Music of Disruption

Maria Cizmic

in Performing Pain

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199734603
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918546 | DOI:
Music of Disruption

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This chapter discusses history, memory, suffering, and truth as themes that circulated in 1970s USSR. The concern for truth in conjunction with the related concepts of realism and authenticity become particularly pertinent to Alfred Schnittke’s Concerto for Piano and Strings. As a work that bears witness to its historical moment, Schnittke’s piece offers a disjointed musical surface marked by many different styles and quotations, typical of his “polystylism” of the 1970s and 80s. This chapter argues that Schnittke’s “truth” does not come from the “documentary” quality of his musical quotations, but from the musical narrative they comprise. Through an analogical analysis, this chapter considers the concerto’s fragmented musical surface, with is references to past musical styles and its varied handling of musical time, in relationship to trauma conceptualized as a “disease of time.” His work performs the break down of linear narrative frequently ascribed to the effects of trauma.

Keywords: Alfred Schnittke; Concerto for Piano and Strings; collage; quotation; truth; realism; polystylism; trauma; bearing witness

Chapter.  15745 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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