[SOVIET JAZZ]
[SOVIET JAZZ]
[SOVIET JAZZ]
[SOVIET JAZZ]
[SOVIET JAZZ]
[SOVIET JAZZ]
[SOVIET JAZZ]
[SOVIET JAZZ]

[SOVIET JAZZ]

Item #485

A collection of twenty two Russian sheet music brochures which reveals a little known phenomenon of extraordinary cover designs for sheet music that existed in Russia and USSR for a short period of time. Low print runs and active use made the sheets extremely rare survivals of the time.

Mass design of sheet music began in mid-19th century and practically died out at the end of the 1960s. The beginning of the 20th century was a time of economic and cultural growth in Russia. As for the Soviet Union until 1930s it did not concern itself too much with the arts as there were other more important issues to resolve. As a result artists continued to experience a relative freedom. Of course in 1930s the direct control of all aspects of Soviet man’s life put an end to this kind of creativity.

Most of sheet music was of a standard size (36x26 cm) and lithographed. Almost all of them have illustrated covers but not all these covers are signed, especially before the Revolution - cover designs were mostly anonymous. On the other hand some of the brightest artists of the avant-garde period (Goncharova, Stenberg brothers, Zdanevich) also worked in this field. But the most common names are Rogachev, Frolov, Golstein, Berkovich. The Golden age of the sheet music covers happened in many ways thanks to them and fits into first three decades of the 20th century.

Most of the examples from our collection are self-published by the composers.

Jazz appeared in Russia first time in 1922, its rise being connected with the name of Valentin Parnakh, but the earliest jazz (or ‘jazz-like’) records date back only to 1926. There was a a considerable resemblance with contemporary American and German dance music examples, but some attempts to create the own jazz works were not rare, too. Jazz in the USSR was mostly an independently developing phenomenon, as certain difficulties in contacts with Western jazzmen existed, so Soviet musicians had to learn after gramophone records. The other important trait of the Soviet jazz originality was its synthesis with theatre and song, prepared by the whole course of the Russian light music school development, where vaudeville and vocal art played the main roles. At some point the regime started to advance but free creative spirit of 1920s was still alive, and this short period of time surprise us today with its ‘double life’. Like all the surrounding reality, the world of variety at the beginning of Soviet era was very colorful. The public, which was thrown into military communism, then back to the ‘old regime’, demanded a rampage. The people, exhausted by the revolution and Civil war, wanted to ‘rest’. Songs that were listened to by the new masters of NEPmen’s life reflected a harsh and at the same time comical surrounding reality. The period of the 1920s was special in the history of the stage. The whole color of the old school left the country, and the niche was quickly occupied by others. Then there was almost no attention to the stage, it was here that courageous couplets (anti-Soviet sentiments, longing for old times) could appear. Opened a large number of restaurants, cabarets, pubs with foxtrot, gypsies, balalaikas. In such places, they played NEPmen’s music. But in the late 1930s the authorities tighten the grip on every part of the Soviet man’s life, and music became censored as well.

1) Nishchaya [iz] Stambula. Foks-trot. Muzyka V. Kruchinina [i.e. Poor from
Stambul. Foxtrot. Music by V. Kruchinin]. Moscow: Self-published, 1924. 6
pp. 34,5x26,5 cm. In original wrappers designed by Nikolay Rogachev.
Very good, a few tears of the wrappers and p.3. One of 3000 copies.

Nikolai Rogachev (1890-1954), one of the most productive and
interesting artists of sheet music covers. He was among few masters of
Art Deco in the Soviet era who dedicated themselves to sheet music
design, and over a very short period of time (8-10 years) created a
considerable number of beautiful works.

2) Draif. M. Blanter. Moscow: Self-publsihed, 1925. 4 pp. 35x26 cm. In
original wrappers designed by Nikolay Rogachev. Very good. Pencil
notes markings, corporate library ink stamp on the back cover, soiling. One of 3150 copies.

3) Bagdadsky vor. Muzyka Borisa Fomina. Slova K.N. Podrevskogo [i.e.
Baghdad Thief. Music by Boris Fomin. Words by K.N. Podrevsky]. Moscow:
Self-published, 1925. 4 pp. 35x25,5 cm. In original illustrated wrappers
by Nikolay Rogachev. Very good, tears of the margins, some foxing,
Soviet bookshops’ stamps on the back cover, private library stamp on
the front cover. One of 5000 copies.

4) Florida. Charleston. K. Midav-Amid. Moscow: Self-published, 1926. 4
pp. 31x24 cm. In original illustrated wrappers by Nikolay Rogachev. Very
good, some light soiling, signature on the front cover, ink stamps of
corporate libraries on all pages. One of 1000 copies.

5) B.A. Prozorovsky. Slova Borisa Timofeeva. Zhivaya model is tsikla
‘Grimasy zapada’ [i.e. Music by B.A. Prozorovsky. Words by Boris Timofeev.
Live Model from series ‘Grimaces of the West’]. Leningrad: Self-published,
1927. 6 pp. 36x27 cm. In original illustrated wraooers designed by
Nikolay Rogachev. Very good. Some soiling and a couple of tears, Soviet
bookshops’ stamps on the back cover. One of 3000 copies.

6) Ambra. Muzyka Oskara Mints [i.e. Music by Oskar Mints]. Moscow: Selfpublished,
1927. 4 pp. 35x26,5 cm. In original wrappers designed by
Nikolay Rogachev. Very good. Bookshop’s stamp on the front cover,
couple of tears. One of 2000 copies.

7) Madiarsky tanets. Muzyka Ya. Rozenfeld [i.e. Magyar Dance. Music by
Ya. Rozenfeld]. Moscow: Publ. by Author, 1926. 2, 7-8 pp. 35x26 cm, In
original wrappers, back wrapper designed by Aleksandr Frolov. Loss of
pp.3-6, pages not attached, small tears and pale stains, pencil markings.
Otherwise good. One of 1050 copies.

8) My boy. Muzyka Pol’ Erlikh [i.e. Music by Pol’ Erlikh]. Moscow: Selfpublished,
1926. 6 pp. 35x26,5 cm. In original wrappers designed by Alexander Frolov. Very good, some soiling, pages are separated, red ink
stamp of bookshop on the front cover. One of 1050 copies.

9) Ping-pong. Shimmy fox. Muzyka Oskara Mints [i.e. Music by Oskar Mints].
Moscow: Self-published, 1926. 4 pp. 35x26,5 cm. In original wrappers by
Alexander Frolov. Very good, soiling and light stains, tears of the spine
and margins, signature on the front cover. One of 1050 copies.

10) Zelionoe yablochko. Slova Borisa Timofeeva. Muzyka s gitary Borisa
Kremotata. Aranzhirovana Aleksandrom Zuevym [i.e. Green Apple.
Words by Boris Timofeev. guitar Music by Boris Kremotat. Arranged by
Aleksandr Zuev]. Moscow: Self-published, 1926. 4 pp. 36x26,5 cm. In
original illustrated wrappers by Evgeny Golstein. Signature and Soviet
bookshop’s stamp on the front cover, couple of spots on the front cover.
Otherwise very good. One of 1050 copies.

11) Fuziyama. Ochen’ tonko, ochen’ tonko. Muzyka Matveya Blantera [i.e.
Fujiama. Very Thinly, Very Thinly. Music by Matvei Blanter]. Moscow:
Self-published, 1926. 6 pp. 35x26 cm. In original wrappers designed
by Evgeny Golstein. Good, pages are not attached, tears and small
losses (not affecting the text or notes), vertical crease, rubbing, Soviet
bookshops’ stamps on the back cover. One of 3000 copies.

12) Van’ka-amerikanets. Khoreografichesky grotesk. Muzyka Mirona Levina
[i.e. Van’ka the American. Сhoreographic Grotesque. Music by Miron Levin].
Moscow: Self-published, 1927. 4 pp. 34x25 cm. In original illustrated
wrappers by Evgeny Golstein. Very good. Ink stamps of corporate
libraries on pp. 1,3,4, small tear of the spine. One of 1000 copies.

13) M. Krasev. Polevaya pesnya. Dlia golosa c fortepiano. Slova I. Doronina
[i.e. Field Song. For the Voice and Piano]. Moscow; Leningrad: Gosizdat,
[1920s]. 6 pp. 35,5x26 cm. In original covers designed by most likely
Boris Titov. Very good, a couple of tears, Soviet bookshop’s stamp on the
front cover. One of 5000 copies.

Boris Titov (1897-1951), Soviet constructivist graphic artist
who also developed his own art deco style. He holds a record for the
most number of works in book design.

14) Glupaya pesenka [i.e. Silly Song. Vertinsky]. Moscow: Maski, [1920s]. 4 pp. 32x25 cm. In original wrappers designed by Boris Titov. Very good,
signature on the front cover, some foxing and spotting. One of 1000
copies.

15) Marchetta. Tekst Dm. Ugriumova. Musique de Victor L. Schertzinger [i.e.
Marchetta. Text by D. Ugriumov. Music by V. L. Schertzinger]. Kiev, [1920s].
4 pp. 33x25,5 cm. In original illustrated wrappers by Grigorii Berkovich.
Pages not attached, foxing, tears, faded Soviet bookshop’s stamp on the
front cover, markings and signatures on the front cover. One of 2000
copies.

Grigory Berkovich (1905-1976), Soviet Ukrainian graphic artists,
who studied under Eleva and Krichevsky at the Kiev Art Institute. Later
he taught there and Kharkiv Institute of Print Arts.

16) N. Sizov i A. Kozlovsky. Printsessa Turandot. Muzyka k skazke Karlo Gotsi
v postanovke Tretiei Studii MHAT [i.e. N. Sizov and A. Kozlovsky. Princess
Turandot. Music for the Fairy Tale by Karlo Gozzi Production of MHAT’s
Third Studio]. Moscow; Petrograd: Gosizdat, 1924. [4], 21 pp. 35,5x26,5
cm. In original constructivist wrappers by K. Mironov. Small closed tears
of the spine, ink bookshops’ stamps on the front cover and t.p. Otherwise
very good. One of 2000 copies.

17) V uglu kafe. Slova Os. Osenina. Muzyka Rob. Lei [i.e. In the Corner of
Cafe. Words by O. Osenin. Music by Rob. Lei]. Kiev, 1926. 4 pp. 34x25,5
cm. In original illustrated wrappers. Very good, pencil signatures on
front cover and p.2, small closed tear of the spine. One of 2000 copies.

Images of swastika and hammer and sickle haven’t been settled yet in
the early 1920s so artists drew them as they wish, for example, here
swastika is mirrored.

18) Robin Gud. Pol’ Erlikh. Slova Borisa Timofeeva [i.e. Music by Pol Erlikh.
Words by Boris Timofeev]. Moscow: Self-published, [1920s]. 6 pp. 35x26
cm. In original illustrated wrappers designed by M. Litvak. Very good,
some tears of the margins and light soiling, ink bookshop’s stamps on
the back cover. One of 3000 copies.

19) Plyaska Sakharet. Foks-trot. Muzyka M. Blantera, Slova K. Podrevskogo
[i.e. Dance of Sakharet. Foxtrot. Music by M. Blanter. Words by K. Podrevsky].
Moscow: Self-published, [1924]. 6 pp. 32x25 cm. In original illustrated
wrappers. Signature on the front cover, Soviet bookshops’ stamps. Otherwise very good. One of 2000 copies.

20) Charleston. Pol’ Erlikh. Vladimir Shtamm. Leningrad: Self-published,
[1920s]. 6 pp. 34x26,5 cm. In original illustrated wrappers. Very good,
damp stains and some foxing, bookshop’s stamp on the back cover. One
of 1250 copies.

21) A. Rogar. Uchis’ boksu, krasavitsa. Tu-step [i.e. Learn Box, Pretty Girl.
Two step. Music by A. Rogar]. Moscow: Maski, [1920s]. 6 pp. 32x24 cm. In
original wrappers (signed DT). Extracted from the binding, some soiling.
Otherwise very good. One of 1000 copies.

22) M. Unanov. Maraba (Negrityansky tanets) [i.e. Maraba, Negro Dance.
Music by M. Unanov]. N.p., [1920s]. 4 pp. 31x24,5 cm. In original wrappers
designed by Kandelaki and Mdivani. Good, tears and foxing, back cover
‘s margins cut.

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