The publication of Alfred Schnittke’s Collected Works is a joint project of the Compozitor Publishing House Saint-Petersburg, the Schnittke family archive 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 and have been edited by leading performers who collaborated with the composer.
Schnittke’s Concerto Grosso No. 1 for two violins, harpsichord, piano and strings (1976-77) is the first of his six compositions in the genre, written between 1976 and 1993. Schnittke based each of his concerti grossi on the baroque idea of intensive dialogue between an orchestra and a group of soloists.
The Concerto Grosso No. 1 was written for Gidon Kremer, Tatiana Grindenko and the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra under Saulius Sondeckis. This is one of Schnittke’s best-known polystylistic compositions. According to the composer, he introduced into the framework of this neoclassical concerto grosso “…some fragments not consonant with its general style, which had earlier been fragments of cinema music: a lively children’s chorale (used at the beginning of the first movement and at the climax of the fifth, and also as a refrain in the other movements), a nostalgically atonal serenade — a trio (in the second movement) guaranteed as genuine Corelli, ‘made in the USSR’, and my grandmother’s favourite tango (in the fifth movement), which her great-grandmother used to play on a harpsichord…” Describing his attitude to polystylism, the composer wrote: “A sharp contrast of the stylistic spheres need not necessarily be controlled. However, the ‘objective force of the banal’ should be strongly present throughout, similar to in Thomas Mann’s Tonio Kröger.”
SONATA No. 1
IV. Allegretto scherzando