Official website of the Spasskaya Tower International Military Music Festival
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Official website of the Spasskaya Tower International Military Music Festival
13 May 2020

Arise, you Mighty Motherland, Arise for Sacred War

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The Sacred War song that became the undisputable anthem of the Great Patriotic War was written by poet Vasily Lebedev-Kumach immediately after its beginning.

The song or rather the poem first saw light on June 24 of 1941 when it was recited on radio by the then famous actor of Maly Theater Alexander Ostuzhev. The same day the verses beginning with the famous line Arise, you mighty motherland were published by Izvestia and Red Star newspapers, since then gaining its permanent place on radio.

These powerful and catchy words immediately attracted attention by various composer, and just three days later, on June 27, a booklet with the song lyrics was sent to printing with circulation of 10 thousand copies. Music was composed by Matvey Blanter, author of another iconic war-years song Katusha. But with another three days passing by Aleksandr Aleksandrov, founder of the famous Alexandrov Ensemble, came up with his own version that was sent to printing with circulation of only 5 thousand copies. That was exactly the version that became the music anthem of the Great Patriotic War, the symbol of those tough but all the same heroic times.

However, gaining hearts and minds of people the song started several months later, after October 15 of 1941 when the Battle of Moscow was gaining momentum. At first the Soviet ideology masterminds were reluctant to introduce the song among the Red Army soldiers considering its lyrics about the deadly battle to be too tragic and not doing justice to the strategy of close victory without great losses.

But the song’s melody-full composition coupled with the resolute pace of the march inspired and raised the morale among the Red Army, giving them strength in times of the hardest defenses. “Immortal” referred to the song Marshal of Victory Georgy Zhukov, largely known for being chary of praise.

The song has never lost its popularity both at home and abroad. The Alexandrov Ensemble has performed it every time it staged a concert abroad. Thus, in 2007 it brought down the NATO Headquarters winning a round of standing applause.