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Polyushko-polye (Russian: По́люшко-по́ле; IPA: [ˈpolʲʊʂkə ˈpolʲɪ]) is a Soviet Russian-language song. Polye means "field" in Russian, "polyushko" is a diminutive/hypocoristic form for "polye". It is known as Meadowland or Meadowlands in English.
The music composed was by Lev Knipper, with lyrics by Viktor Gusev in 1933. The song was part of the symphony with chorus (lyrics by Gusev) "A Poem about a Komsomol Soldier" (Поэма о бойце-комсомольце) composed in 1934. The original lyrics are sung from the perspective of a Red Army recruit, who proudly leaves his home to keep watch against his homeland's enemies.
The song was covered many times by many artists in the Soviet Union, including a well-known rock version recorded by The Singing Guitars (Поющие гитáры), released c. 1967. The song has been regularly performed and recorded by the Alexandrov Ensemble, and it is listed in the Alexandrov Ensemble discography.
Full version at London 1945 Youth Congress
At the opening of the London 1945 Youth Congress, the full version of Polyushko-polye was performed by a chord of 6.000 members. The music for this performance was composed by musician L. A. Stokovsky, based on the originial music of L. Knipper.
Outside Russia, several arrangements of the tune are known under the title The Cossack Patrol, particularly a version by Ivan Rebroff, and some under other titles including Meadowland, Cavalry of the Steppes and Gone with the Wind.
In France, a French version called Plaine, ma plaine was made famous during the 1960' by the male choir Les Compagnons de la chanson, from lyrics written by the French actor Francis Blanche.
It was used to very dramatic effect in the 1967 film The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming. Michael Palin notably performed the song with the choir of the Russian Pacific Fleet in the television series Full Circle with Michael Palin. The song can be heard in the background of the movie Cast Away and in an episode in Airwolf ("Proof Through The Night"); and is the opening title of Aki Kaurismäki's film Leningrad Cowboys Go America. The song is also covered instrumentally by The Shadows, and on Hammond organ by Grace Slick on Jefferson Airplane's 1969 album Volunteers as an interlude between A Song For All Seasons and the title track.
A wordless version is sung by a boys choir on the Disney album "It's a Small World".
Theodore Bikel sung this song as the opening number from "Bikel on Tour" (1963).
The Hassles used Polyushko Polye theme in the song "It's Not Enough" (Album "The Hussles", 1967; "It's Not Enough" was included into 1992 Re-issued Bonus Tracks).
The song has also been made popular and sometimes mandatory in Swedish student contexts, after its initial introduction in the student theatre Katarina II (performed by Chalmersspexet). In such situations, it is commonly referred to as Livet or Livet är härligt. As a consequence, the pianist of said theatre, Jan Johansson, later performs same song under the title Stepp, min stepp in the 1967 album Jazz på ryska (Jazz in Russian).
An 8-bit instrumental version of the song is played on early stages of the game Tetris (the 1980s Spectrum-Holobyte edition), which may be its most famous use in the West.
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