This chapter sets in motion the primary themes of the book, tracing briefly Alfred Schnittke’s compositional evolution before the Concerto Grosso no. 1, paying special attention to his Symphony no. 1 (1969–72) and his initial ideas about polystylism, as well as the works immediately preceding the Concerto Grosso no. 1, including the Piano Quintet (1972–76), Hymns (1974–79), Requiem (1975), and Moz-Art (1975–76). It also investigates the genesis, construction, and affect of the Preludio of the Concerto Grosso no. 1, focusing on its initial prepared piano chorale together with its other key motives. The chapter further discusses the interpretations of polystylism and postmodernism by such Russian writers as Svetlana Savenko and Alexander Ivashkin. Finally, the chapter sets in place the justification and format for the remainder of the book.
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