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ARSCLIST  December 2008

ARSCLIST December 2008

Subject:

Re: MELODIYA DISCOGRAPHY - was Medtner playing his 3rd Piano Concerto

From:

Michael Biel <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 28 Dec 2008 01:28:09 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (56 lines)

Roger and Allison Kulp wrote:
> Did Melodya issue many repressings of EMI classical Lps,in the 
> 1970s,and are these legitimately licensed issues ?
>
>                                               Roger
>
>   
This is the one question I really didn't get into.  Because outside the 
USSR we generally only see the records that MK decided to export, there 
are possibly many Western recordings Melodiya and pre-Melodiya issued -- 
licensed or unlicensed -- only for issue and cataloging inside the 
USSR.  So there are probably many that we don't really know about.  
Things started to become more honest in the 1980s and recordings they 
licensed from foreign companies were noted on the labels and sleeves as 
being licensed.  They started a domestic monthly magazine in Russian 
"Melodiya" which has articles and a catalog of new releases and 
re-pressings.  There is a special "Licensed" section in the catalog 
pages, and the license agreements are often the subject of articles.  
There were a lot of rock recordings licensed, and it was a BIG DEAL when 
they issued their first legit licensed Beatles and Elvis LPs.  After 
all, it was a two way street.  MK was actively trying to license 
Melodiya recordings to foreign labels, and those companies would be 
reluctant to pay for Melodiya recordings if Melodiya didn't pay for 
theirs!  In fact, in the mid-80s MK started an international magazine 
with both a Russian AND  English edition "Music In The USSR" which had 
articles about the Soviet music scene, and a catalog of music books, 
sheet music, and Melodiya records available for export.  MK also had a 
monthly digest size Melodiya new release catalog and an annual 
compilation, but this also only listed records selected for export. 
Comparing the domestic and international lists is where you get to see 
the type of things that are listed for the domestic buyers and not for 
the international buyers.  Of course they couldn't re-export the 
licensed recordings, but only the top Soviet rock groups were exported, 
a few of Alla Pubachova's LPs were exported, but not all of them.  We 
did seem to get all of the avant-garde Soviet jazz, much of which was 
just squeeks and squwaks, and rarely did they give us an album from 
Leningrad Dixieland, mainly at the time when they toured the West and 
appeared on Johnny Carson.  The massive 20+ volume History of Jazz in 
the USSR never was listed for export, and Soviet collectors reported 
that they were difficult to get inside the country as well.  Most 
volumes sold out within hours if not minutes.  You hadda be there, 
because those who were there at the right time would buy ten or more 
copies to use as trading or re-sale to the unlucky collectors.  And 
under the Central Planning system of all aspects of Soviet life, if it 
sold out you had to wait till the next planning period to see if there 
was a decision to make more.


This is also why it can be difficult to document international pirated 
recordings they issued in the 60s and 70s.  Some were issued in one 
pressing and might never have hit a catalog.  Since all Soviet records 
are issued in the same numerical series it is difficult to know what 
might be in a blank space when matrix listings are compiled.  It could 
be a schlock Russian rock single or an important classical import master.
Mike Biel   [log in to unmask]

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