“Moscow Nights” (Russian: Подмосковные вечера, tr. Podmoskovnie vechera) is a Russian song, one of those best known outside its homeland.
The song was originally created as “Leningradskie Vechera” (“Leningrad Nights”) by composer Vasily Solovyov-Sedoi and poet Mikhail Matusovsky in 1955 (when both had well-established careers), but at the request of the Soviet Ministry of Culture, the “Подмосковные вечера” (transliterated as “Podmoskovnye Vechera”; more or less “Evenings in the Moscow Suburb”) version was prepared, with corresponding changes to the lyrics.
In 1956, Podmoskovnye Vechera was recorded by Vladimir Troshin, a young actor of the Moscow Art Theatre, for a documentary about the athletic competition Spartakiad of the Peoples of the RSFSR, for a scene where the participants rest in Podmoskovye, the Moscow suburbs. It went little noticed in the context of the film, but gained considerably popularity thanks to radio broadcasts.
In 1957, the song won both the international song contest and the first prize at the 6th World Festival of Youth and Students held in Moscow, quite to the surprise of its creators. The song spread around the world, achieving particular popularity in mainland China; Van Cliburn’s 1958 piano performance of the tune contributed to this international spread.
This video was recorded live in 2013 in the Red Square concert in Moscow.