Alfred Schnittke: Symphony No. 9
1st September 2007
Schnittke left the work unfinished upon his death in 1998. His widow Irina felt the three movements Schnittke shakily penned were a testament to her husband's musical legacy; she actively sought to engage a colleague who could decipher, and, where necessary, carefully correct and complete the score. After two unsuccessful attempts to reconstruct the work, Russian composer Alexander Raskatov was asked to take on the task. Schnittke once called Raskatov "one of the most interesting composers of his generation," and as Raskatov set about reconstructing the work, he had the distinct impression that Schnittke intended to add a fourth movement. In turn, Raskatov decided to add a completely separate composition Nunc dimittis, a vocal-symphonic epilogue. Based after the New Testament passage of Simeon's Song of Praise (Luke. 2: 29-32), Raskatov set texts by Russian-born poet and Nobel Laureate Joseph Brodsky and the Orthodox monk Starets Siluan. Raskatov notes that the Nunc dimittis can be performed independently and he chose these texts because they "are exactly in tune with the idea of this symphony: a 'farewell.' "
Symphony No. 9 was co-commissioned by The Juilliard Orchestra along with the Dresden Philharmonic who premiered the work on 16 June 2007 led by Davies, and the Bruckner Orchester Linz, which presents the Austrian premiere on 29 April 2008.