“When weapons rattle, muses are silent”, said Cicero. But the muses are not only not silent in the years of the great Patriotic war; their voices will overlap the roar of weapons. Orenburg, a small provincial town, which in 1941 hosted the Leningrad state academic Small Theatre and ballet theatre (Malegot), is a witness to that.
The troupe arrived in our steppe region on 5th September. Leningrad showed the play “Forking larkspur” in the summer theater of the Park “Poplar” two weeks later. Having opened its first theatrical season on the Orenburg stage, the team has developed a great creative activity. The operas “Barber of Seville”, “Eugene Onegin”, “Carmen” were resumed. The premiere of “Queen of Spades” was in 1942. After Orenburg audience heard “Prince Igor” in concert performance. A month later they saw the ballet “The Tale about Priest and his worker Balde”. Moreover, a new Opera writing in the Orenburg. After all, Leningrad composers were evacuated to our city together with the theater. The author of Soviet operas “Quiet don” and “Virgin soil upturned” Ivan Dzerzhinsky continued to work on the Opera “Thunderstorm” by Ostrovsky, begun in 1939 and he created two more operas – “Blood of the people” and “Nadezhda Svetlova”. “Stronger than death” – the so-called Opera by composer Viktor Voloshinov, written during the war in our city.
On the die
But people were looking for different genres. And composers created not only operas, but also romances, songs, humorous couplets and even ditties. In the famous film stated: “Do you ask for songs? I have them!”. The Symphony orchestra, soloists and chorus of the theatre performed at concerts the works of European and Russian musicians. Symphony № 7 “Leningrad”, written in the siege of Leningrad by Dmitry Shostakovich was adopted especially enthusiastically. This is a great piece gave hope and faith in victory. It was broadcast on the radio.
The music critic noted that the orchestra in Chkalov turned into a “real Symphony orchestra characterized by the harmony of the ensemble” i.e. the theater did not survive the war years in the distant Orenburg province, but actively worked, grew, developed. What a three-year stay of the theater was a gift for Orenburg art lovers in our city! Every night Orenburg and evacuated in a hurry to find an outlet here, saving me from worrying about the fate of their loved ones fighting at the front. Jan Frenkel, the author of “Cranes” and “Russian field”, who was in those years a cadet of a military school, recalled how in rare moments of dismissal sought to get to a performance or concert.
Bach of the Soviet era
Composer Vasily Solovyov-Sedoy came to Orenburg together with Malegot. He met with a soldier Alexey Fatyanov, who approached the composerhHere in the park “Poplar” whose songs he listened to at concerts in Chkalov, and gave him a sheet with his poems. And soon there was a premiere of their first song – “South Ural”: it sang, passing through the Soviet battalion, going to the front. Song-the March was so pleased to command that the official order was the drill Chkalovsky garrison. This great creative Duo has created songs like “The Nightingale”, “On the Sunny glade”, “Long ago we were not at home” and others.
On the die
The story of the song Solovyov-Sedoy “Evening on the raid” is very interesting written in verse by Alexander Churkin before the evacuation. It was not accepted at first condidering “salon”. But during a concert in front of the dugout when the composer sang it is about the soloist, the second verse of the fighters he began to sing along. When the melody ended, the composer was asked to dictate the words. And then asked to sing again. After some time, it was performed on all fronts. Military communicators passed the song on to the field phones. And in the besieged Sevastopol texts dumped from planes. They wanted to hear “Evening on the raid” on each front concert.
Solovyov-Sedoy created a front-line brigade of artists “Hawk”, which went to the front here, in our city. The performance tours lasted for a month and a half. The concert hall became an airfield, a dugout, and a clean field. And it was also a contribution to the Victory. Not coincidentally, our illustrious countryman Rodimtsev said composer:
— If they ask you, Vasily Pavlovich, have you participated in the great Patriotic war, say that fought in the guards division Rodimtsev, who defended Stalingrad. After all with us fought your songs.
Many years later, the composer again visited the city of his military youth shortly before his death. He visited the embankment of the Urals, in the house where he lived during the evacuation, and, of course, in the “Poplars”, where he once met with Fatyanov.
We should be proud to have lived and worked in our city for three years, as said Jan Frenkel.