Monday, January 26, 2015

Discovering the Soviet Past

A short preface.

The Soviet Government made huge efforts trying to elevate cultural level of people. Though, surely, workers and peasants were seldom guests in theaters (and the very number of theaters was not big enough to cover all population satisfactory), cinema was much wider accessible and popular.

Many remember that Lenin supposedly said "Cinema is the most important art for us". In the times when there were no TV and Internet it was definitely so.

Here is one of so called 'Cine-Concerts' created by the Lenfilm, that is Leningrad (now and before, St. Petersburg) Cinema Studio, to "bring good art to masses".

2:39 — Waltz of the Flowers from "The Nutcracker" ballet by Pyotr Tchaikovsky. Music is played by the Leningrad State Philarmonic Orchestra directed by Evgeny Mravinsky.
9:25 — Beethoven's Scottish Song (Come Fill, Fill, My Good Fellow), sung in Russian by Maxim Mikhailov, a unique basso profundo of the Soviet opera stage.
14:11 — Isaac Albeniz, "Navarra", performed by legendary Emil Gilels and Yakov Flier.
18:32 — "The Swan" by Camille Saint-Saëns, performed by Galina Ulanova, one of the best ballerinas of the 20th century.
21:10 — Lidia Ruslanova sings "Who Knows Why" (I Kto Ego Znaet), words by M.Isakovsky, music by V.Zakharov.
25:03 — "Railway Jazz" by the Brothers Pokrass Jazz Orchestra of the Central House of Culture of Railway Workers, directed by Dmitry Pokrass (Moscow).
30:50 — Ballade and the Duke's song from Rigoletto, Verdi, sung by Sergey Lemeshev; Gipsy Dance by a premiere dancer of the Leningrad Maly Opera Theatre Tatiana Oppengeim.
41:27 — A scene from the "Taras Bulba" ballet by Vasily Solovyov-Sedoi (pre-war version), staged in the Kirov State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet (now Mariinsky Theater, St. Petersburg). Dancers: Mikhail Dudko (Taras Bulba), Sergey Koren (Ostap), Vakhtang Chabukiani (Andriy).

What is special about this particular Cine-Concert is undoubtedly its release date, Monday, June 16, 1941.

Next Sunday Hitler, going on with the WW2, started the greatest war in the history of our country, which remains for generations "The Great Patriotic War". It destroyed the future of the country and lives of its people. Yet now, at the release date, no one knows, e.g., that pretty soon Mikhail Dudko will stay on the temporarily occupied Soviet territory and became a collaborant performing for the Germans — thus breaking his after-war life forever...

Sometimes I try ti imagine how happy would be our life if not that war, continued immediately after by our former allies as the cold one. Unfortunately, history does not know subjunctive mood. It knows only how fearful was the USSR for the 'civilizwed world'. To be more precise, how it was blackpainted by that world's leaders, so that people over there would not see its unquestionable social and economic achievements.

Though, this is another story, which is far from music and dances.

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