Composer Vasily Soloviev-Sedoy met poet Alexey Fat’yanov in summer of 1942.
Following the reminisces of Soloviev-Sedoy: “I met him in Orenburg, and liked him at once. The following day he brought me a poem carefully written on a page torn out of a broadsheet. The poem was delightful. The lines were fresh and touching, lacking the usual literature cliches of poets who wanted to sound ‘beautifully’ or ‘unique’. You wanted to believe in those simple Russian words. After reading the poem I could literally feel the heady aromas of the freshly cut hay, blooming lilacs and wild flowers. Fat’yanov seemed to talk tet-a-tet with his peer, his fellow soldier… The words were already singing, there was melody in them”.
Shortly Fat’yanov ‘On a Sunny Little Meadow’ poem was published in a regional army paper. In 1943 Soloviev-Sedoy got down to work. Initially the music sounded like à lyrical waltz, but the composer himself was dissatisfied with the outcome. He remembered: “There was something I strongly opposed to. The melody seemed to relaxed, lacking preciseness and, the most important, synergy between the music and the words. So, I discarded the old one and composed a new melody achieving the result I had been aiming to. Thus, the song that we all love and know, emerged”.
It’s worth noting that after the song saw light several frontline newspapers came up with a new section ‘On a Sunny Little Meadow’ where they published short stories about how soldiers spent their brief hours of rest, letters received from their beloved and other messages.
Sources: Soviet Music (“Советская музыка”), Military Álbum (“Военный альбом”) and “Победа.екатеринбург.рф” websites.