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Universal Edition - Alfred Schnittke – (K)ein Sommernachtstraum

Alfred Schnittke

Alfred Schnittke
(K)ein Sommernachtstraum

Year of composition: 1984/1985
Scored for: for large orchestra
Composer: Alfred Schnittke
Instrumentation: 4 4 4 2 - 4 4 4 1 - timp, perc(5), hp, cel, cemb, pno, str
Instrumentation details:
1st flute (+picc)
2nd flute (+picc)
3rd flute (+picc)
4th flute (+picc)
1st oboe
2nd oboe
3rd oboe
4th oboe
1st clarinet in Bb
2nd clarinet in Bb
3rd clarinet in Bb
4th clarinet in Bb (+bass cl(Bb))
1st bassoon
2nd bassoon
1st horn in F
2nd horn in F
3rd horn in F
4th horn in F
1st trumpet in Bb
2nd trumpet in Bb
3rd trumpet in Bb
4th trumpet in Bb
1st trombone
2nd trombone
3rd trombone
4th trombone
tuba
timpani
percussion(5)
harp
celesta
hpsd
piano
violin I
violin II
viola
violoncello
contrabass
Duration: 10′
 
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Audio Excerpt

(K)ein Sommernachtstraum

World Première

Location: Kleines Festspielhaus Salzburg / Austria
Date: 12.08.1985
Orchestra: ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien
Conductor: Leopold Hager

Work Introduction

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 van 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 three 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 musical tone, a certain Mozart-Schubert sound which I carried within me for decades and which was confirmed upon my next stay in Austria some 30 years later (…)

I also came into contact with Salzburg. In 1977, Gidon Kremer played Ludwig van Beethoven’s 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 honour for any composer – to write an orchestral piece for the Festival, which illness prevented me from completing in time (for the 1984 Festival). Now it is ready. The piece should be played in a concert of Shakespeare settings, though 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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(K)ein Sommernachtstraum

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