Music of the Great Patriotic War
Music in all its manifestations is always in contact with personal or mass, with popular mood in a certain period and accompanies many historical events of various nature. Music might inspire, sometimes it scares, or, on the contrary, it soothes and heals - any of its incarnations greatly affect a human being mental condition.
During the Great Patriotic War, very few people were indifferent to the art of music. Composers, artists of drama and music theaters made an enormous contribution to the common folk struggle with the enemy. Many musicians joined the army and the peoples’ volunteer corps. Artists of the front-line theaters and concert teams often risked their lives, proving by their performances that the beauty of art was immortal. Their performances allowed the front-line soldiers and officers to cope with the toils of war. Songs added mental strength and pepped up courage when, during the rare moments of rest, they managed to sing the lines of the favorite songs and remember their beloved family, relatives and close friends. In one of the songs that was popular in wartime, the words sounded, “Who said that you should quit songs when the war is on? After the combat, the heart asks for music twice as much”.
Among the brave and courageous artists of the front-line concert teams were Leonid Utesov, Klavdiya Shulzhenko, Lydia Ruslanova and many others. They performed songs-symbols that continue to excite the hearts of the people to the present day - “Blue Handkerchief”, “Darkness”, “Dark Night”, “Katyusha” and others. Everyone without exception knew the lyrics and melodies of these songs that had an amazing influence on the souls of people.
However, not only those songs raised the victorious spirit of the people. For example, the 7th symphony by Dmitri Shostakovich became a symbol of the Soviet people resistance to the fascist invaders and unshakable faith in the coming victory over the enemy. This symphony was perceived with such message all over the world.
The patriotic song “The Sacred War” (“Arise, Great Country!”) became a true symbol of struggle and victory in the War and a hymn of the Motherland defense.
On June 24, 1941 - two days since the War began, the newspapers Izvestia and Krasnaya Zvezda published the words of this song. The author of the lyrics was the famous Soviet poet Vasily Lebedev-Kumach. After this, composer Alexander Alexandrov immediately wrote music. There was no time to print words and notes and Alexandrov wrote them in chalk on a blackboard. The singers and orchestra members copied them in their notebooks. One more day was allotted for the rehearsal.
The song was performed and recorded by the Alexandrov Ensemble in the first days of the Great Patriotic War at the Aprelevka Records Factory, which at that time produced bombs as well as records. Records with this song were released in huge circulations, it became mass popular at the fronts of the Great Patriotic War, began to sound daily on the All-Union radio right after the Kremlin chimes and maintained the highest martial spirit of the soldiers. Since music really carried a powerful spiritual charge for the soldiers, it was decided to resume the production of records with other songs that was interrupted by the war.
Starting from 1942, the records, as well ammunition, tanks and guns were send to the front line. The mood of the song “Blue Scarf”, recorded in 1942, was transmitted to all fighters in dugouts and trenches ...
We can assess with high confidence that music, if not saved, but pulled people through despondency, pain and suffering at the front. Many composers, such as Isaak Dunayevsky, Tikhon Khrennikov, Nikita Bogoslovsky, Vasily Solovyov-Sedoi and others, wrote a huge amount of music in the terrible and tragic war period. It has become a great cultural heritage in our days. Some of the composers and performers refused to leave the epicenter of military events and bombing. Moreover, during the war, the largest musical institutions continued to operate in the country, and even new ones were created, including the Sveshnikov State Academic Russian Choir, Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theater, Higher School of Military Bandmasters, as well as Gnessin State Musical College and others.
A rich collection of front-line songs, music from the films of the war period, presented on the music records produced by Aprelevskiy, Noginskiy and other factories is stored in the Museum. You can listen to the authentic sound of the gramophone produced in the first half of the 20th century and to the “courageous” voices of the performares, including O. Razumovsky, V. Nechaev, L. Lyadova, A. Vertinsky, S. Lemeshev, G. Vinogradov, N. Panteleeva and many others who strengthened the victorious spirit of the front-line soldiers and brought our country closer to victory.