Alfred Schnittke was a Soviet and Russian composer. Schnittke's early music shows the strong influence of Dmitri Shostakovich. He developed a polystylistic technique in works such as the epic Symphony No. 1 (1969–1972) and his first concerto grosso (1977). In the 1980s, Schnittke's music began to become more widely known abroad with the publication of his second (1980) and third (1983) string quartets and the String Trio (1985); the ballet Peer Gynt (1985–1987); the third (1981), fourth (1984), and fifth (1988) symphonies; and the viola (1985) and first cello (1985–1986) concertos. As his health deteriorated, Schnittke's music started to abandon much of the extroversion of his polystylism and retreated into a more withdrawn, bleak style.