Dienstag, 5. Juli 2016

Boulat Okoudjava - Le Soldat en Papier

If Vladimir Vissotski was the Léo Ferré of the Soviet Union, Boulat Okoudjava was, perhaps, its Georges Brassens.

Boulat Okoudjava (also transliterated as Boulat Okudjava, Okoudjava, Okoudzhava or Bulat Okudzhava) was born in Moscow on 9 May 1924 of Georgian parents (hence, no doubt, his nature of the "Meridional of the North"). His father, a high-ranking Communist Party member from Georgia, was arrested in 1937 during the Great Purge and executed as a German spy on the basis of a false accusation. His mother was also arrested and spent 18 years in the prison camps of the Gulag (1937–1955).

In 1942, he left high-school and enlisted as a volunteer for the Red Army infantry, and from 1942 he participated in the war with Nazi Germany.
In 1956, three years after the death of Joseph Stalin, Okudzhava returned to Moscow, where he worked first as an editor in the publishing house "Young Guard," and later as the head of the poetry division at the most prominent national literary weekly in the former USSR, Literaturnaya Gazeta ("Literary Newspaper"). It was then, in the middle of the 1950s, that he began to compose songs and to perform them, accompanying himself on a Russian guitar.

Soon he was giving concerts. He only employed a few chords and had no formal training in music, but he possessed an exceptional melodic gift, and the intelligent lyrics of his songs blended perfectly with his music and his voice. His songs were praised by his friends, and amateur recordings were made. These unofficial recordings were widely copied as magnitizdat, and spread across the USSR and Poland, where other young people picked up guitars and started singing the songs for themselves. In 1969, his lyrics appeared in the classic Soviet film "White Sun of the Desert".

Though Okoudjava's songs were not published by any official media organization until the late 1970s, they quickly achieved enormous popularity, especially among the intelligentsia - mainly in the USSR at first, but soon among Russian-speakers in other countries as well. Vladimir Nabokov, for example, cited his "Sentimental March" in the novel "Ada or Ardor".

Okoudjava, however, regarded himself primarily as a poet and claimed that his musical recordings were insignificant. During the 1980s, he also published a great deal of prose (his novel The Show is Over won him the Russian Booker Prize in 1994). By the 1980s, recordings of Okudzhava performing his songs finally began to be officially released in the Soviet Union, and many volumes of his poetry were also published. In 1991, he was awarded the USSR State Prize. He supported the reform movement in the USSR and in October 1993, signed the Letter of Forty-Two.
He was one of the founders of the Russian genre called "author song" (авторская песня, avtorskaya pesnya). Though his songs were never overtly political (in contrast to those of some of his fellow bards), the freshness and independence of his artistic voice presented a subtle challenge to Soviet cultural authorities, who were thus hesitant for many years to give official recognition to Okoudjava.

Boulat Okoudjava remains emblematic of the renewal of Soviet poetry under the Kruschev regime, where he was one of the most prestigious poets and one of those held in great esteem by the intelligentisa as well as an idol for young people, who recognised their own dreams and aspirations in the scarcely veiled and totally unambiguous word of his forbidden songs.

He died near Paris on June 12 1997, during a stay in France.

This album presents a summary of all his themes: the rank and file, the streets of Moscow, the pangs and heartbreak of love, the horror of war, the small joys and immense sadnesses of life.

Tracklist:

1 Chanson Des Pirates
2 Anton Tchekhov
A Dans Mon Coeur Est Gravé
4 Sur Volodia Vissotski
5 La Petite Pluie Du Succès
6 Que Mon Amour Soit Vieux
7 François Villon
8 Le Soldat De Papier
9 Le Roi
10 Chanson De Ma Vie
11 Chanson Du Chat Noir
12 Chanson De La Piétaille
13 Chanson Du Ballon Bleu
14 Chanson Des Bottes De Soldat
15 Chanson Du Moucheron Moscovite
16 Vous Les Peintres
17 Le Dernier Trolley
18 Moscou La Nuit
19 Dommage Quand Même
20 Chanson De L'Arbat
21 Chanson Du Métro De Moscou
22 Nadia, Petite Nadia
23 La Route De Smolensk
24 Chanson Du Vieux Joueur D'Orgue
25 Les Trois Soeurs

Boulat Okoudjava - Le Soldat en Papier
(256 kbps, cover art included)

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