The idea of an anthology emerged vaguely at the beginning of my pedagogical work at the Gnessin State Music Institute GMPI (now RAM). Y.N. Shishakov, head of the folk instruments department, invited me, a fifth-year student, to the department in 1971 and gave me students from Y. Akimow’s class, who temporarily served for two years as vice rector of the newly opened Institute of Culture in Kemerovo. Akimov returned a few years later to replace Shishakov, who had to leave his post due to illness (he had a heart attack). Akimov’s students had to return to their teacher’s class, of course, but some of them categorically refused to do so, and even went to the administration. Of course, her reaction was pleasant to some extent, but I tried to be objective and asked them not to let the situation escalate and return to the previous teacher.
From that moment on, Akimov and I obviously didn’t have very friendly relationships. As the department head, he started to form my class mainly from distance students. Of course, these were not the strongest and, above all, they had no time to practice. My class was big: 11 distance and several day and evening students. I plunged into pedagogical work and immediately felt that a large number of students had a good pedagogical education. There was only one program for about 15 (60 – 70 works!). I gave various preludes and fugues from Bach’s WTC, various sonatas by D. Scarlatti to go through this with the students themselves, to learn for myself and to gain educational experience. (I remember that some older teachers had a narrow circle of well-known compositions in their class that included a few Scarlatti sonatas, 3-4 of the most famous preludes & fugues by Bach, etc.). Soon I found that the coveted original works mostly were only published once, many collections glued several times and finally even unusable. Or, for example, G. Shenderyov‘s “Russian Suite”, which had become popular at the time and was published in fragments: Dumka and Chastushka separated, and Russian dance, as a rule, in manuscripts and in various versions. Many pieces of bayan were just hard to find.
At the beginning of the 80ies of the last century, I had a good relationship with the Soviet composer publishing house and its chief editor of music for folk instruments P. Londonov. He was a progressive musician – composer and organizer with good taste and musician flair. My relationship with the music publisher, where O. Agafonov was in charge of editing, was somewhat worse. He was the head of the old staff, who was afraid of everything new. When I entered the editorial office with a new idea, a small bald man pressed into a chair and got even smaller. In response to my greeting, he said, “There is no paper!”. I remember having to convince L. Sidelnikov, director of the publishing house, to release the piano part of Vladislav Solotaryov’s Concert Symphony No. 1. Soon, however, a young, energetic I. Savintsev was appointed instead of Agafonov. With him it got possible to implement interesting creative ideas: to publish new original music, interesting arrangements. Savintsev was very open to new trends.
… One day when I left the publisher, which was then on Neglinka Street, I met its editor-in-chief, the composer Valery Dyachenko, with whom we had good and even respectful relationships. During a spontaneous conversation, I expressed the idea of republishing the most played works. To my delight, he immediately picked it up and even developed it:
– And what? Collect the best you can get and gradually reorganize all of the works in demand.
– And let’s call this series “Anthology!” – I immediately had this thought.
Savintsev supported this idea and instructed me to collect material. The task turned out to be very extensive, but extremely fascinating. I built the whole project according to the following plan:
– Republish the best works from the 1930s to our time (or publish if not yet published).
– The publication should be in Russian and English.
– Before each part, an introductory article should appear, which contains information about the time of creation of the works in this collection and about the composers (we started this with M. Imkhanitsky). In addition, the year of writing of each work should be given.
– At the beginning of every album there must be a legend of modern names.
– The publication must be bound.
All of this was supported by the editors. Only we got a problem with the name: the literary editor L. Onegin, the spouse of our colleague and a very experienced editor, suddenly expressed disagreement with the name:
– An anthology of colors can be, but not an anthology of musical works!
– Why not? There is indeed an anthology of poetry! *
It was very difficult to convince them with common efforts.
First, a list of the authors that I think worked best for the bayan was compiled. Then you had to arrange them in chronological order at the time of writing. For this I had to get in touch with all respected authors. There was no information at all about some of them (for example, Belov – the author of the popular transcription “Степь да степь кругом”, Katsun – the author of the virtuoso transcription “Во поле береза стояла”). I. Panitsky, G. Shenderyov and most of the authors who sent very warm letters with the necessary information helped me a lot. It was obvious that they were interested in the idea and liked it. It was decided to begin the content of Volume 1 with the first concerto for bayan, written by professional composer and musicologist F. Rubtsov, and with arrangements of I. Panitsky’s folk melodies, which he mainly wrote in the 1930s.
Soon a slight shadow fell on my entire initiative: I was told that A.A. Surkov, an associate professor in our department, came to the publishing house. He found out about this project and was outraged: why does one person do everything? The editors suggested that he then should be author with me as his co-author. I have to say that I was very annoyed at the time and expressed my indignation: how does it work? Everything is ready, it is easiest to jump on a train that has already gained speed. Then I remembered an aphorism: “No need to push yourself onto the front page!”. However, after I calmed down a little, it suddenly became clear to me that in principle Surkov is right: for such an ambitious project, one editor is not enough (by the way, the second co-author does not solve the problem either). Such a publication should not be subjective. It is necessary to create an editorial team based on our department. This idea was fully supported by the publisher. The editorial team of the first volume consists of: V.N. Dolgopolov, B.M. Yegorov, M.I. Imkhanitsky, S.M. Kolobkov, V.P. Kusovlev, F.R. Lips, V.A. Muntyan, A.E. Onegin, A.A. Surko. Later this composition underwent some changes.
At the very first board meeting, we discussed the entire list that I had proposed. All wishes were discussed and considered together. We have also approved the legend of the symbols. This was mainly about the tension and compression of the bellows. A.E. Onegin defended the violin notation of his “school”: Π ꓦ, A.A. Surkov suggested the notation in the “school” by J. Akimov: ⅃ Ⅼ. However, when they marked the bellows tremolo, they curled their eyes with their monotony. For better clarity,
* Anthology – a collection of selected works of art by various authors (Ozhegov Dictionary).
I suggested names from another series: ꓦ Γ I didn’t like the names of a single series, for example: ꓦꓥꓦꓥ or ⅃ Ⅼ ⅃ Ⅼ. I tried to convince that the names or concepts of a series are always monotonous for perception than for different series, i.e. for reasons of clarity, it is better not Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, but Monday, January, winter, for example. Finally, my colleagues agreed to my suggestion. At the end of our meeting, I wrote letters with a list of recommended works and suggested symbols to all leading departments of the conservatories of the former USSR.
I have to say that almost everyone answered with the full support for the idea itself and with some wishes. In practice, the repertoire proposed by our editorial team was approved. A particularly detailed letter came from N.A. Davydov, the head of the Kiev Conservatory department, who, with his usual thoroughness, worked through the entire proposed list and added something. In particular, he suggested replacing the finger symbol we proposed for the playing on auxiliary rows – underlining the numbers: 2, 3, etc. – with the number in a circle ②, ③ – in order to prevent confusion with the tenuto line. The argument is fair and since then this option has been used by our publisher “Muzyka” for both manuals.
While working on volume 1, A.A. Surkov got seriously ill and soon he died. He was one of the few enthusiasts, a true supporter of our common cause. He has always shown me great respect, despite some caution in our relationships due to the nature of his character. I was therefore alone in the editorial preparation of this and all other volumes that I edited as the editor. The content of each edition of the anthology was discussed at a meeting of our editorial team.
It was a big task for the editorial team. First, all of the material was edited by B.I. Kiselyov , then I. Savintsev was replaced in his position by V. Novoshilov, then N.N. Umnova was appointed editor of the anthology. Thanks to their professionalism, it was possible to publish the anthology at the highest level.
Years passed, time made its own adjustments. New compositions by composers of Russia appeared, the Soviet Union collapsed. Our country has signed a copyright agreement, which is why the publication of foreign composers, which was planned for later volumes, has become very complex and uneconomical.
The first editions of the anthology had 10,000 copies and were quickly sold out. The latest editions of the anthology have come into circulation with the population’s purchasing power falling sharply. The publication of the last two parts was particularly difficult because the publisher needed a sponsorship. As a result, despite the fundamentally changed circumstances, we managed to accomplish almost everything that was planned to the end, and part 10 contained the most interesting works of the late century, summarizing the best created in the 20th century.
Then the publishing house “Muzyka” began to publish our anthology for orchestras of Russian folk instruments and an anthology for balalaika literature. I believe that the literature collection for the bayan is a kind of monument to the best bayan works of the 20th century.