Friday, September 10, 2010

Trololo, orchestrally (Jack Senzig's dream of an Edward Anatolevich Hill arrangement)

Perhaps you've heard the Edward Anatolevich Hill song "I am very glad, because I'm finally back home." I wrote about the song a few months back, after both Keith Andrew (of the Tall Ships) and Josh Haley (of the Medium-Sized Ffundercats) both mentioned the song. If you don't recall the song, here's a reminder:

The song, commonly called the "Trololo" song, is actually part of a musical tradition called "vokaliz." And apparently something about that song appealed to Jack Senzig, who posted a request as a comment to my earlier post.

I sure would like to get my hands on an orchestral score of this piece. Anyone with ideas look me up on joinchoir YouTube channel.

I visited the joinchoir channel, and I think I've discovered Senzig's intentions for such an orchestral score.

I am looking for repertoire for the 2010-2011 choir year. I especially want to have the kids perform pieces from Anime, video games and songs written for specific online communities. Compose your own, write your own lyrics or suggest a song that already exists. Songs that utilize technology are especially interesting to me. Vote for the suggestions you like. No promises.

This repertoire will be performed by the Gifford Children's Choir at Gifford Elementary School in Racine, Wisconsin (their blog is here, and their school mascot is Clifford the Gator).

So I began wondering if any such score for "Trololo" existed. I returned to the post of Justin Erik Hallador Smith:

[Hill] is best known for his interpretations of the songs of the Soviet composer, Arkadii Ostrovskii....The song he is interpreting, "I Am So Happy to Finally Be Back Home," is an Ostrovskii composition....

Hot dog, I thought to myself; if we're talking about a famous Soviet composer, then it should be relatively easy to find a score. Unfortunately, the wonders of alphabetic nuances got to me, because the main results of a search for "Arkadii Ostrovskii" led back to...famous singer Edward Anatolevich Hill.

But after doing some additional probing, I found out a little more about the song. It turns out that Hill was not singing the original version:

But what makes the clip more of an oddity than the typical '70s video is the fact that, despite bearing the complicated title "I Am Very Happy Because I Am Finally Coming Home," the song has no lyrics. Instead, Khil hums, laughs, and belts out the melody in a long stream of la la la's -- a performance that has earned him the nickname "Mr. Trololo."...

The song, with its distinctive cowboy-style syncopation, was written in 1966 by popular Soviet composer Arkady Ostrovsky. It wasn't always wordless. In the original version, the lyrics told the story of a man, Johnny, riding his horse across the American prairie to his sweetheart Mary, who knits socks as she awaits his return.

But Khil and Ostrovsky eventually decided that the suggestive lyrics were too "naughty" to pass Soviet censors and opted instead for the wordless version. Today, the singer says he can no longer remember the lyrics that once might have caused such a stir.

More importantly, the text gave me an alternate spelling for the composer's name, which led me to a Wikipedia entry for the composer (who died in 1967) and to a memorial Russian...with music samples.

A lot of music samples.

But if you go to Вокализ Эдуард Хиль you can find Hill's version of the song (labeled "Vocalise" on this page). Right above that, incidentally (see Вокализ Муслим Магомаев), you can find a version of the song by another singer (Muslum Magomayev - see this page for a link to a YouTube video of the latter's version).

Unfortunately, all of this additonal knowledge did not lead me any closer to the musical score that Jack Senzig (joinchoir) so desires. So if you're a retired Soviet musician who performed on TV or in the movies in the 1960s or 1970s, and you happen to have the score of this song lying around in your dacha, could you please send it to Senzig? The people of Wisconsin will thank you for it.
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