This article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2021)
Composition and initial successEdit
Composer Vasily Solovyov-Sedoi and poet Mikhail Matusovsky wrote the song in 1955 with the title "Leningrad Nights" (Russian: Ленинградские вечера, tr. Leningradskije večera, IPA: [lʲɪnʲɪnˈɡratskʲɪje vʲɪtɕɪˈra]), but at the request of the Soviet Ministry of Culture, the song was renamed "Moscow Nights" and made corresponding changes to the lyrics.
In 1956, "Moscow Nights" was recorded by Vladimir Troshin, a young actor of the Moscow Art Theatre, for a scene in a documentary about the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic's athletic competition Spartakiad in which the athletes rest in Podmoskovye, the Moscow suburbs. The film did nothing to promote the song, but thanks to radio broadcasts it gained popularity.
|"Midnight in Moscow"|
|Single by Kenny Ball|
The Dutch jazz group New Orleans Syncopators recorded the arrangement of the song under the title 'Midnight in Moscow', arranged by its leader Jan Burgers on January 4, 1961. The arrangement of Jan Burgers was published by Les Editions Int. Basart N.V. and also used by Kenny Ball who recorded the song in november 1961. The British jazz group Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen had also hit with the song later in 1961, also under the title "Midnight in Moscow". This version peaked at number two on the UK Singles Chart in January 1962. "Midnight in Moscow" also reached number two on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in March that year, kept out of the number one spot by "Hey! Baby" by Bruce Channel, 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 their popular live performance album At the Bitter End on Kapp Records. The group 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 USSR.
In 2015, the Massed Bands of the Moscow Garrison, under the direction of Lieutenant General Valery Khalilov, performed a march arrangement of the song during the march past of foreign contingents (specifically those from Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus and Kazakhstan) in the Moscow Victory Day Parade that year.
In June 2018, the English teenage composer Alma Deutscher adapted the song for piano to entertain Russian President Vladimir Putin during a State Visit to Austria, at the request of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. Given three days to arrange it, Deutscher started with a sad lament that transformed itself into a Viennese waltz. Kurz explained that the melding of the two musical styles illustrated well the bond of friendship between Austria and Russia.
Place in Soviet cultureEdit
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.
In American popular cultureEdit
The lyrics were shown on 9 March 2017 in Cyrillic script as the vanity card of The Big Bang Theory episode "The Escape Hatch Identification" (Season 10 Episode 18). It was used once again on 5 April 2018, as card number 585, but the second line of the song was missing.
- "Vladimir Trochin – Moscow nights (1956)". YouTube. Archived from the original on 22 December 2021. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
- "Kenny Ball". 45-rpm.org.uk. 22 May 1930. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
- "The Hot 100 Chart". Billboard.com. Retrieved 13 December 2020.
- Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–2001. Record Research. p. 28.
- "Lycklig resa – en hyllning till Jan Johansson". Konserthuset.se (in Swedish). Retrieved 21 March 2019.
- Mitternacht in Moskau, retrieved 6 January 2023
- "Two Soviet Love Songs for Vocalising Pianist – Gao Ping". Sounz.org.nz. 12 August 2009. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
- Video on YouTube on his compilation album Masterpieces of Three Centuries)[dead link]
- "Foreign units marched at the military parade in step with the music of "Katusha" and "Podmoscovnye vechera" songs : Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation". Archived from the original on 9 October 2020. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
- "Wien: Junge Nachwuchs-Pianistin Alma Deutscher präsentiert ihre Fantasie für Putin". YouTube. Retrieved 29 April 2021.[dead YouTube link]
- "CLP – Vanity Card #554". Chucklorre.com. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
- "CLP – Vanity Card #585". Chucklorre.com. Retrieved 6 April 2018.