Friday, 29 January 2016


a film by Vladimir Tarasov

Amazingly, I first saw Contact just a few months after its release in 1978. If you’ve never seen it before... watch it now. If you’ve seen it before... please watch it again.

Apart from Nino Rota’s Speak Softly, Love (performed by the Paul Mauriat Grand Orchestra), which is a theme the alien learns to sing, you can hear a lovely version of Gershwin’s Oh, Lady, Be Good by the Leonid Chizhik Trio (Leonid Chizhik, piano; Aleksey Isplatovsky, double bass; Aleksey Kuznetsov, guitar). Quite unusually (for a Soviet film), both composers and arrangers are acknowledged in the closing credits.

Monday, 25 January 2016


by Robert Burns and Samuil Marshak

The same recently mentioned Holden Caulfield famously misinterpreted Comin’ Thro’ the Rye and imagined some mysterious catcher. I guess he didn’t read the alternate version of the poem.

One of many musical interpretations of Marshak’s Дженни is in the 1978 Soviet TV show Бенефис Людмилы Гурченко performed by Alexander Schirvindt and, naturally, Lyudmila Gurchenko. I remember watching this show for the first time with a mixture of embarrassment and, um, more embarrassment. Watching it now... well, it’s embarrassing all right. But it had its moments. Весёлый сапожник with Armen Dzhigarkhanyan was a runaway success and it is still fun to watch and listen to. Дженни was not as catchy but, in my humble opinion, more interesting musically.

Robert Burns
Comin’ Thro’ the Rye
Роберт Бёрнс, перевод С.Я. Маршака
O, Jenny’s a’ weet, poor body,
Jenny’s seldom dry:
She draigl’t a’ her petticoatie,
Comin thro’ the rye!

Comin thro’ the rye, poor body,
Comin thro’ the rye,
She draigl’t a’ her petticoatie,
Comin thro’ the rye!

Gin a body meet a body
Comin thro’ the rye,
Gin a body kiss a body,
Need a body cry?

Gin a body meet a body
Comin thro’ the glen
Gin a body kiss a body,
Need the warl’ ken?

Gin a body meet a body
Comin thro’ the grain;
Gin a body kiss a body,
The thing’s a body’s ain.

Ilka lassie has her laddie,
Nane, they say, ha’e I
Yet all the lads they smile on me,
When comin’ thro’ the rye.
Пробираясь до калитки
Полем вдоль межи,
Дженни вымокла до нитки
Вечером во ржи.

Очень холодно девчонке,
Бьёт девчонку дрожь:
Замочила все юбчонки,
Идя через рожь.

Если кто-то звал кого-то
Сквозь густую рожь
И кого-то обнял кто-то,
Что с него возьмёшь?

И какая нам забота,
Если у межи
Целовался с кем-то кто-то
Вечером во ржи.

Бенефис Людмилы Гурченко. «Дженни» (53:15—58:40)

Tuesday, 12 January 2016


by David Bowie

I was a relative latecomer to the world of David Bowie. I didn’t even hear The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars until the late 1990s. The news of his passing surprised but didn’t exactly shock me. This song and video (published on YouTube three days before Bowie’s death), however, did. Just like Ziggy Stardust, it has to be played at maximum volume.