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The first BIS disc dedicated to the music of Alfred Schnittke was released in January 1987 – almost 20 years ago. Since then, our Schnittke Edition has qrown to 20 volumes with the present disc completing the cycle of the composer’s eight finished symphonies. (At Schnittke’s death in 1998, his Symphony No. 9 was left uncompleted.)
Symphony No.8 was composed in 1994, and to some extent exemplifies Schnittke’s ambiguous position as a Russian composer of German ethnicity, combining as it does a Germanic organized structure with an intense Russian melancholy.
Less chaotic than its predecessor, Symphony No. 7, it is a coherent, profound and solemn work. The programme is completed by two shorter orchestral works from the same period: Symphonic Prelude (1993) and For Liverpool (1994). This is the first Schnittke disc from the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra under its chief conductor Lü Jia, but the team will be familiar from our recent three-disc series of the orchestral music of Ingvar Lidholm, where the interpretations were highly praised by the reviewers: “excellent performances”, “superbly played” and “remarkably full of energy and rich in timbre” were some of the verdicts.