REGISTER NOW AND GET
• 5 FREE tracks! • 101 tracks for $9.99
ClassicsOnline Home » Red Army Choir: Russian Favourites
Red Army Choir
Farewell of Slavianka
O field, my field
We are the red cavalry
There, far away, beyond the river
The Sacred War
There march the soldiers
In the forest by the combat-line
The sun set beyond the river
Soldiers' Chorus from The Decembrists
Song of the Volga Boatmen (Ey ukhnem)
Hey, there's the village
The Volga Burlacks' Song
Dark Eyes (Ochi chernye)
The Brave Lads of the Don
On the Road (A Soldier's Song)
The songs recorded by the Red Army Choir for this compact disc fall into four
groups. The first consists of old soldiers' songs (Farewell of Slavianka, The
Brave Lads of the Don, soldiers' Chorus from the opera The Decembrists).
The second includes songs of the Civil War (O field, my field, We are the red
cavalry and There, far away, beyond the river) and the third songs of
what is known in Russia as the Great Patriotic War, the struggle against Nazi
Germany (The Sacred War, There marched the soldiers, In the forest by the
combat-line, The sun set beyond the river and On the road). The
fourth group is of popular Russian folk-songs (Song of the Volga Boatmen,
Troika, The Cliff and Dark Eyes).
Farewell of Slavianka was composedin 1912 by V. Agapkin, a cavalry-man
and student of trumpet and composition at the Tambov Music College. The music is
based on events in the Balkan wars of liberation from the five-hundred-year-long
power of the Ottoman Empire and was dedicated to all Slav women and various
texts have been written to change the work into a song. The present recording
uses words by A. Fedotov. The work has enjoyed enormous popularity and was heard
in Red Square on 7th November 1941, when it was played by massed bands as a
prelude to the march of the troops to the front line. The same music was used by
Polish patriots and in Bulgaria it has served as a standard item in military
parades in Sofia and in the graduation ceremonies of army schools.
O field, my field is a choral episode from a symphony by L. Knipper,
described by the writer as a poem about a Comsomol warrior. The first line of
the text was written by the composer and the rest in 1924 by the poet Victor
Gusev. The song has become widely popular at home and abroad and was described
by the conductor Leopold Stokowsky as the best song of the twentieth century .
In 1919 the authors of The March of Budyonny, D. Pokrass and A.
d'Actile (Frenkel), lived in Rostov-on-Don, a city at the time occupied by White
Russian forces, working in the local show-group The One-Eyed Jimmy. In
January 1920 the city was taken by the First Cavalry and the song commemorates
that event, later taken into the repertory of the Red Army. Pokrass subsequently
joined the Red Army and was composer to the First Cavalry .The song won
immediate popularity and was soon known throughout the country.
1924 brought the first Comsomol song, something that had long been needed by
the young people of the organization. The words were written by a Comsomol poet,
N. Kool, who found a melody for it in his favourite Russian folk-song A sun
has risen in Siberia. When Kool was serving in the army in Moscow, his
comrades often complained of the lack of new songs, and he wrote for them There,
far away, beyond the river, a song that soon won wider popularity, as
soldiers returned from service to their own parts of the country, becoming
itself a folk-song in its own right.
The Sacred War is a musical symbol of the Great Patriotic War. The
words were written by V. Lebedev-Kurnachand were published in Izvestia on 24th
June 1941. The music was written by A. Alexandrov on the same day and was
immediately sung by the Red Army Choir, who performed it on 27th June at the
Belorusky railway station, as the soldiers left for the front. The song, like a
call to arms, was heard all over the country. In his memoirs Major-General A.
Kronik describes one of the concerts at the front line: When we heard the
sounds of The sacred War, which had become a genuine folk-song, the hearts of
officers and men trembled within them, raw recruits and hardened soldiers, with
their scars and moustaches, felt the same. Everyone clutched his rifle. I looked
at the soldiers and officers, my brother-warriors, and with all my heart I felt
their readiness for action. The song moved soldiers and also those left at
There marched the soldiers is a setting by B. Alexandrov of the 1949 poem
of A. Dostal. The soldiers marched out to defend the motherland and succeeded in
In the forest by the combat-line was written in 1943 by the composer M.
Blanter and the poet H. Isakovsky. The sound of the old waltz, Dream of
Autumn, is heard in the forest near the front line. The soldiers listen and
remember their beloved, the peaceful life they led before the war. They
understand that only through war can they reach their aim.
The authors of The sun set beyond the mountain, M. Blanter and A.
Kovalenkov, tell of the return home of the soldiers, having defended their
country against the enemy in a battle where some of their comrades have given
The Soldiers' Chorus from V. Shaporin's opera The Decembrists is
sung by soldiers leaving across the Danube for war with Turkey and celebrating
their own courage.
The Song of the Volga Boatmen is an old Russian folk-song, here arranged
by B. Alexandrov. The boat menare hauling a heavy barge and sing to make their
toil the lighter. The song, powerful and strong, suggests the character of
Troika has a text by F .Glinka and music arranged by V. Agarkov. As he
journeys, the coachman tells his fare of his troubles, his separation from his
beloved, who has married a rich old man that she cannot love.
The folk-song The Cliff tells us about a cliff overlooking the River
Volga. Lofty and majestic, it recalls the hero Stenka Razin, a leader of the
poor against seventeenth century Tsarist tyranny.
Hey, there's the village is a Ukrainian folk-song, arranged by A.
Alexandrov. A brave cossack rides back home from the war and dreams about his
The Volga Burlack' s Song was written by A. Alexandrov and the poet O
Kolychev. Its story was inspired by Ilya Repin's picture The Volga Burlacks, representing
the pain and toil of the Russian people.
Dark Eyes is a gypsy romance and had gained currency by the end of the
nineteenth century. It is derived from a waltz by Waldteufel and has a text by
E. Grebyonka: I met you, dark eyes, and fell in love with you for
ever: you have ruined me, but I am happy to have controlled this great
feeling of love.
The Brave Lads of the Don is a Russian folk-song, arranged by A.
Mikhailov. It tells of events in the war of 1812 against Napoleon, when the
daring warriors from the Don helped to defend Moscow, a symbol of the unity of
the Russian people.
On the Road was written in 1945, the work of the composer A. Novikov and
the poet L. Oshanin. On the road to war, one does not know one's fate: Shots
sound, the raven flies around...your friend lies dead in the grass, but we must
not forget this road.
Moscow Nights is one of the most popular of Russian songs. It was written
in 1956 by V. Solovyov-Sedo and the poet M. Matusovsky. A man in love asks his
beloved not to forget these summer Moscow nights, where their love has been
Red Army Choir
Choral music in Russia, based on continuing liturgical traditions, was
largely unaccompanied. After 1917 Russian Orthodox choral music was largely
replaced, popularly, by songs of workers, peasants and soldiers and
revolutionary songs. The Red Army Ensemble was established in 1928 by Alexander
Alexandrov, who directed the Ensemble for eighteen years. The first great
success abroad came in 1937 at the Paris International Exhibition. The group
became more widely known internationally in the 1950s, in particular with a
visit by the 200-member Ensemble to London in 1956 and popular concerts which
aroused immediate critical enthusiasm. The Red Army Ensemble now numbers some
175 musicians and performers, with a men's choir, dance company and orchestra
and a repertoire that ranges from folk-song to opera. The present Music Director
and Principal Conductor is Victor Fedorov.
Victor Federov was born in Moscow in 1946 and completed his studies as a
conductor and composer at the Moscow Conservatory in 1968. His career has
involved work with the All Russia Radio Choir, the Military Ensemble of Moscow
Military District and, as co-founder, with the Military Ensemble in Mongolia. He
has held his position with the Red Army Ensemble since 1986.
Last Albums Viewed
Red Army Choir: Russian Favourites