Indeed, the words that the soul of the people is best manifested in their songs are genius. How differently the terrible time of war was perceived in our country and in the states that subsequently shared the Victory with it as participants in the anti-Hitler coalition, it becomes perfectly clear from the imprint that this time left in the work of their poets, composers and singers. Let’s try to compare.
First of all, we are not talking about “official” military marches and other similar music. And not even about the “Holy War”, which is simply impossible to compare with anything. This, in my opinion, is not a song at all, but a kind of mercilessly tearing soul anthem of the army, acting in a sacred battle with universal evil. No one has ever succeeded in creating anything close and similar in strength and depth of influence … Compositions like “The Anthem of Stalin’s Artillery” stand out as well, from which they emanate with such indestructible power and will to victory that they take your breath away to this day.
By the way, in the West, some people are trying to make fun of the fact that almost every Soviet war song mentioned Comrade Stalin: here, they say, Churchill and Roosevelt were not so glorified, but the Russians had continuous propaganda here too! What can I say … Not praised – that means they did not deserve. Throw the Supreme Commander out of the same “Volkhov Drinking” and what happens? At one time, by the way, this was done, but now, fortunately, in the lips of self-respecting performers, songs of the war years sound as expected – without the shameful obliteration of the name of the creator of Victory.
But, of course, there are many compositions where even the most severe critic will not find even a hint of propaganda, at the first bars of which every veteran of the Great Patriotic War would have tears in his eyes. “Dark Night”, “Dugout”, “Blue Handkerchief” … Are these songs about the war, which have become truly folk, soldier’s, in the best sense of the word – trenches? Certainly. And also about the warrior’s light longing for home, for his beloved, for the peaceful life that he protects. “You are waiting for me, you are not sleeping by the crib, and therefore, I know, nothing will happen to me …” There are probably no other lines (except perhaps with the exception of the immortal Simonov’s “Wait for me”) that praised the loyalty of soldiers’ wives with such force and the faith of the soldiers in the saving power of their love.
Soviet war songs, even if they are lyrical, are solemn, sad and shrill. Something mischievous and perky like the famous “Bryansk Street” began to appear at the very end of the Great Patriotic War, when the mortal threat hanging over the Motherland passed and there were only two goals left: to reach Victory and finish off the enemy in his lair. Is it any wonder that the compositions in the United States, which were also allegedly subjected to a treacherous attack by the enemy in 1941 and entered the war, sounded completely different? Not a single enemy bomb fell on their land, the boots of the occupier did not step. Their cities and villages did not burn in the flames of fires, and the price of victory, to be honest, was completely different. For the vast majority of Americans, the war was, of course, something terrible and tragic, but infinitely far from them personally.
For example, “This is the army, Mr. Jones “describes the” horrific hardships “of the drafted Mr. Jones, who now has to do without” private rooms, maids and breakfast in bed. ” Poor thing … The song “Boogie Woogie, Bugle Boy” is about the same – about a jazz trumpet who got into the army as a bugler and was deprived of the opportunity to improvise. True, the clever captain quickly assembles a whole orchestra for the suffering talent, in which he begins to raise the morale of his comrades. Such is the war – with jazz and boogie …
The only American song that stuck with us was “Comin ‘in on a Wing and a Prayer” (“On one wing and at prayer”). Well, that is, “On a word of honor and on one wing” in the version of the immortal Leonid Utesov, who removed the “prayer” from it, just in case. Otherwise, the translation is very accurate. For the sake of fairness, it is worth mentioning that this composition was born “based on” Operation Gomorrah, during which the Anglo-American Air Force literally wiped Dresden and other German cities of no particular military significance from the face, together with their residents, working out their future “crown number “- massive carpet bombing. Each has its own war …
Great Britain is most prominently featured in the war songwriting history with two really beautiful compositions performed by singer Vera Lynn: “We’ll Meet Again” and “White Cliffs of Dover”. In both, there is light sadness and a timid hope that the war will not be able to take away such a fragile love, its little personal happiness. “We will meet again, I don’t know where or when… Just keep smiling”, “We are fighting evil skies, but blue birds will soar over the white cliffs of Dover again. Just wait, and you will see … “Someone” will not have black wings flying over the Motherland “, someone -” blue birds over the cliffs. ” The differences in mentality are obvious.
And in conclusion – about the war song, which turned out to be so successful that it was even proposed to make it the national anthem of France. It was called “The Song of the Partisans”, and now it sounded words not about love and sadness: “Hey, soldiers, take bullets, knives, kill faster! We go, we kill, we die … ”Here the war, the call to resist the enemy, to defeat him, albeit at the cost of his own life, were in every line. Here is just a Russian who wrote this composition – Anna Smirnova-Marly, nee Betulinskaya. She, taken to France at the age of three, after the Nazi occupation of the country managed to move with her husband to Britain, where she joined the Resistance, becoming his voice and troubadour. The song, for which Anna was later awarded the highest praise of Charles de Gaulle and the Order of the Legion of Honor, had to be translated into French …
The soul of the people, its indomitable and invincible spirit are in its songs.