Высоцкий без гитары / Vysotsky Without Guitar

Vladimir Vysotsky ( 1938-1980) was one of the outstanding creative artists of Soviet Russia in the 1960s and 1970s. Singer, poet and actor, he gave voice to what many felt but could not express and was adored by the intelligentsia.

Alla Gelich will be readingabout 20 of Vysotsky's songs. The songs will not be read in English, but translations will be provided.

After the readings, there will be a discussion (in English and Russian), which will focus on whether Vysotsky's songsare still relevant today and whether they are also worthy ofappreciation in their own right as poetic compositions. It is planned to have vote on these two questions at the end.

The evening will be introduced by David Brummell .

When the singer, poet and actor, Vladimir Vysotsky died in the summer of 1980 a crowd of over 30,000 flocked to his funeral in Moscow. Some of those attending carried umbrellas. This was not to protect themselves from the burning sun, but to shield the floral tributes, so that they would not fade. A moving tribute to Vysotsky, and an eloquent expression of what Russians feel about the power of the spoken and written word. In Russia, to speak out, or to write, has often been a matter of life and death.

Нынче все срока закончены,
А у лагерных ворот,
Что крест-накрест заколочены, —
Надпись: "Все ушли на фронт".

За грехи за наши нас простят,
Ведь у нас такой народ:
Если Родина в опасности,
Значит всем идти на фронт.

Там год за три, если Бог хранит,
Как и в лагере — зачёт.
Нынче мы на равных с ВОХРами —
Нынче все ушли на фронт.

У начальника Берёзкина —
Ох и гонор, ох и понт!
И душа — крест-накрест досками,
Но и он пошёл на фронт.

Лучше было — сразу в тыл его:
Только с нами был он смел.
Высшей мерой "наградил" его
Трибунал за самострел.

Ну а мы — всё оправдали мы,
Наградили нас потом:

























Кто живые, тех — медалями,
А кто мёртвые — крестом.

И другие заключённые
Пусть читают у ворот
Нашу память застеклённую —
Надпись: "Все ушли на фронт"





Nowadays all prison time is over,
Nowadays prison camp gate is blocked with boards,
And above it a sign reads:
“Everybody left for the front”.

All our sins will be forgiven -
Such are feelings of our people:
If Motherland is in danger,
Than everybody must go to war [to the front].

Every year counts there as three years,
The same as in the prison camp.
Today we are equal to prison guards -
Today everybody must leave for the front.

Look, the prison commandant Beryozkin -
So haughty, so arrogant,
As if his heart was blocked with boards, -
But even he vent to the front.

It would be better to place him at the rear:
He was only brave while handling us, -
The military court awarded him with capital punishment
After he had shot and wounded himself.

But we – we had raised to the task,
So they awarded us later:
Those who survived - with medals,
Those who died – with cemetery crosses.

And in future new prison camp mates
Will read next to the prison gate
Our names behind the glass board
With the sign: “They’d fallen at the front”.
































Hello, World!