Soviet composers #3 – Matvey Blanter, part 1: The Dark-Eyed Cossack Girl (English subtitles)


The red light is on… Yes, the record started. “Talking with my father” Soviet composers: Serafim Tulikov,
Alexey Ekimyan and Arkady Ostrovsky Please, tell me which composers did you work with? And which songs did they write specially for you? Many Blanter’s songs were performed by the famous
Alexandrov ensemble of the Soviet Army But you’ll need a talented performer
in order for a song to be heard That’s why Blanter was friends
with many famous Soviet singers Yes, of course Matvey Isaakovich Blanter! Matvey Blanter was a real friend of mine! I should say that among other poets and composers we were very special friends with Matvey Isaakovich. He was such a nice and clever man! He was such an open and honest person! I remember when I was just a little boy…
in my home village of Golumet, and I used to sleep somewhere in the street And the son of a bear hunter came to our village Tyukhtin was his last name He was going to the army then And he was sitting with me in the morning
and singing a lullaby song and I still remeber it. “Sleep my little baby.
Years will rush past quickly You will fly away from the nest
like a brave eagle Stalin will give you power
and will show you the way! Sleep my little sparrow, sleep my little son,
sleep my little bell…” “Lullaby” performed by M. Alexandrovich This song was written by Blanter too. I was six years old and still remember this lullaby! He cried when I told him about this… He was such a sensitive person! “Were you really 6 years old when you heard it?!”
– he asked Then I told Blanter -“Could I ever suppose then…” That I’d ever sit and work with M. Blanter… The composer who’d write for me
such song as “Long-range guns are silent”, the one who’d write the
“Dark-eyed Cossack girl” for me and “The enemies burned a native hut” and some other songs that he wanted me to record. I said to Matvey Isaakovich then that
“The enemies burned a native hut” song didn’t fit my voice. “Please, give this song to Mark Bernes.” And he did. The enemies burned a native hut and killed his whole family. Where the soldier should go now? Whom shall he bring his grief?.. The soldier came to a crossroads being deeply sad The soldier found a shallow grave in the wide field… That’s the kind of voice this song shall be sung. But I have a different type
of voice – an operatic one… Bernes recorded this song on a disk then
and performed with it on a TV And he was a success with it. As for me… Taking into account my
breathing technique and my type of voice… I could simply spoil this song “The enemies burned a native hut”
and the second song as well. But Mark Bernes put them in the right place and they became very popular. Please, one minute! I need to let them go. My dear comrades! Thank you for the Katyusha song!
Thank you for your kindness! But most of all, thank you
for singing so well! To make a long story short, when we started
to record the Blanter’s songs at the recording studio I had to record the Dark-Eyed Cossack Girl song
and I did it. Then Blanter came up to me and said – “Lyonya, can you sing the Long-range Guns Are Silent
song while everything is set up in the studio?” It’s a military song about the Northwestern Front
during the WW2. This song used to be performed by Shapenko
a couple of times before that. But Blanter asked me to do that.
Everything was already ready – all parts for the orchestra and choir were arranged
and I just had to repeat what Shapenko sang. So I recorded this song as well. “The Long-range Guns Are Silent”
performed by Leonid Kharitonov “The Long-range Guns Are Silent Volleys have not been heard for a long time Why do I dream disturbingly at quiet nights? The sky is split with lightning
and flare to the full horizon. Our military youth is the Northwestern Front…” Then he invited me to some concert
devoted to the Northwestern Front… He had a meeting with the participants
of the Northwestern Front. The audience of the concert there
were given lists with a printed refrain of the song. I performed this song. Blanter was playing the piano.
And the audience sang along with us. Then the director of this concert hall
came to us after the performance. He said to Blanter: “Can you give us the notes of
the “Long-ranged guns are silent” song?” “We want to place those notes to our
local museum as a memory of Blanter” Then Blanter passed the notes to me and replied:
“Take the notes from the Kharitonov’s hands.” You see… He was such a prepossessing man! “What are you saying, Matvey Isaakovich?!
I can’t do that! I I only sang the song” – I responded “You sang and made it popular! Despite
Shapenko who used to sing it.” – said Blanter. OK. “The Dark-Eyed Cossack Girl” is one of
the most popular songs among your admirers. Can you tell the story of this song?
When and how did it happened? Blanter wrote a very beautiful song
“The Dark-Eyed Cossack Girl” song in 1966. Cossacks always attracted poets,
writers, composers and artists. So here’s the “The Dark-Eyed Cossack Girl” –
such a joyfull song! Blanter brought this song to me and we went
to Boris Alexandrov for an approvement. Boris Alexandrovich agreed to take the song and
made an orchestral and choir arrangement for the song. The interesting point is that I had not performed
this song in public for a while at first. Obviously I had some other songs to work on
and it wasn’t proper time for it. The Ensemble team liked this song very much! They all stood up when I started
to perform it at our rehearsals and they asked me:
“Lyonya, please, sing it again for us!” So we went on our tour to London. Straight after we rehearsed the Cossack Girl song with the Alexandrov Ensemble. Albert Hall is one of the best concert halls
in the world! About 4000-5000 of spectators! Many singers performed without a microphone there! But Alexandrov worried about Belyaev and put microphones on the stage. Our impresario Victor Hochhauser wanted me to sing 4-5 songs
instead of 2 and 3d song for encore. I was going to sing The Cliff and the Volga Boatmen song. And Alexandrov said to the impresario: “Ask him to sing the Dark-Eyed Cossack Girl song” He came up to me and said: and he was speaking Russian!.. “Can you sing the “Kazachka” song for me?” “How did you know about it?!” – I asked. “Well, I know!” – he replied. “And Lyonya, do me another favor!
Take the microphone away, please!” I answered: “OK. As you say!” “I’ll take you to a restaurant for that!
I promise!” – he said. So I asked Ruslanov Vadim Lvovich to remove
the microphone before I start my performance. “Are you sure?! What Alexandrov will say?..”
– he replied. “Don’t worry! It’ll be a present for Hochhauser!” So he took it away. There was a sudden pause… And I always was the last one to finish our concerts. Alexandrov was very surprised when he saw
Ruslanov removing the microphone! “What are you doing?!”
– Boris Alexandrovich told him. And the house burst into laughing! The 1st song I started to sing was
the Volga Boatmen song. “Yo, heave ho!
Yo, heave ho! One more time and once again… Now we fell the stout birch tree, Now we fell the curl one! Ay-da, da, ay-da!..” The house was silent –
“One could hear a fly’s flight” I started to sing it sotto voce (“mezza voce”). No microphone?! No microphone! And I started “pianissimo” (softly)! Yo, heave ho! One more time and once again… Yo, heave ho!
Yo, heave ho! One more time and once again… Now we fell the stout birch tree! Now we fell the curl one! Ay-da, da, ay-da!
Ay-da, da, ay-da! Now we fell the curl one! Now we fell the curl one! Yo, heave ho!
Yo, heave ho! And after that I started to use my voice in full power. 2d and 3d verses in full power! And finished it sotto voce (“mezza voce”) again. The audience burst into applause.
And it was just the 1st song! They started screaming, clapping and stomping so hard! Then I thought that they liked my trick with
the microphone rather than my singing abilities. The second song was “The Cliff” A mighty eagle… made his hideout there and there it torments its victims. A mighty eagle… made his hideout there and there it torments its victims. Then I sang the “Pastries with cheese”.
It’s a Ukrainian folk song. Once he walked in the direction
of the edge of the field and met a girl carrying pastries. You heard it, heard it, heard it. a girl carrying pastries. My sweet girl! You know my dreams –
that I love you and pastries with cheese! When the girls heard about the Cossack’s dreams She immediately invited him
to taste her fresh pastries. You heard it, heard it, heard it! She immediately invited him
to taste her fresh pastries. Cossack Girko was very happy! When he saw her pastries And he ate all the pastries with cheese
forgetting about the girl! “Pastries with cheese” Ovations again!
And then I decided… decided to make a premiere!.. a premiere of the “Dark-Eyed Cossack Girl”
song in the Albert Hall in England! That’s when the real madness started! Three times I sang this song
on an encore in the Albert Hall! My dear Boris Alexandrovich! My favorite general! A perfect chief of the Red-banner Ensemble! I cannot find words to thank you for making such a miracle today
with the help of this magic wand! Thank you very much! This record was made on the 29th of March, 2017
in Moscow by the son of the singer Mikhail. To be continued… Please, subscribe and comment!