Alfred Schnittke "Clowns und Kinder"

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Alfred Schnittke "Clowns und Kinder"

Post by Belle » Wed May 03, 2017 4:12 pm

I didn't know this composer wrote film music. Here are his offerings from a film unknown to me, "Clowns und Kinder". Very eclectic. I was often reminded of Prokofiev and Cole Porter!!

John F
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Re: Alfred Schnittke "Clowns und Kinder"

Post by John F » Wed May 03, 2017 6:56 pm

Eclectic is the word for Schnittke's music, or if you want a more impressive adjective, polystylistic.He went through several creative phases, from post-Shostakovich to twelve-tone to neoclassical to, well, you name it. Since twelve-tone music was one of many kinds not allowed by the Soviet musical commissars, he had to compose film music to make a living, and the range of films is as diverse as his music, including some animated cartoons.

During the '80s and '90s I thought he was the most interesting composer alive (not being a great fan of harder stuff like Elliott Carter's) and I still think very highly of his music, both the very serious like the viola concerto, the string trio, and the choir concerto for starters, and the jeux d'esprit like "(K)ein Sommernachtstraum." I actually traveled to Vienna for the premiere of his opera "Gesualdo," based on the life and music of that composer. Since his death in 1998 I haven't see his music on many concert programs, but the Swedish label BIS recorded almost all of it.

Here's "(K)ein Sommernachtstraum."

It begins with the first of many musical jokes: the platform is crowded with an enormous orchestra, but what we hear sounds like an 18th-century minuet for violin and piano - and we can't see where it's coming from, because it's played by the last of the 2nd violinists sitting next to the orchestral pianist who are masked by all the players sitting in front of them. But despite the high jinks I believe this is finally a serious piece.
John Francis

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