I heard about the death of Alfred Schnittke shortly after it had
happened and for a moment considered posting about it. But to me he was
not an opera composer, as Life with a idiot came after my most active
interest for him which was aroused when he was the subject for the
annual festival held by Stockholm Concert Hall. It must have been in the
beginning of this decade. I got fond of his music and bought a lot.
Swedish BIS has issued most of his work.
The composer is of course always invited to the festival, and Schnittke
was able to attend, though he was not quite well even then.
BTW last year Stockholm killed Sir Michael Tippet, who during a festival
with his music caught pneumonia and never recovered, and was unable to
attend any of the concerts.
This autumn another opera composer will be celebrated, Swedish Ingvar
Lidholm. The principle is to have a Swedish composer in even years and
an international one in odd years.
But the first work by Schnittke I heard was a movement from his Gogol
Suite, which started my interest for him. I was happy when there was a
festival for him. I guess Rozhdestvensky had something to do with it.
He composed much other music for vocal forces, for example a Faust
Cantata, Seid nuechtern und wachet, which I like and can recommend.
There is also a requiem.
A few years after the Schnittke festival he was again a topic in
Stockholm, as Royal Swedish Ballet performed his Peer Gynt, which I saw
twice and liked.
Maybe Scnittke was in a way avant garde in writing music that though
being personal is also listenable for ordinary music lovers?