Nikita Bogoslovsky was one of the most popular and fruitful Russian songwriters, a gifted conductor, pianist and man of letters, whose creative legacy remains alive and meaningful today. His music embellishing a great number of feature, documentary and animated cartoon films brought up more than one generation; his songs performed by the epoch’s best singers such as Sergei Lemeshev, Ivan Kozlovski, Leonid Utyosov and Mark Bernes enjoyed admiration of all the huge country. Among his friends Nikita Bogoslovsky was beloved as an unsurpassed master of practical jokes; they even titled him “the King of Gags” for his hilarious stunts unfailingly arousing hearty laughter.
A whole epoch is associated with the name of Nikita Bososlovsky, his songs conveying all the sensations, concerns, and hopes of people in the USSR. At the same time his music represents original harmonious blending of many international styles, not without the influence of English ballads, French chanson, American jazz, etc.
Nikita Vladimirovich Bogoslovsky was born on May 22, 1913, in St. Petersburg, Russia. In early childhood Nikita was inspired by his mother’s home performances of songs by Aleksandr Vertinsky. The boy started his piano lessons at the age of 3. As a schoolboy he was taught by composer Aleksandr Glazunov (1926-1928), a classic of Russian music.
Nikita composed his first music work at the age of 8; it was a waltz for the birthday of Leonid Utesov’s daughter. When he was 15 the Leningrad Theatre of Musical Comedy staged his operetta 'Noch pered Rozhdestvom' (Christmas Eve Night). Funny enough, the young composer was not admitted to the premiere, as the usher declared: “Boy, you ought not to! Come with your mom for the Sunday matinee…”
In 1929 he entered Leningrad Conservatory and successfully graduated in 1934 as a composer.
In 1937 Bogoslovsky debuted as film composer with the music score for Treasure Island. The first success was followed by remarkable scores for Tainstvennyy ostrov (Mysterious Island) (1941), Pyatnadtsatiletniy kapitan (Fifteen-Year-Old Captain ) (1945), Bezumnyy den’ (A Crazy Day) (1956), Raznye sudby (Different Fortunes ) (1956), Pyos Barbos i neobychajnij kross (Dog Barbos and Unusual Race), Samogonshchiki (Bootleggers) (1961) and other feature films, which made him one of the most popular songwriters of his time.
Nikita Bogoslovsky wrote around three hundred songs, the most famous of them being Temnaya Noch (aka Dark Is the Night), Shalandy (aka Boats Full of Mullet), Lyubimiy Gorod (Beloved City), Pochemu Ty Mne Ne Vstretilas’ (Why Did We Not Encounter Before?), and other film songs admired both in Russia and abroad. Winston Churchill on his visit to Moscow first heard Dark Is the Night performed by Ivan Kozlovsky and fell in love with the song; he brought to Britain a hundred copies of Kozlovsky’s records with this song.
During the Great Patriotic War (1941 – 1945) Nikita Bogoslovsky gave numerous concerts at front lines and in military hospitals. The composer did not avoid the tremendous evil eye of Stalinist dictatorship: in the late 1940s and early 50s Bogoslovsky was banned. The situation changed in the course of the "Thaw" initiated by Nikita Khrushchev. During the 60s, 70s, and 80s, Bogoslovsky toured much around the USSR and abroad, as a performer of his own songs and a conductor. He was also a host of several popular TV shows in Russia.
The music heritage of Bogoslovsky comprises music scores to 119 films and 80 theatre productions, 8 symphonies, an opera, two string quartets, compositions for piano, and about 300 songs. In addition to that Bogoslovsky published a variety of articles, critical reviews and books, including the famous witty Notes on the Brims of a Hat.
Bogoslovsky was honoured with numerous awards and orders for his contribution into Russian and international art development. In 1993 one of the small planets newly discovered by astronomers was named after him, and in 1998 a plate bearing his name was laid on the Star Square by the “Russia” concert hall in Moscow. Nikita Bogoslovsky died on April 4, 2004, aged 91, and was buried in Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow. The composer’s efficiency in the last months of his life was amazing: he was concurrently writing a novel, a script on it, and scores for a new French film.
News source: russia-ic.com
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