Composer Boris Alexandrovich Alexandrov was born on August 4, 1905. Boris Alexandrov was the son of the Soviet composer Alexander Vasilyevich Alexandrov, the USSR Anthem composer. Soviet, Russian composer, choir conductor, choirmaster, teacher. Winner of the Lenin (1978) and Stalin Prizes of the first class (1950), the People's Artist of the USSR (1958).
Boris Alexandrov was born in the town of Bologoye, Tver Region, in the family of an outstanding composer, conductor, teacher and public figure Alexander Vasilyevich Alexandrov. Since his childhood, the boy heard marching songs performed by soldiers and this became the most vivid impression. In 1906, the family moved to Tver, where the future founder of the world famous Red Banner Song and Dance Ensemble and the National Anthem composer, served as the precentor, precented choir in seminary, women's commercial college, gymnasium and non-classical secondary school. In 1918, Boris was engaged to the Bolshoi Theater kid’s choir, participated in the choir of The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Then he studied at the Moscow Conservatory under the composer Reinhold Glière. During his studies at the conservatory, young composer took part in the competition dedicated to the memory of Vladimir Lenin, and received the second prize.
For a number of years after graduating from the Conservatory, Boris Alexandrov ventured in various spheres. He headed the musical part of the newly created Central Theater of the Red Army (1929-1937), worked as assistant professor in the Moscow Conservatory (1933-1941), practiced composing in various genres of symphonic and chamber instrumental music.
In 1937, a life-defining event took place in the biography of Boris Alexandrov that determined his creative destiny - he became the deputy art director of the Red Banner Ensemble, the associate and closest assistant to his father. Since then, his whole life was been devoted to the distinguished team. The composer created his quintessential works for this Ensemble, and his activities in the military team left an imprint on all his composing activity, he also sharpened his skills as a conductor.
With the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, the ensemble was divided into four groups. Three of them were sent to the active army. The fourth one among whose leaders was Boris Alexandrov remained in Moscow to serve the military units leaving for the front and to broadcast on the radio. There was a lot of work - radio concerts, gramophone recordings, newsreel recordings and performances for warriors. Boris Alexandrov repeatedly visited the front line as the concert brigades’ leader.
“We defined our mission from the very beginning,” he said, “it was military-patriotic music, primarily songs. By the means of our art we strove to raise the martial spirit of soldiers, their patriotism and endurance...”.
During the war years, Boris Alexandrov became the organizer and the first art director of the Soviet Song Ensemble of the All-Union Radio – musical collective that actively promoted songs of the Soviet composers and folk music of patriotic orientation. The ensemble consisted of mixed choir, orchestra and a group of famous solo singers.
The programs were broadcasted directly on the air, thus they often had to perform in front of the microphone late at night, early in the morning, and sometimes even spend the night at the radio center.
In 1946, after the sudden death of Alexander Vasilyevich, Boris Alexandrov was appointed to the position of art director and chief conductor of the Red Banner Song and Dance Ensemble. For almost 40 years, he headed the ensemble founded by his father.
Vasily Solovyov-Sedoy recalled, “Calmness and wisdom, invariable kindness, cheerfulness, a good smile of a Russian person, jokes to the point - this is what Boris Alexandrovich shares with the other person, whether he is an old acquaintance or a new one. Moreover, how he changes on the stage during a rehearsal or at a concert! Tension, severity, strong-willed aspiration of the conductor to unite the artists into a single whole, literally anxious, selfless attitude to art, to music, to song...”.
In the work on each song, According to the words of People's Artist of the USSR, Professor Vladislav Sokolov, while working on each song, Boris Alexandrovich followed two principles - performance should be courageous, optimistic, deeply expressive, marked by high performing skills. At the same time, it should be extremely democratic, understandable to wide audience. Besides, it is necessary to retain the individual peculiarities of the composer’s personal style. Moreover, Boris Alexandrovich managed to carry out this most difficult issue. In the early 1970s, Boris Alexandrov was awarded the military rank of Major General. He is the author of two symphonies, the oratorios “The Soldier of October Defends Peace” (1967), “Lenin's Idea Lives on and Triumphs” (1970), “The Chinese Suite” (1953), “The Indian Suite” (1958), several concerts for instruments and orchestra - for piano (1929), for trumpets (1933) and clarinet (1936). His name as a composer is almost forgotten, but the songs from the operetta "Wedding in Malinovka" are remembered by everyone.
Alexandrov died on June 17, 1994. He was buried near his father at the Novodevichy cemetery. In 2005, the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation established the B.A. Alexandrov medal. In Moscow, a memorial plaque was mounted on the house in which B. Alexandrov lived.
Ref.: Alexandrov, Boris Alexandrovich // Great Russian Biographical Encyclopaedia (electronic edition). - Version 3.0. - M.: Businessoft, IDDK, 2007. Alexandrov on the website of the Ministry of Defence (archive copy)
Konstantinov S. Anthem is a serious matter Archived on October 25, 2008. // Nezavisimaya Gazeta, No. 25 (72), June 30, 2001.