Vysotsky: Times, Heritage, Fate


 

Poems and songs


Vladimir Vysotsky is one of the ten Russian authors who represent the 20th century Russian poetry in university syllabi.

At the same time, canonical texts of most of his verse are not yet completely reconciled. This fact can be explained by that originals are often scattered, out of reach and, therefore, have had a little chance to be studied. Another explanation is that generally there were many original versions of a large number of Vysotsky's poems.

Since Vysotsky was unable to have his work printed in the Soviet Union, he didn'd do much to arrange his written material for publishing. He said in an interview to an Italian broadcasting company: «As a matter of fact, when I write my songs I don't really put them in a complete shape… I mean I don't do my songs first, last and all the time … My work is not finished the moment I get away from my desk or the moment a song gets recorded on a tape. The process goes on and on and is almost never complete. To me, the beauty of bardic songs is that they give an author (me, for example) a chance to adjust the words, music, beat of a song appreciating the people in front of him… Doing bardic songs is a live process and there is some ad-libbing in it». Thus and so, text experts have encountered an exceptional situation when last versions of songs do not necessarily put off the originals, which is though a different story.

This chapter contains a number of Vysotsky's poems, textually arranged by V.Kovtun, along with brief comments and descriptions of the originals used. It also makes references to other text versions as they appear in performance transcripts which can be found on our web site.

 


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