The Great Soviet Union Will Live Through The Ages!

Stephen Marks points me to this one-stop shop for all your Russian / Soviet anthem needs.

There’s an astonishing collection of recordings of the song formerly known as the Hymn of the Soviet Union here — Paul Robeson, obviously [and there’s more on Robeson today here]; but also the broadcast from the Victory Parade in Moscow in June 1945; a wartime version for the BBC conducted by Sir Adrian Boult; sung in Moscow before a rugby international against Wales; various pop and rock versions; and what may be my brother’s favourite recording of anything ever, the Leningrad Cowboys and the Alexandrov Red Army Ensemble performing Gimme All Your Lovin’ / The Hymn of the Soviet Union as part of their epic 1993 Helsinki concert, the Total Balalaika Show; and so on, and so on, and so on.

And there’s more…

There’s the only recording of the Internationale made by a Nazi band, at the time of the 1936 Olympics (though in the end the USSR team didn’t show up). There are three pre-Revolutionary recordings of Bozhe, tsarya khrani, better known as the main theme from the 1812 Overture (and another recording by the Pipes and Drums and Military Band of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards). There are lots of recordings of related songs, parody versions, historical curiosities.

It’s a fabulous, fabulous collection (and these are terrific songs, too). Why haven’t I stumbled across it before?

0 thoughts on “The Great Soviet Union Will Live Through The Ages!”

  1. Bloody hell – I did a search for the Finnish band Leningrad Cowboys, smugly assuming that it wouldn’t be clued-up enough to include their amazing version of ZZ Top’s ‘Gimme All Your Lovin’ against a backdrop of the Red Army Chorus performing both the Soviet national anthem and the Hallelujah Chorus in quick succession…

    …but how wrong I was!

    (Here’s a short cut.)

  2. And now that I’ve read the whole of your post instead of the first sentence and the link, I see you spotted the same thing, so great minds are clearly thinking alike.

  3. There’s nothing to worry about, Michael: this site is good enough to reduce even the finest minds to incoherent joy and wobbling enthusiasm.

  4. Incidentally, my dead cert for Desert Island Discs is actually the Leningrad Cowboys/Red Army Chorus all-male version of ‘Happy Together’, performed by a Finnish rocker and a Soviet Army colonel with their arms round each other’s shoulders and gazing fondly into each other’s eyes. I suspect you were one of the few people at my wedding who actually recognised it when we played it at the end.

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