Knaifel evades “valid” rules of the official musical aesthetic already in his first works. He became a member of the group of avant-garde composers that arose at the beginning of the 1960s in Moscow (Alfred Schnittke, Sofia Gubaidulina, Edison Denisov, amongst others), Kiev (Valentin Silvestrov) and Talinn (Arvo Pärt, amongst others). Nonetheless he did not repudiate tradition, allowing himself to be influenced by the second viennese school and by Dmitri Shostakovich. His compositions reveal, above all, a high degree of intensity and an expressive style; compositional techniques and sonorous possibilities are explored.
During the 1970s, however, Knaifel’s style changed. His rate of production slowed down in favour of larger and more structured works, with theatrical elements being sublimated or lost entirely. Now, economy of musical material and a concentration on sound as the decisive event are in the foreground: “The sounds are, for me, signs of the existence of beauty. Beauty is the most important thing for me - it is energy, unrepeatable,” says Knaifel. The works of the 1990s are strongly influenced by religious themes, occupying a territory between philosophy, psychology and the esoteric.
Knaifel has produced a copious oeuvre including musical theatre pieces, symphonic compositions, film music, chamber and vocal music. Important interpreters such as Mstislav Rostropovich, Gennady Roshdestvensky, and Alexei Lyubimov have performed his works.
Edited by chewtoy on 25 Apr 2013, 19:27
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