I just saw Anne Cheng's posting regarding the passing of Mr. Schnittke,
and am extremely upset as I'd not heard anything about his death til
now. I don't know enough of Schnittke's output in the operatic genre,
except to say that I quite marvelled at "Life With an Idiot" and play
the recording with some frequency, and can't quite understand why it
isn't performed more. It achieved an enormous critical success, and was
written up throughout the world press. His subsequent operas, I don't
believe, fared as well but, regardless of his "unpopular" status in the
world of opera this amazing Estonian composer has written some of the
most incredible instrumental and symphonic music of our century.
The amazing Cello Sonata, (which has now received several excellent
performances), the Concerto for Viola and Orchestra, The violin
Concerto for Piano and Strings, the Concerto Grossi (especially no.
5(?), which achieved some fame with younger audiences, because
unfortunately or not of it's pairing with Philip Glass) his output of
and ballet music, the 2nd Cello Concerto and perhaps (to me) most of all
massive, impressive "Choir Concerto" for a cappella chorus, give some
examples of the genius of this too neglected composer of our time.
If I'm thinking right, Schnittke was still only about 60 or so at his
untimely, and far too little mentioned death, is truly a tragedy.
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