By Alfred Schnittke
This compilation assembles formerly released and unpublished essays through Schnittke and supplementations them with an interview with cellist and pupil Alexander Ivashkin. The booklet is illustrated with musical examples, lots of them in Schnittke’s personal hand. In A Schnittke Reader, the composer speaks of his lifestyles, his works, different composers, performers, and a wide variety of subject matters in 20th-century song. the amount is rounded out with reflections by way of a few of Schnittke’s contemporaries.
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Additional info for A Schnittke Reader (Russian Music Studies)
It is as if you do not belong to yourself. As long as you have this feeling, your work is never a burden. You are not the one prescribing, you are doing something prescribed for you by someone else. “Someone else” is to put it very crudely: it is something more important than you are. And once it begins to prescribe what you do, it basically predetermines the form of expression you use. So the ideal form of utterance that you are striving to achieve is predetermined by this initial feeling, and the whole of your work is an attempt to tune in more precisely to what is, what always has been, and will be.
5 I lose faith in it right away. As long as human beings hold on to the feeling that the mystery is truly limitless, they never reach the stage of relative systematization, and one can always place reliance on what they say. But as soon as they begin to systematize, they immediately fall into one of the many errors caused by knowledge that is relative only, and I’m no longer interested. As for religion, all the formal routine of religious faith—constantly followed every day in a virtuously literal interpretation—has, for logical reasons, lost its value for me.
Everything that I first took an interest in only in my forties—oriental literature, philosophy—has been of interest to him from the very beginning. And this sphere of knowledge opened up for him long ago of its own accord. He did not have to move into it or decipher its meaning; it was already open and ready for him. It is strange that he has been interested in the East from early childhood. He has always been passionately interested in China and Japan—things for which a formal education gave him no predisposition.