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no, the Soviet hymn is terrible...

Posted by Tyrone Slothrop on Monday, November 01 2021 at 11:04:16AM
In reply to Reply posted by Hajduk on Sunday, October 31 2021 at 06:19:52AM

...and the words, by Sergey Mikhalkov ("Thank god, we've got the GPU!") are even worse (according to Korney Chukovsky, Mikhalkov admitted as much in private).

Shostakovich about how the music was chosen:
From the ensuing conversation it became apparent that the greatest judge and expert of all time on anthems [I. V. Stalin] considered the one by Khachaturian and me the best. But according to Stalin, a few changes were necessary in the refrain. He asked how much time we would need, and I said five hours. Actually, we could have done it in five minutes, but I thought it might seem less than solid to say that we could have done it there and then while they waited. You can imagine my surprise when I saw that my answer angered Stalin greatly. He was obviously expecting something else.
Stalin spoke slowly and thought slowly, he did everything slowly. He must have thought, This is state business, the national anthem, you must measure seven times, cut once, and Shostakovich says he can do the corrections in five hours. This isn't serious. Such an unserious man cannot be the author of the national anthem.
This proves once more that Stalin didn't understand a thing about composing. If he had had the slightest idea of what it involved, he wouldn't have been surprised by my estimate, but it was clear that Stalin knew as much about music as he did about other subjects, and that he brought up the business of the orchestration just to show off, a gambit that hadn't worked.
Khachaturian and I weren't successful. Khachaturian later blamed me for frivolity; he said that if I had asked for at least a month, we would have won. I don't know, he may be right. In any case, Stalin lived up to his threat. Alexandrov's song was proclaimed the anthem. The battleship made it into port. But the composition wasn't lucky, and not because of the music, because of the words. As for the music, that's a tradition. A national anthem must have bad music, and Stalin didn't break with tradition, as was to be expected. He also liked the loyal text. But when the cult of personality was exposed, the text posed a problem. It was stupid to make people sing "Stalin raised us" when it had been officially announced that he hadn't raised anyone, that on the contrary, he had destroyed millions of people. People stopped singing the words, they just hummed the tune.
Khrushchev wanted to replace the anthem, but he wanted to do this and that and a hundred other things, and he did almost nothing. That was the story with the anthem. First they pursued it fervently; I was involved too, this time as an expert. And then it quieted down, and we were stuck with a hummed anthem. That's not so good.
(from S. Volkov, Testimony)

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