'I have read all of Alfred's articles with enormous interest and enjoyment...[He] had such a profound insight into the music of other composers, and ...he found in it so many regular features that were hidden from others' - Mstislav Rostropovich, in the Preface. The compositions of Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998) are known for their exquisite construction, their unlikely embrace of material from disparate sources, their predisposition for melancholia, and their tremendous beauty. His German, Jewish, and Russian background seemed to make him something of an outsider wherever he went. This book is one of the composer's last works, created (characteristically) from his essays in various languages, materials published in various places or nowhere, supplemented with an interview with a friend (cellist and scholar Alexander Ivashkin), always keenly perceptive, illustrated with musical examples in his own hand, and coloured with the sadness of his death.In his "Schnittke Reader", the composer speaks of his life, his works, other composers (especially his Russian associates), performers, a painter, a writer, and a broad range of topics in twentieth-century music, from the mixing of styles to jazz to tone colour to paradox in Stravinsky. The volume is rounded out with reflections of some of Schnittke's contemporaries. This English translation, prepared by John Goodliffe, working in association with Ivashkin and with series editor Malcolm Hamrick Brown to ensure the reliability of this edition.