I was offline for a few days. When I came back, one of the first news I heard was about the terrible and senseless Tu-154 tragedy over Black Sea on December 25, 2016. This catastrophe took the lives of 92 people on board, including 64 leading members of the Aleksandrov Red Army Choir (referred to in Russia as the Aleksandrov Ensemble). The Ensemble includes the celebrated male choir, orchestra and ballet troupe. This means that 1/3 of the entire Aleksandrov Ensemble has perished, with many big names among them. The current choir conductor, Valery Halilov, was among the passengers. A two-star general of the Russian army, Halilov became the Aleksandrov Ensemble conductor in 2016. He was also charged with directing the live singing and music during Victory Day Red Square Parades. Halilov was the artistic director of the annual Spasskaya Tower International Military Music Festival on Red Square.
To understand the magnitude of the loss, all needs to be said is that the Red Army Choir was the elite of Russian and world music. For 85 years, since its founding, the Red Army Choir mesmerized audiences in 70+ countries with its talent and mastery.
This unique music collective is considered a national treasure of Russia. Especially well-cherished by older generations, it is also the Russian Army’s trademark and single most internationally recognized military band of all times. The biggest international music names sang together with the Red Army Choir.
The Choir’s repertoire is very extensive. Most compositions are military, patriotic and Russian traditional songs, sung with filigree and precision. But the Choir equally shines with its international repertoire. The voices are academic and classically trained.
During the height of the Cold War the members of the Aleksandrov Red Army Choir served as Russian ambassadors of peace in military uniforms. Through their mesmerizing voices and masterful singing they melted hearts and destroyed walls. As such, in some countries the Red Army Choir was – and continues being – revered, and in others feared.
I am preparing a piece in which I’ll discuss what I believe happened on December 25, 2016, and how it’s all connected to other recent events.
Today I want to celebrate the amazing art and global contribution of the Red Army Choir.
KALINKA (one of the Red Army Choir hits). (MULTI-SUBTITLES): Russian, Serbian, Chinese, Croatian, Greek, Arabic, English, Czech, French, Hebrew, Dutch, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Hungarian, German, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Turkish, Vietnamese, Interlingue (Transliteration) and Macedonian. Click on Settings – subtitles language.
Another trademark song: Смуглянка (Smuglyanka) – Red Army Choir (2016). (MULTI-SUBTITLES): Русский, Српски (ћирилица и латиница), tiếng Việt, Català, Еspañol, Português, English. Click on Settings – subtitles language. Traditional concert at the Hall P. I. Tchaikovsky, February 23, 2016. Soloists: Viktor Sanin and Yevgeniy Bulochnikov (Виктор Санин и Евгений Булочников)
Live Aleksandrov Red Army Choir at Eurovision Song Contest 2009, Moscow [HQ]. “Kalinka” “Katyusha” “Dark Eyes” by Aleksandrov Red Army Choir and Dance Ensemble, with Military Music School drummers, tATu, and Gypsy Theatre ‘Roman.’
Live Red Army Choir – Moscow Nights (MULTI-SUBTITLES): Russian, Serbian, Chinese, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Polish, German and English. Concert in Paris, December 2003.
Aleksandrov Ensemble (Red Army Choir) – Whole Concert, 2014
Nabucco – Va, Pensiero – Russian Red Army Choir in Vatican (MULTI-SUBTITLES)
Live Red Army Choir – Katyusha (Катюша). Paris, December 2003. MULTI-SUBTITLES: Serbian, Russian, Czech, English, French, Greek, Dutch, Italian, Catalan, Hungarian, German, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish.
Live in Paris: another Red Army Choir trademark – A Partisan’s Song (MULTI-SUBTITLES)
The Dance troupe of the Aleksandrov Ensemble: Russian dance
R.I.P. all those who perished in the Tu-154 catastrophe. R.I.P. Aleksandrov Red Army Choir conductor and artistic director, Valery Halilov (Khalilov). On this video from May 9, 2015 Victory Day parade he conducts the amazing closing song – Russian soldiers sing on Red Square. See Gen. Halilov at 1:25 and 2:05:
I have more of the Red Army Choir songs here: Legendary Soviet Music Hits
Also see this FT post for another song from the Red Army Choir: Show Must Go On! Russian Army Choir Performs Queen with a hint for the Anniversary of the Soyuz19-Apollo Space Handshake
Please visit this post’s comments to see more videos from FT contributor Nemo1024, plus poetry and other touching comments!