Sunday, January 25, 2015

Vladimir Vysotsky – At Concerts


   Almost every culture and definitely every language have its bards, poets and singers who are playing specific role in social discourse. They differ in forms. Sometimes they are historic persons, sometimes political activists, they are partly prophets, partly jesters, generally whoever they are depends of circumstances and public needs. In Russian culture of 20th century there were many singers and poets who played such role. In such great country with so many cultures there is also a lot of space for any form of cultural activity. In group of Russian bards one poet and singer was legendary. He started as singer and actor. In school he met Bulat Okudzhava, who was already well known as underground bard. He was writing songs and when he auditioned to newly formed Theatre on Taganka Square in Moscow, his five minutes became 1.5 hour recital of his songs.
   Vysotsky’s career was developing multidirectional. He debuted as movie actor in 1959. Later he started his career of stage actor. Although for years overlooked by mainstream critics, he was enjoying a growing recognition of the audience, reaching better position in the theater, he was playing in the cinema, writing songs, publishing poems in literary press, his songs written for movies were publishing on records under label of Melodiya on series of singles. First album Избранное (Selected Songs) was published by Melodiya in 1974. These early records published in Vysotsky’s lifetime were extremely popular in Soviet Union. Second album Tightrope (Натянутый канат) was published by PolyGram in 1977. Few weeks after his death in 1980 Melodiya published collection of his Песни (Songs). In late eighty’s Melodiya was publishing various albums with Vysotsky’s songs and poems. The most complete edition was series of 21 LP albums На концертах Владимира Высоцкого (At Vladimir Vysotsky's Concerts).

Vladimir Vysotsky – На концертах (1989)

   Live recordings show Vladimir Vysotsky as “one man band”, he is host, singer and guitarist, stage personality and author, poet, composer. In recordings from 60’s and 70’s he created whole new model of performing poetic song, with deep emotionality and whole spectrum of voice acting. These qualities were corresponding with perfectly written lyrics and the effect was staggering. He was so convincing when singing about life of prisoners, they were sure poet was one of them. The same identification with any other group is the base of Vysotsky’s legend, boxers thought he is boxer and sportsmen took him as a sportsman. He was accepted by all who know him and his fame grew to the moment of his premature death, 25th of July 1980. The same date one year earlier he survived clinical death. And this date is exactly in half year distance from his birthday.
   The legend continues with Vysotsky’s recordings and books. From actor who was underground bard and enfant terrible of official culture, Vladimir Vysotsky after his death became recognized as one of most powerful personalities of his generation. Series At Vladimir Vysotsky's Concerts played an important role in his works postmortem reception. In Volume 10 of the series featuring one of greatest hits of poet and singer Кони привередливые (Capricious Horses), which also gave the title for the album. This album collected from 1973 recordings features most characteristic songs comprising main themes of civilization – Товарищи Ученые (Comerades Scientists), Мы Вращаем Землю (We Turn The Earth), sport – После Чемпионата Мира По Футболу (After the Football World Cup), Марафон (Marathon), some satirical – Мишка Шифман (Mishka Shifman) and Милицейский Протокол (Militianer's Protocol) and poetic metaphors of human fortune – Песня Микрофона (Song of the Microphone) and Кони привередливые (Capricious Horses). Four stars for phonographic documentation of great personality. Even if recorded material is in poor quality it’s worth to remember for its artistic quality.

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