Schnittke: Works For Cello & Piano / Ivashkin, Schnittke

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After the death of Dmitri Shostakovich, Alfred Schnittke emerged as Russia's leading composer. His style, with its mixture of modernism and antiquity, is often called eclectic, but in its alternation of manic activity and mournful cantilena, there is also a striking similarity to Shostakovich. This is quite evident in Schnittke's music for cello, a favorite instrument of both composers for its ability to project bleak moods, and the fact that both were friends of Mstislav Rostropovich probably didn't hurt either.
Most of these are late works, not surprising since Schnittke wrote nearly half of his huge output in the last decade of his life. The Cello Sonata No. 1, one of his best known pieces, harkens the Shostakovich comparison, with a tranquil neo-classical largo followed by a dizzying nightmare of a presto which gives way to a long concluding largo. The Second Sonata goes further into a world of quiet introspection and sadness, much of the work is a cello monologue. 'Musica Nostalgia' is a bizarre collage of a mock-Bach Cello suite and a very drunken minuet, while 'Epilogue' features a taped background of a choir singing a never-ending D Major chord against which the cello rhapsodizes at length before disappearing into the heights.

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: CHAN 9705

  • UPC: 095115970522

  • Label: Chandos

  • Composer: Alfred Schnittke

  • Performer: Alexander Ivashkin, Irina Schnittke