Moscow Nights

Moscow Nights  is a Russian song, one of those best known outside its homeland

Moscow Nights
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The song was originally created as «Leningradskie Vechera» («Leningrad Nights») by composer Vasily Solovyov-Sedoi and poet Mikhail Matusovsky in 1955 (when both had well-established careers), but at the request of the Soviet Ministry of Culture, the «Подмосковные вечера» (transliterated as «Podmoskovnye Vechera»; more or less «Evenings in Moscow Oblast») version was prepared, with corresponding changes to the lyrics.

Memorial plaque on the wall of a house in Sivcev Vrazhek 15/per. Starokonyushenny, 25 in Moscow, where the song ‘Moscow Nights’ was written
pinterest button Memorial plaque on the wall of a house in Sivcev Vrazhek 15/per. Starokonyushenny, 25 in Moscow, where the song ‘Moscow Nights’ was written Анатолий Терентьев, CC BY-SA 3.0

In 1956, Podmoskovnye Vechera was recorded by Vladimir Troshin, a young actor of the Moscow Art Theatre, for a documentary about the athletic competition Spartakiad of the Peoples of the RSFSR, for a scene where the participants rest in Podmoskovye, the Moscow suburbs. It went little noticed in the context of the film, but gained considerably popularity thanks to radio broadcasts.

In 1957, the song won both the international song contest and the first prize at the World Festival of Youth and Students held in Moscow, quite to the surprise of its creators. The song spread around the world, achieving particular popularity in mainland China; Van Cliburn's 1958 piano performance of the tune contributed to this international spread.

In the Soviet Union, the tune became the time signal sounded every 30 minutes on the Mayak music and news radio station since 1964. The shortwave radio station Radio Moscow's English-language service has played an instrumental version of «Moscow Nights», between informing listeners of frequency changes and the hourly newscast since the start of its 24-hour English Service in 1978.

The British jazz group, Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen, had a hit with the song in 1961 under the title «Midnight in Moscow». This version peaked at number two on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in early 1962; in March that year, and it spent three weeks at number one on the American Easy Listening chart.

In 1962 at the height of the folk revival in the United States, the song was recorded by The Chad Mitchell Trio on its popular live performance album At The Bitter End on Kapp Records. The group was «one of the top singing attractions on the campus and club folk circuit» and introduced the song with its original Russian lyrics to the American mainstream audience during the Cold War era of strained relations between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.

In 2008 a special piano version was used to accompany the ribbon routine of fellow russian rhythmic gymnast Evgeniya Kanaeva who became olympic champion in Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics. The song was used in a folk style combined with Katusha in a medley in 2012 by uzbek rhythmic gymnasts Ulyana Trofimova for her ball routine and in 2014 for russian rhythmic gymnast Yana Kudryavtseva in her clubs routine.

The Russian pop singer Vitas recorded a version of the song with his counter-tenor voice. He performed it at several Chinese festivals before its release on Masterpieces of Three Centuries, released on November 25, 2010.

Moscow Nights in Russian

Moscow Night in English

Useful Information

Moscow Nights
Russian: Подмосковные вечера Pronunciation: Podmoskovnie vechera

Podmoskovniye vechera (Подмосковные вечера)

Не слышны в саду даже шорохи,
Всё здесь замерло до утра.
Eсли б знали вы, как мне дороги
Подмосковные вечера.

Речка движется и не движется,
Вся из лунного серебра.
Песня слышится и не слышится
В эти тихие вечера.

Что ж ты, милая, смотришь искоса,
Низко голову наклоня?
Трудно высказать и не высказать
Всё, что на сердце у меня.

А рассвет уже всё заметнее.
Так, пожалуйста, будь добра.
Не забудь и ты эти летние
Подмосковные вечера.

Moscow Suburban Nights

Stillness in the grove, not a rustling sound
Softly shines the moon clear and bright.
Dear, if you could know how I treasure so
The most beautiful Moscow night.

Lazily the brook, like a silv'ry stream
Ripples gently in the moonlight,
And a song afar fades as in a dream,
In the spell of this summer night. (2X)

Dearest, why so sad, why the downcast eyes,
And your lovely head bent so low?
Oh, It's hard to speak---and yet not to speak
Of the longing my heart does know. (2X)

Promise me, my love, as the dawn appears
And the darkness turns into light,
That you'll cherish, dear, thru the passing
This most beautiful Moscow night.