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  • Julia Polinskaja

Alfred Schnittke: Gogol-Suite

What is this about?

In short, we tried to recreate some of the world of Nikolai Gogol with hints of costumes, some pieces of stories and quotes that you will find before each movement.

In the music of Alfred Schnittke we tried somewhat to recreate the orchestral experience, by not only playing on (and sometimes inside) two pianos but also some very percussion instruments like the flexatone and several electronic effects of the cembalo, E-Guitar and organ. And voice!

What is it really about?

If you are interested in a longer explanation:

The composer Alfred Schnittke wrote his Gogol-Suite for a theatre piece named „The Revisor’s Tale“. It was performed in the Taganka Theater in Moscow in 1978. Unfortunately the piece is not being performed anymore.

According to some witnesses that could be found out in the depth of the Russian internet the piece was a creative collage of many works of the famous Russian writer Nikolai Gogol, sort of a grotesque and often metaphorical paraphrase of Gogol's complete works.

Throughout the suite one can see already in the movement titles references to "The Coat," "The Portrait," "The Nose," "The Revisor," "Diary of a Madman," and of course the "Dead Souls“.

In the middle movement „Ferdinand VIII“ the conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky spoke the text himself from the orchestra pit.

"Of course, we can guess at something mysterious and transcendental behind all this; but it is the juncture of the transcendental and the banal that is usually the essence of devilry. And if you write music for a story by Gogol, this is inevitable, as Gogol himself resorted to this... his use of the banal as wholly legitimate material - all this, of course, influenced me to the greatest extent."

Alfred Schnittke

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1 Comment

Anna Tena Muñoz
Anna Tena Muñoz
Sep 21, 2023

Great job! ✨

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