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Muzïkal’noye obozrenie: Muzïkal’naya gazeta = Музьікальное Обозрение

(St. Petersburg, 1885-1888)

Prepared by Lilia Suslova and Irina Torilova


Published weekly in St. Petersburg, The Musical Review (Музьікальное Обозрение) focused on the state of music in Russia and in particular the work of Russian composers. Vasily Vasil’yevich Bessel—a prominent figure in the musical world of St. Petersburg and founder and manager of the music publishing house V. Bessel and Co.—edited the journal, with the assistance of the well-known music critics Herman Laroche and Cesar Cui. The Musical Review consists of two parts: a literary weekly and a monthly music supplement. Both publications pursue the same goal, namely to promote the New Russian School (“The Mighty Five”). Considerable space in the journal is also devoted to the works of Anton Rubinstein, the composer, pianist and conductor who founded the St. Petersburg Conservatory.

Lead articles are of three types: reviews of concerts, operas and published music; historical and biographical studies; and, theoretical studies. Prominent among the reviews are the concerts of the Russian Musical Society, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, and Anton Rubinstein’s historical pianoforte recitals, while notices on operatic productions in St. Petersburg include Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Snow Maiden, Musorgsky’s Khovanschina, Massenet’s Manon, and Verdi’s Otello. The writings and correspondence of Liszt, Wagner, Camille Benois and Charles L’Évêque are featured in the historical-biographical section. Among the important lead articles dealing with music theory are P. Sokal’sky’s study of the Chinese scale in Russian folk music; Dmitry Stefanovsky articles about the rhythmic system and the basso continuo; and V. A. Gaydeburov’s detailed treatment of Cui’s operatic, vocal, choral and chamber works.

The section “Bibliographies” deals with books on music by Russian and foreign authors, and on music printed by Russian music publishing firms. Among the books reviewed are Emil Naumann’s The Illustrated History of Music, Matisse Lussy’s The Theory of Musical Expression, and N. Y. Pal’chikov’s collection of peasant songs from Menzensky in the Ufa region.

The supplements are remarkable in that they featured compositions by native Russian composers including Arensky, Glazunov, Lyadov, Musorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Anton Rubinstein and Tchaikovsky. Today, the journal is viewed as one of the most important to have appeared in Russia.