Soviet Union Information Bureau


IN literature, music, painting, sculpture, architecture and the theater the new Soviet society may be said to he still in a transition stage. During the first years in the arts generally there was a natural tendency to extreme experimentalism. This has been succeeded by a steadying process, a settling down to a creative interpretation of the new life. In all the arts there is a healthy clash of diverse schools and tendencies. The experimental vigor has given rise to many novel forms which have attracted attention in other countries. The mechanics of the stage have had a particularly interesting development. In motion pictures the dramatic realism of a number of Soviet productions has won acclaim throughout Europe and America. In architecture there is a new realistic note and the new buildings are distinctly modernistic and western, in contrast to the rococo imitations and the flaring orientalism of Tsarist times. In sculpture the aspiration is towards monumentalism and industrial application. Painting, music and literature have been steadily orienting themselves to the new conditions of life and already have attained to considerable solid achievement.

In all the arts visiting observers note that the creative forces are vigorously alive, and questions of theory and practice are treated with unusual breadth of vision. This is probably implicit in a society where the masses of the population take a vital interest in the work of the artist.

THE THEATER.- The revolution has resulted in a great transformation in the Russian theater.

During the last years of the old régime, growing restrictions on free expression gradually divorced the theater from the realities of life. Symbolism became a refuge of safety. The ballet flourished and drew from oriental themes a gorgeous color and exoticism.

The Revolution flung the theater open to the masses, and the new audiences, steeled by the civil wars, were indifferent to symbolism and to mild introspection, and demanded themes representative of the new life.

The theater responded to the demands to a remarkable degree. For a time there was a special emphasis on the mechanics of representation and this sometimes took the form of eccentricity not unnatural in a time of general transvaluation of values. New dramas of the struggle of the man with the machine lent themselves to the passion for startling mechanical effects, and even the classics were re-treated to accord with the new mode. Extravagant tendencies were eventually curbed by the seriousness of the new mass-audiences. Their taste was for dramas giving a coherent picture of the new Soviet society, and their taste has prevailed. Stanislavsky's Art Theater, which at first continued to play Chekhov and Maeterlinck in the old manner, eventually responded to the new spirit and applied its naturalism to the production of Ivanov's "Armored Train." At the other end of the scale the more advanced mechanistic producers gradually relegated startling mechanical effects to their proper place and gave primary emphasis to the play itself and the spoken word.

Of the outstanding producers, Meyerhold stands at the opposite pole from Stanislavsky's naturalism. In the past ten years Meyerhold has not hesitated to reshape the content of plays and to attempt every conceivable experiment in staging and acting. In his production dependence rests upon the scenic artist and the director rather than on the playwright. Tairov, in the Kamerny Theater, has sought a modus vivendi between the methods of Stanislavsky and of Meyerhold.

There are 500 theaters in the Soviet Union with an annual attendance of 15,000,000.

In addition to the formal theaters, a spontaneous amateur theater movement of imposing proportions has grown up in the Soviet Union. Such performances take place in factory, town and village clubs, in which the workers write, produce and act plays portraying their life in the Soviet society. The most important of these theaters is the M.G.S.P.S., conducted by Moscow trade unions, in which plays like "The Humming of the Rails" and "Storm" have brought the factory and the machine on the stage in strikingly realistic form. There are some 35,000 of these club theaters in the cities and towns and 30,000 in the villages. Contemporary life is also reflected in the performances of the troupes of "Blue Blouses" of which there are about 10,000. They travel about the country to perform before local trade unions and peasant clubs and their repertoire includes songs, acrobatics, dancing and satirical sketches. An interesting theatrical movement of broad proportions has also sprung up in clubs attached to the Red Army.

A list of the principal Moscow theaters, with their successes of the past two years, follows:

1). Bolshoi Theater, Teatralnaya Ploschad. This is the State opera house and produces the classic operas and ballets, including "Boris Godunoff," "Faust," "Carmen," "Eugene Onegin," "AIda," "Esmeralda," "Salome," "Don Quixote," "Lohengrin," "Love of the Three Oranges," etc. Also new ballets such as "Red Poppy."

2). The Musical Studio of the Moscow Art Theater: 17 Bolshaya Dmitrovka. Plays, lyric operas and operettas, including "The Daughter of Madame Angot," "La Perichole," "Lysistrata," "Carmencita."

3). Experimental Theater, 6 Bolshaya Dmitrovka. This is another State opera house, including in its repertoire such operas as "La Bohéme," "Rigoletto," "Lakme," "The Queen of Spades," "Romeo and Juliet," "The Marriage of Figaro," "Don Juan." It also stages ballets, the best known of which is "The Beautiful Joseph."

4). Mali Theater (The Little Theater), located on the Teatralnaya Ploshchad (Theater Square). Produces serious plays and comedies, classics as well as contemporary works. Its repertoire includes Ostrovsky's "Forest"; Lunacharsky's "Bear's Wedding"; Griboyedov's "The Misfortune of Being Too Clever."

5). Moscow Art Theater, Kamergersky Pereulok. This celebrated theater continues to be directed by Stanislavsky and includes in its repertoire Maeterlinck's "Bluebird," Alexey Tolstoy's "Tsar Feodor Ivanovitch," Gorki's "The Depths," Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya," Bulgakov's "Days of the Turbins," Vsevolod Ivanov's "Armored Train." The thirtieth anniversary of the Art Theater was celebrated in Moscow, October, 1928.

6). Studio of the Moscow Art Theater, located at 2-7 Teatralnaya Ploshchad. Its repertoire includes Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" and "Hamlet," Strindberg's "Eric XIV," schylus's "Orestes," Andrei Byelyi's "Petersburg," A. Tolstoy's "Death of Ivan the Terrible," and Babel's "Sunset."

7). Vakhtangov Theater, located at 26 Arbat. Its repertoire includes "Turandot," Seifullina's "Vireneya," Victor Hugo's "Marion de Lornie," Bulgakov's "Zoikin's Apartment," Leonov's "Badgers," Sheglov's "Transatlantic."

8). Kamerny Theater (directed by Tairov), located at 23 Tverskoy Boulevard. Its repertoire includes Lecoque's "Girofle.Girofla," Oscar Wilde's "Salome," Ostrovsky's "Storm," O'Neill's "Hairy Ape" and "Desire Under the Elms," Hasenclever's "Antigone."

9). Meyerhold Theater, 20 Sadovaya Ulitsa. The most experimental theater in the Soviet Union. Its repertoire includes Ostrovsky's "Forest," Ilya Erenburg's "Destruction of Europe," Crommelynck's "Magnificent Cuckold," Faiko 's "Bubus," Erdman's "Mandate," Tretiakov's "Roar China," and Gogol's "Inspector General."

10). Theater of the Revolution, located at I 9 Bolshayaikitskaya. Its repertoire includes Faiko's "Lake Lyul," strovsky's "Soft Jobs," Romasheva's "Air Pie," "Mattress," and "Krivorilsky's End," Bela Ilysh's "Buy a Revolver," Glebov'S "Growth," Chijevsky's "Golgotha," Ivanov's "Alphabet," Faiko's "Man with the Briefcase," Toller's "Hooray, We're Living," Yurin's "When the Cock Crows."

11). Moscow Trade Union Theater (M.G.S.P.S.), located at Karetny Ryad. Its repertoire includes Shapovalensky's "1881" and "Mob," Voynich's "Gadfly," Bill-Belotserkovsky's "Storm," and Gladkov's "Cement."

12). The Korsh Theater, located at 3 Petrovsky Pereulok (Petrovka). Its repertoire includes Lunacharsky's "Machinist and Official," Panyl's and Nivda's "Traders in Fame," Sardou's "Madame Sans-Gene," Chijevsky's "Alexander I," Shkvarkina's "Journey Around the World," Shcheglov's "Hurricane," Ostrovsky's "Wolves and Sheep."

13). Proletcult Theater, located at i Chistoproodny Boulevard. This is a workers' theater producing such plays as Glehov's "Power," Bivaly's "Rubber," and plays based on Jack London's works.

14). First Theater of Satire, located at 10 Gnezdnikovsky, which plays satires and comedies like "Love," "Play," "Intrigues," and "Aren't You a Hooligan, Citizen?"

15). Second Theater of Satire, located at the corner of Sadovoy Boulevard and Brestskoy. Produces satires like the "Night Before Christmas," and the "Queen of the Movies."

16). Blue Blouse-variety troupe, located at 9 Okhotnyi Ryad.

17). Jewish Kamerny Theater, 2 Mala Bronnaya Ulitsa. Its repertoire is entirely in Yiddish and includes plays like "Two Hundred Thousand," "Koldoony," "Trouhadec," "137 Children's House," and the "Tenth Commandment."

18). Habima Theater Studio, located at 29 First Brestkaya. Dramas from the life of the Jewish people, given in Hebrew, including the famous "Dybbuk."

19). Ukrainian Theater of Music and Drama, 13 Leontevsky Pereulok. Its repertoire is entirely in the Ukrainian language.

There is an excellent group of theaters in Leningrad, while Baku, Tiflis, and other capitals of the minor nationalities have their own theaters playing in the native languages.

MOTION PICTURES.- The motion picture has assumed an unusual vitality in the Soviet Union. While the technical resources of the Soviet studios are still markedly below Hollywood standards, skilled direction has achieved a degree of artistry comparable to that of pictures produced anywhere. The motion picture lends itself admirably as a medium for depicting the mass dramas of the Revolutionary years, and the result has been pictures such as "The End of St. Petersburg" and "October," which has been shown with success abroad as well as at home, and the pre-Revolutionary picture "The Cruiser Potemkin." The screen also is well adapted to the portrayal of the drama of reconstruction in the Soviet Union, the new conquest of the machine, the rise of factories and power plants, the bringing of education to the villages, the emancipation of women among backward national units, etc. A wealth of material has also been found in Russian history. In employing this diverse material, directors such as Eisenstein, Pudovkin, etc., have achieved commendable results.

In the spring of 1928 there were 8,767 motion picture display places in the Soviet Union. Of these there were 1,500 commercial theaters, 2,767 club theaters, 1,184 rural theaters, 2,496 ambulant displays and 420 miscellaneous. The cities and towns had 57 per cent of these places of entertainment and the rural districts 43 per cent.

Of the 1,800 theaters charging admission, 40 per cent were operated by trade unions, 35 per cent by the Department of Education, 3 per cent by Sovkino (the principal producing organization) and i per cent by private persons.

Of the total number of display places 6,459 were in R.S.F.S.R. (Soviet Russia proper). Of these the commercial, club and rural theaters had a total attendance of over 260,000,000 in 192728.

LITERATURE.- To the western world modern Russian literature is chiefly known through translations of Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Turgeniev, Chekhov, Gorky, and Andreyev. These classics are still published in the Soviet Union. In connection with the centenary of Tolstoy's birth the State Publishing House (Gosizdat) issued the great novelist's collected works in Too volumes.

The writers of the new Russia naturally could not merely resume where their classical predecessors left off. The October Revolution destroyed old values and created new ones. In the early days of the civil war the young Russian writers had to face the problem of reflecting in literature the profound social changes which had taken place. A reaction set in against passive naturalism, and the new literature sought to speak directly to the masses of the Russian people, to proclaim their aspirations in vigorous imaginative terms, and to stir them on to reorganize social consciousness. A striking example of this attempt of literature to participate actively in the march of the new order is shown in the works of Demyan Bednyi. The songs, poems, and agitational rhymes and satires of this talented political poet were directed to the wide masses of the people.

Another poet who shaped the themes, form and language of his verse to the mold of the Revolution, is Vladimir Mayakovsky, the leader of the Futurist school in the Soviet Union. Mayakovsky, however, is much more sophisticated than Demyan Bednyi. Raised in Russia's literary Bohemia, Mayakovsky brought to the Revolution the technical experiments of futurism, as contrasted with Demyan Bednyi's simple ballads based on old folk forms. Mayakovsky's "Left March," "Manifesto," "150,000,000 ," "Lenin" and "Mysteria Bouffe" express the new era in strong, fresh rhythms, works and images.

The most eminent poet of the pre-revolutionary intelligentsia who tried to understand the Revolution was Alexander Blok. In his gifted poem "The Twelve" he treats the Revolution as a mystical phenomenon, a cyclonic collapse of culture, a rebellious transvaluation of those values which had been sanctified by religion. He envisions the transvaluation as experienced by a profoundly suffering humanity. Blok approached the Revolution as an intellectual whose imagination worked with religious images; and in that sense is generally considered to have failed in grasping the full import of the new era.

A poet completely different from any of the foregoing is Serge Yessenin, whose premature death several years ago deprived Russian literature of perhaps its most gifted lyricist. Yessenin's poetry had its roots in the village, though it also showed the influence of the literary Bohemia in which he moved during the last years of his life. He was the best product of the Imagist school, which for a time had considerable vogue in early Revolutionary Russia. Though it used different technical means, this school resembled Futurism in its Bohemian tendencies, and its attempts to shock the reader by the novelty, surprise, rudeness and even vulgarity of its images. The Imagists, however, did not break with old esthetic traditions, as did the Futurists, who demolished the old sthetics altogether and to that extent were revolutionaries in art. Because of their preoccupation with the image, which they considered the basic element of poetry, leading poets of the Imagist school, like Marienhof, Kusikov, Grusinov, and Shershenyevitch, neglected revolutionary themes. These poets enjoyed a brief fragile glory in the early days of the Revolution. Had Yessenin been merely an Imagist he would have passed away with them. But he was more than that. Apart from his superb lyric gifts, he expressed the psychology of the backward peasant. In long poems like "Pugachev," "Inonia," "Pantocrator," he describes the revolt of the peasants sweeping away city culture including the church and preparing the way for a peasant paradise.

The storm and stress period of the Revolution was naturally favorable for verse and unfavorable for prose. Short poems were the only possible vehicles for the only people who were in a position to write, and who were still influenced by the old culture of the nobility, the bourgeoisie and the city intellectuals; it was the inevitable medium for the individualistic romanticism of transition writers. The end of the civil war brought sufficient leisure for sustained prose, and the Soviet Union produced a number of novels which were in effect memoirs of the civil war.

Among the best of these is Furmanov's "Chapayev," describing a revolutionary workingman, and "The Revolt," dealing with the civil war. In these chronicles the method is naturalistic, depending on documents and facts which speak for themselves. Both these books breathe a spirit of grandeur, but their power is derived almost wholly from the facts they present.

The civil war is treated romantically in Lehedinsky's "A Week," which has been translated into English. A similar method is employed by Serafimovitch in "The Iron Stream." The romanticism of these writers is far from the European type associated with mysticism and pacifism. These authors portray the heroism of a great historical era and implicitly celebrate the will to act, the collective effect of the masses overcoming enormous difficulties. Both Seraflmovitch and Lehedinsky are Communists and are counted among the socalled "proletarian writers." One of the pre-revolutionary novelists who describe the civil war from the liberal intellectual's point of view is Veresayev whose "Deadlock" has been translated into English.

The peace following the civil war encouraged the development of the so-called "FellowTravelers," writers of various types and talents who were not themselves of the new order, but who accepted the Revolution, and were willing to "travel" along with it. They came from the peasantry, the intellectuals and the urban middle-classes. These writers lacked the active spirit of the Revolution animating the works of Demyan Bedny1, Mayakovsky, Serafimovitch, and Lebedinsky. They retained a good deal of pre-revolutionary passivism, being content to portray events as they saw them, without seeking to extract their full social implications. Their works show great technical mastery. The "Fellow-Travelers" also wrote their first books around the civil war from which they had just emerged. Among the best of their novels are Vsevolod Ivanov's "Armored Train" and "Colored Winds"; Yakovlev's "October"; Babel's "Red Cavalry" and "Tales"; Seifullina's "Virineya" and "Dung"; Artyom Vesyolyi's "The Homeland"; Malishkin's "The Fall of Dair"; Leonid Leonov's "Badgers," and Boris Pilnyak's "Leather Jackets" and "The Naked Year."

The last of these works appeared at a psychological moment. It was the first novel which set itself the task of reflecting Russia's social life in the throes of the civil war.

Among the intellectuals of the old régime who personally accepted the new, but whose works could only skim the surface of Revolutionary Russia, is Alexey Tolstoy. His "Alita," "Engineer Garin's Hyperbole" and "Azure Cities" are wellplanned, plastic and entertaining. A writer of a similar caliber is Fedin, whose "Towns and Years," deal with the civil war, and "Transvaal" with the village under NEP (the new economic policy, after 1921).

Sooner or later Soviet literature was bound to turn from the civil war to the reconstruction period. The best known novel reflecting this transition is Feeder Gladkov's "Cement." The romanticism which marked the proletarian literature of the first period still clings to this book; but this time the problems of the new society are correctly approached and lines are projected pointing to socialist construction. A number of realistic works dealing with the period of peaceful economic growth followed, notably Lyashko's "The Blast Furnace," and Lidin's "The Ships Are Coming."

Soviet writers also began to portray the new types of people evolved by the new society. Excellent portraits are presented in Lebedinsky's "To-morrow" and "The Commissars"; Tarassov-Rodionov's "Chocolate." Lyashko's novel "The Break" presents the psychology of the Communist worker; while Seifullina's "Virineya" and Gladkov's "Cement" portray types of Soviet women. A number of well-written novels deal with the Soviet youth, notably Malashkin's "The Right Side of the Moon," Panteleimon Romanov's "Without Flowers," and Ognyev's "Diary of a Communist Schoolboy," which has been translated into English.

The peasantry, also, has its place in the new Russian literature. One of the best writers on village life was Neverov, whose "City of Bread," dealing with the famine period in Tashkent, has been translated into English. Fedin's "Transvaal" in a bizarre manner describes the well-to-do peasantry. The transition of the village from the old to the new life is sketched in Karavayev's "The Bears," and "The ChestnutColored Skin," and in Akulshin's "Unbound Sheaves" and "Village Whispers." A strange spectacle of village life is presented by Klichkov in "The Sweet German" and other works, which are poems in prose rather than novels. Vsevolod Ivanov in "The Secret of Secrets" has also essayed to portray the present life of the Russian peasant.

In addition to these and numerous other books describing Russian life since 1917, there have appeared a number of imaginative works revaluating the past in the light of contemporary ideas. Thus the seventeenth century peasant revolt is the theme of Chapigin's "Stenka Razin"; the 1825 revolt is portrayed in Marich's "The Northern Lights" and in Tynyanov's "Kyukhla"; the Revolution of 1905 in Yevdoki mov's "Bells"; pre-Revolutionary Moscow in Andrel Byelyi's "The Moscow Crank," and "Moscow Under the Blow"; the period of October 1917, in Artyom Vesyolyi's "Russia Bathed in Blood" and other works. The historical novel is rapidly becoming one of the most favored forms of literature in Soviet Russia.

The stabilization of Soviet economy in the past few years has matured the new writers considerably. Even their approach to civil war themes reveals a different perspective. Thus Fadeyev's "The Smashup," which relates the story of a group of "partisan" peasants (guerrilla fighters) in Siberia during the civil war, is free of naturalism and romanticism. The novel is ripe and realistic and the images correspond to the contents.

Of late the futurist poet Mayakovsky has been experimenting with long epics as in "Lenin," and in personal lyrics like "It." Others have also attempted epics, notably Bagritsky in the "Thoughts About Opanas," and Selvinsky in his constructivist poem "Ulyalyayevshchina." Pasternak, a lyric poet whose "Sister Is My Life" made him famous, has published a long psychological poem entitled "Spektorsky" and a historical poem "Lieutenant Schmidt."

The best known of the younger poets are Bezymensky, Utkin, Zharov and Svetlov. The futurist group, headed by Mayakovsky and Brick, has produced several talented poets, including Aseyev and Kirsanov; while the lyrical school of which Yessenin was the best representative has found adherents in Oreshin and Nasetkin.

The following works of fiction and poetry by contemporary Russian writers have been translated into English and are available in the United States:

1. Flying Osip: (International Publishers, New York). A collection of short stories, including tales by Boris Pilniak, Vsevolod Ivanov, Seifullina and others.

2. Russian Poetry: An Anthology (International Publishers). A collection of poems from Pushkin to the present time, including verses by Mayakovsky, Yessenin, Bezimensky, Marienhof, Ilya Erenburg, Alexander Blok and others.

3. Azure Cities: (International Publishers). A collection of short stories by Alexey Tolstoy, Pilniak, Panteleimon Romanov, Ivanov, Lyashko, Babel, Seifullina, Volkov, Zoshchenko and others.

4. Literature and Revolution: Critical Essays by Leon Trotsky. (International Publishers.)

5. Diary of a Communist Schoolboy, by Ognyev: (Payson and Clark).

6. The City of Bread: by Alexander Neverov (H. G. Doran).

7. Cement, by Feodor Gladkov (International Publishers), a novel of the reconstruction period.

8. Three Plays by A. V. Lunacharsky (E. P. Button & Co.). This volume by the Soviet Commissar of Education contains "Faust and the City," "The Mag1," and "Vasilisa the Wise."

9. The Naked Year, by Boris Pilniak (Payson & Clark).

10. The Communist Undergraduate by Ognyev (Payson & Clark), a continuation of the adventures of Kostja Rjabtzev, the hero of The Diary of a Communist Schoolboy.

11. The Road to Calvary, by Alexey Tolstoy (Boni & Liver ight).

Music.- Though one of Russia's youngest arts, music is among those most highly developed. It originally grew out of the demands of the old aristocracy in the seventeenth century, seeking to imitate the aristocratic culture of western Europe. It was natural, therefore, that the first branch of music to reach excellence in Russia should be the opera, closely related as it was to the imperial court. Musicians of the Neapolitan school, such as Arraya, Galupp1, Cimarosa, and Paisiello, serving at the Tsar's court, produced Russia's first operas. These were followed by French importations. It was only toward the end of the eighteenth and at the beginning of the nineteenth centuries, when the nationalist sentiments fanned in Europe by the French Revolution found an echo in Russia, that native composers began to transform the material of Russian folk song into operas. The greatest of these early Russian composers was Mikhail Glinka, whose works were composed for the court, the nobility, and the new merchant class.

These early composers found themselves burdened by the atmosphere of feudal disintegration of the court and the nobility. They were creating over the heads of their audiences, and some of them, like Rubinstein and Tchaikovsky, were forced to succumb to western influences. However, stronger men, like Moussorgsky, Borodin and Rimsky-Korsakoff, cut loose from the debilitating influences of the upper classes, and drew power for their compositions from the folk songs in which the Russian people voiced their aspirations. These two lines of development, one rooted in the sophisticated music of Western Europe, the other in native popular music, persisted throughout Russian compositions up to 1914. By that time Russian music began to achieve a synthesis of the two strains in the musical symbolism of Scriabine, the gay experiments of Stravinsky and the neo-classicism of Prokofiev.

On the eve of the World War the leading Russian composers were known throughout the civilized world. The works of Moussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, Borodin, Glazounov, Stravinsky, Scriabine, and Prokofiev were performed in European and American cities. Russia possessed a rich musical tradition. The Revolution of 1917 found the musical intellectuals unprepared to grasp the significance of the historic change. Composers like Racbmaninov, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, and Medtner; conductors like Koussevitsky; pianists like Orlov and Borovsky; singers like Chaliapin remained abroad. Some of these attempted to work under the Soviet régime, but the musical world was weakened for a time by the civil war and the famine. At the same time, the Revolution created an immense musical audience which demanded the best possible concerts. To satisfy this mass demand for music, the Commissariat of Education created a special department which rapidly organized orchestras, singers' troupes and concerts.

The new audience of Red Army soldiers, students, and workers were not satisfied, however, with the old pot-pourri type of program, making a hash of opera selections, western classics, and Russian music from Glinka to Prokofiev. There arose a need for a new repertoire and a musical content more in accord with the new times. There was a demand for songs and orchestral pieces suitable for the great revolutionary openair festivals. The earliest efforts in this direction were made by the Proletkult, a workers' organization for encouraging a specifically proletarian culture. Later Moscow saw the organization of the Composers' Association, which sought to express the Revolution in music. At present the State Publishing House issues many new musical compositions, and has the collaboration not only of the talented musical youth, but also of older composers like G. Krein, Gliere, and Gnessin.

While encouraging new Revolutionary music, the Soviet Government felt the necessity of continuing the rich heritage of the past and making it accessible to the people of Russia. Operas and concerts throughout the country bring to the worker and peasant the compositions of Glinka, RimskyKorsakoff, Moussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, Borodin, Stravinsky and Prokofiev, as well as the German, French and Italian classics. The Moscow, Leningrad and Odessa opera houses flourish on a subscription basis. Many of these subscriptions are taken by trade unions which distribute the tickets among workers. Symphony orchestras have developed in workers' clubs from Moscow to the remotest provinces. Moscow, Tiflis, Leningrad, Odessa and other cities celebrated the Beethoven festival with splendid concerts. An interesting development has been the growth of leaderless orchestras.

The attempt to find new expression for the Revolution in the opera and ballet has taken two directions. The Leningrad opera bases itself on contemporary music, on the conviction that only contemporary music is fit for the new audience. It specializes in Schreker's "Distant Bells," Strauss's "Salome," Prokofiev's "Love of the Three Oranges," and the ballets of Stravinsky and Kshennick. On the other hand, the Bolshoi Theater, with its branches, deeply rooted as it had been in the imperial régime, moved much more slowly toward modernism. It revived and tried to improve its productions of Boris Godunoff, Faust, Carmen, Lohengrin and similar classics. It attempted to make up for its conservative repertoire by modern staging and by re-writing the librettos.

While giving excellent productions of old and new classics, the Soviet opera has experienced great difficulty in creating new operas reflecting the Revolution in music. Several were indeed produced in Leningrad and Moscow, but none of them went beyond the experimental stage. The situation is a little better in the Caucasus, where the Soviet Government's policy toward the culture of minor nationalities gave rise to the first native operas of that region. Two musical dramas by the Georgian composer N. Palishvili scored considerable success, while the Armenian composer N. Spenderyantz is working toward the creation of a national form. New Turkish operas have been performed in Baku, while in the Ukraine the native composers Yanovsky and Zolotaryev are working on national themes.

The era of peace and reconstruction following the civil war permitted the successful development of new concert music, reflecting the new social order. N. Myaskovsky has composed three symphonies of a high order. Myaskovsky is a musical descendant of Glazounov. The influence of the Eastern sections of the Soviet Union is felt in the compositions of Gliere, who has developed Turkoman melodies and more recently prepared a ballet with Chinese musical themes. The Jewish composer, Alexander Krein, has composed a symphony remarkable for its wealth of melody and harmony, while Mikhail Gnessin, another Jewish composer, has written a number of sketches paying tribute to those who perished in the cause of the Revolution. The compositions of N. A. Roslavets attempt to express the collective will of the people by organizing tonal elements independent of emotional significance.

Among the new composers who are influenced by the neoromanticism of Medtner are Anatole Alexandrov; while the influences of Scriabine and modern western expressionism are discernible in the compositions of Polovinkin, Shirinsky, Protopopov, Knipper, Kryukov, Mosolov and Shebalin. The traditions of Ravel and Debussy, mixed with strong oriental influences, are continued by Gregory Krein.

A group of excellent Leningrad composers, educated in the traditions of Rimsky-Korsakoff, Moussorgsky, Borodin and Glazounov, has produced the neo-classic composer of symphonies Shestakovitch and the extreme modernist Shcherbachov. A moderate style characterizes the compositions of Steinberg and Weisberg. One of the few who still compose for the organ is Kushnarev, who calls himself a polyphonist; while Dyeshovy has made some daring experiments in the opera and ballet.

Museums.- There are some 500 museums in the Soviet Union, maintained by the Federal, State or local authorities. These include scientific and historical museums as well as museums devoted to art.

The art museums became greatly enriched as a result of the Revolution. Upwards of 200,000 objects of art, formerly stored in private collections or buried in storehouses, became public property. During the past few years the museums have been renovated and extended and the exhibits rearranged. The first comprehensive inventory of the country's objects of art has been undertaken.

Among the principal museums are the following:

Moscow: The Tretiakov Gallery, including Russian paintings of great historical and artistic value. First Museum of Modern Western Painting, containing the former collection of S. I. Shchukin, one of the finest modern collections in the world. Second Museum of Modern Western Painting, containing the former collection of I. A. Morozov. Museum of the Revolution, a historical arrangement portraying the struggle for freedom in Russia.

Leningrad: Hermitage Museum, Russian Museum, Stroganov Palace, Sheremetiev Villa, Palace of Art (including Museum of the Revolution).

Other museums include: Museum of Ukrainian Art, Kharkov; Museum of Art, Kiev; The Book Museum and the First, Second and Third National Museums of Art in Odessa.