Russian Folk and Soviet Classics

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Russian Folk and Soviet Classics SONGS

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About Russian Folk and Soviet Classics

The Russians have a long history of Folk music and the Soviets expanded upon this with several dozen songs, especially during the Great Patriotic War (WWII, Russian involvement from 1941-1945.) when tunes such as "The Tanker's March," "March of the Artillerymen," and so on so forth became popular.

During the Great Patriotic War, many of these songs as well as traditional folk songs were performed by specialized choirs and ensembles, one example being Baticheva, Michailov, and Tutunnik. These groups generally consisted of 3-6 persons and performed for the frontline troops in all sectors.

After the Great Patriotic War, the Red Army Choir came into prominence, though it existed since 12 October, 1928, where it performed as the Red Army Song Ensemble at the Frunze Club under the direction of Alexander Vasilyevich Alexandrov, a music professor at the Moscow Conservatory.

By 1933 the group had reorganized as the The Choir of the Red Army of the USSR and split into three cooperating subunits, a male choir, an orchestra, and an ensemble of dancers, bringing total numbers to over three hundred. They performed traditional folk music, original compositions by Soviet composers such as V Solovyov-Sedoi, A. Novikov, M. Blanter, and B. Mokrousov. In 1936, they were awarded the Order of the Red Banner. In 1937 it won the Grand Prix - the highest honour bestowed by the jury - at the International Exposition dedicated to Art and Technology in Modern Life, held in Paris. During the Great Patriotic War, over 1,500 performances were made at all Soviet Fronts, sometimes in collusion with the smaller ensembles mentioned above.

Organizationally the Red Army Choir is split into Chorus, Orchestra, and Dancers. The Chorus is further subdivided into Tenor, Baritone and Bass, with the potential of being seperated into further sections, which can produce as many as eight different vocal lines. The Orchestra combines Russian traditional instruments (Such as the Balalaika, Domra, and the Bayan,) and Western instruments to include woodwinds, brass, percussion, and double-bass, et cetera. This has been mimicked by other later-generation groups. The Dancers include both males and females with some dances performed by mixed dancers, while others, such as the Cossack's Cavalry Dance, are performed only by males.

Additional information can be found on the Wikipedia entry for the Red Army Choir (

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