Schnittke: Violin Sonatas Nos. 1 & 2, Suite / Lubotsky, Gothoni

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On the face of it, it makes good sense to group these three relatively early works by Schnittke together on one disc, and the documentary interest of the issue is enhanced by the fact that both sonatas are dedicated to Mark Lubotsky. The downside is that Schnittke is rarely at his best in these pieces, and the recording allows the piano too great a degree of rather harsh prominence.

The First Sonata (1963), which documents Schnittke's emergence from the cocoon of conformity to a style that owes much to Shostakovich, and its wide range of reference, from serialism to Latin American rhythms, is now less striking than the skill with which Schnittke shapes the third movement's gradually intensifying melodic line. In the Second Sonata (1968), again, it is the growth of continuity out of fragmentation that impresses, giving the single-movement structure a substance it would otherwise lack. Even so, the sonata is more a manifesto of defiance than a fully realized proposal for a new musical order. It is to the credit of both performers that they don't try to oversell the music's aura of iconoclasm, though a recording more favorable to the violin would have done these well-considered accounts greater justice.

Schnittke concocted his Suite in the old style (1972) from various film scores. It would be unduly censorious to complain of the composer's self-indulgence in music as charming as this, and in any case a more sinister note enters the final ''Pantomime''. Here, at least, the authentically alarming later Schnittke briefly stands revealed.

-- Arnold Whittall, Gramophone [4/1994]

Product Description:

  • Release Date: December 11, 2008

  • UPC: 6413657780029

  • Catalog Number: ODE800

  • Label: Ondine

  • Number of Discs: 1

  • Period: 20th Century

  • Composer: Alfred Schnittke

  • Performer: Mark Lubotsky, Ralf Gothóni