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Alfred Schnittke

Publisher: G. Schirmer

(K)ein Sommernachtstraum (Not after Shakespeare) (1985),
Work Notes
available in the USA, Canada and Mexico only
Publisher
Universal Edition/VAAP
Category
Orchestra
Year Composed
1985
Duration
10 Minutes
Programme Note
Alfred Schnittke (K)ein Sommernachtstraum (Not after Shakespeare) (1985),
Composer Note:
(K)ein Sommernachtstraum

Between 1946 and 1948 I lived in Vienna. It was of decisive importance for my life, for it was there that I began my musical studies at the age of 12 (piano lessons with Charlotte Ruber). In Vienna I received important impulses, both musical (Ludwig von Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony under Josef Krips, Bruckner’s Eighth under Klemperer, the Entführung aus dem Serail under Knappertsbusch and so on) and also general (including the scene in Everyman where death appears – a scene which always induces fear in me. I saw this scene in 3 Salzburg productions of the play, 1946, 1947, and 1948…unfortunately only the traditional excerpt in the Weekly Review, for at that time I had never been to Salzburg). I recall a basic music tone, a certain Mozart-Schubert sound which I carried within me for decades and which was confirmed upon my stay in Austria some 30 years later…

I also came into contact with Salzburg. In 1977 Gidon Kremer played Ludwig von Beethoven’ Violin Concerto with my cadenzas at the Festival there, thereby provoking a strong outcry from the press. In the same year I played the harpsichord part in the performance of my own Concerto Grosso No. 1 at the Mozarteum (also with Kremer) and in 1978 I provoked another storm of disapproval in the press there on account of my arrangement of Silent Night (“a desecration of culture”) – again with Kremer. In 1983 I received the commission – an honor for any composer – to write an orchestra piece for the Festival, which illness prevented me from completing on time (for the 1984 Festival). Now it is ready. The piece should be played in a concert of Shakespeare settings, thought it has no direct connection with Shakespeare. Yet it is not for that reason that it is called (K)ein Sommernachtstraum (“(Not) a Midsummer Night’s Dream”). And that is all there is to say about my Mozart-Schubert-related rondo…I should like to add that I did not steal all the “antiquities” in this piece; I faked them.

Alfred Schnittke

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