[rumori] This Week in Dead Composers: Alfred Schnittke


Andrew Lander (andrewlanderAThotmail.com)
Sat, 24 Jul 1999 09:32:10 PDT


I was looking through an old OC Weekly (Vol. 4 No. 32 April 16-April 22
1999) and found a short article about Alfred Schnittke which I think may be
of interest. Or at least a bit of amusement, or annoyance.

(Excuse me if this takes a while, I'm typing it in by hand since I don't
have a scanner.)

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THIS WEEK IN DEAD COMPOSERS
ALFRED SCHNITTKE

It's an abiding principle in classical music that the only good composer is
a dead one. That logic might seem perverse, but in an art form so
clinically obsessed with history, what better way to judge an artist's
relation to his time than to wait until his time has run out? That's why we
never feel any guilt for having neglected our creative geniuses in their
lifetimes. For instance, three years after his death, Japanese composer
Toru Takemitsu is well on his way to music's equivalent of sainthood. What
more could he have wanted?

Last August, the prolific Russian composer Alfred Schnittke unexpectedly
made the Big Career Move. The concert tributes are starting to trickle in,
but there aren't many people who have come to terms with his music.
Consider that 24 years have passed since his so-called "bizarre" cadenzas
for Beethoven's Violin Concerto came out, yet 99 percent of professional
critics are clueless that he lifted the music note for note from violin
concertos Alban Berg and Bela Bartˇk wrote in the 1930s.

So how about we honor Schnittke's memory with a moment of noise? On Sunday
evening, the Noise at the Library series in La Jolla is sending him out the
only way a musician ought to be. It's the first all-Schnittke concert ever
presented in the San Diego area (don't ask about Orange County), and it's
organised by violinist and Schnittke booster Mark Menzies. Come an hour
early and hear Vera Lokonsky lecture on what a good composer he was.

Noise at the Library presents a concert tribute to Alfred Schnittke at the
AthenŠum Music & Arts Library, 1008 Wall St., La Jolla, (619) 454-5872.
Sun.. Pre-concert lecture, 6:30 p.m.; concert, 7:30 p.m. $13-$15.

                                                        -David BŘndler

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Remember, this is a reprint from April, so the concert is not tomorrow!
("So why did I go to the effort of typing in that last paragraph?" you may
ask. A better question might be "why did I then go to the effort of typing
this parenthetical?")

Andrew Lander
http://home.earthlink.net/~landerfam/

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