17 August 2010

Верстовский, А. Н., Аскольдова могила : романтическая опера в четырех действиях / стихи Загоскина ; муз. А. Верстовского, аранж. для пения с фортепиано О. Дютшем и А. Евгеньевым.

— [Клавир]. — СПб. : у Ф. Стелловского, ценз. 1866. — 227 с. — Н. д. 4419 — 4443.

Verstovsky, A. N., Askold’s Grave: romantic opera in four acts / lyrics by Zagoskin; music by A. Verstovsky, addaptation for singing and piano by O. Dyutsh and A. Evgeniev. — [Clavier]. — St. : F. Stellovsky, censorship.1866. — 227 sec. — ND 4419-4443.

Russian composer and theatrical figure Alexey Verstovsky (17991862) had studied music since childhood, and continued being involved with it while studying and serving in various civic institutions. From early on Alexei Nikolaevich also got carried away by the theatre: writing and translating librettoes of the vaudevilles from French into Russian, composing music for theatrical performances and often taking part in amateur theatricals himself. Being a great musician and a stage expert, Verstovsky not only contributed to the diversity and enrichment of the theatrical repertoire, raising the artistic level of performances, but became one of the pioneers of the genre of Russian vaudeville-opera: he has created over 30 works of this genre, some of them in collaboration with other composers.

Having acquired experience in composing music for the theatre, at the end of the 1820-s Verstovsky turned to opera. He penned six operas, among which the most famous is 'Askold’s Grave' written to a libretto of the novel of the same name by Mihail Hikolaevich Zagoskin. The main characters of the opera are The Unknown (bass), Toropka Golovan (tenor), Vseslav (tenor), Nadejda (soprano), Alexey (bass), Vyshata (bass) and Frelaf (tenor). The action takes place in the 10 th century in Kievskaya Rus: The Unknown planned to overthrow the prince of Kiev Svyatoslav. He wants to use Vseslav, the beloved prince’s servant, as a tool in implementing their plans, revealing the secret origin of the youth: Vseslav is a great-grandson of prince Askold. The Unknown is sure that when Vseslav finds out about it, he will overthrow Svyatoslav, who originally seized power by force and guile. But the lad is alien to the thoughts of infidelity of his Master, so he refuses the Unknown’s offer. Unfortunately, the same evening, while defending his bride Nadejda from the attack, Vseslav kills another princely young man called Prosten, an incident that brings on the prince‘s anger. When Nadejda becomes a prisoner of the princely key-keeper Vyshata, Vseslav, with the help of the piper Toropki Golovan, rescuers her. Yet again the Unknown urges Vseslav to become his accomplice, promising his support, but Vseslav refuses to become a traitor. Soon a messenger of the Prince announces that Nadejda and Vseslav are forgiven. The Unknown, sails away on a boat down the Dnieper river and dies.

In the opera by Verstovsky the Russian national theme is combined with a romanticized fiction, which was also a dominant trend at that time in Russian literature. This opera is characterized by a truthful and poetic reflection of Russian everyday life. Music and stage images are based on the vocal melodies. 'Askold’s Grave' is considered to be one of the greatest works of Russian music before the era of Glinka. The opera was first performed in Moscow at the Bolshoi Theatre on September 1835, then in St. Petersburg on August 27, 1841 with the famous bass of the time Osip Petrov in the role of the Unknown. Later, in the Moscow Private Russian Opera, this role was performed by Fyodor Chaliapin. Many of the melodies from the opera 'Askold’s Grave', especially the songs of Toropka, became popular and ended up in the songbooks. This part was also made famous by the brilliant singer of the XIX century, the Russian tenor Alexander Bantyshev, whom contemporaries called the 'Moscow’s nightingale'. Nowadays, the opera is rarely performed.

The clavier of the opera, which is stored in the collections of the RSL, was published by one of the largest music publishers of the 2nd half of the XIX century Fyodor Timofeevich Stellovsky (18261875) in 1866 in St. Petersburg. By publishing the works of Russian composers, Stellovsky significantly expanded the scope of Russian music publishing, which encouraged the promotion of Russian music.

Read the book


25 October 2010

Начальное управление Олега : Подражание Шакеспиру без сохранения феатральных обыкновенных правил : в 5-ти д. : [для пения с фортепиано] / муз. Сарти, Пашкевича и Каноббио ;

вступ. ст. «Объяснение на музыку» Д. Сарти в пер. Н. А. Львова ; либретто Екатерины II. — Москва : у П. Юргенсона, ценз. 1893 (гравирована и печатана в нотопечатне П. Юргенсона в 1895). — 80 с. ; 27 см. — Тит. л. лит. и нот. текстов, вступ. ст. и либретто перепеч. с изд. Типографии Горного училища 1791 г. — Н. д. 19695.

The beginning of Oleg’s reign : Imitation of Shakespear without the usual theatrical rules: in 5-acts: [to be sung with piano] / music. by Sarti, Pashkevich and Kanobbio; introd. Art. 'Explanation to the music' D. Sarti in the transl. by N. A. Lvov; libretto by Catherine II. — Moscow: P. Jurgenson , cens.1893 (engraved and printed in the music publishing house of P. Jurgenson in 1895). — 80.; 27 cm — Tit. l. lit. and music. text, introd. Art. and the libretto reprint. from ed. Printing house of the Mining College in 1791 — ND 19695.

The historical play 'The beginning of Oleg’s reign' is a dramatized political chronicle, which is accompanied by music and depicts the early years of the reign of Rurik’s brother in law — Oleg. The initiative of creating this play belongs to Catherine II. 'The beginning of Oleg’s reign', as well as several other works of the Empress, have the ideological tendency to justify the original idea of monarchical power in Russia.

Several amendments to Catherine’s libretto have been done by Grigory Potemkin. Poems and verses are composed by Luka Sechkarev (Sichkarev). The text of the choral peices and the overall editing belongs to Alexander Vasilyevich Khrapovitsky.

The play was created in 1787. Music was written by three composers — Giuseppe Sarti, Vasily Pashkevich and Carlo Kanobbio. Clavier is comprised of two parts. The first one 'The Announcement' summarizes the content of the play. This is followed by the 'Explanation to the music' by Giuseppe Sarti, translated by Nikolai Alexandrovich Lvov, and a complete libretto. The second part is the score. Each part has its own etched title page, created by Nicholai Alexandrovich Lvov.

'The beginning of Oleg’s reign' was presented to the public for the first time on Oct. 22, 1790. It’s production had a cost of about 10,000 roubles. Contemporaries spoke of the splendour and richness of the costumes and scenery. There was also a statement to the solemn character of the performance which was considered symbolic of Russian State power. The patriotic trend of 'Oleg' was highlighted in particular by Gavriil Romanovich Derzhavin.

The clavier was published in 1791 in St. Petersburg by the publishing house of the Mining College. The original edition has a long-edge plate of 26×40 cm. The RSL has three copies of the clavier, reprinted in Moscow by Pyotr Ilyich Jurgenson. The publisher has kept miniature copies of the title pages from the publication of 1791.

Read the book


7 April 2010

Зiронька и Souvenir d'Odessa

Зiронь­ка : вальс / соч. В. Шиш­ков­ско­го ; пе­ре­лож. для фор­те­пи­а­но Риш. — Одес­са : но­то­пе­чат­ня А. Бер­нар­ди , ценз. 1885. — 7 с. — По­свящ. Н. М. М. — Н. д. А. 82 Б. и Souvenir d’Odessa : Mazurka: pour le piano : op. 22 / composée et dédiée a m-m Jeannette de Baguer née Corsi par Oreste Narice. — 8-me ed. — Одес­са : A. Bernardi , б. г. — 3 с. 

Zironka and Souvenir d’Odessa

Both works are typical examples of music published in the last quarter of XIX century, when there was a very high demand for printed musical scores in different classes of Russia’s society. A large stream of published music, intended for amateur musicians was printed at this time: classical works and popular ballads, uncomplicated pieces based on famous operas and the compositions by local composers.

A German citizen Frederick Adolfovich Birnstayn was the first and the leadind music publisher and musical score trader in the south of Russia and particularly in Odessa. In the second half of the XIX century he owned 'The first music publishing house and music store in Southern Russia, which is on Catherine street, house number 14, opposite the Pale — Royale'.

This fact was constantly challenged by Alexander von Bernardi, the merchant of Italian origin from Odessa. Being engaged in music sales in Odessa from the 1880s, he opened a music publishing house in 1885, which lasted more than 12 years, until 1897. Polkas, mazurkas, waltzes, quadrilles and marches composed by known and unknown composers and published by Bernardi, were mostly dedicated to actresses whose names adorned the cover pages of sheet music.

The actual musical text was executed in a very strict manner, so as not to distract the attention of the performer . The usually brightly and colourfully illustrated covers of the same publications were represented as a separate graphic book-page. Graphic designers rarely signed their work. At the best they used to add their initials or monograms, which are not always easy to decipher.

Zironka и Souvenir d'Odessa 


24 March 2010

Шесть романсов: для одного голоса с аккомпанементом фортепиано : ор. 6 / муз. П. Чайковского. — Москва: у П. И. Юргенсона, ценз. 1869. — 23 с. — Н. д. 644—649

Six songs: for solo with piano accompaniment: op. 6 / mus.P. Tchaikovsky. — Moscow: at P. I. Jurgenson, qualification. 1869. — 23 p. — N. d. 644649.

Romance as a genre had one of the leading places in Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s (1840—1893) work. This is where the composer honed its melodic and harmonic skills as well as the development of the principles of the lyrical themes. Often the song became a harbinger of future major works like opera, overture-fantasy or a symphony.

Musical works presented in this series are diverse in terms of selected poetic texts and their genre embodiment. The songs 'Do not believe it, my friend' (lyrics by Alexei Konstantinovich Tolstoy) and 'And painful, and sweet' (lyrics by Evdokia Petrovna Rostopchina) are created in the spirit of lyrical confession. 'Not a word, oh my friend...' (lyrics by Alexei Nikolaevich Pleshcheev) is presented as a sorrowful monologue 'A tear trembles' (lyrics by Alexei Konstantinovich Tolstoy) reflects both gust and concentration. The dramatic confession-monolog which is the romance 'No, only one who knew' (from Goethe) and 'Why' (from Heine) which becomes the logical conclusion of the series.

Being a vocal lyric poems the 'Six songs' opus’6 uncovered Tchaikovsky’s bright personality as the composer and playwright. Such qualities as sincerity, the expressiveness of musical images, the brightness of intonation, intensity of movement and opulence of piano parties makes this musical genre one of the most favourite and popular among connoisseurs of the composer.

The music publication of 'Six songs...' happened during Tchikovsky’s lifetime: it was published in 1869 in Moscow, at the printers of the biggest publisher of the second half of the XIX — beginning of the XX century Pyotr Jurgenson. This copy came in the possession of RSL as part of the Count Sergei Dmitrievich Sheremetev library as evidenced by two ex-libris (in the form of stickers) on the cover.

Read the book