A Schnittke Reader

A Schnittke Reader

Alfred Schnittke, foreword by Mstislav Rostropovich, edited by Alexander Ivashkin, translated by John Goodliffe
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 08/16/2002
ISBN: 978-0-253-10917-0
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This compilation assembles previously published and unpublished essays by Schnittke and supplements them with an interview with cellist and scholar Alexander Ivashkin. The book is illustrated with musical examples, many of them in Schnittke’s own hand. In A Schnittke Reader, the composer speaks of his life, his works, other composers, performers, and a broad range of topics in 20th-century music. The volume is rounded out with reflections by some of Schnittke’s contemporaries.

Author Bio

Alfred Schnittke was one of the great composers of the twentieth century.

Alexander Ivashkin is Professor of Music and Director of the Centre for Russian Music at the University of London. A cellist, he often performs works by Schnittke.
Translator John Goodliffe is based in Christchurch, New Zealand.


“"This collection of writings by or about Alfred Schnittke, including many previously unpublished, is a major contribution to our understanding of the most important Russian composer of recent times." —Classical Music (UK) "I have read all of Alfred's articles with enormous interest and enjoyment. . . . [He] had such a profound insight into the music of other composers, and . . . he found in it so many regular features that were hidden from others." —from the foreword by Mstislav Rostropovich A treasury of the composer's writings—many never before published, even in Russian. Here Schnittke speaks of his life, his works, and a broad range of topics in 20th-century composition, performance, and other arts.”

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Table of Contents

Preliminary Table of Contents:

Preface by Mstislav Rostropovich
Translator's Note

Schnittke talks about himself
From an interview with Alexander Ivashkin

Letter to the Lenin Prize Committee (1990)

Schnittke on his own compositions
On Concerto Grosso No. 1
On the premiere of his Fourth Symphony
On film and film music
On staging Tchaikovsky's The Queen of Spades

Schnittke on creative artists
On Shostakovich: circles of influence
On Prokofiev
On Gubaidulina
On Kancheli
In Memory of Filipp Moiseevich Gershkovich (Philip Hershkovish)
On Svyatoslav Richter
On Gennady Rozhdestvensky
Subjective Notes on an Objective Performance (on Aleksey Lyubimov)
A Writer
On Viktor Yerofeev
A Painter
On the Paintings of Vladimir Yankilevsky

V. Schnittke on twentieth-century music
1. Polystylistic tendencies in modern music
2. The orchestra and "the new music"
3. The problem of giving outward expression to a new idea
4. From Schnittke's archive
5. On jazz
6. Timbral relationships and their functional use: the timbral scale
7. "Klangfarbenmelodie"—"Melody of timbres"
8. Functional instability of voice-leading in musical texture
9. A new approach to composition: the statistical method
10. Stereophonic tendencies in modern orchestral thinking
11. Using rhythm to overcome metre
12. Static form: a new conception of time
13. Paradox as a feature of Stravinsky's musical logic
14. Timbre modulations in Bartók's Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta
15. The closed system of timbre connections in the Bach-Webern Ricercata fugue
16. The third movement of Luciano Berio's Symphony
17. Orchestral micropolyphony in the music of Ligeti

VI. Schnittke as seen by others
Gidon Kremer
Gennady Rozhdestvensky
Vladimir Yankilevsky
Mstislav Rostropovich
Mark Lubots