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Schnittke: Life With An Idiot / Mstislav Rostropovich

Release Date: 10/08/2009 
Label:  Sony   Catalog #: 52495   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Alfred Schnittke
Performer:  Romain BischoffRobin LeggateLeonid ZimnenkoHoward Haskin,   ... 
Conductor:  Mstislav Rostropovich
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rotterdam Philharmonic OrchestraRotterdam Vocal Ensemble
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 54 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

What a wonderful title. The absurdist libretto of Schnittke's opera by the former 'dissident' writer Victor Erofeyev is based on his own short story and is partly a satire on Soviet life under Communism ('Vova' was Lenin's nickname, and Howard Haskin — the creator of the role — was made up to look like the former leader). Clearly, for Schnittke and other post-Soviet artists, there are still scores to setde with the past. Whether that will tell against the opera's long-term success remains to be seen.

At its worst it recalls a superior cabaret act, Schnittke's frequent recourse to parody as part of his 'polystylistic' approach sounding a touch glib. But other moments suggest wider resonances. The opera was premiered in
Read more Amsterdam last April, when this recording was made. Rostropovich, who was instrumental in the project from an early stage, conducts a brash but vital performance (he also plays the cello and piano) and the cast enters fully into the spirit of the piece. The sound has a curiously hollow quality.

-- George Hall, BBC Music Magazine
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Works on This Recording

Life with an Idiot by Alfred Schnittke
Performer:  Romain Bischoff (Baritone), Robin Leggate (Tenor), Leonid Zimnenko (Bass),
Howard Haskin (Tenor), Teresa Ringholz (Soprano), Dale Duesing (Baritone)
Conductor:  Mstislav Rostropovich
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra,  Rotterdam Vocal Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1990-1992; Russia 
Date of Recording: 04/13/1992 
Venue:  Live  Netherlands Opera, Rotterdam 
Length: 113 Minutes 35 Secs. 
Language: Russian 

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