Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe muzykal’noe izdatel’stvo, 1950. Item #1595
136 pp. 20x14 cm. In original illustrated cardboards. Covers slightly rubbed, otherwise mint. Signed by author on front flyleaf.
First and only edition. One of 10000 copies. Rare. Designed by N. Shishlovskii.
This outstanding book introduced contemporary American music to Soviet people in terms of the Cold war and late Stalinism regime. The author harshly criticized everything he presented: “Modern bourgeois music is the music of spiritual poverty, catastrophic mental impoverishment, the deepest moral decline. It is just a component of that spiritual leprosy that corrodes bourgeois science, philosophical thinking, and all forms of artistic creativity”.
Critic Viktor Gorodinskii (1902-1959) is considered one of the musical ideologists of the time of “straightening saxophones”. After the war, he was editor-in-chief of the Muzgiz publishing house for several years. According to the newspaper “Soviet Music”, this publication became “the first Soviet book dedicated to exposing the insanity of the music of the contemporary West”.
He elaborates on modernist movements rather thoroughly and regards Igor Stravinsky as “patriarch of musical formalists”. Then he shifts to Dada: “The reader may not to keep in mind what exactly Dada is”. Gorodnitskii briefly defines this movement and adds that Dada in music was represented by composer John Cage who “prosected music” and applied various objects to experiments. The author lashed him repeatedly but devoted two and half pages to his approach.
He describes jazz music and dances in an even more interesting way. “Incessantly sounding on the radio, movies, in schools, street tunes, ultra-jazz music with its hypnotizing convulsive rhythms, sick eroticism, opium-stupefying hysterical tunes and inverted harmonies affects the nervous system specifically. It caused the emergence of a nervous disease among young people aged 12-18. A symptom of this disease are involuntary convulsions during jazz. The common name of the disease is jitterbug.
Gorodinskii analyzes the popularity of this music genre in a separate chapter “Jazz and Musical Culture of Bourgeois Decadence”. In particular, he mentions “monstrous distortions of Black music” and extols it above music of white Americans.
At the end of the book, he publishes a small musical dictionary for movements he names.
Worldcat shows copies located in LoC, Yale, Harvard, Princeton, California-Berkeley, Illinois, Indiana, Arizona, Purdue, Colorado Boulder, Minnesota, Bringham Young Universities, NYPL.
Price: $250.00Status: On Hold