I have written quite a bit about the battle of Stalingrad and its depiction in Grossman’s work. So I thought I would put something a bit different now. It is still war but depicted by someone very different to Grossman. I found this song when I was studying History at school and it made an impression on me then. I find it quite odd that someone would use the Red Army as a subject for a song, but it is also nice when music takes some interest in history. Apparently the song was based on a book by Viktor Muravin called A Diary of Vikenty Angarov. I like the idea that literature or history inspires music. Funnily enough though, the wikipedia page devoted to the album from which the song below is taken, explains that the album itself is a reference to another novel, something of which Mike Scott was unaware of.
Sometimes it seems one can be influenced by something or refer to something of which one is unaware. I wonder whether the band Beirut were aware of what exactly they meant by the title to their album “Gulag Orkestar”. But then, does it really matter? One can go down an endless route of titles, especially as controversial as Joy Division, or perhaps as intellectually challenging as The Fall.
Here is the song that narrates the story of a Red Army soldier. It reminds me of Serezha in Grossman’s two novels, as he is also a 17 year old boy at war. I chose the clip that includes the lyrics, however, please ignore the exclamation marks, the song obviously aroused a lot of emotion in the person who wrote the lyrics down.