It's the turn of the 90s and you're back in the USSR, sitting on the Persian carpet that covers every inch of your Soviet living room
and facing the old Rubin-714 set
. As the clock strikes nine, you hear those familiar strains…
The motif comes from Время, вперед!
or Time, Forward!
by Georgy Sviridov
. Part of a suite, the piece was written for the film after which it is named, which itself is based on the eponymous Soviet Realist
novel. The musical passage is familiar to every citizen of the former USSR. Rather fewer, however, know the piece of which it's part, or the remaining works of this notable composer. Here is the 1965 film for which the piece was originally written, courtesy of Mosfilm
, part 2
, English subtitles). The novel
it's based on is about concrete-pouring records.
If you want to hear the whole suite, a South Korean orchestra performs it for you
(finale begins at 14:50
). Just the stirring finale?
Relatively obscure outside of Eastern Europe, Sviridov (1915–1998) was one of the foremost Russian composers of the later 20th century. Born to a family of civil servants, Sviridov demonstrated an aptitude for music from an early age. His first instrument was the balalaika
; he did not receive formal piano instruction until he completed school and moved to Leningrad in 1932. In 1935 he attracted attention with a series of piano pieces
to accompany Pushkin's poetry. Musical and especially vocal arrangements for poetry would become the dominant theme in his work. The following year Sviridov entered the Leningrad conservatory, where he studied, in part, under Shostakovich
. Completing his studies in 1941, Sviridov was mobilized and fatefully managed to avoid the brutal German siege. His poor health did not allow him to see combat, and he was evacuated to Siberia, where he wrote a variety of patriotic songs.
Sviridov's creative output was ongoing and regular until the early 80s, when his health began to fail. Composing in a bold and accessible style, Sviridov met with party approval and enjoyed considerable success, occupying a sinecure as the head of the Composers' Union from 1968–1973. Throughout his lifetime he received numerous accolades and state awards, including the Lenin prize
and the Order of Lenin
. With few exceptions, Sviridov's work concerns themes of nativism and folk life, providing musical arrangements and settings for works by authors and poets who range from bucolic to proletarian to Romantic.
Here is a short catalogue of some of Sviridov's works that are available on YouTube:
- Several musical settings for poems by Lermontov (1938) — 1 | 2 | 3
- From the works of Robert Burns, translated by Samuil Marshak (1955) — 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
- In Memory of Sergey Yesenin, a poem for orchestra and voice (1956)
- Oratorio Pathetique for chorus and orchestra, from Mayakovsky's poetry (1959, awarded Lenin Prize in 1960) — 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
- Suite for Pushkin's The Blizzard (1964) — 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9
- The Little Triptych (1964)
- Petersburg Songs, from the poetry of Aleksandr Blok (1965) — 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
- The Snow is Falling, cantata for choir with orchestra based on the poetry of Boris Pasternak (1965) — 1 | 2
- Choruses from the musical setting for A. K. Tolstoy's Tsar Feodor Ioannovich (1973) — 1 | 2 | 3
- Concerto in Memory of A. A. Yurlov for unaccompanied mixed chorus (1973) — 1 | 2 | 3
- Departed Russia, for voice and orchestra, with words by Sergey Yesenin (1977) — 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12
- From Hymns to the Motherland (1978) — 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
- Pushkin's Wreath, choir with orchestra (1979) — 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10
- Night Clouds, cantata with words by Aleksandr Blok (1979) —1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
- Lake Ladoga, poem for chorus, words by Aleksandr Prokofiev (1980) — 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
If you want music that's like Time, Forward!
times infinity, try Mosolov's Iron Foundry
Bonus: other idents for Soviet (and now Russian) news broadcast «Время