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 Posted:   Apr 4, 2012 - 11:59 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

I know virtually nothing about Soviet-era film/TV composers and their music. I suppose that’s not too unusual for someone in the US, given the Soviet Union’s general isolation from, and chilly relations with, Western countries during that era.

I’m particularly curious about film/TV composers and music from, say, the post WWII era into the 1970s. So, I have several questions:

Who were the big Russian/Soviet film/TV composers during this era? By “big,” I don’t necessarily mean well-known, but rather those who got the most work and were recognized in whatever circles would have allowed recognition.

Were these composers aware of film/TV composers/music in the West? Were they aware of western genres such as, say, jazz/pop/rock, and did they incorporate these into their scores?

Given the popularity of James Bond and the spy genre, did the Soviets have their own version of Bond, and if so, was the music cool?

When the Soviet era ended, were Russian film/TV composers suddenly presented with opportunities to hear what their western counterparts had been doing for decades, and if so, was there an explosion in creativity, or was it business as usual?

Has this presumably large body of music ever been tapped? Are there Russian boutique labels issuing limited edition CDs of Soviet-era film scores?

I would especially love to hear from any board members from Russia or surrounding countries.

Your Beloved Musical Ambassador,
OnyaBirri

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 4, 2012 - 12:49 PM   
 By:   kossjak   (Member)

Probably it's the best one, form the late 70's or 80's.


 
 Posted:   Apr 4, 2012 - 1:05 PM   
 By:   JB Fan   (Member)

Most likely that this question is for me wink

Intresting facts: 1) MOST of Soviet composer orchestrate their own scores but in 99% they NEVER conduct them.
2) Of course they know some tendences from West - they use bass-guitars, some synths.
And of course compose FANTASTIC melodies

For example:
A. Petrov - Morning (from lyrical comedy, not original version):


Another composer - M. Tariverdiev. He composed legendary score for SPY film. Not J. Bond style, but...
- 1st song

- 2nd song (often use in end titles)

And fantastic cue - soviet spy (who works in nazi Germany more than 10 years!) meets his wife


A. Zacepin - maybe you know that he start compose music for Red Tent, but wasn't finished it in time - so in worldwide version E. Morricone music was used, but in USSR we heard Zacepin music (it opened in USSR some months later).


He's most known for his comedy scores:




But he also composed music for fantasy-melodrama '31 June'


And kossjak already mention our version of Sherlock Holmes.

And bad news - there is NO boutique labels. Some soundtracks was published on LP (re-recordings, that interesting!) and now some one-day labels use this LPs (sometimes without proper mastering). USSR giant 'Melodia' tried to make proper releases, but I don't see them.

I will answer other questions with pleasure.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 4, 2012 - 5:57 PM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

Thank you for the responses and the music! I will listen to these tomorrow and no doubt will have follow-up questions. Thanks again!

 
 Posted:   Apr 6, 2012 - 2:26 PM   
 By:   First Breath   (Member)

Eduard Artemyev should be mentioned.

And Vladimir Horunzhy, a bit later.

 
 Posted:   Apr 7, 2012 - 5:39 AM   
 By:   JB Fan   (Member)

Eduard Artemyev should be mentioned.

And Vladimir Horunzhy, a bit later.


Of course. But Artemyev is better known in the West (especially for his works with Tarkovskii).

Another composer - M. Dunaevskii (I. Dunaevskii son). He's famous for his musicals:

Mary Poppins:





Ah, vaudeville, vaudeville





3 Musketeer







 
 
 Posted:   Apr 7, 2012 - 6:43 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

My knowledge of Soviet film (and film music) is mostly about the silent era stuff (Eisenstein etc.), and in the era you mention, Eduard Artemiev is really the only high-profile one I can think of right now.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 7, 2012 - 9:22 AM   
 By:   John B. Archibald   (Member)

I like some of the scores to the Soviet-era fantasy films, many of which have been released on DVD, both in this country, and in Russia, though I can't recall any standout scores at this moment.

I also loved the score for the Russian epic of WAR AND PEACE, though I suspect the music was heavily edited, as was the film, for its 6 1/2 hr. American version. (I'd love to see the complete Russian version, which was originally released in 4 parts, with a total running time of more than 8 hrs. There's a rumor that a 70 mm stereo print survives somewhere in Ukraine, which I heard at a screening up at the L.A. Museum of Art a couple of years ago, but that seems to be only a rumor.)

Was a complete WAR AND PEACE ever released on video in Russia?

Likewise, was Bondarchuk's follow-up, WATERLOO, which I understand was also much longer in its Russian incarnation, ever released as a video in Russia? (And, did it still have the Rota score, or did the Russian version have a score by a Russian composer?)

I've been wanting to see the longer versions of both of these for a long time.....

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 7, 2012 - 9:39 AM   
 By:   kossjak   (Member)

One of the best Artemiev's themes.

 
 Posted:   Apr 7, 2012 - 11:05 PM   
 By:   JB Fan   (Member)

Was a complete WAR AND PEACE ever released on video in Russia?

Yes. In 2000 it has been restored in "Mosfilm-studio" laboratories. 4 VHS/DVD version was published.
Interesting fact - film was filmed on both 70 & 35 mm but it was not KODAK (they wanted to use everything that was made in USSR...) so ORIGINAL negative was in poor quality and it can't be restore. So PICTURE was
restore from positive tapes. But SOUND was recorded both in stereo and 5+1 (!!! and it was 1960th) and tapes was good, so in 2000 it was restore in Dolby 5.1.
In general War & Peace is very popular - on Russian on-line store ozon.ru you can find 2-3 version (in stock) - from 3.5$ to 8.5$ for 1 DVD.
By the way, complete version is 427 min (7 h., not 8 smile )

Likewise, was Bondarchuk's follow-up, WATERLOO, which I understand was also much longer in its Russian incarnation, ever released as a video in Russia? (And, did it still have the Rota score, or did the Russian version have a score by a Russian composer?)

Another YES - it was released both in VHS and DVD. It's seems that there is no 'longer' version - it was 128 min in USSR too.
And 'no' about music, in this case original Rota music was used.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 8, 2012 - 4:05 AM   
 By:   kossjak   (Member)

Dmitri Shostakovich and Sergei Prokofiev scored many soviet movies, including big ones. The re-recordings are easily available, but unfortunately not the original recordings.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 8, 2012 - 4:16 AM   
 By:   Kirkinson   (Member)

This is an area of special interest for me. Here are several more names and films to check out:

The aforementioned WAR AND PEACE was scored by Vyacheslav Ovchinnikov, who also scored three films for Tarkovsky: THE STEAMROLLER AND THE VIOLIN (1961), IVAN'S CHILDHOOD (1962), and ANDREI RUBLEV (1966). He also wrote new scores in the 70s for Alexander Dovzhenko’s silent classics EARTH (1930), ARSENAL (1929) and ZVENIGORA (1929), all of which are superb. And his first two symphonies (the only two I’ve heard) are excellent, as well.

Two of the greatest of all Soviet film scores were composed by Georgy Sviridov. His music from TIME, FORWARD! (1965) is somewhat famous in the West since Guy Maddin used it to great effect in his short film THE HEART OF THE WORLD, but I'm even more fond of his score for the Pushkin adaptation SNOWSTORM (1966):


Another favorite is MELODIES OF THE WHITE NIGHT (1976) by Issac Schwartz:


Andrey Petrov was a great composer who was also wildly popular: so much so that his death in 2006 warranted an official press statement from Vladimir Putin! Petrov wrote the best waltzes:


Another wonderful and very famous waltz was written by Moldovan composer Eugen Doga for the film MY TENDER AND AFFECTIONATE BEAST (1978):


As for whether Soviet composers were aware of film composers from the West, there's definitely a clear influence from Morricone and his Italian contemporaries like Bruno Nicolai in some film scores, such as Doga's PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST'S WIFE (1981):


This influence is even more pronounced in some of the scores of Alexey Rybnikov, such as TREASURE ISLAND (1971):


It should also be noted that some composers who are quite famous in the West for their concert work were also fairly prolific film composers during the Soviet era. Shostakovich is the most obvious example, and his film music is pretty well known. There are a couple of discs of Aram Khachaturian's film music out now, too. Less well known, even though a good deal of it is available, is the film music of Alfred Schnittke, which is rich and varied (all five discs of Schnittke's film music that Frank Strobel has conducted are wonderful and well worth getting).

Here's one of my all-time favorite Schnittke film cues:


Some of Schnittke's best work was for animation:


Arvo Part also scored a handful of films, the most famous probably being the Polish/Svoiet co-production TEST PILOT PIRX (1978):


Giya Kancheli's film scores are almost completely unknown in the West, but in his native republic of Georgia he's as famous as Henry Mancini. Even for current generations who don’t know the films, many of his themes are instantly recognizable because they’ve become pop and jazz standards. Here are some clips from his score to THE ECCENTRICS (1973):


And here’s Chris Botti performing what is probably Kancheli’s best known piece of music in Georgia, the song “Yellow Leaves” from MIMINO (1977):


A couple of other random favorites....

A PIECE OF THE SKY (1980) by Tigran Mansurian:


THE PLEA (1967) by Nodar Gabunia:


FATHER OF A SOLDIER (1964) by Sulkhan Tsintsadze (music starts about 5 minutes in):

WARNING: This video spoils the ending of a great film!

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 18, 2012 - 8:42 PM   
 By:   ros.pratch   (Member)

I know virtually nothing about Soviet-era film/TV composers and their music. I suppose that’s not too unusual for someone in the US, given the Soviet Union’s general isolation from, and chilly relations with, Western countries during that era.

I’m particularly curious about film/TV composers and music from, say, the post WWII era into the 1970s. So, I have several questions:

Who were the big Russian/Soviet film/TV composers during this era? By “big,” I don’t necessarily mean well-known, but rather those who got the most work and were recognized in whatever circles would have allowed recognition.

Were these composers aware of film/TV composers/music in the West? Were they aware of western genres such as, say, jazz/pop/rock, and did they incorporate these into their scores?

Given the popularity of James Bond and the spy genre, did the Soviets have their own version of Bond, and if so, was the music cool?

When the Soviet era ended, were Russian film/TV composers suddenly presented with opportunities to hear what their western counterparts had been doing for decades, and if so, was there an explosion in creativity, or was it business as usual?

Has this presumably large body of music ever been tapped? Are there Russian boutique labels issuing limited edition CDs of Soviet-era film scores?

I would especially love to hear from any board members from Russia or surrounding countries.

Your Beloved Musical Ambassador,
OnyaBirri


Dear Sir,

I am working on the liner notes for an album featuring music by Soviet era composers for films produced in Kinopanorama, which was the Russian version of Cinerama. I have a list which may be of interest to you.

Contact me at ros.pratch@gmail.com if you are interested.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 8, 2013 - 12:49 AM   
 By:   ChristianKühn   (Member)

Indeed, Georgij Sviridov's TIME, FORWARD! needs no introduction. Or does it?



wink

 
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