|Single by Vasily Solovyov-Sedoi & Mikhail Matusovsky|
The song was originally created as "Leningradskie Vechera" ("Leningrad Nights") by composer Vasily Solovyov-Sedoi and poet Mikhail Matusovsky in 1955 (when both had well-established careers), but at the request of the Soviet Ministry of Culture, the "Подмосковные вечера" (transliterated as "Podmoskovnye Vechera"; more or less "Evenings in the Moscow Suburb") version was prepared,[when?] with corresponding changes to the lyrics.
In 1956, Podmoskovnye Vechera was recorded by Vladimir Troshin, a young actor of the Moscow Art Theatre, for a documentary about the athletic competition Spartakiad of the Peoples of the RSFSR, for a scene where the participants rest in Podmoskovye, the Moscow suburbs. It went little noticed in the context of the film, but gained considerably popularity thanks to radio broadcasts.
In 1957, the song won both the international song contest and the first prize at the 6th World Festival of Youth and Students held in Moscow, quite to the surprise of its creators. The song spread around the world, achieving particular popularity in mainland China; Van Cliburn's 1958 piano performance of the tune contributed to this international spread.
In the Soviet Union, the tune became the time signal sounded every 30 minutes on the Mayak music and news radio station since 1964. The shortwave radio station Radio Moscow's English-language service has played an instrumental version of "Moscow Nights", between informing listeners of frequency changes and the hourly newscast since the start of its 24-hour English Service in 1978.
The British jazz group, Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen, had a hit with the song in 1961 under the title "Midnight in Moscow". This version peaked at number two on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in early 1962; in March that year, and it spent three weeks at number one on the American Easy Listening chart.
In 1962 at the height of the folk revival in the United States, the song was recorded by The Chad Mitchell Trio on its popular live performance album At The Bitter End on Kapp Records. The group was "one of the top singing attractions on the campus and club folk circuit" and introduced the song with its original Russian lyrics to the American mainstream audience during the Cold War era of strained relations between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.
The Chinese composer Gao Ping used the song in 2003 as the basis for one of his Soviet Love Songs for Vocalizing Pianist, "Evenings in Suburban Moscow." By his use, he was confirming the popularity of the song during the Communist era of China, a time when cultural exchanges between the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China were particularly strong.
In 2008 a special piano version was used to accompany the ribbon routine of fellow Russian rhythmic gymnast Evgeniya Kanaeva who became an Olympic champion in the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics. The song was used in a folk style combined with Katusha in a medley in 2012 by Uzbek rhythmic gymnast Ulyana Trofimova for her ball routine and in 2014 for Russian rhythmic gymnast Yana Kudryavtseva in her clubs routine.
- Article about composer, with photograph and links (Russian)
- Translation taken from this site
- About the song, with two English translations
- on YouTube
- on YouTube
- Kenny Ball & His Jazzmen
- Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 28.
- Holm, Åke. "Chad Mitchell Trio Discography". Retrieved May 31, 2013.
- Holm, Åke. "Chad Mitchell & The Chad Mitchell Trio". Retrieved May 31, 2013.
- Video on YouTube on his compilation album Masterpieces of Three Centuries)