The LCO cherishes a memory of a long personal friendship with Alfred Schnittke. Thanks to an ingenious idea of inviting Schnittke as a harpsichordist in the LCO on its tour to Austria and Germany, the composer was able to bypass the official ban by Soviet authorities on his travel outside the USSR and be present at the premiere of his Concerto Grosso No.1 in the West – a piece written specially for Gidon Kremer, Tatjana Grindenko and the LCO. The live recording of this concert which also included Arvo Pärt’s Tabula rasa became one of the XX century’s bestselling CDs. Schnittke’s Concerto Grosso No.3 was dedicated to the LCO to mark its 25th Anniversary.
Alfred Schnittke, Gidon Kremer, Saulius Sondeckis, Tatjana Grindenko
Saulius Sondeckis, Alfred Schnittke
The next day after the tragic events of 13 January 1991 during Lithuania’s struggle for independence from USSR, Schnittke composed “Sutartinės”, a piece he dedicated to Lithuanian people. He posted the original score to Saulius Sondeckis, and the piece was premiered on 5 February 1991. Maestro Sondeckis recalled: “When we finished, the entire hall was silent. After about a minute everybody got up. The Orchestra too. We were all standing up and crying. The entire audience was crying…”