The Second Cello Concerto (1990) is one of Schnittke’s most complex pieces. Like most of his concertos, it is actually a symphony for solo instrument and orchestra, in which the interaction between the two plays a very important role. The soloist competes not only with the huge orchestra as a whole, but also “fights” against various orchestral groups and the voices of individual instruments.
The musical language of this work poses unprecedented challenges to the cellist. Written for Mstislav Rostropovich, the solo part pushes the instrument’s possibilities to extremes and in many passages is truly revolutionary.
CONCERTO No. 2 for cello and orchestra
I. Moderato (Music text example)
III. Lento (Music text example)
IV. Allegretto vivo
V. Grave (Music text example)