century do you see as the most important? And which event—cultural, scientific, social—has had the most influence on your work? Can such events influence art? The present century has developed new conceptions of time, space, and the theory of relativity. Are any of these reflected in your music? SCHNITTKE: I find it hard to speak of a single influence from one thing in particular, but I can mention a number of things that had a powerful influence. One of the most powerful “impressions” (forgive my use of this word) was the atom bomb and all its consequences, especially moral consequences.