Polystylism in the context of Postmodern Music. Alfred Schnittke’s Concerti Grossi


  • Assistant Professor PhD. Mihaela Georgiana Balan “George Enescu” National University of Arts Iași ROMANIA




postmodernism, polystylism, quotation, allusion, adaptation


One of the multiple orientations of the musical postmodernism is polystylism – a concept used and theorized by the Russian composer and musicologist Alfred Schnittke. He identified its specific techniques in previous academic tradition and organized its principles by writing many essays, papers and by applying these compositional methods in his own work. The approach of polystylism offers the opportunity to observe artistic phenomena in a synthetic perspective and to understand the compositional methods by which tradition is still revalued in some directions of the postmodern period. This paper deals with the problems encountered in the research on this subject, the lack of this term in the dictionaries, the political and cultural context when polystylism was introduced, the tendency to consider unorganized and unoriginal those works based on quotes, previous writing techniques and musical languages, traditional genres or structures and therefore, the perception of some musicians to underestimate Schnittke’s talent and mastery as a composer.