The 19thcentury was the period of the heyday of Russian songs.

In the musical sense, traditional Russian songs of the 19th century are originals songs with folk motifs. Composers and poets of that time consciously imitated folk songs, bringing into them the colors from folklore. For this reason, today many of the songs of that period are perceived as folk songs and considered as such.

From over the island to the midstream

Vasily Surikov. Stepan Razin

Stepan Razin. Vasily Surikov

At the heart of the song “From over the island to the midstream” is a poem by Dmitry Sadovnikov, a poet and folklorist. Based on folk songs he created a whole cycle of poems about the famous rebel Stepan Razin. The most popular song of the poet was the song “From over the island to the midstream.” By the way, midstream is the part of the river with the quickest current.

Georg Ots

Winter Evening

The famous Russian poet Alexander Pushkin wrote a poem “Winter Evening” in 1825. Seven years later, his friend, Mikhail Yakovlev, composed a melody for it. Despite the fact that there are 45 versions of melodies for this poem created by various composers, Yakovlev’s melody remains the most popular and recognizable.

Sergey Lemeshev

Monotonous bell rings

This romance song was written by Alexander Gurilev in the middle of the 19th century. Presumably, the author of the melody was Makarov. Some singers performed this song in the arrangement of Sidorovich.

Muslim Magamaev, Tamara Sinyavskaya


This song is a folk version of the poem by Nikolay Nekrasov. The melody is an arrangement of a Hungarian dance “Chardash”, created by Yakov Prigozin. Interestingly, Nekrasov distributed the poem among the people in the form of red booklets. They were very cheap. Some other fragments of the poem also later became songs.

Russian folk orchestra named after Nekrasov


This is the most famous song by Alexander Polezhaev. The music was composed by Gurilev. There are melodies by other composers too for this poem.

Galina Pisarenko

Steppe and steppe around

This song is a folk version of the poem by Surikov. And the poem, in turn, was written based on old coachman’s song. Often in song collections the author of the music is not specified. It is considered that the composer is Sadovski.

Academic Siberian Russian Folk Choir (Novosibirsk)

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