an blog | AJBlog Central | Contact me | Advertise | Follow me:

Vast Soviet musical stockpile to be dumped on iTunes

Here’s what they are telling us:


dr strangelove



September 17, 2013




The first titles to be released exclusively on iTunes beginning September 17, 2013


NEW YORK, NY; MOSCOW, RS – The Orchard, a pioneering music, film and video distribution company and the iconic Russian record label Melodiya (Russian: Мелодия) announce the digital release of 750 titles from Melodiya’s historic catalogue to be made available exclusively on iTunes. The first albums will be released on iTunes beginning on September 17 with a second group scheduled for early November. iTunes is also hand-selecting titles to feature in a dedicatedMelodiya section of the store. Other digital service providers will begin offering Melodiya titles after the New Year. This announcement celebrates the result of a long-term initiative to digitize Melodiya’s catalogue and the first time Melodiya’s classical catalog has ever been available for download.


Since Melodiya gained ownership of its catalogue from the former Soviet Union, it has reinvigorated its imprint, which began with a strategic move in June 2013 to re-release some of their popular recordings on the vinyl format.  In addition to the reintroduction of vinyl releases, Melodiya has invested significant resources in re-mastering the original recordings, digitizing them and making them available for sale globally.


Andrey Krichevsky, CEO for Melodiya, says “Digitizing the catalogue for download was a natural step forward in making Melodiya’s repertoire widely available. Over time, the tape archive has become less protected from the environment, and we realized that it was critical to try and revitalize this recorded legacy for future generations.”


The newly available digital collection will feature recordings from Melodiya’s historic classical catalogue, including notable artists such as conductors Evgeny Svetlanov, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Kirill Kondrashin, Yevgeny Mravinsky; pianists Emil Gilels, Sviatoslav Richter, Maria Grinberg, Glenn Gould, Yevgeny Kissin, Maria Yudina, and Van Cliburn; violinists David Oistrakh and Leonid Kogan; violist Yuri Bashmet; cellists Mstislav Rostropovich, Natalia Gutman, and Daniil Shafran; the Borodin and Beethoven string quartets; and opera singers Feodor Chaliapin, Galina Vishnevskaya, and Irina Arkhipova.


Brad Navin, CEO for The Orchard, says, “Melodiya represents a wealth of the most authentic Soviet era recordings featuring the works of Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich and other greats. We are proud to work with this historic label and happy that many of the recorded masters were able to be preserved to be available to the world digitally.”


Highlights from the classical releases will include a complete set of Mahler symphonies with Kirill Kondrashin; Symphony Nos. 4 & 6 by Mieczysław Weinberg, also with Kondrashin; the complete Sibelius and Prokofiev symphonies with Gennady Rozhdestvensky and the USSR State Radio and TV Orchestra; Bruckner’s 8th and 9th symphonies with Mravinsky and the Leningrad Philharmonic; the complete string quartets of Dmitri Shostakovich with the Borodin Quartet as well as select Shostakovich quartets featuring the Beethoven Quartet (the quartet who premiered 13 out of Shostakovich’s 15 string quartets); Shostakovich violin and viola sonatas featuring David Oistrakh, Yuri Bashmet, and Sviatoslav Richter. Other highlights include Schnittke’s Faust Concerto and Concerto Grosso with Natalia Gutman, Oleg Kagan, and Raisa Kotova, led by Gennady Rozhdestvensky; the complete Beethoven sonatas with pianist Maria Grinberg; and many rare recordings by David Oistrakh, Sviatoslav Richter, Emil Gilels, Elizaveta Gilels, Leonid Kogan, Tatiana Nikolayeva, Yevgeny Kissin and others.


Non-classical titles will include popular Soviet bands such as Zemlyane, Pesnyary, Samotsvety; the Azerbaijani vocal jazz quartet “Gaya”, instrumental ensemble Melodiya, series such as Sdelano V Sssr and Musical Cocktail;  Kamarinskaya / Russian Balalaika, and representatives of Soviet funk and jazz. Melodiya also plans to release recordings of the iconic Russian artist Vladimir Vysotsky.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. Keeping my eye open to see if they have Prokofiev’s performance of the premiere of the 6th Sonata. This was broadcast on national radio, so I’m hopeful there is an archive recording somewhere.

  2. This is great news.

  3. Perhaps more interesting recordings of pianists like Syomin and Sokolov and others who preferred to work within the Soviet system shall come to light as well. Maybe even the complete MEISTERSINGER with Furtwängler might be redisvovered!

  4. Michael J. Stewart says:

    Wonderful news!

    • It is truly wonderful. For years I’ve been trying to get some of these recordings, especially those of David Oistrakh, from ebay vendors without much success. I’ve never bought from iTunes, but I’ll look at it now.

  5. YES! The best of news!

  6. This could be excellent news, if it wasn’t for “exclusively on iTunes”. This is like selling CDs that play only on, say, Sony players.

  7. Michael Schaffer says:

    Is this part of the big Soviet “propaganda cabal” Christopher Fulkerson, Ph.D has been trying to warn us about in the Boulez about Shostakovich discussion? If we download some of this material, will we be reprogrammed to become Stalinists?

    • Oh yes! Courtesy of the NSA, Apple has started a big secret brainwashing-programme to produce a Stalinist intellectual army. ;-)

  8. Complete Mahler set with Kondrashin? I don’t think so; Melodiya did not record the Second or Eighth Symphonies. The Orchard needs a more knowledgable press liaison.

  9. Gene, I’m out of town at the moment until Saturday night, but I will check the spreadsheets I have for the upcoming releases when I get home. Actually — I know the Melodiya catalog very, very well (I come from the recording business and started in out-of-print record shops), but I have no doubt you may be correct here. I will double check because I don’t like getting anything wrong about recordings…One thing I can promise you there are some great recordings, many of which have not been available except as “out of print” LPs which will be released on iTunes. And, to clear up another person’s question above: iTunes will have the exclusive on the releases…Once that period is up, you will be able to download them from other digital service providers should you choose to do so. Please anyone with specific questions about the Melodiya titles feel free to reply to this blog. I’ll try and answer as many questions as I possibly can.

  10. Not much of a bargain, either. If you want all of Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes and Fugues op. 87 by Tatiana Nikolaeva, you have to buy three albums (1-10; 11-16; and 17-24) at €8.99 apiece.

  11. Gonout Backson says:

    Why is there no Barshai? His many fabulous Mozart recordings with the MCO need a revival.

  12. Mark Stratford says:

    ==many rare recordings by David Oistrakh

    Apparently Oistrakh once played the Walton violin concerto.
    It would be great if a recording of that were unearthed !

  13. First off — Gene, I apologize. You are is indeed correct about the Mahler. I guess it was my “dream” that Kondrashin finished that Mahler set (neither 2 nor 8 were recorded unfortunately).

    As to query about lossless — no, there will be no lossless releases.

    Mark: There is quite a bit of Oistrakh on the lists I went through, but I’ve never seen any recording or mention of the Walton Cto listed on Oistrakh’s discography. If you click on the links provided in the release you will get some sampling of the first round of titles. As Melodiya releases more, I will provide updates so you can go through the titles and see which Oistrakh performances might be of interest to you. (Perhaps your Walton was my Mahler 2 & 8?)…

  14. Craig Zeichner says:

    Seeing a number of one or two track albums at full price. Is that a metadata mistake? For example, Shostakovich “October” and Concerto No. 2 is two tracks (13 & 12 minutes each) for $9.99. Excited about the selection, but might hold off until potential bugs are worked out.

an ArtsJournal blog