In the mid-19th century in Saratov on an amateur scene there was a play “Vasilyev evening.” Musical arrangement was written by then little-known local composer Ivan Larionov. In the middle of the play the author performed a newly composed song, in the refrain of which there were repeated words “kalinka malinka”. Unlikely Larionov was thinking then that a century later his simple song would gain worldwide popularity and will be considered a folk song.
History of the Russian Songs “Kalinka Malinka”
Most Russians today, perhaps, would call “Kalinka” a folk song. However, both the lyrics and the music have an author. The musician and folklorist Ivan Larionov had an amazing flair for folk motifs. After performing the Russian song “Kalinka” in Saratov amateur theater, the composer gave the song to the choir of Agrenev-Slavyansky that performed the song in Russia and abroad until the early 20th century. Then the performance of “Kalinka” was taken over by the Song and Dance Ensemble of Alexandrov. Larionov himself was born in Perm, and later lived in St. Petersburgwhere he wrote the opera “Peasant girl”.
Today the song “Kalinka Malinka” is known worldwide. It is considered a musical symbol of Russia. For more than 150 years it has been performed in different versions and arrangements, in different languages and on different continents.
Russian Symbols in the Song “Kalinka Malinka”
Kalina and malina in Russian folklore are traditional antipodes. Kalina is a bitter berry, malina (raspberry) – delicious and sweet. Typically, these symbols are associated with women’s changing nature. Lyrics are simple enough, and the whole meaning can be expressed in one sentence: “Beautiful girl, please, love me…” But the melody of “Kalinka” is very beautiful, especially when performed by Russian folk musical instruments. Also interesting is how the rhythm of the song changes – from melodious to fervent, dancelike.
Ensemble of Alexandrov. Kalinka Malinka
By the way, over time, in Russia was invented a dance to the music of “Kalinka” with the same name. Most often it is performed by Russian folk dance groups, or even during sports competitions, as did the world champions and Olympic figure skating champions Irina Rodnina and Alexander Zaitsev. Their “Kalinka Malinka” became a benchmark in the sport.
Figure skaters Irina Rodnina, Alexander Zaitsev, Performance at the World Championships in 1976 to the music of “Kalinka Malinka”