Nov 162010


That sounds like Vladimir Vysotsky’s voice on that tape recorder, though his guitar is not strung as loosely as he sometimes had it. (Click through to go to a YouTube video of this scene, at 6:20). It seems that Ivan Grozny is starting to like to it. (He’s visiting from the 16th century, in the 1973 comedy film, Ivan Vasilievich Changes Professions.)

I presume I’m not catching the entire significance of matching up Vysotsky with the Tsar.


  • Natan Kumanov

    I presume that you presume right. Indeed, Vysotsky often appears folksy, and that makes allusions to the times of tsarship (as I already said here a couple of times, and as the initial titles of this movie say explicitly, perceptions, i.e. allusions in this case, are often much more important for a Soviet film than closely following facts, in this case historical accuracy, so those allusions is what matters). This part of this song of his appears even more folksy, with his repetition of много and an accent with the [о] sound instead of the [а] sound in the last syllable of the word. As the Tsar reacts, «Лепота!», i.e. “beauty”, “well-feeling” (this word is not often used, but it has the same root as нелепость: weirdness, absurdity).