The story of a movie hit: how the song "I Asked Ash" from "The Irony of Fate" appeared

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The story of a movie hit: how the song appeared

Eldar Ryazanov said that he considered the composer Mikael Tariverdiev to be “one of the main authors” of the film “The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath!”. While still working on the script, the director of the cult New Year's comedy conceived a large number of songs, many on the verses of famous poets. We find out interesting facts about one of the compositions sounded in Ryazanov’s tape to the music of Tariverdiev – “I Asked Ash”.

Music Author

Mikael Tariverdiev is the author of all songs from the film. Although initially the plan for Ryazanov was different: he was going to attract several composers to work on the tape, each of whom he planned to get one song.

Being a big fan of poetry, Eldar Aleksandrovich selected a number of poems – Tsvetaeva, Yevtushenko, Akhmadulina, Pasternak – and first sent them along with the script to Tariverdiev.

Michael Tariverdiev
Michael Tariverdiev

Michael Tariverdiev

The composer soon introduced the director to the melody that he wrote on these verses. And Ryazanov decided not to contact other authors of music: he found exactly what he was looking for.

As you know, all the songs for the heroes of Andrei Myagkov and Barbara Brylskaya were performed by Sergey Nikitin and Alla Pugacheva, then just beginning its journey to fame.

Barbara Brylska and Andrei Myagkov in the film
Barbara Brylska and Andrei Myagkov in the film "The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath!"

In his memoirs, Ryazanov wrote:

There was literally not a single person who would not point out to me the inappropriateness of these sad and complex verses in the light, somewhere anecdotal, comedic fabric of the script. But I knew that I wanted to make a picture where the transitions from funny to sad, from sad to funny will be its feature. A rich song will give the story an originality … Only one person unconditionally supported me – composer Michael Tariverdiev. He immediately felt in my gut my intentions and the style of the future film.

Eldar Ryazanov
Eldar Ryazanov

Of the eight songs included in the tape, the main part was written by verses by well-known authors. “I asked ash” stood out against this background: at first, authorship of the text was even attributed to Ryazanov himself. In fact, the poem was written several decades before the release of the film by a poet from Nalchik – Vladimir Kirshon.

Author of poems

Vladimir Kirshon is a person you may not have heard of. And in the 1930s he was well known and was considered one of the main ideologists of the Russian Association of Proletarian Writers. The best theaters of the country, including the Moscow Art Theater and the Vakhtangov Theater, staged "ideologically correct" plays by Kirshon with life-affirming names: "Rails Buzz", "Bread", "Wonderful Rafting" and so on.

His colleagues spoke about the works of Vladimir without much enthusiasm, but he, composing proletarian plays, propaganda songs and glorifying Stalin, achieved decent popularity.

Vladimir Kirshon
Vladimir Kirshon

The writer generally showed social activity: he made fiery speeches at party meetings, wrote denunciations to his colleagues Stalin. Among the "class enemies" the writer considered, for example, Mikhail Bulgakov. He accused literary critics of bullying.

The 37th year changed everything: Vladimir Kirshon himself became a victim of the system, which he so eulogized. He was declared a Trotskyist, expelled from the Writers' Union. He was arrested and soon shot. Kirshon was 35 years old.

Vladimir Kirshon
Vladimir Kirshon

Ironic song

Kirshon was not a poet, but sometimes included poetic lines in his plays. The song "I Asked Ash" was also written specifically for the theatrical production: in the mid-30s, Vladimir composed these lines for the comedy "Birthday", which was staged at the Vakhtangov Theater.

The melody was written by composer Tikhon Khrennikov – then still a beginner and little-known. Already much later, when the song received a new life thanks to the film “The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath!”, Khrennikov said:

The notes of this song I have not survived. Maybe somewhere in the archives of the Vakhtangov Theater they are? I had more fun than Tariverdiev. There it was an ironic song …

They say that Eldar Ryazanov has long wanted to include this song in any of his films. He instructed Tariverdiev to write new music.

Barbara Brylska and Andrei Myagkov in the film
Barbara Brylska and Andrei Myagkov in the film "The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath!"

It is interesting that the writer Vladimir Kirshon went down in history precisely as the author of the text of the song “I Asked Ash”, and if Ryazanov had not been imbued with a poem, the playwright’s name would have been completely forgotten.

Other versions

In different years, we heard a song performed by several artists: Sergey BezrukovEurovision stars Alexander Rybak, participant in the Voice project Kairat Primerdiev. One of the most unexpected covers came from the performer of songs about "little horse" and "three swear words" by Nike Borzov.



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