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God Save the Tsar: Military Band Music of Imperial Russia

  • God Save the Tsar: Military Band Music of Imperial Russia, 1900-1912. 

This landmark CD presents Russian military music from the age of the last Tsar Nicholas II (1868-1918), performed between 1900 and 1912 by actual bands of the Russian Imperial Army, as well as other military- and civilian performers from the glittering twilight years of the Russian Empire.

Selections of particular interest include INSTRUMENTAL- AND VOCAL renditions of the Imperial Russian Anthem God Save the Tsar, which is well known to classical music lovers from Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovskii's 1812 Overture; a textbook performance of the famous Preobrazhenskii March, the presentation march of the Russian Imperial Army and Navy that was also the regimental march of the premier formation of the Russian Imperial Guard; and a driving parade piece written in 1892 for the twenty-fourth birthday of Tsar Nicholas II while he was still heir to the throne, performed by the brass orchestra that was founded by his music-loving father Tsar Alexander III (and in which that monarch had once performed)!
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Product Description

 

"For connoisseurs of finely restored and rare military music recordings on shellac, another great moment has arrived... The American label Brandenburg Historica, already well known to specialists for its fantastic productions... this time documents the military music of Imperial Russia, with a representative selection of recordings that demonstrate the playing styles of the most varied pre-revolutionary military orchestras.... The booklet - as one expects from Brandenburg Historica - is of the utmost quality, and is outstandingly illustrated and researched.... [T]he numerous rare and unknown march recordings presented here will come as a nice surprise even to aficionados of the Russian march genre... [This] production sets a standard."

Mit Klingendem Spiel: Zeitschrift der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Militärmusik e. V., June 2013

TWENTY-FIVE TRACKS! OVER SEVENTY MINUTES PLAYING TIME!

This landmark CD presents Russian military music from the age of the last Tsar Nicholas II (1868-1918), performed between 1900 and 1912 by actual bands of the Russian Imperial Army, as well as other military- and civilian performers from the glittering twilight years of the Russian Empire.

Selections of particular interest include INSTRUMENTAL- AND VOCAL renditions of the Imperial Russian Anthem God Save the Tsar, which is well known to classical music lovers from Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovskii's 1812 Overture; a textbook performance of the famous Preobrazhenskii March, the presentation march of the Russian Imperial Army and Navy that was also the regimental march of the premier formation of the Russian Imperial Guard; and a driving parade piece written in 1892 for the twenty-fourth birthday of Tsar Nicholas II while he was still heir to the throne, performed by the brass orchestra that was founded by his music-loving father Tsar Alexander III (and in which that monarch had once performed)!

Also featured are several historic Russian soldiers' songs, including The Action at Poltava, which recounts the exploits of Tsar Peter the Great at that famous 1709 battle and his defeat of King Charles XII of Sweden; a musical 'recollection' of the 1885 Battle of Kushka, an engagement fought on the Russian Empire's remote Afghan frontier that symbolized the culmination of Russian Imperial expansion in Central Asia; and On Campaign, a raucous, untamed march cadence, sung by the troops of a regiment from Ufa on the fringes of Siberia.

Other selections of interest include a march written in honor of the heroic Russian warships Varyag and Koreets that distinguished themselves at the outset of the Russo-Japanese War in 1904; a rare and nearly forgotten 'Pan-Slavic' march composed to spur recruitment of Russian volunteers for the Serbo-Turkish War of 1876; and a parade-tempo, instrumental version of the chorale Glory to our Russian Tsar (from Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka's 1836 opera A Life for the Tsar), which served as the de facto second national anthem of Imperial Russia.

All of the selections presented in this compilation have been painstakingly restored for maximum audio fidelity, while scrupulously preserving their original character and unique period ambiance. These are the actual sounds of the world of Nicholas and Alexandra; the sounds of a Russia presided over by a seemingly permanent, three-hundred year old dynasty that ruled its vast domains from the glittering northern capital Saint Petersburg; a Russia where elite regiments paraded in bayonet-charge formation beneath standards emblazoned with holy icons; a Russia where the Tsar-Emperor was second only to God himself, and the ancient spires of the Kremlin were topped with the double-headed eagles of old Muscovy, rather than red stars.

Compiled from ancient and ultra-rare recordings held in private collections in the USA and Russia, God Save the Tsar is accompanied by a lavishly illustrated, 36-page booklet presenting a detailed history of Russian military music and its place in the military traditions of the Russian Empire; extensive notes on the featured musical selections; and a discussion of the martyred last Tsar Nicholas II, whose life (and that of his wife and children) was destined to end in tragedy at the Ipatiev House at Yekaterinburg, but whose reign nevertheless saw the Russian Empire attain heights of power, prosperity and grandeur unparallelled in its history.

God Save the Tsar includes the following marches, anthems, songs, waltzes and descriptive sound pictures:

March of the Life-Guard Preobrazhenskii Regiment (Trad.-Haase) 2:43
Band of the Life-Guard Horse Regiment, St. Petersburg
Conductor: A.V. Ruzhek / Rec. Date: 1910
 
God Save the Tsar – Imperial Russian Anthem, Instrumental Version (Lvov) 2:40
Band of the 1. Sumskii Hussar Regiment, Moscow
Conductor: A.K. Markvardt / Rec. Date: 1910
 
March from the Opera 'A Life for the Tsar' (Glinka-Anon.) 2:45
Wind Orchestra, St. Petersburg
Unnamed Conductor / Rec. Date: 1909
 
March of the Life-Guard Horse Regiment (Doerfeldt) 1:50
Band of the Life-Guard Horse Regiment, St. Petersburg
Conductor: A.V. Ruzhek / Rec. Date: 1900
 
March of the Life-Guard Izmailovskii Regiment (Trad.) 2:30
Unnamed Wind Orchestra, Berlin
Unnamed Conductor / Rec. Date: 1912
 
March of the Life-Guard Atamanskii Regiment (GD Olga Nicolaevna) 2:44
Band of the 1. Sumskii Hussar Regiment, Moscow
Conductor: A.K. Markvardt / Rec. Date: 1910
 
March of the Guard Equipage (Donizetti) 2:46
Band of the Life-Guard Horse Regiment, St. Petersburg
Conductor: A.V. Ruzhek / Rec. Date: 1910
 
Grenaderskii March (Unknown) 3:10
Russian Band
Unnamed Conductor / Rec. Date: 1912
 
Reminiscences of Kushka – March and Soldiers' Song (Ruzhek) 2:03
Band of the Life-Guard Horse Regiment, St. Petersburg
Conductor: A.V. Ruzhek / Rec. Date: 1901
 
On Campaign – March with Singing and Whistling (Borozdiuk) 2:55
Band of the 106. Ufimskii Infantry Regiment, Vilna
Conductor: F.A. Borozdiuk / Rec. Date: 1910
 
Little Russian March (Volshevskii) 3:07
Band of the Life-Guard Volynskii Regiment, Warsaw
Conductor: V.A. Pavelko / Rec. Date: 1911
 
The Action at Poltava – Soldiers' Song (Trad.-Molchanov) 3:03
Russian Male Chorus with Accordion Accompaniment
Unnamed Choir Leader / Rec. Date: 1909
 
Napoleon in Moscow – 1812 Jubilee March (Shmelev) 3:02
Unnamed Wind Orchestra
Unnamed Conductor / Rec. Date: 1911
 
March of the Yegerskii Regiments (Trad.) 2:49
Band of the 108. Saratovskii Infantry Regiment, Vilna
Conductor: F.L. Volner / Rec. Date: 1912
 
On the March – March (Chermak) 3:16
Band of the 108. Saratovskii Infantry Regiment, Vilna
Conductor: F.L. Volner / Rec. Date: 1912
 
March of the 17. Chernigovskii Hussar Regiment (Shorf) 2:43
Band of the 1. Sumskii Hussar Regiment, Moscow
Conductor: A.K. Markvardt / Rec. Date: 1910
 
Waves of the Amur – Waltz (Kyuss) 3:09
Band of the 108.Saratovskii Infantry Regiment, Vilna
Conductor: F.L. Volner / Rec. Date: 1909
 
The Varyag and the Koreets – March (Trauut) 2:31
Band of the Life-Guard Litovskii Regiment, Warsaw
Conductor: Yakovlev / Rec. Date: 1908
 
On the Hills of Manchuria – Waltz (Shatrov) 3:07
Band of the 1. Life-Guard Artillery Brigade, Moscow
Conductor: V. Becker / Rec. Date: 1909
 
Infantry Attack – Sound Picture (Rossini-Widder-Borozdiuk) 2:32
Band of the 106. Ufimskii Infantry Regiment, Vilna
Conductor: F.A. Borozdiuk / Rec. Date: 1910
 
Longing for the Motherland – March (Kroup) 3:15
Unnamed Wind Orchestra
Unnamed Conductor / Rec. Date: 1908
 
March of the Russian Volunteers (Hermann) 3:47
Unnamed Wind Orchestra
Unnamed Conductor / Rec. Date: 1912
 
Mazurka from the Opera 'A Life for the Tsar' (Glinka) 2:27
Wind Orchestra, St. Petersburg
Unnamed Conductor / Rec. Date: 1909
 
Tsesarevich Nikolai Alexandrovich March of 6 May 1892 (Varlikh) 3:24
Imperial Court Wind Orchestra, St. Petersburg
Conductor: Hugo Ivanovich Varlikh / Rec. Date: 1903
 
God Save the Tsar – Imperial Russian Anthem, Choral Version (Lvov-Zhukovskii) 2:09
Imperial Mariinskii Opera Chorus and Orchestra, St. Petersburg
Unnamed Conductor / Rec. Date: 1912

TOTAL PLAYING TIME: 70:40

“This is a wonderful section of military music (mainly marches) and most of the playing is of a high standard that compares very favorably with other recordings dating back over one hundred years. The style of playing is similar to recordings of the best British bands of the nineteen twenties and thirties - full blooded and solid.... The more [we] listen to this compilation, the more [we] appreciate the expertise of the remastering engineer.”

Band International: The Journal of Military Music World-Wide, August 2013

"The[se] recordings come from private collections in the USA and Russia and have been restored in a technically masterful fashion. Given that the original records are over one hundred years old, one can only marvel at the sound quality.... Very interesting and worth reading is the accompanying thirty-six page illustrated booklet with its detailed description of military music in Imperial Russia.... In [our] view this is a very special CD that deserves a place in your collection."

Defilé: Journal of the International Military Music Society, Netherlands Branch, September 2013

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Product Reviews

  1. Remarkable Preservation 4 Star Review

    Posted by on 21st Feb 2016

    It is astonishing that pre-WWI recordings of Imperial Russian military bands can have survived so long and can be heard today with clarity.

    These marches and songs will surely be meaningful to anyone with a sense of history. Obviously they are archival, not state-of-the art, but they are very listenable.

    To hear band of a famous regiment like the Chevalier Guard perform the Preobrazhensky March, or the actual sounds of Russian Imperial troops singing on the march, is amazing.

    Especially in this centenary period of the Great War, this remarkable recording should appeal to many.

    God Save the Tsar!



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