[SOVIET EXPERIMENTS IN DECLAMATION] Iskusstvo khudozhestvennogo chteniia [i.e. Art of Reciting]
Issue 1: Muzyka slova [i.e. Music of a Word]. Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo, 1923. 148 pp. 24x16 cm. In original illustrated wrappers. Spine and covers restored, some soiling, small spots, ink signature on t.p., small tear of front cover, otherwise very good.
Issue 2: Tekhnika rechi [i.e. Speech Technique]. Moscow; Petrograd: Makiz, 1924. 144 pp.: ill. 24x16,5 cm. In original illustrated wrappers. Spine restored, otherwise mint.
First edition. Printrun varies from 3000-5000 copies. Very rare.
A two-volume manual “Art of Reciting” that professor Vasilii Serezhnikov (1885-1952) wrote for any oral performers. He is best-known as an initiator and head of the first courses of recitation (1913-1919). They were reformed into the State Institute of Reciting and also into the State Institute of Word (1920-1922). After the institute was closed, it functioned as a private organization “Moscow Institute of Reciting of Prof. Serezhnikov” for several months. Serezhnikov was engaged in the development and promotion of collective recitation. His 1920s manuals were handy for orators, reсiters, actors, poets, lecturers, etc. In particular, this edition was published as well. Together with his students and followers, he created the Moscow Traveling Theater of a Reciter which toured until the late 1930s. Then he was criticized and was forced to move to Kazakhstan.
This is an early Soviet work Serezhnikov published after his experimental courses, both private and state, were closed. He intended to print a series of manuals getting more complicated, but the next issue ‘Music of Speech’ wasn’t released. Following K. Stanislavskii, Russian theater regarded the term “declamation” as false and affectation, so Serezhnikov used an expression “artistic reciting” instead. In the 1920s, with the development of mass amateur theater, the term “declamation” was returned for collective pronunciation of poems, chants, etc. In particular, Serezhnikov titled one of his books as ‘Collective Declamation’ (1927).
The first issue gives author’s insight into the aesthetics of oral performances where he explains the significance of every spoken word. He referred to various Russian poets and surveys “Texture of the Word” (1923) by A. Kruchenykh in particular. Earlier Kruchenykh joined public lectures that were held by Serezhnikov, and performed “How Futurists Recite”. The issue ‘Speech Technique’ is dedicated to breath, voice inflection and phonetics. It is supplemented with a text ‘Scientific Foundation for Proper Use of Voice for Singing and Speech’ by physician F. Zasedatelev.
Avant-garde cover design of the second issue credits artist Pyotr Aliakrinskii (1892-1961). He studied in the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in the 1900s. From 1910, Aliakrinskii took part in art shows and contributed to the design of satirical magazines. In the early post-revolutionary period, he was engaged in creation of scenery and ROSTA posters for provincial towns and then emerged as a book designer in Moscow. Aliakrinskii collaborated with magazines ‘Krasnaia niva’ [Red Field], ‘Bezbozhnik’ [Godless], ‘30 dnei’ [30 days], ‘Murzilka’ and large publishers.
The cover of the first issue was designed with a similar approach. The issue keeps silent about the artist, but it is doubtlessly Aliakrinskii as well. Both designs include schemes and transcriptions Serezhnikov gives in the works. Also, letterpress design remained the same.
A copy of the first issue of this edition is located in Princeton and North Carolina Universities. The second issue of this edition isn’t found in Worldcat.
Price: $4,500.00Status: On Hold