Дата публикации: 06 октября 2021
Автор(ы): Olga BORISOVA
Публикатор: Научная библиотека Порталус
Источник: (c) Science in Russia, №2, 2012, C.106-112
Номер публикации: №1633507151

Olga BORISOVA, (c)

by Olga BORISOVA Journalist


"Music yields pride of place to love alone, and even loves-a melody...", these are the words of one of the characters of Pushkin's drama The Stone Guest. Indeed, the art of sound that had appeared before the art of speech (first songs were without words) can express and even generate any emotions, treat diseases, in other words, it is the most powerful instrument affecting the personality. It is not by chance that music is studied by philosophers, art historians, psychologists, biologists, physicians and mathematicians. The State Central Museum of Musical Culture named after M. Glinka that has one of the most significant collections of musical artifacts and is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2012 also makes its own contribution to such studies of this phenomenon.


State Central Museum of Musical Culture named after Mikhail Glinka

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Museum named after N. Rubinstein--its founder*, first director, eminent pianist and conductor was opened in 1912, in the building of Moscow Conservatoire. His former study was turned into a repository of unique manuscripts, documents, instruments, books, autographs, personal belongings of great composers and musicians, other rarities accumulating in this leading national school of music from the first years of its existence. The collection was growing in time and in 1943 it was given the status of the State Central Museum of Musical Culture; in 1954 it was named after Mikhail Glinka, the founder of the national school of musical composition, whose 150th birth anniversary was celebrated at that time. In 1981, the collection was delivered to a specially constructed spacious building with a concert hall (Fadeyev Street). From 1995 the largest musical collection in the world (about 1 mln exhibits) makes part of the State List of Especially Valuable Objects of Cultural Heritage of RF Peoples.


The permanent exhibition "Musical Instruments of the Peoples of the World" includes almost 900 national and foreign (from over 50 countries) rarities; it is only a part of the unique collection accumulated in Moscow Conservatoire from late 1880s and is counting over 3,000 articles. The main exhibit is the ancient gusli of the 13th-14th centuries found in the 1950-1960s during excavations in Veliky Novgorod as well as instruments made by famous violin makers of the 16th-18th centuries Gasparo Bertolotto da Sale, the Amati family (Nicole, Antonio and Jeronimo), Antonio Stradivari and Giuseppe Guarneri. The tenor violin made by da Saló (today there are not more than 10 musical instru-


*Moscow Conservatoire was established by Nikolai Rubinstein (in collaboration with the Prince Nikolai Trubetskoi) in 1866.--Ed.

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merits of this master) is one of the oldest and rarest masterpieces kept at the museum. Eight violins, a tenor violin and a violoncello made by the incomparable Stradivari show evolution of his art with a perfectly preserved violin of 1736 from the collection of the prince Usupov family as the crown of his long work.


The balalaika that belonged to Vasily Andreyev, a remarkable composer, outstanding musician, enlightener, passionate promoter of national art, founder (1888) and conductor of the first orchestra of Russian folk instruments that was extremely popular in England, France, Germany and the USA, presents no less interest. It was made in 1902 especially for the maestro by "Stradivari of balalaikas" Semyon Nalimov. It is worth mentioning that "triangular lutes", as balalaikas are called abroad, are not original Slavonic instalments and became popular only in the second half of the 17th century.


The "silver collection" of the museum--trumpets made of a noble metal and donated to Russian regiments for heroic deeds during the Patriotic War of 1812-is a real decoration of the museum. Each trumpet is decorated with the St. George order band of yellow and black colors symbolizing smoke and fire-bravery on the battle field.


A special showroom was allocated for professional musical instruments made in the European tradition.


There are flutes; pochettes of the 17th century--small violins used by dance teachers; a serpent (forerunner of a trombone, French horn, trumpet, helicon, etc.); viols of the 18th century--ancestors of modern violins and violoncellos; a unique spinet (a kind of harpsichord made in 1565) belonging to the Medici family (rulers of Florence who supported gifted artists and architects) decorated with three miniature portraits of its representatives. The museum keeps the oldest organ in Russia made in 1868 by the German master Friedrich Ladegast upon request of the merchant, patron of arts, amateur musician Vasily Khludov; in 1886 the organ was donated to the owners of Moscow Conservatoire.


Another section of the exhibition represents musical instruments popular in different historical periods. There are, for example, citoles (similar to mandolins) widely spread in the Western Europe of the 15th-18th centuries; guitars-first of all belonging to Tatyana Dmitrieva or, as she was called, gypsy Tanya, who in the late 1820s-early 1830s often performed for Alexander Pushkin*; a guitar presented in the early 20th century to the great opera singer Fyodor Chalyapin by Nastya Polyakova, performer of gypsy romances, etc. The rest of the exposition are richly decorated articles of the leading piano companies of the 19th century--French Erard, Pleyel and German Beschtein, a unique travel spinet-bureau (musical instrument with a retractable keyboard) decorated with nacre (Flanders, 1593).


Organizers of the permanent exposition also paid tribute to the ancient Russian art of bell pealing that is revived today. There is a big bell ringing for church weighing over 150 kg with an engraved inscription saying it was molded in 1784 for a church in the Novo-spasskoye village, Smolensk Province. There Mikhail Glinka spent his childhood in the estate of his family. One more remarkable exhibit is a portable concert set "Russian Belfry Sofia" for a solo or co-performance with an orchestra or ensemble, consisting of six bells, some metal plates and a synthesizer. It was built in 2009 in Moscow by the composer and pianist Mikhail Ivanov, designer Sergei Loshakov, bell-ringer Alexander Chaika, molders Boris and Oleg Nyunins and painter Tatyana Kiselyova, who decorated tops of pillars with enamel images of an angel, lion, bull and eagle.


The collection has a great variety of folk instruments representing folk art of Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Transcaucasia, Central Asia and Kazakhstan (in 1870-1883 August Eichhorn served as a kapellmeister in the


See: V. Nepomnyashchy, "The Pushkin Phenomenon Through the Obvious", Science in Russia, No. 3, 1999.--Ed.

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Turkestan Military District and brought a collection of 36 such rarities from there) and foreign countries. The exposition also includes an unusual piano made in 1864 on the basis of drawings of the writer, philosopher, teacher and music expert prince Vladimir Odoyevsky, who called it enharmonic harpsichord: it has additional keys enabling to produce a harmony sounding like folk songs. Recall that the inventor of this piano wrote a well-known fairy-tale The Town in the Snuff Box (1834), describing in detail the internal structure of a music box.


All these unusual sound reproducing systems occupy a special exhibition room at the museum. There you can see a variety of musical boxes of different epochs, forms and sizes, barrel organs, gramophones, phonographs, etc. Near the above-listed instruments, there is a thereminvox, an electrical musical instrument invented in 1920 by Russian physicist Leo Theremin, who became very popular abroad. There are a lot of other strange exhibits, many of them could be heard during excursions--their voices are recorded and performed in the exhibition halls.


The museum has a large collection of manuscripts (over 400,000 units) and books (over 200,000 volumes). They include autographs, memoirs, diaries, letters, scores, klaviers*, lifetime editions of musical compositions by great composers, black-letter national and foreign published music of the 18th-early 19th centuries, billboards, programs, reference books, art albums donated to the conservatoire library, etc. The excellent artistic collection could make an independent art gallery: it includes pictures, costume and scenery designs to musical performances by remarkable Russian masters of painting, graphic works, sculptures, objects of applied art, photographs eternalizing opera premières, competitions, festivals, concerts, etc.


This comprehensive material makes it possible to trace the history of national and foreign music, theater, art history, folklore, decorative art, etc. For example, handwritten singing books tell us about the famous (the main kind of ancient Russian liturgical songs) demestvenny (monovocal, for especially festive events) and partesny (multivocal, widely used in Orthodox rites of the 17th-first half of the 18th centuries) chants that served as a foundation of professional national vocal art. We even know the name of one of the most gifted masters of this genre who lived in late 17th-early 18th centuries--Moscow singing scribe Vasily Titov.


First operas in our country were Italian performances for the Imperial Court, in particular staged by the company of Francesco Araja (1730s). The most remarkable relic associated with the theater life of those times is a libretto of the Power of Love and Hatred translated by Vasily Trediakovsky, one of the fathers of modern versification (Academician of St. Petersburg AS from 1745), published in St. Petersburg in 1736. As for national professional music, it made its first steps adapting folklore. In 1790, The Collection of Russian Folk Songs with Original Voices was published; it was prepared by Nikolai Lvov, a man of varied interests and talents--he was an architect, graphic designer, poet, translator and a musician*. The book became very popular that is proved by a second expanded edition released in 1806 and kept in the museum archives.


Folk songs formed a basis for Russian romance. In 1759, the amateur-composer Grigory Teplov (Honorary Member of St. Petersburg AS) published a collection of first songs in this genre. This relic together with a manuscript of one of the first national operas Quintus Fabius (staged in 1778 in Italy) by Dmitry Bortnyansky who, among others, initiated classical musical traditions in our country, are among the most valuable exhibits of the museum.


The boom of Russian romance in early 19th century took place thanks to the efforts of such masters of chamber music as Alexander Alyabyev, Alexander


*Klavier--an arrangement of the score, opera, oratorio, etc. for singing and also for a piano.--Ed.


See: O. Bazanova, "Museum-Town", Science in Russia, No. 4, 2011.--Ed.

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Varlamov, Alexander Gurilyov--autographs of their compositions make part of the museum fund. The musical Olympus of that period was occupied by composer-romanticist Alexei Verstovsky, who also drew inspiration from the folk song. Many of his compositions were inspired by poetic legends, fairy tales, stories of chroniclers. His best opera Askold's Grave (staged in 1835) also had a historical plot; it staged even in our days. The first edition of its libretto (1836) was written after a short novel of the same name by Mikhail Zagoskin (Honorary Member of St. Petersburg AS from 1841) is one of the exhibits related to creative activities of these two enthusiasts of national culture.


The "Golden Age" of Russian art of music was initiated by Mikhail Glinka, whose works become known through posters, letters, autographs, pictures and other materials. Inter alia, there is a lithograph depicting St. Petersburg Bolshoi Theater (early 19th century), where in 1836 his opera Life for the Tzar (or Ivan Susanin) was staged for the first time; a picturesque portrait of Osip Petrov, a famous bass of those times (mid-19th century), who was the first performer of the part of the main character; two scenery sketches for Ruslan and Lyudmila (1842) by Ivan Bilibin (1913) and Konstantin Korovin (1917)*. Traditions developed by the first Russian classicist were supported by his junior contemporary and friend Alexander Dargomyzhsky. The museum has a number of artifacts describing his most renowned opera The Mermaid (1856)--the libretto written by the author.


In late 1850s-early 1860s, the gifted composer, pianist and conductor Miliy Balakirev established the New School of Music coterie circle, known as The Mighty Five. Its participants, considering themselves heirs to Glinka, were eager to incarnate the national idea. Modest Musorgsky, an innovator whose ideas influenced global musical culture, was one of them. His musical carrier is illustrated by a vocal score (1873) of his most famous opera Boris Godunov, an autograph on the sheet of music of Marfa's song from Khovanshchina (1886), costume drawings to one of its performances made by Konstantin Korovin (early 20th century), Godunov's royal fur-coat from Chalyapin's wardrobe and many other exhibits.


Pyotr Tchaikovsky, a contemporary of Musorgsky and a composer who wrote over 80 compositions, became the most respected representative of the national school of music in the world ("Oh, God! So much admiration, and all that not for me, but for my beloved Russia,"--the composer recalled after the performance in Prague in the 1880s). There are many rarities in the museum associated with his life and creative work, for example, a collection of written music of 1876 called The Seasons, a cycle of lyric pieces, part of the epistolary "novel of invisibles"--the 13-year correspondence with the patroness of arts Nadezhda von Meek, autographs of his two symphonies--The Fourth Symphony dedicated to von Meek with an inscription: "Dedicated to my best friend" (1870s), and The Sixth Symphony (1893). As for graphic materials, there is


*See: L. Lyashenko, "Music of Color". Science in Russia, No. 2, 2011.--Ed.

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a photograph of the remarkable tenor Leonid Sobinov as Lensky in the opera Eugene Onegin (1905), a scenery sketch by Alexandre Benois to the opera The Queen of Spades (1921), photoportraits of eminent performers.


The museum is a fortunate possessor of manuscripts of the 1870s-1880s belonging to Alexander Borodin, member of The Mighty Five group, who combined scientific activities and propagation of arts (Dr. Sc. (Med.), and one of the founders of national classical symphony): sketches of arias are intermixed with chemical formulas on their pages. His most famous work is the opera Prince Igor after The Lay of Igor's Host*. The idea to make use of this very form was proposed by the critic of arts and music and art historian Vladimir Stasov (Academician of St. Petersburg AS from 1900), who sent extracts from The Ipatyev Chronicle** to the composer so that the latter could learn more about those times. These extracts, including the initial text of the opera written by Borodin, his photo with the outstanding scientist-encyclopedist Dmitry Mende-leyev (Corresponding Member of St. Petersburg AS from 1876)*** and Russian chemists in Heidelberg (1860), a scenery sketch to the Prince Igorby Nikolai Roerich**** are among the jewels of the museum.


Many compositions from the vast creative heritage of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, who also made part of The Mighty Five, were staged at the Private Moscow Opera House established in 1885 by Savva Mamontov, a businessman and a patron of arts, admirer and connoisseur of arts. In the 1890s the composer actively cooperated with this company together with the remarkable painter Mikhail Vrubel who made the scenery for the first performances of Rimsky-Korsakov's operas Mozart and Salieri, The Tale of Tsar Saltan, The Tsar's Bride; in 1897 the composer published a collection of romances (exhibited at the museum) dedicated to the painter's wife Nadezhda Zabela-Vrubel.


Alexander Skryabin, one of the most distinguished Russian composers of late 19th-early 20th centuries, famous for his innovative thinking and attempts to unite sound and light, was in fact the first composer who used light chaser. His works are illustrated by autographs of his symphonic poem Prometheus (1909-1910) and the tenth sonata for piano (1913), the trumpet (Zimmer-mann Company) which belonged to the talented musician Mikhail Tabakov, initiator of the national school of trumpet players, first performer of the solo part in The Poem of Ecstasy (1908), etc.


Sergei Rachmaninoff, also known as "the most Russian composer" (although he lived abroad from 1917 to 1943), combined traditions of the St. Petersburg and Moscow schools and created his own unique style. The collection of materials related to this composer is one of the most representative at the museum. For example,


The Lay of Igor's Host--the most famous monument of ancient Russian literature (presumably, late 12th century).--Ed.


** The Ipatyev Chronicle--one of the most ancient collections of chronicles and important documentary sources about the history of ancient Russia. Its most ancient list belongs to late 1420s.--Ed.


*** See: M. Savchenko, "Pride and Glory of Russia", Science in Russia. No. 1, 2004.--Ed.


**** See: O. Lavrenova, "Along the Mountains and Deserts", Science in Russia. No. 5, 2011.--Ed.

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there are hand-written scores for the Second (1901) and the Third (1914) piano concerts with the orchestra, lifetime editions of the romance "Don't sing, the beauty, in my presence" (1893), sacred music compositions The All-Night Vigil (1915), a harmonium, a desk, personal belongings, pictures of composer's estates--Ivanovka near Tambov and Senar in Switzerland, a variety of photographs, including photos with Chaliapin taken in the late 1890s, the composer's portrait of 1940 by his elder son Boris...


After the Revolution of 1917, the mass song became the most popular genre of music in our country with the composer Isaac Dunayevsky in the avant-garde. He wrote beautiful music for the films Cheerful Fellows, Circus, Children of Captain Grant, etc. As for theater life of the first half of the 20th century--it's worth speaking about operas by Sergei Prokofiev Love for Three Oranges (1919), War and Peace (1943-1952), Aram Khachaturyan's ballets Gayane (1942-1957) and Spartak (1956-1968), represented at the museum exposition by scenery sketches of the 1920s and picturesque models of the 1940s-1950s; there is also one of the priceless bits of evidence of those times--the pictures Sergei Prokofiev performing at the Soviet Embassy in Berlin (1937) by Leonid Pasternak.


Unfortunately, it is hardly possible to speak about all treasures of the Museum of Musical Culture: above all, it includes one of the largest collections of records (about 89,000 items). This collection consists of 60,000 national gramophone records released from the late 19th century (by Gramophone, Zonophone, Pathe, Metropol companies) to the early 1990s. Thanks to these records we can hear famous figures of the 19th century, for example, violin players Austrian Fritz Kreisler, our compatriot Mikhail Erdenko, Russian singers Varya Panina ("divine" according to the poet Alexander Blok), Leonid Sobinov, Antonina Nezhdanova and, of course, Fyodor Chalyapin. The museum keeps different music carriers with records of spiritual music, European music of the Renaissance, operas, concerts, world folklore, music for children, popular music, masterpieces of classical music in the interpretation of famous national and foreign performers of the 20th century, orchestras, choirs and music bands.


The concert hall of the museum hosts concerts of Russian and foreign musicians, lectures, evenings of rare music records, evenings with different artists. In addition, research assistants of the museum are in constant search for and revival of unknown or forgotten musical names, compositions and autographs; they prepare correspondence, music and literature manuscripts for publication, consult different organizations.

Опубликовано на Порталусе 06 октября 2021 года

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