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Piano Duo "NAISSUS" (Stevan Spalevic & Marija Ivanovic) - A. Schnittke "Gogol Suite "

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Published on Oct 7, 2010

Piano duo "Naissus", Recital at Kolarac hall, Belgrade, 2006

Alfred Schnittke: "Gogol Suite" written on motives of ´´The Cloak´´, ´´Dead souls´´ and ´´The Revisor´´
I - Overture. Allegro
III - The Portrait. Slow Valse
IV - The Cloak. Andante accelerando

Alfred Šnitke: "Revizorska bajka" napisana po motivima romana "Mrtve duše" i drame "Revizor" N. Gogolja
I - Uvertira
III - Portret
IV - Šinjel

Naissus - old Roman name for Nis (Niš), city in Serbia where the big Roman emperor Constantin the Great was born.

It's not at all a coincidence that Schnittke wrote this suite for a staging of works by the Russian author Gogol, who himself perfected an outstandingly strange form of expressive ambivalence, a working of impoverished resources (stale bureaucrat-protagonists, faux-naïve prose-style, absurd anti-plots) into artistic riches. Through the tone of that Russian archetype, the yurodive or "holy fool," Gogol brought together impossible states of mind with an odd, breathtaking logic.

Likewise with Schnittke: take the Gogol Suite's beginning "Overture." It's as artless as they get, a numbingly repeated four-note rhythmic motive congealing into a tawdry bundle of kitschy orchestral colors -- googly-eyed flexatone, cluster-crunching harpsichord, squawking high violins, all collecting in a nauseous musical tub whose unfortunate spill yields none other than the tattoo of musical greatness itself, the first movement of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. A work exactly as good as it sounds, it appears merely mocked by Schnittke's trashy one-minute ride. But the cracks in this moody detritus reveal a strange, pearly wisdom: before becoming the four-note motive to Beethoven's Fifth, this little pattern manages to invoke Rossini's overture to The Barber of Seville -- in its day the antithesis of the German Symphony, the "low" to its "high." That Schnittke effortlessly fuses the two together, and then brushes both aside with a horrible burp from the piano, may not be to your taste, but it's a taste nonetheless, visionary in its bizarre specificity. ~ Seth Brodsky, Rovi

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