Desuete names. Composer Arkady Ostrovsky

25 February marks the 110th anniversary of the birth of composer Arkady Ostrovsky - the author of the most famous songs of the Soviet era, such as "Let There Always Be Sunshine", "Old Park", "Tired Toys Are Sleeping".

The future composer was born in Syzran (1914) into the family of musical instrument tuner Ilya Ostrovsky. The head of the family showed promise as a good pianist, but gave up music-making after losing a finger on his hand. The family lived in a flat above their own music shop.

Arkady was drawn to music from a young age. At first, he listened to Russian and Tatar folk songs on the banks of the Volga. A little later, a military band playing in the town square had a significant influence on him. Seeing their son's ability and enthusiasm for music, his parents hired a teacher for individual lessons with the boy. When Arkady was 13 years old, a family council decided to leave Syzran for Leningrad, where their relatives lived.

The departure was accelerated by his mother's illness. Ilya Ostrovsky was virtually unknown in Leningrad. Here he had to earn authority from scratch, to find clients who would not be afraid to entrust him with their musical instruments. In addition, money was needed for his mother's medicine. Arkady began to study at the workschool at the factory "Electropower". At the technical institution school he specialized as a blacksmith.

In 1930 Arkady entered the Central Musical Secondary School. After receiving musical education, Ostrovsky played accordion in the Leningrad Jazz Orchestra under Emil Kemper from 1935, and from 1940 to 1947 he worked as an accordionist and pianist in the Jazz Orchestra of Leonid Utesov. During the Great Patriotic War the Arkady was evacuated in Novosibirsk. It was then that he began writing his first songs, two of which – "I am an ex service person" (lyrics by Ilya Fradkin) and "Homeland" (lyrics by Sergey Mikhalkov) were performed and recorded by Leonid Utesov.

However, Ostrovsky gained all-union popularity only after he left the orchestra. Soon he met the famous poet-song writer Lev Oshanin. In 1948, the musicians created a song called "Komsomol members – restless hearts". The song won the first prize at the contest for the best song about the Komsomol organisation.

Along with patriotic songs, usually "commissioned" ("Komsomoltsy - restless hearts", "Red Carnation", "Zori Moskovskie") written by Ostrovsky, the number of heartfelt, with keen melodic touch lyrics grew. The composer sensitively grasped the new intonation that was emerging. Dreams, optimism and hope were palpable in such songs as "Woodcutters" (Mikhail Tanich), "How Steamships See Off" (Konstantin Vanshenkin) and "Vocalise" ("Trololo"), written in response to a dispute with Oshanin, in which Arkady Ilyich wanted to prove that a song does not always need words.

In the summer of 1962, the composer wrote a song to the lyrics of Lev Oshanin. The song called "Let there always be sunshine" became a kind of emblem of peace. The composition won the first prize at the Sopot Festival of songs.

The talent of the composer was brilliantly revealed in the songs about children and for children. "School Polka" (Lev Oshanin), "Girls and Boys" (Joseph Dick), " rubbers" (Zoya Petrova), "The New Year Round Dance" (Yuri Lednev) and other songs became ingrained in the repertoire of almost all children's singing collectives. To this day, the intro song "The tired toys are Sleeping" for the programme "Good Night, Kids" (by Zoya Petrova) is still reproduced every day.

“The street cycle" became a novelty for song variety concerts. According to the composer, it emerged under the direct influence of Italian Neo-Realist films.

"The street songs" were the stories of the first youthful love. Streets and yards were records were endlessly spinning, melodies of accordion and guitar were sounding, elderly men were playing at dominoes and fillings of common people were the background of these novellas.

Famous singers – Maya Kristalinskaya, Klavdiya Shulzhenko, Oleg Anofriyev, Eduard Khil, Leonid Yekimov, Edita Piekha, Joseph Kobzon and many others sang the songs that Arkady Ostrovsky composed.

Creative work of Arkady Ostrovsky was a synthesis of qualities sometimes polar opposite. The songs were not structurally simple (breaks, rhythm changes, truncations of phrases). However, the composer had a special talent for simplifying and for making any complexity accessible. There were many dance rhythms in his works – from waltz to twist, intonations of romance, jazz, declamation that emerged from French chanson. Arkady was very joyful and cheerful person. He liked to be the first in any activity and was very zealous about it.

In the autumn of 1967, the composer was invited to the Sochi festival "Red Carnation". Doctors were against this trip, since Ostrovsky who was seriously ill. The musician had emergency surgery in Sochi due to a stomach ulcer and bleeding. Unfortunately, the efforts of medics were in vain – the composer died shortly. Arkady Ostrovsky is buried at the Novodevichy Cemetery.

On 24 February 2004, on the Square of Stars in Moscow, in front of the main entrance to the State Central Concert Hall "Russia", a nameplate was unveiled in memory of the famous Soviet composer Arkady Ostrovsky.

Selection of songs composed by Arkady Ostrovsky that are performed by popular singers in the 1940s is posted in the museum Phonotheque.

Ref.: https://babysongs.ru/articles/biografiya-arkadiy-ostrovskiy