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PIE # 44 -Russian lyrical songs: some history and cultural comments

(19.09.2009) Olga Dumer


Russian romantic songs are a beloved and very popular genre of many music lovers around the world. From YouTube listings alone, it’s obvious that their beauty is appreciated by the audience who has never been to Russia and does not know a word of Russian.

What is so appealing about them? How did this genre appear in Russia and why did it become so popular? Why were so many great composers, the authors of operas, ballets, and concertos so interested in this minor genre? What is a Gypsy romance and how is it different from classical romances? I attempted to find the answers to all these questions researching the available sources. As a result of this interesting and exciting quest, I was able to delve into the history of Russian music, to follow the pattern of tradition which has been kept by several centuries, and to learn a lot of curious facts. I will be happy to share this knowledge with everybody who loves Russian romantic songs – a wonderful and unique component of Russian musical tradition.

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