Most Russian scholars and musicologists consider Fendeizen's Ocherki po istorii musyki v Rossee (1928-29) the starting ground for any research on the history of Russian music. The work details the origins and development of music in Russia from antiquity through the beginning of the 19th century, with a focus on the differences between Russian music as it developed in court life and in folk traditions. In examining Russian music from antiquity to the beginning of the 18th century, volume 1 offers chapters on early Russian society, musical instruments, relig! ious and secular music, court music, important individuals (composers, singers, music theorists), and the reign of Peter the Great. Volume 2 looks at the courts of Elizabeth I and Catherine II, the music of Russian domestic life, and the interesting development of the Russian horn band. This is a groundbreaking, important translation, and it benefits from the expertise of its editors, all well-known musicologists whose research has focused on Russian music. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Large collections supporting music scholarship at the upper-division undergraduate levels and above. --ChoiceB. L. Eden, University of California, Santa Barbara, January 2009
"Findeizen's prose provides a fascinating narrative, and the translator, Samuel William Pring, has succeeded in conveying its original flavour.... I can attest that undertaking a translation and commentary that would meet present-day academic criteria must have seemed an almost impossible task. That is why I wish to emphasize that the completion of this project is one worth celebrating, and that the collective labour of those involved deserves the approbation of the wider musicological community." ―Marina Ritzarev, Eighteenth-Century Music, Vol.6.2 2009
"... truly the cornerstone for the study of Russian music before the nineteenth century... a refreshingly balanced presentation of both sacred and secular music traditions that is truly remarkable in its breadth of scholarship and detail.... Findeizen's History deserves high praise and enthusiastic endorsement; it belongs on every post secondary-course reading list as the preeminent source for the study of Russia's musical heritage." ―Gregory Myers, Port Moody, BC, Canada, RUSSIAN REVIEW, April 2009
"Findeyzen's major work... remains the foundation-stone on which all later work on the history of Russian music before the 19th century has been built." ―Gerald Abraham, The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians
"[This new translation]... is a significant resource which exposes some fascinating episodes in Russia's musical past and which will no doubt encourage the study of early Russian music by scholars outside the country, just as the original publication stimulated studies by musicologists in Russia itself." ―Marina Ritzarev, Eighteenth-Century Music, 6/2 Sept. 2009
"Copiously illustrated, comprehensive, and exhaustive.... a historical first.
... deserves high praise and enthusiastic endorsement... as the preeminent source for the study of Russia's musical heritage." ―Gregory Myers, Port Moody, BC, Canada, The Russian Review, Vol. 68.2 April 2009
"[This] work stands as an impressive testimony to a life of intensive and indefatigable research... [This] edition of Findeizen's History should leave music historians with no excuses for keeping Russian music outside their field of interest and inquiry." ―Francis Maes, Ghent University, Music & Letters, Vol. 90.4 Nov. 2009
"... Meticulously indexed, it includes relevant musical scores as appendices and is wonderfully illustrated with everything from images of instruments to skomorokhi. There are copious tables of little known musical terms, samples of chastushki, synopses of operas, lists of published works and famous musicians and composers... If it took place in Russia from 1 AD to the end of the 1800s and had to do with music, you are likely to find something in here about it. An invaluable reference work." ―Russian Life
"Throughout the work Findeizen’s invaluable original illustrations and music examples have been faithfully reproduced, together with the author’s extensive notes. But what is particularly impressive about this volume, which forms the pièce de résistance of the fine series of Russian Music Studies... under the editorship of Malcolm Hamrick Brown, is the manner in which the editors, Miloš Velimirovic´ and Claudia Jensen, have not only annotated and corrected the work in order to bring it up to date in the light of contemporary scholarship but have provided a vast array of new musicological and bibliographical materials, which must in turn serve as a foundation for future research into the still comparatively little explored field of early Russian music.... this impressive undertaking....[is] a remarkable achievement." ―Gerald Seaman, University of Oxford, FONTES ARTIS MUSICAE, 56.4 October-December 2009
"Certainly, there is still much to be learnt about Russian music before Glinka, and even for those working on the music of the nineteenth, twentieth and now twenty-first centuries, Findeizen and his editors are models for us all." ―Slavonic and East European Review, Vol. 88, no. 4, October 2010
"This is a groundbreaking, important translation, and it benefits from the expertise of its editors, all well-known musicologists whose research has focused on Russian music.... Highly recommended." ―Choice, January 2009
Nikolai Findeizen (1868–1928) founded The Russian Musical Gazette in 1894 and was a member of the artistic council of the Soviet State Opera and State Ballet Theater.
Samuel William Pring (1866–1954), whose home was the Isle of Wight, was an accountant, an amateur clarinetist, and a translator of works about Russian music.
Milos Velimirovic is Professor Emeritus of Music at the University of Virginia.
Claudia R. Jensen has published articles on Russian music in The Musical Quarterly and Journal of the American Musicological Society.