Russian Printed Music
This very valuable part of the Russian music collection includes the first experiments in Russia's music printing. The first Russian music publication was issued at the publishing house of the St Petersburg Academy of Sciences in 1730. It was produced to commemorate the coronation of Empress Anna Ioannovna. This was a single sheet enclosed with the book by Paul Tallemant Un Voyage de l'оle d'amour /A Voyage to the Island of Love/. The lyrics was created by the student Vasily Trediakovsky, the future academician of philology and celebrated poet. Surviving pulications from that time reflect interest in the traditional heritage, aroused in the Russian society. The first song books based on rural and urban folklore appeared exactly at that time. They are evidence of that intense interest.
The New Russian Song Book or Setting of Various Songs Containing Notes for Voices, Gusli, Clavichord, Violin and Wind Instruments was produced with the support of the publisher T. Polezhaev in 1792 in Saint Petersburg. Admittedly, the compiler of the song book was the French composer Jean Bullant settling in Russia at that time.
The Russian music collection contains numerous publications of treatises and techniques on playing instruments of every sort and kind, which began to be printed in Russia since the end of the eighteenth century. Noteworthy is the unique copy of A Treatise on Violin Playing by Leopold Mozart, published in Russia at the printing house of the Imperial Academy of Sciences in Saint Petersburg in 1804. The item has an inscription of Vladimir Stasov, the leading Russian art critic, containing information that the copy belonged to the renowned Russian composer Mikhail Glinka, who learnt to play the violin using this treatise.
Musical journals became extremely popular in Russia since the end of the eighteenth century and especially in the the ninteenth century. It is possible to reconstitute the picture of musical life in Russia consulting issues of musical periodicals held in the Library.
The lyric music album for 1829, published by Mikhail Glinka and Nikolay Pavlishchev, has survived in the six largest Russia's repositories. The two copies are kept in the Russian music collection of our Library. Mikhail Glinka togerther with Prince S. Galitzine had an intention of creating the lyric music album as vocal set containing romances with piano accompaniment. They also decided to make an addition which consisted of only piano pieces. Nikolay Pavlishchev, a music lover and the husband of Pushkin's sister Olga, provided an essential assistance to Mikhail Glinka in carrying out the project.
The literary and musical Keepsake, an anthology issued by Count Pavel Syuzor in 1847, is a rare item. Its title and structure was lent from albums published in England under the same title. Besides printed music, the anthology included poems, prose texts and artwork by G. Schmidt. Titles of music pieces were lithographed in the St Petersburg lithographic printing house Musical Russia and printed in colours with gold. The National Library of Russia holds a richly bound copy with a gold edge and the bookplate from the library of Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna.
The Printed Music and Recorded Sound department can boast the immense collection of Russian sacred music from the eighteenth and ninteenth centuries, which includes such treasures as synodal publications of notated liturgical singing books, issues of the Circle of Church Chants appearing at different times , author's refinements of Znamenny Chant, monastic publications of local chants, author's compositions of church music, sacred concertos etc. Among music items of historic interest is the 12-volume set of Russian sacred chants, compiled by order of Emperor Nicholas I and under supervision of the director of the Tsar's Court Choir and the composer, the author of the national anthem Bozhe, tsarya khrani /God Save the Tsar/, Alexey L'vov. Notes on the anthem were printed and engraved at the I. Ershov's lithographic printing house in the late 1840s - early 1850s. The set of chants is kept in a special leather case. Each volume has a hard black binding with a gilded edge and the Russian Empire's Coat of Arms representing the double-headed eagle embossed in gold.
Orchestral, opera and ballet scores, which began to be published in the end of the eighteenth century, were expensive and in limited demand. Therefore, they were issued rather rarely, a number of copies printed at one time were restricted. Notable among rare de luxe editions of opera scores, housed at the Department, is one of five presentation copies of the opera by Alexander Borodin Prince Igor, printed in 1888 in Leipzig by the domestic firm of the music pinter and the patron of art M. Beliaev.
Thanks to published works of music entering the Library as compulsory copies since the early ninteenth century, the printed music collection includes many editions printed in the authors' lifetimes. The scores of the Symphonic Poem Russia (Rus') by Mily Balakirev from the private library of the composer is a lifetime publication. The revised edition with author's refinements was published by the music printing firm of Yu. Zimmerman in St Petersburg, in 1907.
The piano compositions by Ludwig van Beethoven, containing a brief biography of the composer and rather naive sentimental illustrations, is among little known publications. The 12-volume set was compiled, and checked against foreign authoritative sources by the professor of the Moscow Conservatory, the Russian composer Alexander Ilyinsky (1859-1920). The set was prepared at the printing house of Severnoe siyanie association in Moscow and printed at the lithographic printing firm of Brietkopf and Hartel in Leipzig.
The 1920s-1930s was again the period of the mass production of printed music. At that time, songs, marches, choruses were mass-produced, instead of dance music and romances, popular in the end of the ninteenth century. A preference was certainly given for songs, the most democratic music genre. Many serial publications, including the Songs of the Red Calendar, theLibrary for the Masses, the Cheap Library, the Popular Library, the Songs of the Revolution etc., appeared. A huge amount of simplified folk-song arrangements were issued. As a rule, they were printed on a folded sheet of four pages. Everybody could afford such sheet mucic, it was sold at a very low price.
Mass music publications. 1920-1930s
Until 1991, the Library has the right to recieve one copy of every publication produced in the Soviet Union. The number of printed music titles, acquired as compulsory copies, reached 7-8 thousand in some years. Music printing did not stop even during the Great Patriotic War (1941-45). Music postcards, which began to be published in Russia as far back as the end of the nineteenth century, enjoyed wide popularity.
The Russian printed music collection from the twentieth and twenty first centuries contains quite a lot of rare copies, presented to the Library by composers themselves.
Authors' dedicatory inscriptions to the Library on its 150th anniversary.
The Library also possesses publications of modern Russian music. The search for a new means for musical expressiveness leads some musicians to the creation of unusual scores, aimed to reflect the special way of thinking of the creator.