I think from his paintings and writings it’s safe to say that Yefim Ladyzhensky was into street organs:
Performances requiring an entrance fee are almost beyond my means. But street shows – these are our abode. “Katarinka” (this was the popular nickname for a street-organ) was a frequent visitor at our yard, where the respectable front of our three-story building alleged well-being and therefore the ability of our tenants to spare a donation…
Another form of Little Catherine is also the nickname given to another type of organ – Stalin’s – though the camel-tached Georgian instrument builder’s Katyusha was less a barrow organ or street organ than a juggernorgan in the Krishnan sense:
The rockets all make the same sound (looped here) because the instrument was designed to accompany the equally monotonous bala-Laika, an orbiting dog piano modelled on the Katzenklavier – here’s Henry Dagg’s:
The CIA tried to discredit this great progressive project using agent Ray Anderson (more Yankee space-race songs):
Sputniks and mutniks, flying through the air,
Sputniks and mutniks, flying everywhere,
It’s so ironic. Are they atomic?
Those funny missiles have got me scared.
Were the rockets longitudinally heterogeneous, they could have been used for non-sustainable change-ringing:
…or to play the Stalinist fakesong, “Katyusha”, after which the BM-8, BM-13, and BM-31 “Katyusha” rocket launchers were named:
Apple and pear trees were a-blooming,
Mist creeping on the river.
Katyusha set out on the banks,
On the steep and lofty bank.
That ↑ is a nice arrangement (¿who has all the best tunes?), but Bindi singing along with the Wehrmacht’s “Schwarzbraun ist die Haselnuss” is the best totalitarian-dogs-of-war track I know (empathic translation):
Schwarzbraun ist die Haselnuss,
schwarzbraun bin auch ich, bin auch ich.
Schwarzbraun muss mein Mädel sein,
gerade so wie ich!
Dark brown is the hazelnut,
dark brown am I too, am I too.
Dark brown must my girlfriend be,
the one with the waggly tail.
Cressida Connolly says that in The Worm at the Core: On the Role of Death in Life, Sheldon Solomon, Jeff Greenberg and Tom Pyszczynski say that we go to war to escape death, not patriotic kitsch.
- Top 10 Russian football songs: No. 8: the 1938 Futbol’nyy Marsh (“Football March”) by Matvey Blanter, composer of Stalin-era patriotic ditties
With a recording of a barrel alarm clock, a Shostakovich anecdote, a copyright tussle between the Russian Premier League and the Russian Authors’ Society, and more Blatner material.
- Transvestite barrel organ dancers in 1930s Whitechapel and the 1860s London West End
With acrobats, clowns, and Doris and Thisbe, goddesses of wind.
- Paintings by Yefim Ladizhinsky of street organs accompanying shows
A guy winding a handle isn’t much to look at, so it was cool to find this site dedicated to Yefim Ladizhinsky (1911-82), whose work I really like, and who shows Odessa organ-grinders working with other performers. Re Spectacle (organist bottom left) he writes:
A street-organ is a musical chest the size of a small suitcase. In
- So where does Silvio Berlusconi stand on organ-grinders?
Unfortunately Alan Friedman’s excellent authorised bio, My Way, leaves us none the wiser.