The Great Moscow Fire (1910)

Nadezhda Plevitskaia. Piano accompaniment: Sergei Rachmaninov. Lyrics: N. Sokolov
Description: The Napoleonic wars, which ended in victory, glory, and a surge of patriotism for Russians of all classes, left a deep imprint in popular culture. This song was written by a minor poet long after the fact, yet it gained rapid popularity and was sung in many versions for the next seventy years. The author s name had been lost, and the lyrics had been polished, by the time they reached the repertoire of the famed singer Nadezhda Plevitskaia in the 1900s. Already hugely famous, she became even more so with this song. It repeats traditional motifs of popular culture, most curiously a fascination with Napoleon that lasted up till the Revolution. Though occasionally labeled an anti-Christ, Napoleon was more often the object of fascination, sometimes even affection.

Comments are closed.