New Collected Works Film Music

“New Babylon”. Op. 18

Volume 122

Music to the black-and-white silent film. Score.
Edited by Sergei Chebotaryov. Explanatory article by Manashir Iakubov. Editor-in-chief Manashir Iakubov. Published in full for the first time.

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  There are a vast number of manuscript sources of the music to the film New Babylon.
  The complete author’s manuscript of the score is kept in Dmitri Shostakovich’s personal depository in the Manuscript Department of the Glinka State Central Museum of Musical Culture in Moscow (GSCMMC, rec. gr. 32, f. 26). It also has fragments of the rough draft manuscripts of the score and piano score (rec. gr. 32, f. 108). The complete copy of the publication of the set of lithographic orchestral parts, which includes 14 parts, and the piano score are kept in the Scientific Library of the Russian Institute of Art History (RIAH) in St. Petersburg. The Manuscript Office of RIAH also has a copy with some of the manuscript corrections.
  The Central Music Library (CML) in St. Petersburg has a copy with corrections made by Shostakovich himself.
  There is also a full set of lithographic orchestral parts in the Russian State Library in Moscow, and a few of the orchestral parts and part of the piano score in Dmitri Shostakovich’s Archives, and so on.
The score of the music to the film New Babylon is being published for the first time. The publication is based on the author’s manuscript of the score kept at the GSCMMC.
  When preparing the score for publication, the lithographic orchestral parts and the Suite from music to the film compiled by Gennadi Rozhdestvensky were also used in dubious and unclear cases (D. Shostakovich, “New Babylon”. Suite from the Music to the Film, Score, Moscow, 1976).
  Sections of the score which correspond to reels do not have any subject titles in the score, but the programme issued for the premiere of New Babylon in 1929 gives the following titles:

  1. General Sale
  2. Head over Heels
  3. The Siege of Paris
  4. 18 March 1871
  5. Versailles against Paris
  6. The Barricade
  7. To the Firing Squad
  8. Death

  We thought it worth adding these titles to the score.
  The author’s manuscript shows signs of great haste during the work, at times it is difficult to read and understand the text. The extreme urgency of the order and the rapid rate, even for Shostakovich, of writing the score affected its quality in some places. This is shown by the frequent minor mistakes and discrepancies, and at times more serious ambiguities (here I will primarily point out ambiguities in the repetition marks of some sections). For example, in the author’s manuscript in the V-ni I and V-c. parts, in what would appear to be identical bars 166, 251, and 435, there are incomprehensible discrepancies in the accidentals (flats and naturals) before the D and B notes. The same is found in bars  170,  255,  and  439. There are also ambiguities and discrepancies in the harmonies and their distribution between V-ni II and V-le in bars 168-169, 172-173, 253- 254, 257-258, 437-438, and 441-442. We tried to eliminate such errors in the text, while retaining the special features of the author’s rendition.
  The score has several cuts: crossed out music notes, either rejected by the author during composition or cuts he made during remounting of the film. Small cuts have been reproduced in Comments, three large fragments have been included in the Appendix. The cuts marked in manuscript by some unknown hand have been restored in the main text of the score.
  The composer originally designated the music to New Babylon as Op. 17, but later it was listed in his compositions as Op. 18.
  The author’s manuscript gives continuous number references: from the first to the last reel. In this publication, each reel has its own numeration.
  The ties in Shostakovich’s score are frequently phrasing rather than performing.  The editor considered it necessary to retain them.


Flauto, Oboe, Clarinetto (B), Fagotto
Tromba (B), 2 Corni (F), Trombone
Triangolo, Tamburino, Tamburo, Tom-tom, Piatto sospeso, Piatti, Cassa
Flessatono, Silofono, Piano
Violini I, Violini II, Viole, Violoncelli, Contrabassi