"The Bedbug". Music for the comedy spectacle in five acts, nine scenes by V. Mayakovsky.
Premiere: February 13, 1929 in Moscow at the Meyerhold Theatre. Directed by V. Meyerhold. Assisted by V. Mayakovsky (work on the text). Sets by Kukryniksy and A. Rodchenko.
First Edition: D. Shostakovich, Collected Works, Volume 27, Moscow, 1986.
Manuscripts: in the Central State Theatrical Museum (Stack 'Meyerhold', No.180171), in the Russian State Archive for Literature and Art (Stack 2048, Inv. 2, Item 42) and the Glinka State Central Museum for Musical Culture (Stack 32).
"At the beginning of 1929 Vsevolod Emilievich Meyerhold, after putting on 'The Bedbug', suggested to me that I should write music for the play." I was very happy to undertake the task. During rehearsals I made Mayakovsky's acquaintance... I had several conversations with him about my music for 'The Bedbug'. I have to say that the first of these left me with a rather strange impression. Mayakovsky asked me: "Do you like firemen's bands?". I said that I did sometimes, but not always. Mayakovsky said that he preferred firemen's bands and that I ought to write for 'The Bedbug' the kind of music, which is played by firemen's bands. This statement knocked me backwards at first, but
later I realized that the idea underlying it was a more serious one. Mayakovsky merely imagined that the music of a fireman's band would fit the first part of the comedy best of all... I don't want to speculate as to whether Mayakovsky liked my music or not, but he listened to it all and briefly commented:" It fits all right!". I took those words as approval, because Mayakovsky was a very blunt man who never went in for hypocritical compliments".
(D.Shostakovich. "New Thoughts on Mayakovsky. "Literaturnaya Gazeta". October 9, 1956).