The publication of Alfred Schnittke’s Collected Works is a joint project of the Compozitor Publishing House • Saint-Petersburg and the Alfred Schnittke Archive at Goldsmiths College, University of London. This critical edition is intended for performers, scholars and music lovers interested in Schnittke and his music. Its main purpose is to provide them with access to his scores, which are not readily available in Russia or elsewhere. All the scores have been checked against Schnittke’s manuscripts and existing publications of his music аnd have been edited by leading performers who collaborated with the composer.
The formal reason and impetus for writing the Concerto Grosso No. 3 (1985) were the anniversaries of five great composers: the quatercentenary of Schütz, the tercentenary of Bach, Handel and Domenico Scarlatti and the centenary of the birth of Alban Berg. In the work, Schnittke pays tribute to each of these composers. We feel Handel’s theatricality; Schütz’s austerity and use of symbolism; instrumental textures developed by Domenico Scarlatti and, finally, features of Bach’s style, combined with these diverse, and sometimes even opposing, traditions. And at the other extreme — the music of Alban Berg, always important to Schnittke for its organic dualism of rigorous calculation and irrational freedom: the whole fourth movement of the Concerto Grosso seems to hover in a lyrical sphere similar to that of the finale of Berg’s Violin Concerto.
A page from the autograph of the Concerto Grosso No. 3
CONCERTO GROSSO No. 3
I. Allegro (Music text example)