I was looking at a ‘social media’ site this lunchtime when I happened to spot someone’s posting pointing out that today is the 134th birthday of the Russian/Soviet composer Alexander Vasilyevich Alexandrov (1883-1946).
Now, it’s most likely that you’ve heard no more than one single piece that he wrote; and that — even in that case! — you heard it without ever knowing that his name was attached to it…
And the reason for this is that, some time between 1942 and 1944, our friend Alexander Vasilyevich wrote the music for the old Soviet national anthem — which, with altered words, is now the national anthem of the Russian Federation.
It must have been getting on for a year ago when I mentioned on here that — for purely musical reasons, I promise! — I find most ‘national anthems’ to be every bit as pitiable as is the rubbishy concept of the ‘nation state’ itself. I may also have indicated that there is, nevertheless, a tiny handful of these tunes and settings that I consider to be of actual musical interest — and, as it happens, Alexandrov’s is one of them.
Since it’s his birthday, let me present a video of the ‘Alexandrov Ensemble’ (guess who it’s named after!) singing the piece that — within its inevitably severe limits — must be one of the most musically powerful national anthems in use today. And if you want to hear the music and its performance in relation to events in our own time, ponder the fact that — according to a comment added to this video — every single person you hear, with the exception of one, died in the Sochi plane crash of 25 December 2016: if you remember, this collection of hand-picked musicians was all but wiped out as it travelled towards Aleppo with the aim of celebrating that long-suffering Syrian city’s Russia-assisted liberation from the worst people in the world — murderers financed, armed, trained, directed and medically treated (as your state-corporate media won’t tell you!) by the ruling elites of France, Israel, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the UK, the United Arab Emirates and the US (all of whom must surely, therefore, be the worst people in the world also; but, then, you knew that already…). [Slightly out-of-date and incomplete Wikipedia entry here.]
So here, with very great respect, is Alexandrov, as sung and played by the Alexandrov Ensemble…
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