Historical Songs

Historical Songs

 

(Russian) a folklore genre that arose at the time of the struggle against the Tatar yoke—for example, the Song of Shchelkan,—and becae the main historical genre in the 16th century. The first major cycle of historical songs describes events of the second half of the 16th century, and includes The Taking of Kazan, Kostriuk, and Ivan the Terrible’s Anger at His Son. The predominant theme of songs from the early and mid-17th century is the defense of the motherland. Cossack historical songs tell of the defense of the southern borders against the Turks and Tatars, as in The Taking of Azov, The Cossacks’ Failure, and Azov Prisoner. Many songs depict episodes from the uprising of Stepan Razin. The historical songs of the 17th and 18th centuries were a response to events of the Northern War, the revolt of the strel’tsy (semiprofessional musketeers), and the revolt led by Kondratii Bulavin; a number of songs portray Peter I. From the early 18th century, military historical songs arose among and were preserved by the soldiers. In songs of the 18th and 19th centuries, social problems become more prominent and class antagonisms more apparent, as in How Count Panin Judged the Thief Pugachev. Songs were composed denouncing A. A. Arakcheev and other high tsarist officials. An extensive cycle of patriotic historical songs was inspired by the Patriotic War of 1812. Later, historical songs declined and lost their former significance; they survived longest in the north, among the cossacks, and in the Middle Volga Region.

The poetics and performing style of the historical songs are marked by terseness, a dramatic quality, and simplicity of language.

REFERENCES

Kireevskii, P. V. Pesni, vols. 6–10. Moscow, 1864–74.
Miller, V. F. Istoricheskiepesnirusskogo narodaXVI-XVIIvv. St. Petersburg, 1915.
Lozanova, A. N. Pesni i skazaniia o Razine i Pugacheve. Moscow-Leningrad, 1935.
Listopadov, A. M. Pesni donskikh kazakov, parts 1–2. Moscow, 1949.
Istoricheskie pesni XIII-XVl vekov. Moscow-Leningrad, 1960.
Istoricheskie pesni XVII veka. Moscow-Leningrad, 1966.
Istoricheskie pesni XVIII veka. Leningrad, 1971.
Miller, V. F. Ocherki russkoi narodnoi slovesnosti, vol. 3. Moscow, 1924.
Putilov, B. N. Russkii istoriko-pesennyi fol’klor XIII-XVI vekov. Moscow-Leningrad, 1960.
Sokolova, V. K. Russkie istoricheskie pesni XVI-XVIII vv. Moscow, 1960.
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