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Cat. No. CHAN 9885 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 9885 - Schnittke: Symphony No. 8
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Available From: 17 April 2001
I first met Alfred Schnittke in Moscow in the late 1960s when Alfred was just beginning to become famous in both Russia and the West. His music was included in the programmes of festivals of modern music and in 1969 he started to work on his First Symphony.

Symphony No. 8 was written in 1994, shortly before Schnittke’s illness which left his right hand paralysed. I clearly remember him in Eppendorf hospital near Hamburg on 24 November 1994, the day he turned sixty. He was listening to the recording of Symphony No. 8, made by the dedicatee Gennady Rozhdestvensky at the first performance in Stockholm on 10 November 1994. As we sat listening to the last, fifth movement of the symphony it became apparent to us all that Schnittke was using ascending scales to express his spiritual feelings during his fatal illness. Symphony No. 8 is one of the most lyrical and Mahlerian works he wrote (it contains an especially beautiful slow movement), a rather post-Romantic completion to Schnittke’s symphonic route.

Music for a play, The Census List (after Nikolai Gogol), was written for the Moscow avant-garde Taganka Theatre and its Artistic Director Yuri Liubimov in 1978, a project realised as a kind of reply to unjust criticism from the officials. The Census List was presented as a free fantasy on different novels/plays by the great Russian writer Nikolai Gogol in order for Schnittke and his friends to show that any classical piece or play can be interpreted freely and independently. Later on, The Census List was transformed into a ballet score, Sketches, and staged at the Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow in 1985.
Reviews

‘…outstanding performances.’
*****Performance *****Sound BBC Music Magazine on CHAN 9824 (Glazunov)

‘Excellent Russian forces directed by Valeri Polyansky in vividly full-blooded Chandos sound.’
Gramophone on CHAN 9709 (Glazunov)

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