Written by Russian author Veniamin Alexandrovich Kaverin, Open Book (Otkrytaya kniga) is one of the great classics of Soviet literature. The story was turned into a feature film in 1973 and later it was turned into a nine-part television mini-series. Helmed by prominent producer Victor Titov, the first four episodes premiered in 1977, while another five were shot a year later with some central parts recast – this batch was first televised in 1980. The music for both halves of the series was written by composer Nikolay Martynov.
Born in Leningrad in 1938, Martynov graduated from the local conservatory as a musicologist from the class of Mikhail Druskin. As an artist, his key research were Dmitry Shostakovich and Russian choral music. Throughout the years he penned four symphonies, operas (Galileo, Cherry Orchard) and ballets (Hercules, Petersburg Dreams). In terms of screen music, he lent his talents to some 30 projects, the best-known of which are serialized television adaptations of classic literary works such as Maxim Gorky’s The Life of Klim Samgin and of course Open Book.
This release of Nikolay Martynov’s Open Book is a rare example of Russian television scoring available commercially. Only a handful of tapes survive of this era as neither the studios, nor the composers saw too much potential in television scores. For Open Book, only the music from the first half (Parts 1-4) survived. It’s a rare treasure to hear a film score recording from the 1970s with conductor Vladislav Chernushenko instructing the Leningrad State Philharmonic as well as the Choir of the Leningrad Chapel. Liner notes by Gergely Hubai discuss the film and the score based on an all-new interview with the composer!