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Podmoskovnye Vechera (Moscow Nights)

By Thomas Keyes
Mar. 25, 2006

One of the most famous Russian songs of the twentieth century was “Podmoskovnye Vechera”, which literally means “Evenings Near Moscow”, but is usually called “Moscow Nights” or “Midnight in Moscow” in English. The song was composed in 1955, with music by Vasili Solovyev-Sedoy and lyrics by Mikhail Matusovsky. It was sung at the Moscow Youth Festival in 1956. It was played also by prize-winning American pianist Van Cliburn in the White House in 1979, on the occasion of a visit by the late premier of the USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev.

Below I have transcribed the Russian lyrics into English letters, using a method that represents the sounds of Russian faithfully, instead of the usual letter-for-letter correspondence one finds in such transcriptions. Thus “Podmoskovnye” is the usual transcription of the first word of the title, but “Padmaskóvnyje” is more revealing, provided we know that ‘y’ is a central or centralized vowel between ‘i’ and ‘u’, that ‘j’ stands for English ‘y’. Also ‘kh’ stands for German ‘ch’, and ‘ch’ for English ‘ch’. My own translation follows the transcription.

I have also provided links where the melody can be heard and the Cyrillic (Russian) lyrics can be seen. Though I have known of this song for several years, I have learned to sing it only in the last year.

MOSCOW NIGHTS

Melody:

http://ingeb.org/songs/podmosko.mid

Cyrillic (Russian) Lyrics:

http://aix1.uottawa.ca/~jdclayt/rus1901_songs_vechera.htm

Transcription:

Nje slyshný fsadú dázhe sharakhjí.
Fsjo zdjesj zamjirló da utrá.
Jésljip ználji vy kak mnje daragjí
Padmaskóvnyje vjechirá!
Jésljip ználji vy kak mnje daragjí
Padmaskóvnyje vjichirá!

Rjéchka dvjízhytsja i nje dvjízhytsja
Fsja iz lúnnava sjirjibrá.
Pjésnja slýshytsja i nje slýshytsja
Vétjikh tíkhjije vjichirá.
Pjésnja slýshytsja i nje slýshytsja
Vétjikh tíkhjije vjichirá.

Stosh ty mílaja smótrjish iskasá
Njíska gólavu naklanjá.
Trúdna výskazatj i nje výskazatj
Fsjo shta na sjérttse u minjá.
Trúdna výskazatj i nje výskazatj
Fsjo shta na sjérttse u minjá.

A rassvjét uzhé fsjo zamjétnaja.
Tak pazhálasta butj dabrá.
Nje zabútj i ty étjikh ljétnjije
Padmaskóvnyje vjichirá!
Nje zabútj i ty étjikh ljétnjije
Padmaskóvnyje vjichirá!

MOSCOW NIGHTS (Translation)

Not even a rustle can be heard in the garden,
Everything has grown quiet till morning.
If only you knew how dear to me
Are these evenings around Moscow!
If only you knew how dear to me
Are these evenings around Moscow!

The brook first moves, then becomes still,
All in moonlit silver.
Singing first is heard, then falls still
On these peaceful evenings.
Singing first is heard, then falls still
On these peaceful evenings.

Why, darling, are you looking at me askew,
Leaning your head low?
It’s hard to express, but not express,
Everything that’s on my mind.
It’s hard to express, but not express,
Everything that’s on my mind.

But daylight is already quite visible,
So please be good.
Don’t you forget these summer
Nights around Moscow either.
Don’t you forget these summer
Nights around Moscow either.

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About the author Thomas Keyes: I have written two books: A SOJOURN IN ASIA (non-fiction) and A TALE OF UNG (fiction), neither published so far.

I have studied languages for years and traveled extensively on five continents.

Email: udikeyes@yahoo.com


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