Reviews

Reviews for Schnittke Studies (ed. Gavin Dixon; Routledge 2016)

Review by Peter J. Schmelz in Music&Letters Vol. 98 No. 4, November 2017, 697-699.

“Most readers, including serious scholars, will best be served by the resource Ivana Medić has compiled that appears as the book’s appendix: a preliminary catalogue of Schnittke’s works in the Juilliard Manuscript Collection. […] Medić herself is to be applauded for this catalogue and for her ongoing investigations of its riches, as exemplified in this collection by her appropriately contingent reading of religious imagery in Schnittke’s ‘St. Florian’ Symphony No. 2 (1979).”

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Review by Aleksandra Drozzina in Music Theory Online Vol, 24 No. 4, December 2018.

“In the first essay of the book, “‘Crucifixus etiam pro nobis’: Representations of the cross in Alfred Schnittke’s Symphony No. 2, ‘St. Florian,’” Ivana Medić addresses the problematic status of the symphony as a genre in the late twentieth-century Soviet Union. She compellingly connects a significant event in Schnittke’s life—his baptism in his late 40s—with musical representations of the crucifix in the Second Symphony (1979). Medić writes, “Having been trained within the Soviet system, where the symphony was understood as an ‘atheist Mass,’ Schnittke gave himself an impossible task to merge this ‘substitute for the Mass’ with the very thing that it was meant to substitute” (5). Medić credits Russian theorist Tiba Dziun (Dziun 2004) for the initial discovery of the cross’s representation in this symphony. Medić’s own analysis focuses on the abundant appearances throughout the work’s six movements of the Kreuzakkord (i.e., the chord of the cross, as labelled by Schnittke in the sketches), various symmetries, crossings of horizontal and vertical musical currents, and tonal relationships centered around Schnittke’s “divine” key of C major. As Medić notes, there are also interesting compositional congruences with the 1970s works of Schnittke’s contemporaries. For instance, the image of the cross plays a central role in several of Sofia Gubaidulina’s works, including In Croce (1979) (7). Arvo Pärt’s “circular trope,” the main theme of his Symphony no. 3 (1971), is another likely influence (8).” 

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Review by Ian Power in Tempo Vol. 71 No. 281, July 2017, 114-115.

“These chapters – in addition to Ivana Medić’s excellently laid out catalogue of Schnittke’s sketches held in the Juilliard Manuscript Collection – are themselves enough to make the volume essential for someone who will be concerned with Schnittke for anything beyond the short term.”

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Review by Ivan Moody in Musicological Annual No. 53/1, 2017, 254-256.

“The first contains an absorbing study by Ivana Medić of the representation of the Cross in Schnittke’s Symphony no. 2, “St Florian,” a study hugely enhanced by the newly accessible sketches at the Juilliard School. Medić’s “Revised Catalogue of Alfred Schnittke’s Sketches in the Juilliard Manuscript Collection” is also usefully included in the book as an appendix. The way in which the underlying symbolism of the Cross is expressed in compositional technique will hardly be a surprise for anyone who has looked closely at Schnittke’s relationship with religious music and symbolism, but this kind of detailed study is not only needed, but also quite revelatory.”

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Review by Arnold McMillin in The Slavonic and East European Review No. 95/3, July 2017, 544-546.

“Ivana Medić in ‘“Crucifixus etiam pro nobis”: Representations of the Cross in Alfred Schnittke’s Symphony No. 2, “St. Florian”’ demonstrates by use of material from sketches and drafts of this work Schnittke’s continuation of the practice of J. S. Bach in musical representations of the cross.”
“A welcome addition to this thought-provoking and very well illustrated volume is the Appendix, which consists of a revised catalogue of Alfred Schnittke’s sketches held in the Juilliard Manuscript Collection with, in addition to formal detail, clarifying comments for future researchers by Ivana Medić (the compiler).”

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Review by Yulia Panteleeva in Muzikal’naya Akademiya Vol. 2, 2019, 766 (in Russian)

“Первая представляет собой статью Иваны Медич (Ivana Medić) «“Crucifixus Etiam Pro Nobis”: репрезентация креста во Второй симфонии А. Шнитке “St. Florian”» («“Crucifixus Etiam Pro Nobis”: Representations of the Cross in Alfred Schnittke’s Symphony No. 2 “St. Florian”»). Здесь автор обобщает свой опыт изучения 114 эскизов симфонии, которые хранятся в архивных фондах Библиотеки Джульярда (Juilliard Manuscript Collection) в Нью-Йорке. Данные наброски, половина которых написана по-русски, а половина по-немецки или на том и другом языках, интересны как ценный материал для наблюдения над творческим процессом композитора. Например, первоначально Шнитке планировал сделать произведение в восьми частях, а затем уменьшил их количество до шести.

Большой интерес вызывают сохранившиеся вербальные заметки композитора, например, его размышления о том, каким образом можно было бы музыкальными средствами изобразить крест. «Проблема: как передать двухмерность креста в звучании? — адресует самому себе вопросы Шнитке. — Пересечение горизонтального и вертикального? Что такое “горизонтальное” звучание? Что такое вертикальное звучание? Интервальный крест: пересечение двух равных интервалов, впрочем, это одно измерение. Может быть, пространственный крест? Размещение оркестра в форме креста?» [10, 11].

Медич очень подробно рассказывает о своей работе с архивными документами из названной коллекции рукописей. Исправив множество неточностей в атрибуции композиторских набросков, музыковед в результате составила их полный каталог, который дан в приложении к книге.”