Notes and Editorial Reviews
Schnittke's String Trio is a memory work, a 1985 commission designed to commemorate the centenary of Alban Berg's birth, where memories hallucinate and it transpires that the familiar and unfamiliar are interchangeable.That any group could play this music better than the Montreal-based Quatuor Molinari is inconceivable. Their perspective on the work is stark and unnerving. Mozartian minuet figurations emerge not as comfort listening but, like all Schnittke's markers, are in freefall disintegration.
Their performance of Schnittke's Piano Quintet, with Canadian pianist Louise Bessette, highlights another asset, the scarred, scorched-earth temperament of their base sonic palette.
Misrepresenting this piece,
composed in memory of Schnittke's mother, as a Viennese waltz dances by, as whimsy or resolved closure is too easy. Quatuor Molinari's performance is cooled by death.
The quartet take Schnittke at his word, and never has his Piano Quintet felt like such the masterwork. His briefer Piano Quartet (1988), assembled around fragments of Mahler, establishes the mood music and puts these other works in their aesthetic and cultural context.
Alfred Schnittke’s chamber music comprises a dozen works which include four string quartets (released in 2011 by ATMA with Molinari Quartet, Chamber Music vol. 1 ACD2 2634), as well as the three works featured on this volume 2.
Internationally acclaimed by the public and the critics since its foundation in 1997, the Molinari Quartet has established a mandate to perform works from the 20th and 21st centuries, repertoire for string quartet, and to commission new works. Recipients of 14 Opus Prizes awarded by the Quebec Music Council, the Molinari Quartet is described by the critics as "Canada's answer to the Kronos or Arditti Quartet." Read less
Works on This Recording
Trio for Strings by Alfred Schnittke
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1985; USSR
Quintet for Piano and Strings by Alfred Schnittke
Louise Bessette (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1972-1976; USSR
Piano Quintet: I. Moderato
Piano Quintet: II. In Tempo di Valse
Piano Quintet: III. Andante
Piano Quintet: V. Moderato pastorale
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