#980: 1942, Alexander Alexandranov and Sergey Mikhalkov, the State Anthem of the Soviet Union

by George_East on January 15, 2015

National anthems?  Very tricky.  Also for STLAS purists out there you may have noted that Charlie East-West has moved to designating the year for the song as the date the anthem were composed rather than in respect of any specific recording, so I have stuck with that here.   This is in fact a superb recording by the Choir of the Red Army.

When I was young and I watched major global sporting events in which anthems were played like the Olympic Games there were only two anthems that really used to stick in my head. One, the La Marseillaise (clearly the best anthem ever written) we’ve already had (and its use in Casablanca still brings a tear to my eye even though I’ve seen the film more times than I can count).

The other one was the old Soviet Anthem which is incredibly stirring (even if the rendition by  Sean Connery and the rest of the crew in Hunt For The Red October isn’t exactly in the Casablanca league).  Briefly, after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 the new Russian Federation under that pisshead Boris Yeltsin dropped the anthem and replaced it with some hideously bland tune that sounded like it was the product of some tv talent show.

Then Vladimir Putin (in one of the small number of things he has done with which I agree) in 2000 restored the old anthem to its rightful place.  It was given some new words but the old stirring tune  once again rang out in sporting arenas around the world.

This is the old Soviet version (lyrically) as it is the version I grew up with.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Eddie Kaye January 15, 2015 at 5:26 pm

From memory George, there is an entertaining rendition of it (in Russian I hasten to add) given by the Circus staff in the (fairly) recent and all stellar casted version of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Rousing indeedsky comrade.

Will the 1940′s get to the perilous heights of other (later) decades in having its own round up, or will the 1790′s beat it to the punch. I am sure we can find a space for Mozart’s requiem could be used to get the decade’s tally to 2. Any more suggestions?

Speaking of anthems, come 6 Nations time (and even though I have no Irish connections whatsoever) the Soldier’s Song always seems to get my attention. Along with Flower of Scotland and Land of My Fathers at least the other Home Unions use anthems that uniquely reflect their nations. God Save the Queen is too British to really capture my feelings of English patriotism. I normally forget the Italian one by the time they kick off. I will concur La Marseillaise does have that certain something.

Oh, and while I am on one, the Borat version Kazakhstan anthem mix up was funny as!

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Jackie_South January 15, 2015 at 5:45 pm

1790s: late Mozart or early Beeethoven? Not sure what else, my classical is a bit rusty…

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George_East January 15, 2015 at 5:49 pm

The bugger is finding the recordings.

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Eddie Kaye January 16, 2015 at 9:24 am

Very late Mozart Jackie. After composing Cosi Fan Tutte and Magic Flute in the first 2 years of the decade, he was more by way of decomposing after 1791.

Haydn was fairly active. Oh, and some bloke called Salieri was still belting them out – pausing only to poison Wolfgang and collect the Best Supporting Actor Oscar (id Amadeus is to be believed).

As for Beethoven, it was very early doors – a few sonatas, string quartets and piano trios falling before the dawn of the 19th century. His Moonlight Sonata was not until 1801, over the next few years his symphonies started emerging. Lovely lovely Ludwig Van’s flower did not really blossom until he was in his thirties, so compared to Mozart he was a late bloomer.

Thanks to wiki for the crash course in dating classical music.

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George_East January 15, 2015 at 5:27 pm

Oh yes that is a cracking scene. V funny.

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Eddie Kaye January 16, 2015 at 10:09 am

That movie always amuses me in seeing the obviously Liverpudlian Stephen Graham actually playing a Scouser for once – he seems to do any other accent but in everything else!

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George_East January 16, 2015 at 10:22 am

Yes indeed. And very good he is too. One of the best things about the film I think is the design. I love the boardroom in the Circus where they all meet.

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