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Soviet Samizdat

Stikhi. Pesni [Poetry. Songs].

Soviet Union: self-published, ca. 1970. Quarto (28.5 × 20 cm). Original side-stapled hand-lettered wrappers on colored stock; typescript to rectos only; 3 pp. Very good.

A selection of lyrics by the famous Russian pre-revolutionary Cabaret singer Aleksandr Vertinskii (1889-1957). Vertinsky began his musical career in 1915, after trying his hand first at literature and then acting. In this period he developed his signature recitative style of poetic performance set to music. The selection in this samizdat edition includes lyrics dating back to 1915, such as his hit song “Vashy pal’tsy”, dedicated to the silent screen star Vera Kholodnaia, and up to a much later popular song “Dochen’ki”, written for his daughters after his return to the Soviet Union in 1943. Along with other pre-Revolutionary artists Vertinsky had a complicated relationship with the Soviet State. Part of the bohemian world of pre-revolutionary Russia and friendly with poets such as Mayakovsky and Blok, Vertinsky toured Southern Russian during the Russian Civil War and emigrated to Constantinople with the retreating White Army. He subsequently lived in Berlin, Paris, New York, and Shanghai, eventually petitioning the Soviet government to allow his return to his homeland throughout the 1930s. His return was finally allowed in 1943, but his name was banished from the press, his publications suppressed and his records banned until the late 1960s. Both his lyrics and his records circulated in samizdat only, the latter as “bone music” etched into X-rays, with his first record released on Soviet territory only in 1969. In this period he became the living link between the Silver Age of Russian poetry and Bard tradition of the 1960s with his songs later covered by Vladimir Vysotsky and Bulat Okudzhava.

According to our source, the present volume comes from the personal collection of Iurii Fedorov, a Simferopol jeweler who was friendly with key cultural figures of the 1960s such as Vasilii Aksenov, Fazil’ Iskander, and Bulat Okudzhava.

Book ID: 51194

Price: $350.00