Voices from Russia

Monday, 21 January 2013

21 January 2013. Some of My Favourite Things… The Late Great Valentina Tolkunova Singing Я Не Могу Иначе (Ya Nye Mogu Inache: I Can’t Do Anything Else)

Valentina Tolkunova with nuns

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This is one of my fave songs sung by one of the greatest Russian pop singers ever… Valentina Tolkunova. When she passed recently, she received a full state funeral with a goose-stepping honour guard. Valentina Vasilyevna wasn’t only a People’s Artist of the RSFSR, she was a sincere Christian with a bent towards secret charity… not only her voice was beautiful…

BMD

Monday, 1 October 2012

The Golden Age of Soviet Songs


Georg Ots (1920-75), People’s Artist of the USSR

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Я люблю тебя, жизнь! (I love you, life!)

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Moscow’s Helikon Opera opened its new season with a musical revue of Soviet songs. Its brand new production Back in the USSR, titled after a popular Beatles song, is set to become the highlight of the season. The idea of creating a revue with setting and costumes based on Soviet songs occurred to the opera company’s leadership after the theatre hosted an evening of Soviet songs and the audience enjoyed every minute of it. The resulting set designs incorporate a public phone booth of the 1960s, a park fence, and a bench provided with video installations in the form of parks, starry skies, and rain. There’s also footage from old beloved Soviet films.

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Valentina Tolkunova (1946-2010),  People’s Artist of the RSFSR

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Я не могу иначе (I can’t do anything else)

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The theatre’s artistic director, Dmitri Bertman, spoke to our VOR correspondent, “Currently, old Soviet songs are more than welcome, as people are nostalgic for them. The Soviet time, even though it was a time of the absurd, was saturated with spirituality and honesty. Soviet values appealed to the heart. That’s why we opted for such a production and judging by the reaction of the public, we were right in our choice”.

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Muslim Magomayev (1942-2008), People’s Artist of the USSR… THE BOSS

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Мелодия (A melody)

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Indeed, the performance earned long-lasting applause from the audience and the house exploded with storms of applause in the course of the play. Auditor Irina Schukina shared her opinion with VOR, “The performance was full of good humour and good songs. At first, I didn’t want to go because I thought it would be boring but I was wrong”. Student Yuliya Korotkaya commented, “Fantastic! So full of energy and positive emotions. I’ll come to see it again!”

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The contemporary group Serebro sings Журавли (The white cranes)

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Dmitri Khvorovstovsky (1962- ), People’s Artist of Russia, sings Как Молоды мы Были (How Young We Were)

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Ilya Ilyin, the producer of Back in the USSR, told VOR that the songs picked for the performance showed both positive and negative aspects of the Soviet era, saying, “Music is different. It can sound beautiful, horrible, tragic, joyful. I was born and lived in the Soviet Union, and I highly revere the songs that we sang as children and are currently singing in the theatre. The more you immerse in these songs, the more you realise what a powerful ideological machine was built in the Soviet days to ensure loyalty to the Soviet ideology. The cream of Soviet composers, including Dunayevsky, wrote for this machine. The genius of Dunayevsky coincided with the goals that these songs pursued”.

1 October 2012

Natalia Viktorova

Voice of Russia World Service

http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_10_01/The-Golden-Age-of-Soviet-songs/

Editor’s Note:

Most decent and real Russian people love Soviet songs, as they’re usually positive in tone and damned good music. The people who want to remove the Soviet period from Russian history and the Russian soul have to go and soak their heads in a bucket of ice until the good sense returns. There was much good and much bad in that period. What makes it so difficult is that so much good stood cheek-by-jowl with much evil. On the hand, yes, there was the GULag, the dictatorship, the oppressive hand of the Party apparat, but on the other hand, there was the space programme, the Great Victory, the mass literacy and health campaigns, and the highest living standards that Russia had known (shared rather more equally than at present, I might add).

There must be repentance for the evil… and a celebration of the achievements, both, in the same way, and in equal measure. Lenin must be laid to rest next to his mother in Piter, but his tomb in Moscow must be kept as a reminder of that time… both of its evil and of its grandeur. After all, Lenin wasn’t corrupt or greedy… history tells us that his needs and personal manners were modest and he didn’t enrich himself or his family (quite unlike some American politicians I could name). Today’s Russia would be the lesser without it…

Soviet song lived… Soviet song lives… Soviet song shall live!

BMD  

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Videos. “Back in the USSR”… Soviet Pop Stars

It wasn’t all the Red Army Chorus and songs about heroic tractor drivers… here’s some of the more popular chart-toppers from late Soviet times (the vids include some made in post-Soviet times).

BMD

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Let’s start with the inimitable Oleg Gazmanov…

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Oleg Mikhailovich is singing “One Victory” at a Victory Day Concert…

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Valentina Tolkunova sings one of her standards, I Can’t Help It…

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and Why Do You Come to Me?

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We shouldn’t forget “The Boss”… the great Muslim Magomayev… here Muslim sings Old Man River

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and a 1985 performance of Elegy.

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Lyudmila Zykina sings My Motherland

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here is her last public performance before her death in 2009. Note how the two young men from the Russia Ensemble (which she founded) discreetly support Lyudmila Georgievna so that she can perform… and how the audience stands in respect for her. You can have the Tea Party or you can have this… there’s no choice, is there?

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Lev Leshchenko sings one of his standards, Eternal Love…

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and We’re Off to Battle, Again.

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Here’s an early song by Zhanna Bichevskaya…

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and here she sings Where Have All the Flowers Gone in Russian.

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Lev Leshchenko sings Victory Day at a gala Victory Day concert…

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Tolmacheva Sisters singing on Victory Day. Technically, post-Soviet, but it shows how contemporary Russians still honour the legacy of the Soviet Union.

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Last, but not least, let’s end as we began, here’s Oleg Gazmanov singing I was Born in the USSR!

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None of us Russians have repudiated ANY of the great achievements of the Soviet period. If American Tea Partiers or neocons don’t like that… they can eat shit and die! Don’t forget… they financed, armed, and supported Osama bin Laden in the ’80s (thus, laying the groundwork for 9/11). Heady reflection, no? It makes their current “War on Terror” look asinine, doesn’t it?

Monday, 3 May 2010

A Friend Said that Valentina Tolkunova Came to Faith after Surviving a Terrible Terrorist Attack in Tel Aviv

Valentina Vasilevna Tolkunova (1946-2010), Honoured Artist of Russia and Folk Artist of Russia {in Russian, an “artist” is an actor/musician/dancer, not a “painter”: editor}. Valentina Vasilevna received the Order of St Vladimir, the Order of St Nicholas, the Order of St Anne, the Order of St Barbara, the Order of Pyotr Veliki, and the Order of Friendship, and she was honoured as a Knight of the Order of the Patrons of the Century for her public work.

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Since I’m principled, I hate lies. If I see injustice, I’ll not keep silent, and many don’t like that. Indeed, my nature easily finds a common language with the angelic, but when something is hurtful, unpleasant, or shameful, I’ll speak up about it. To be honest, I’m glad I’m that way, because you need principles, you can’t simply blindly accept everything that the world offers you. Unfortunately, the world’s sometimes unjust, and when I’m pushed to go against my conscience, I simply won’t do it.

Valentina Vasilevna Tolkunova

Honoured Artist of Russia

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Why not one of Valentina Vasilevna’s performances?

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Friday marks 40 days since the death of famous singer Valentina Tolkunova. According to an old friend, she became a believer after surviving a terrorist attack in Israel. In an interview published on Friday in the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, songwriter Viktor Gin said that in 1994 Valentina was staying with him in Tel Aviv, and that all three of them went to the Dizengoff shopping mall. Whilst they were there, a terrorist attack that killed forty people. “God protected Valya. She was as far as you could be in the mall from the explosion. However, her friend, a doctor, was severely wounded and had to recuperate in hospital”, Mr Gin said. He went on to say that Valentina confessed to him before her departure, “My whole life is turned upside down! God protected me”. After this incident, she became a firm Orthodox believer. “[Valentina] really did a lot of soul-searching. For instance, she made regular pilgrimages to the Russian convent on the Mount of Olives. Every year, for many years, she came for a week or two. None of her Israeli friends knew that she was there. She went by herself and didn’t want to meet anybody”, Mr Gin recalled. Now, her friends say that there are plans to release a CD with Valentina Tolkunova performing church hymns.

30 April 2010

Interfax-Religion

http://www.interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=35393

 

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Here’s Valentina Vasilevna from 1982

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Editor’s Note:

Isn’t that the way of it in so many cases? One has a crisis in one’s life that leads one back to belief. For instance, Lyudmilla Putina almost died in an auto crash. That not only led her back to faith, it brought her husband Vladimir to real belief, too. That’s how you can tell that the Renovationists are not true Christians. They hold real and obvious conversion stories up to ridicule and laugh at them (just as they cast doubt on the clear truth about the saints, the Scriptures, and the Church). Do take a look and see how they hate the Putins and besmirch their obvious and real Christianity. However, the fathers on the Mountain greeted Vladimir Vladimirovich with sincere and unfeigned joy when he came to the Great Lavra. You can stand with SVS (and JP and the HOOMies) and sneer at real Orthodox faith or you can stand with the Athonite fathers and embrace it. I know where I stand, what about you?

BMD

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