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Zhabinsky K.

Reflections of musical culture in the editions of the publishing house “Musaget”

The article is devoted to “musical” direction of publishing house “Musaget”. The named publishing house functioned in Moscow (1909–1917) and was among the largest and most important book-publishing projects of Russian symbolism. The researcher notes that “outlying” role of music in editions of “Musaget”, both its books and the periodical “Works and Days” (1912–1916), was mainly conditioned by the essential divergences of the “Musaget” founders’ musical-aesthetical views. So, the organizer and editor-in-chief of “Musaget” Emilii Medtner adhered to the conservative (“protective”) position and in general negatively appreciated the musical-stylistic innovations of the Silver Age. The obvious corroboration of that was E. Medtner’s book “Modernism and Music: The Critical and Polemic Essays” (1912) which provoked the boisterous discussion in the Russian press. Exactly this book turned out to be the only edition of “Musaget” purposefully elucidating the problems of music. On the contrary, Vyacheslav I. Ivanov (which emphasised the “theurgic-mysterial” intentions of contemporary music) in 1910s was taken a great interest in the late works by A. Skryabin (these works were absolutely unacceptable for E. Medtner.) The musical-aesthetical views of Andrei Bely hesitated between “anti-modernism” of E. Medtner and freely interpreted “mysteriality” of Vyach. I. Ivanov; these views evidently were inconstant and unsteady. The named divergences entailed the inevitable minimum quantity of works on music, represented in collected articles of editions “Symbolism” (1910) and “Arabesques” (1911) by A. Bely, “Furrows and Boundary Paths” (1916) by Vyach. I. Ivanov, as well as the obvious thematic narrowness of the “musical” parts of the periodical “Works and Days” (“Wagneriana”, “Invectives on the musical contemporaneity”).

Key words

symbolism in Russia, book-publishing activities, “Musaget”, E. Medtner, “Modernism and Music”, A. Bely, Vyach. I. Ivanov, symbolist musical aesthetics, “Works and Days”.

For citation

Zhabinsky K. Reflections of musical culture in the editions of the publishing house “Musaget” // South-Russian Musical Anthology. 2020. No. 4. Pp. 40–48.