A focused point for the two soloists, the Cadenza movement of Alfred Schnittke’s Concerto Grosso no. 1 further engages with its themes of autonomy and control, motion and arrest, consonance and dissonance. This chapter considers the first performances of the Concerto Grosso no. 1, focusing on those by Gidon Kremer and Tatiana Grindenko in both the Soviet Union and Europe, specifically the 1977 European tour of the two soloists with the Lithuanian Chamber Ensemble conducted by Saulius Sondeckis. The chapter also discusses the early performances of the composition by violinists Oleh Krysa and Liana Isakadze, who first recorded it in the Soviet Union in the early 1980s. Schnittke was embarrassed by how well the composition did, telling Kremer that he now would need to write something unpopular, for “it is too dangerous to ride a wave of success.”
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