Until the iron curtain fell ...


The literature on music has recently been enriched by a very remarkable publication. As if focused on a completely private subject - the contacts of Soviet musicians with the Vienna Universal Edition - Olesya Bobrik's book turns out to be in fact a genuine documented chronicle of European musical life in the 1920s and early 1930s. In Russian-language literature, there are not so many generalizing works devoted to this excitingly complex, critical era. And we can only be glad that a new major research has been added to the articles of I. A. Barsova, the Russian translation of D. Goyovi's book and some other works, extremely fresh both in terms of its material and the chosen genre format.
The history of the relationship of the famous Viennese publishing house with Soviet Russia is shown in the book against the background of complex political processes unfolding in interwar Europe and ultimately leading Austria to the Anschluss, and Russia to Stalin's isolation and the Iron Curtain. However, in the described time, these dramatic changes were only about to take place. Therefore, most of the events and facts reproduced in the book still bear the stamp of the relatively free twenties: the creative enthusiasm of the musicians, and active cultural work, and the very possibility of international contacts.
In a way, O. Bobrik's book is a double portrait in the interior of the era. An analysis of the activities of the Vienna publishing house allows the author to present, on the one hand, Soviet Russia seen from the center of Europe, and on the other, musical Vienna as perceived by Soviet critics and composers.