July 16, 2014
I want to share with you today a short video on YouTube. It is a photo montage accompanied by a song: glimpses of the most beautiful city on Earth. This is Leningrad. St. Petersburg. Snippets of it as it really was — mostly still is, though some things have changed here and there.
And an old, Soviet song from a voice most dear to our hearts, from our past. The man who sings was a brilliant actor, singer, dancer, and a narrator of the best and noblest in our culture’s spirit. He passed away young and left us memories and images. Films. Laughs. And music.
This is the video: Не дай мне бог разлуки
The song’s lyrics speak of a vagabond and brawler, who has circled the world, sung odes to feminine charms, traveled to many cities, and never lost spirits in hardship. Yet he comes home, he says, to the vastness of breath between the heavens and the Neva, when even his eyes fill with tears. Before this beauty, all is vanity and smoke. “God keep me from anything else,” he says. “God keep from exile. I am saved, I am guarded by this city,” he says. “God keep me ever from causing it pain.”