“The Red Army Choir #1 – Paul Robeson, Fidel Castro and a concert tour to Cuba, 1961” – is the next episode from the “Talking with my father” series (with English Subtitles). A Russian famous singer Leonid Mikhailovich Kharitonov will talk about the times when he used to work in the Red Army Choir (The Alexandrov Ensemble) in early 60-s. He will tell about the historic Ensemble’s octet performance together with Paul Robeson and Arthur Eizen for the leader of the Soviet Union (USSR) Nikita Khruschev. They performed “The Song About Motherland” then.
The 3d episode (with English subtitles) is dedicated to the one of the most famous Soviet composers – Matvey Blanter. Leonid Mikhailovich Kharitonov will talk about his creative collaboration with this composer and will tell about the history of the Dark-Eyed Cossack Girl song and its premier with the Alexandrov Red Army Choir in the Albert Hall in London on the March of 1967.
“Soviet composers #2 – Ostrovsky, Tulikov, Ekimyan” – is the second episode of the series (with English subtitles) and is dedicated to another three famous Soviet composers. Leonid Mikhailovich Kharitonov will talk about his creative collaboration with the composers of Soviet patriotic songs – Arkady Ostrovsky, Serafim Tulikov (such songs as “Motherland”, “Son of Russia”, “The Veterans Do Not Grow Old in Their Souls”) and Alexey Ekimyan (such songs as “Soviet country”, “Grey Hair”).
“Soviet composers #1 – Anatoly Novikov and Vano Muradeli” – This episode (with English subtitles) is dedicated to some famous Soviet composers. Leonid Mikhailovich Kharitonov will talk about his creative collaboration with the composers of Soviet patriotic songs – Anatoly Novikov (such songs as “Vasya-Vasilek”, “John Reed walks along Petrograd”, “The Ballad About Russian Boys”) and Vano Muradeli (such songs as “The War Is Not Over Yet”, “The Alarm Bells of Buchenwald”).
This video represents an interview of Leonid Kharitonov (the famous Russian opera singer) for the BBC Radio 3 channel. This conversation took place in December 2011 via international telephone connection.
Leonid Kharitonov told about his first experience of the Cliff song solo performance with the Alexandrov Red Army Choir at the Kremlin Palace of Congresses in Moscow in 1965.
This private footage was made personally by the Russian singer Leonid Kharitonov during his tour with some Soviet performers to Canada. The video shows how the artist saw this country in the far 1978 year.
Leonid Kharitonov gives an interview in a TV show entitled “Secrets of the Kremlin Concerts” (March 5, 2014.) He tells about his first solo performance in 1965, which he gave at a concert for Leonid Brezhnev and the Soviet leadership on the occasion of Lenin’s 95th anniversary. We’ve added English subtitles to the video.
It might seem a kitsch throwback to the days when music was an essential weapon in the Soviet armoury, but the Red Army Choir still sets the benchmark for military music-making some 80 odd years since it was founded. Now known as the Alexandrov Ensemble, the company of singers, players and dancers still tours the world as a cultural envoy of the Russian state. Aled Jones uncovers the history of the group, from its first glory years when it performed a vital role in promoting culture amongst the members of the Soviet military. He follows it through the Second World War when it gave an astounding 1500 concerts to motivate the troups, and then the post-war years when it had to re-invent itself as a vehicle for national pride across the world despite political resistance to its concerts in the West.
“Ej, Uhnem!”, (Russian: “Эй, ухнем!”), roughly translates to “Yo, Heave Ho!” This well-known Russian folk song is also known outside of Russia as “The Song of the Volga Boatmen“. The burlaks (boatmen) first appeared in Russia in the late 16th century. A burlak was a hired laborer who walked along the bank of the river as part of a crew, dragging ships against the current with a tow rope. The work was extremely heavy and monotonous. The song became widely known thanks to its performance by the great Russian bass, Fyodor Ivanovich Shalyapin, and has since become a favorite part of the repertoire of many singers and performers, both inside and outside of Russia. The famous painting by Russian artist Ilya Repin, “Burlaks on the Volga” (shown below), was inspired by the song.
This song is about the fate of the 17th century Russian rebel, Stepan Razin. The lyrics were written in 1864 by novelist Alexander Alexandrovich Navrotsky who was also a member of Narodnaya Volya (Russian: Народная Воля), a secret revolutionary organization perhaps best known for assassinating Tsar Alexander II on March 13, 1881. The song was an anthem for revolutionaries of the late 19th and early 20th century in Russia; Lenin often sang it with his comrades-in-arms. The song is still culturally central to Russia. Leonid Kharitonov remembers:
“My solo career truly began with a concert in the Kremlin Palace of Congresses on April 22, 1965, dedicated to the 95th anniversary of Lenin, when I sang “There is a cliff on the Volga.” [Click here to listen to this performance.]