Dark Is the Night (Soviet song)

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Dark is the Night (Тёмная ночь, lit. Dark Night) is a famous Russian song associated with the Great Patriotic War. It was originally performed by Mark Bernes in the 1943 war film Two Soldiers.

The song was composed by Nikita Bogoslovsky (1913-2004), with lyrics by Vladimir Agatov. Leonid Utyosov was the first to record the song,[1] but it was Bernes's performance that made it popular. In the film, Bernes is a soldier who recalls his wife and baby at night while singing the song.[2]

The official experts were keen to accuse Bogoslovsky of propagating "Philistine" sentimental tunes.[3] Though ostracized by the authorities, the song became a symbol of the war years for millions of Soviet people.[3] It has been used as a trademark tune of the World War II period in such films as Andrzej Wajda's Ashes and Diamonds (1958).

Dark Is the Night has been described as "a gentle lyrical song imbued with a feeling of homesickness and expressing devotion to one's beloved" which helped "reveal the personal side of army life, indiscernable in the roar of warfare".[3] It contrasted sharply with the prevalent type of war song, which was either a field marching song or a civil patriotic one.[3]

Apart from Bernes and Utyosov, the song was performed by Ivan Kozlovsky, Lyudmila Gurchenko, Jason Kouchak,[4] Noize MC,[5] Zemfira,[6] Farhad Mehrad,[7]Ivan Rebroff,[8]Georg Malmsten[9] and Basta aka Naggano[10] among many others.

In 2006, Utyosov's song Dark Is the Night was used as the main theme in the Swedish horror film Frostbite, foreshadowing the coming of vampires in a northern Swedish town.

English interlinear translation of lyrics[edit]

Dark night, only bullets are whistling in the steppe,
Only the wind is wailing through the telephone wires, stars are faintly flickering...
In the dark night, my love, I know you are not sleeping,
And, near a child's crib, you secretly wipe away a tear.

How I love the depths of your gentle eyes,
How I long to press my lips to them!
This dark night separates us, my love,
And the dark, troubled steppe has come to lie between us.

I have faith in you, in you, my sweetheart.
That faith has shielded me from bullets in this dark night...
I am glad, I am calm in deadly battle:
I know you will meet me with love, no matter what happens.

Death is not terrible, we've met with it more than once in the steppe...
And here it looms over me once again,
You await my return, sitting sleepless near a cradle,
And so I know that nothing will happen to me!

Translated version[edit]

  • Estonian: Pimedal ööl
  • Finnish: Tumma yö (at least with two different lyrics made by Antero Byman and Timo Vuori)
  • Serbo-Croatian: Tamna je noć

References[edit]