Moscow: Muzgiz, 1963. Item #1803
275 pp.: music scores, 84 ills. 29,5x23 cm. In original cloth with letterpress design. Pale water stain on front cover, small hole in cloth of back cover, minor spots on lower margins of few pages, small tear of lower margin of ill., otherwise very good and clean internally.
First edition. One of 2000 copies produced.
An interesting and well-illustrated cyclopedia on musical instruments of ethnic groups of the USSR. Compilers divided materials into seven sections, uniting neighboring republics with similar instruments. Each researcher is responsible for particular chapters.
The work was headed by musicologist Konstantin Vertkov (1905-1972). Born in the Altai region, he enrolled at the Leningrad State University. In 1930, Vertkov graduated with a major “Ethnography of the Turkish Peoples” and was sent to the Central Museum of the Uzbek SSR in Samarkand. Returning to Leningrad in 1932, he began working as a senior researcher in the Department of the History of Musical Culture and Technology of the State Hermitage. For several years he studied the instrumental collection of the Musical History Museum of the Leningrad Philharmonic. In 1938, he entered graduate school at the Department of the History of Music of the Peoples of the USSR at the N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov Leningrad State Conservatory. After WWII, Vertkov came back to scientific work and was engaged in research on development of musical instruments of ethnic groups in Russia. In particular, he contributed to this edition with chapters on Slavic, Central Asian and Moldavian instruments.
Other chapters were shared between conductor and musicologist Georgy Blagodatov (1904-1982) and pedagog and musicologist El’sa Iazovitskaia (1907-1967). Interestingly, the latter studied at the Radio Department of the Leningrad Conservatory that functioned in the early Soviet period until it was closed in 1933. In 1967, the three were awarded the Glinka State Prize of the RSFSR for compilation of this edition.
This comprehensive work overviews national musical instruments, including archaic ones. By the early 1960s, over 800 names of musical instruments were common among Soviet people. The same construction was named sibizga in the Karachay-Cherkess Republic, or kamyl’ in Adygea, or bzhami in the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic. All these territories are situated in the North Caucasus and certainly have a lot of cultural intersections. The book features photographs of contemporary ethnic music groups and orchestras. A large illustrative section shows pictures of musical instruments; it is followed with sheet music for 190 melodies.
The work is supplemented with several indexes and an expanded bibliographical list of 133 sources.
Paper copies are located in LoC, Columbia, Harvard, California, Princeton, Yale, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Chicago, Iowa, Michigan, Cornell, New York, Washington, Northwestern, Kentucky, Georgia, Missouri, Pennsylvania, North Texas, South Dakota, San Diego, Western, North Carolina, Duke, Virginia, Syracuse, Wesleyan, Brown, Brandeis, Wayne Universities, also Queens College, NYPL, San Francisco Public Library, Buffalo and Erie Library, Smithsonian Library and the MET.