The factory was located in the remote part of Vasilievsky Ostrov (Kozhevennaya liniya, 23). It was administered by Leningrad Muztrest and the name of this organization was on the records’ labels till 1937 inclusive. In addition, the factory was managed by Leningrad Regional Administration of the Local Industry (LRALI) that was also mentioned on the labels. According to ‘’The whole Leningrad” guides, the factory had three departments (commercial, mill and technical control), four workshops (sound recording, electroplating, press and mechanical) and a laboratory. The factory also had a printing house that printed labels and envelopes. In 1935 the management of the factory was located on Pushkinskaya street, 10. Later it was moved to Kozhevennaya liniya.
The first records of the factory were released tentatively in 1935. They were re-recordings from the foreign records, soundtracks of the movies (e.g. pieces from the film “Peter”, tone films (e.g. the speech of S.M. Kirov).
The number of the original (Leningrad) records in the early years of the factory was small. There was a sharp increase in 1937, apparently after the foundation of their own recording studio. The recordings of Kirov and Maly Opera theaters, the Leningrad State Philharmony, outstanding children’s writers (S.Ya. Marshak, K.I. Chukovsky), pop singers (Ye.B. Flux, K.I. Shulzhenko and V.F. Korally, I.D. Yureva etc.) and also jazz bands (G.V. Landsberg, L. Diderich, A.V. Semenova, Ya.B. Skomorovsky) were released.
In 1939-1941 the series of dancing recordings of the factory’s orchestra was released (the conductor’s name, for some reason, wasn’t mentioned on the labels). The factory continues to re-record foreign records like in its early years, which are joined with the newest popular Moscow music. Some records were made from Gramplastrest’s matrixes (1937-1939) and The Moscow Experimental Factory (recordings of L.O. Utesov and L.A. Ruslanova). In case of wearing down of the Moscow’s matrix, the factory produced its own (by re-recording the required record) and assigning to it its own number.
In 19490-1941 the factory produces non-breakable flexible records.
With the beginning of the Great Patriotic war and soon the blockade, the factory stops recording and printing. The last recording currently known is ¹ 3021 tango “The Fairytale” performed by the factory’s own orchestra.
Before the war the records from the factory’s matrices were printed by Leningrad artel “Gramplastmass” and Sverdlovsk Regional Cinema Trust.
Part of the matrices of 1940-1941 survived and in the first years after war the records from them were printed by Leningrad experimental factory and the Leningrad industrial factory of Svedrlov district.
In the post-war period the factory building was located on the territory of
the Baltic plant, which didn’t survive till our time.
Some of the records the factory printed by special orders. They were re-recordings from the year 1936 discs of Petr Leshenko, Alexander Vertinsky and other emigrant artists (intended for the Communist Party elite of Leningrad), also there was a test record to determine the frequency response of pickups.
Almost all of the recordings were performed twice and recorded one after another. Therefore, the original recordings usually have two takes. The different takes could be issued in different years (as well as with different RPMs) or by different plants.
The numbering system of the records of the factory has a number of particularities. At different stages of the factory operating the number of numbers on each of the sides changed. So, in 1935 there was only one number which was indicated at the bottom of the label. In 1936 the number of numbers increased to three. The first one was the matrix number; it was shown only on the record mirror. The second was the catalog number; it was mentioned both on the mirror of the record and on the label. The third was the Lenrepertkom permit, it was shown on the label.
The catalog number of the records of 1936 till the first part of 1939 has the information about the repertoire group of the recorded piece. It is marked by the numbers 1 to 14. On the record with S.SH. Irtlach recordings ¹ 2545 “I won’t tell you” and ¹ 2547 “Where would I meet my honey” the repertoire group is marked with letter D. Part of the records of 1936 (including the records by special orders with Leshenko songs and others) the repertoire group was marked with letter N. It is likely that there are records with repertoire group marked with other letters.
The repertoire group decryption is presented in table 1.
Repertoire group Nr.
Chamber vocal and instrumental recordings
Soviet mass songs songs
Re-recordings from tonfilms and movies
After the repertoire group number (if there is one) followed the catalog number of the record with a hyphen that was both on the surface of the record and on the label. The records by special order 1936 had no catalogue number. On their surface was printed letter K, instead. The catalogue number was followed by the letter with a hyphen indicating the side (A or B). The record which sides were originally intended for sparky, has the same digital catalog number and different letters on the sides. Otherwise, for some reason, the matrixes were shuffled. Some popular songs were recorded repeatedly. Usually, recordings of the same song different years (re-recordings from the same record or records of the same artist) have the same catalog number (but different matrix numbers, the difference is more than 2 numbers).
Permission number Lenrepertkom has abbreviation LRK and a number. Sometimes the LRK number was taken twice for the same piece recorded in different years.
It should be noted that on the early records of the factory the catalog groups were marked by letters (see Table 2) and before the permission number was the abbreviation R (not LRK).
Repertoire group letter
Opera, Ballet, Operetta (?)
In the lower part of the labels of the records of 1937-the first half of 1939, a certain similarity of the price letter (“R”, “KN”, “PR”) was depicted. It has not yet been possible to decipher the “letters”. It should be noted that "R "was used on pop records; “KN” on discs with classics recordings, folk songs and Soviet pop songs; “PR” – political records. Since the second half of 1939, the factory began to use four generally accepted price letters: “A” (for political recordings), “Á” (for recordings of classical music, colloquial genre), “Â” (for recordings of Soviet mass songs), “Ã” (for pop and operetta recordings).
It is difficult to date the factory records for several reasons. In particular, because of the unavailability (in case of preservation) of the recording log, a small number of original Leningrad phonograms to which you can link the exact date of the recording (for example, songs from a newly released movie). The conditions of dating of the factory records by the matrix number is presented in Table 3.
~ 201… ~ 500
~ 501…~ 1200
~ 1201…~ 1800
~ 1801…~ 2180
~ 2181…~ 2700
~ 2701…3021, …?
The Leningrad factory of gramophone records in the pre-war years was the largest producer of music records in the Neva city. The search, preservation and popularization of the factory's sound heritage is an important task for the culture of Leningrad-Petersburg and all of Russia.
English translation by Anna Alexeeva