Alexander Knaifel

Internet Edition compiled by Onno van Rijen

Updated 6 February 2006


28 November 1943 in Tashkent (Uzbekistan).


Knaifel studied violoncello (under Fischmann in Leningrad and from 1961 until 1963 under Rostropovich in Moscow. Due to a neural disorder in both his arms he could not play the callo any longer. Then he studied composition from 1964 until 1967 under Boris Arapov in Leningrad.


His music has a high intensity. He prefers non-traditional forms. Knaifel uses new compositiontechniques and non-conventional ensembles. From 1980his music is more philosophical. He now uses reduced, monodic techniques.


Small Sonata for piano (1961)

Two Pieces for flute, viola, piano and percussion instruments (1962)

"Pictures of the Present", cycle after H. Bazin for mezzo-soprano, bass, male chorus and orchestra (1962)

"A Dream", fantasy for chamber orchestra (1963)

Classic Suite for piano (1963)

"Confession", song for voice and percussionensemble (1963)

Burlesque for trombone and string orchestra (1963)

Concerto for viola, double bass, 23 wind instruments and percussion (1964)

Ostinato for violin and cello (1964)

"Music Militaire" for piano (1964)

Five Poems after M.J. Lermontov for mixed chorus a ceppella (1964)

To the Memory of S.J. Marshak, six lyric epigrams for baritone (or bass) and piano (1964)

"From Eternal Strain", ballet-symphony in 2 acts/ after I. Savodtshikova (1964-1965)

Passacaglia for organ (1965)

Passacaglia for sprano and piano

CD Megadisc MDC 7855: Tatjana Milentieva (soprano), Oleg Malov (piano)
"The Ghost of Canterville", opera in 3 acts with Prologue after O. Wilde for soloists and chamber orchestra (1965-1966)

"The Ghost of Canterville", romantic scenes from the opera, transcription for soloists and chamber orchestra (1965-1966)

"Whose Weapon is More Powerful", choreographic striptease after H. Bidstrup (1966)

150 000 000, dithyrambe after V. Majakovski for mixed chorus, 6 piccolo-flutes, 6 trumpets, 6 trombones, violins, double bass and timpani (1966)

"Magdalena", choreographic scene for orchestra after Tizian and Rodin (1966)

Lamento for cello (1967)

Tournament Music for soprano, piccolo-clarinet, trumpet, bassoon and harp (1967)

"Medea", ballet in two parts after the greek saga (1968)

Monody for female voice (1968)

"Sparrows of Petrograd", musical fantasmagory for boys' chorus and chamber orchestra (1968)

"Lenin: Letter to the Members of the Central Committe", unisono for bass chorus and symphony orchestra (1969)

Constanta for horn and six groups of percussion (1969-1971)

"A Prima Vista" for four performers on five groups of percussion (1972)

'Midnightsverses, commentary after A. Achmatova for four musicians (1972-1973)

"Nika", 72 fragments for 17 double basses after Heraklit and Dante (1973-1974)

"Status Nascendi" for three groups of Interpreters (1973-1975)

"Aimana", 17 variations on a Name for chamber chorus and percussion (1977)

"Jeanne-Passion" for 13 groups of instruments (56 players) (1970-1978)

"Early Cranes", farewellmusic in twelve minor-tones (1979)

Rafferty, music for jazzensemble (1980)

"Vera", suite for 58 string instruments (1980)

"Yes" for soloists ensemble (1980)

"Solaris", fragment from Canticum Aeternum for 35 javanic bells (1980)

"The Silly Horse", fifty poems after V. Levin and F. Solasko for female singer and piano (1981)

CD Megadisc MDC 7844: Tatjana Milentieva (soprano), Oleg Malov (piano)
"Coincidental" for soloists, chorus, strings and organ (1982)

"Opposition", suite for orchestra (1984)

Agnus Dei for four instruments a cappella (1985)

CD Megadisc 7808/07: nsemble Musiques Nouvelles
"God", ode after Dershavin for chorus and children's chorus (1985)

"Litany I" for orchestra (1988)

"Litany II" for orchestra (1988)

"Through the Rainbow of Unvoluntary Tears" for soprano and cello (1988)

"The Offer" for a chorus of string instruments (1991)

"Svete Tikhiy (O Gladsome Light), song of the Most Holy Theotokos for Tatiana Melentieva" (1991)

I Ringing of the Church Bells; II The Song of the Most Holy Theotokos; III Svete Tikhiy (O Gladsome Light).
CD ECM New Series 1763: Tatiana Melentieva (soprano), Andrei Siegle (sampler)
"Yet again on the Hypothesis (A Dialogue with J.S. Bach Prelude and Fugue B minor from Well Tempered Piano)" for soloistic instrumental ensemble (1991-1992)

"In any Forgetting of Exhaustion", postludium to the memory of M.G. Orlovski for chamber orchestra (1992)

Postludium for soprano and piano)

CD Megadisc MDC 7855: Tatjana Milentieva (soprano), Oleg Malov (piano)
"The Jacob's Ladder", glossolalia of Thirteen for chorus (1992)

"The Eighth Chapter", canticum canticorum for choruses and cello (1993)

World Premiere on 7 April 1995 in Washington's National Cathedral.
CD Teldec 0630-10160-2: The Choral Arts Society of Washington, Norman Scribner (director); The Washington National Cathedral Choristers, Douglas Major (director); The National Cathedral School Lower School Chorus, Jill Bixler (director)
Cappriccio for cello solo (1994)

"In Air Clear and Unseen", stanzas with Tyutchev for piano and string quartet (1994)

I In Some Exhausted Reverie; II An Autumn Evening; III In Air Clear and Unseen.
CD ECM New Series 1763: Keller Quartet, Oleg Malov (piano)
"Lux Aeterna" for two cellos and psalm singers (1998)

Scarry March for soprano and piano

CD Megadisc MDC 7855: Tatjana Milentieva (soprano), Oleg Malov (piano)
"Prayer to the Holy Spirit" for soprano and piano
CD Megadisc MDC 7855: Tatjana Milentieva (soprano), Oleg Malov (piano)

Thanks to Christian Walther from Switzerland, Buenaventura Leris from Spain and Frans van Rossum from The Netherlands for additional information

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