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Muzïkalʹnaya nov = Музыкальная новь

(Moscow, 1923-1924)

Prepared by Natalia Ostroumova
Introduction by Benjamin Knysak
Online only (2019)

Twelve numbers of Muzïkalʹnaya nov = Музыкальная новь [MNV] were published in Moscow from 20 October 1923 to 1924. Initially published on a monthly basis, with issues appearing on the final day of the month, from no. 6/7 (1924) no specific date is given. Some issues contain supplements – see the list below – and all issues contain advertisements for the latest publications of the State Publishing House. The responsible editor was A. Sergeyev. The journal includes content from a wide range of contributors such as the musicologist and composer Boris Asafiev (under the pen name “Igor Glebov”), the Moscow Conservatory teacher Nikolaj Zhilyaev, and David Chernomordikov.

The primary concern of Muzïkalʹnaya nov is the reform of institutions and practices according to the ideals developed in the Russian revolution and espoused by the Communist Party and Marxist principles. Contributors draw comparisons with Tsarist Russia and much emphasis is placed on the proletarian functions of musical composition and performance. These beliefs are outlined by the editor as a “musical impasse” (“Музыкальный тупик”) where the perceived musical dead end of the early 1920s can be circumvented though the October Revolution.1 Many articles discuss issues of musical education, pedagogy, and theory through topics of repertory, folk songs, and the simplification of notation. A proposal by the pianist and teacher Boleslav Yavorsky, to divide the Moscow Conservatory into three independent institutions, is discussed in issue number four. With issue no. 6/7 (1924), Muzïkalʹnaya nov becomes the organ of the All-Russian Association of Proletarian Musicians (RAPM) and issue no. 8 is dedicated to the Leninist Young Communist League, or Komsomol.

Significant attention is paid to concert reviews and musical news. While primarily reporting on activities in Moscow and Petrograd (Leningrad), increasing amounts of musical news appears from throughout the Soviet Union, including Kiev, Kharkov, Rostov-on-Don, and Tbilisi. Foreign musical news is a regular feature, with reports of new compositions and publications from Western Europe and the United States and information on emigrant Russian composers. The journal is effectively continued by Muzyka i Oktyabr (1926), the next of four journals published by the RAPM before its dissolution in 1932.

The following is a list of supplements:
No. 1: Tchaikovsky’s correspondence with Vasily Bessel
No. 2: Archival documents related to Glinka’s divorce
No. 3: Further correspondence of Tchaikovsky and Bessel
No. 4: George Sand on music in her novel Consuelo; correspondence of N. Rimsky-Korsakov and F. Findeisen
No. 5: Theodore Vimaer’s criticism of Hugo Riemann’s system of musical rhythm
No. 8: A collection of songs of the Young Pioneers, the Vladimir Lenin All-Union Pioneer Organization, a Soviet organization for children
No. 10: “Sten’ka Rasin,” a song by A. Lyubimova.