Alfred Schnittke’s concert for piano and string orchestra the role of polystylistics in the formation of intoniation-character dramaturgy

Bohdan Reshetilov


Creativity of A. Schnittke is tightly connected with polystylistics. This term has been studied many times by musicologists as a technique of musical composition. However, its important role in the context of the formation of intonation-character dramaturgy remains a white spot. The study of polystylistics in this context on the example of the Concerto for Piano and Strings by A. Schnittke (written in 1979) is the relevance of the study, because it reveals new clues in understanding the ideological concept.

The main objective of the study is an analytical method in which dramaturgy is explored in the context of stylistics, which creates a fertile basis for the formation of a semantic understanding of a musical work.

The aim of the article is to summarize the methods for isolating intonation-character spheres subordinated to polystylistics, with the help of which it becomes possible to form a new semantic result.

Different methodology is used in the article: semiotic-structural — for detailed analytical observations on dramaturgy-compositional features of the work by A. Schnittke; comparative — for comparative analysis and contextual vision of intonation-character spheres within the framework of polystylistic dramaturgy; functional — for studying and generalization of composer technological means of expressiveness subordinated to polystylistics.

To main results and conclusions of the research are included several positions.

  1. The cinematographic approach in the formation of dramaturgy as a technical composition of a musical composition is manifested in the assembly comparison of the intonation-character spheres. This principle of thinking is based on sharp changes in the stylistic foundations.
  2. Taking into account the abundance of use of “someone else's” musical material in the author's work, it is possible to typologies the polystylistic detections as follows: addressing to the achievements of different epochs expressed in the typical means of musical expressiveness; addressing to individual style traits and opening of specific composers; addressing to themes and intonations from works of other composers; use of monograms, codes, ciphers in music; addressing to different musical flows, etc.
  3. As a result of application of the claimed method of the research a new philosophicalreligious semantic result of A. Schnittke work is formed, which is the main significance of this article.


A. Schnittke’s creativity; polystylistics; character dramaturgy; concert for piano and string orchestra


Anohina, S. V. (2009). Polystylistics in the musical culture of postmodernism [Polistilistika v muzykal’noj kul’ture postmodernizma]. Extended abstract of candidate’s thesis. Krasnodar, 22 p. [in Russian].

Barash, E. V., Urbah, T. S. (2009). Symphonies by A. Schnittke: composer's thoughts and analytical commentary [Simfonii Al'freda Shnitke: Mysli kompozitora i analiticheskij komentarij]. Moscow: Kompozitor, 248 p. [in Russian].

Bogdanova, A. V. & Dolinskaja, E. B. (2004). Dedicated to A. Schnittke [A. Shnitke posvjashhaetsja], in 10 vols, vol. 4. Moscow: Kompozitor, 312 p. [in Russian].

Hribinenko Yu. O. (2006). Musical polystylistics in light of the theory of intertextuality [Muzychna polistylistyka u svitli teorii intertekstualnosti]. Extended abstract of candidate’s thesis. Odesa, 18 p. [in Ukrainian].

Demchenko, A. I. (2009). Alfred Schnittke: Contexts and concerts [Al'fred Shnitke: Konteksty i koncerty]. Moscow: Kompozitor, 296 p. [in Russian].

Dolinskaja, E. B. (2010). Piano Concert by A. Schnittke in the context of the second wave of the avant-garde [Fortepiannyj koncert A. Shnitke v kontekste vtoroj volny avangardda]. Dedicated to A. Schnittke [A. Shnitke posvjashhaetsja]. Vol. 5. Moscow: Kompozitor, pp. 88–110. [in Russian].

Ivashkin, A. V. (1994). A. G. Shnittke. Conversations, speeches, articles [A. G. Shnitke. Besedy, vystuplenija, sta’ti]. Moscow: Kultura, 304 p. [in Russian].

Il’iechjova, N. I. (2015). Polystyle as a phenomenon of European art culture [Polistilistika kak fenomen yevropejskoj hudozhestvennoj kul’tury]. Extended abstract of candidate’s thesis. Moscow, 24 p. [in Russian].

Kasparova, N. (2009). Piano concerts in the work of A. G. Schnittke [Fortepiannye koncerty v tvorchestve A. G. Shnitke]. Thesis. Moscow, 42 p. [in Russian].

Kondakov, I. V. (2006). Breakthrough in polystylistics [Proryv k polistilistike]. Social sciences and modernity [Suspilni nauky ta suchasnist]. Vol. 1, pp. 147–159. [in Russian].

Kudrjashov, A. Ju. (2006). Theory of musical content [Teorija muzykal’nogo soderzhanija]. Saint Petersburg, Moscow, Krasnodar: Lan’, 429 p. [in Russian].

Nazajkinckij, E. V. (2003). Style and genre in music [Stil’ i zhanr v muzyke]. Moscow: Vlados, 248 p. [in Russian].

Proskurnia, A. (2013). Scherzo and in the aspect of genre evolution: an attempt to theoretical substantiation of concepts [Skertso ta skertsoznist v aspekti zhanrovoi evoliutsii: sproba teoretychnoho obgruntuvannia poniat]. Kyiv Musicology [Kyivske muzykoznavstvo]. Vol. 47, pp. 101–108. [in Ukrainian].

Holopova, V. N. & Chigareva, E. I. (1990). Alfred Schnittke: An Essay of Life and Creativity [Al’fred Shnitke: ocherk zhizni i tvorchestva]. Moscow: Sovetskij kompozitor, 350 p. [in Russian].

Hrushhova, N. A. (2013). Interaction of music and literature in the works of P. Bulez, L. Berio, J. Joyce [Vzaimodejstvie muzyki i literatury u tvorchestve P. Buleza, L. Berio, Dzh. Dzhojsa]. Candidate’s thesis. Saint Petersburg, 232 p. [in Russian].

Shul’gin, D. I. (1993). A. Schnitke: conversations with the composer [Gody neizvestnosti Al'freda Shnitke: Besedy s kompozitorom]. Moscow: Delovaja Liga, 110 p. [in Russian].

Ching, K. K. (2012). Narrativity in Postmodern Music: A Study of Selected Works of Alfred Schnittke. Doctor’s thesis. London, Ontario, Canada, 212 p. [in English].

Mayzus, I. (2016). Issues of rhythm, symmetry, and style of Alfred Schittke’s Concerto for piano and strings. Doctor’s thesis. New York, 133 p. [in English].

Tremblay, J.-B. (2007). Polystylism and narrative potential in the music of Alfred Schnittke. Doctor’s thesis. Voncouver, Okanagan, 233 p. [in English].

GOST Style Citations

Анохина С. В. Полистилистика в музыкальной культуре постмодернизма: автореф. дис. ... канд. культурологии : спец. 24.00.01 Теория и история культуры / Краснодарский гос. ун-т культуры и искусств. Краснодар, 2009. 22 с.

Бараш Е. В., Урбах Т. С. Симфонии Альфреда Шнитке: Мысли композитора и аналитический коментарий. Москва : Композитор, 2009. 248 с.

Богданова А. В., Долинская Е. Б. А. Шнитке посвящается: в 10 т. Москва: Композитор, 2004. Т. 4. 312 с.

Грібіненко Ю. О. Музична полістилістика у світлі теорії інтертекстуальності : дис. ... канд. мистецтвознавства : спец. 17.00.03 – Музичне мистецтво / Одеська держ. муз. акад. ім. А. В. Нежданової. Одеса, 2006. 18 с.

Демченко А. И. Альфред Шнитке: Контексты и концерты. Москва : Композитор, 2009. 296 с. : илл.

Долинская Е. Б. Фортепианный концерт А. Шнитке в контексте второй волны авангардда // А. Шнитке посвящается. Москва, 2010. Вып. 5. С. 88–110.

Ивашкин А. В. А. Г. Шнитке. Беседы, выступления, статьи. Москва, 1994. 304 с.

Ильичёва Н. И. Полистилистика как феномен европейской художественной культуры: автореф. дис. ... канд. культурологии : спец. 24.00.01 Теория и история культуры / Московский гос. ин-т культуры. Москва, 2015. 24 с.

Каспарова Н. Фортепианные концерты в творчестве А. Г. Шнитке : дипломная работа. Москва, 2009. 42 с.

Кондаков И. В. Прорыв к полистилистике // Суспільні науки та сучасність. 2006. No 1. С. 147–159.

Кудряшов А. Ю. Теория музыкального содержания. Санкт-Петербург ; Москва, Краснодар, 2006. 429 с.

Назайкинский Е. В. Стиль и жанр в музыке. Москва : ВЛАДОС, 2003. 248 с.

Проскурня А. Скерцо та скерцозність в аспекті жанрової еволюції: спроба теоретичного обґрунтування понять // Київське музикознавство. 2013. No 47. С. 101–108.

Холопова В. Н., Чигарева Е. И. Альфред Шнитке: очерк жизни и творчества. Москва : Сов. композитор, 1990. 350 с.

Хрущева Н. А. Взаимодействие музыки и литературы в творчестве П. Булеза, Л. Берио, Дж. Джойса. : дис. ... канд. искусствоведения : спец. 17.00.02 Музыкальное искусство / Санкт-Петербургская гос. консерватория (академия) им. Н. А. Римского-Корсакова. Санкт-Петербург, 2013. 232 с.

Шульгин Д. И. Годы неизвестности Альфреда Шнитке. Беседы с композитором. Москва : Деловая лига, 1993. 110 с.

Ching K. K. Narrativity in Postmodern Music: A Study of Selected Works of Alfred Schnittke : a thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy / The University of Western Ontario. London, Ontario, Canada, 2012. 212 p.

Mayzus I. Issues of rhythm, symmetry, and style of Alfred Schittke’s Concerto for piano and strin: a dissertation submitted to the Graduate Faculty in Music in partial fulfillment of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy / The city University of New York. New York, 2016. 133 p.

Tremblay J.-B. Polystylism and narrative potential in the music of Alfred Schnittke: a thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy / The University of British Columbia. Voncouver, Okanagan, 2007. 233 p.

ISSN 2522-4190 (print)
ISSN 2522-4204 (online)