Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Football March.

(Russian football musical theme)

At a football match in Russia.

All British football fans know the Match of the Day musical theme. In fact, every British knows it. It is so ubiquitous, so well known that it is associated with football in general. Match of the Day, the BBC TV programme itself is one of the longest running. It's begun over fifty years ago, in 1964. The musical theme, however, was composed only in 1970 especially for Match of the Day by Barry Stoller.

Russians have their own football theme called the Football March ("Футбольный марш", wikipedia in Russian). It was composed in 1938 by Matvey Blanter, one of the most prolific Soviet musicians. The march is in E-flat major. It opens with a vibraphone (similar to xylophone) jingle, that is often used separately on radio and TV, and then the full brass orchestra steps in triumphantly.

The melody is still used throughout the former Soviet Union, not just Russia herself. Blanter is, perhaps, most famous for the iconic 'Katyusha', also composed in 1938. According to chess grand-master and musician Mark Taimanov, in his study, Shostakovich, who was the first to listen to the Football March, had a Blanter's portrait hanging next to the one of Beethoven. 

Read Tetradki post about Match of the Day in Russian here.
Alexander Yakovlev's 1968 photo (©) 
shows Dynamo Moscow's legendary goalkeeper 
Lev Yashin and the captain of Dynamo 
at the time Viktor Anichkin 
(first from right, no relation to the editor of Tetradki). 
Republished by permission.

Watch a Russian TV programme about the Football Match story here, in Russian,  in Russian with vintage footage.

Here is the full version of the Football March, followed by a 1955 animated film 'A Marvelous Match' ("Необыкновенный матч") with a version of the Football Match theme played from 9:55 minutes into the film.

Football March theme is at 9:55 min into the film —

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