Schnittke Complete Piano Music – review

Simon Smith (piano)

Alfred Schnittke's complete piano music offers a shortcut straight to the heart of the prolific Soviet composer who died too young in 1998 aged 63. From the terse, early serial works such as Prelude and Fugue (1963) to the playful Little Piano Pieces (1971) to the three substantial sonatas written later in life, Schnittke experimented with styles. His own voice always remains powerful and distinct. The cadenzas to Mozart's Piano Concertos K39, K467, K491 and K503 are a fascinating joust between the two composers. So too, written for six hands at one piano, is the Homage to Stravinsky, Prokofiev and Shostakovich. The young British pianist Simon Smith gives compelling, expressive performances. Schnittke's reputation grows ever greater in death than in life.


Fiona Maddocks

The GuardianTramp

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