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Odessa artist: Modest Tabachnikov


Odessa has always been famous for its creative people. Many composers, singers and writers were not only born in the city, but never forgot their origin. This is the case of Modest Tabachnikov, despite the fact that, after WW2, the composer moved to Moscow, it was he who wrote famous songs about Odessa, which became its symbols and anthem.


Modest Tabachnikov biography

Modest Efimovich Tabachnikov was born on August 13, 1913 in Odessa. He early became interested in music, played in a brass band, in the orchestra of folk instruments at the factory club.

From 1931 to 1936 studied at the conducting department of the Odessa Music and Theater Institute. Then, he worked at the famous Odessa film studio, in 1940-1941 he was in charge of the musical part. During the Great Patriotic War, he was the artistic director of the song and dance ensemble of the 2nd Guards Army, the head of the musical section of the front-line theater “Jolly landing”. After the war, the composer took up writing music, both for films and for popular songs. 30 years later, in 1976, Tabachnikov was awarded the title of “Honoured Art Worker”. His life ended in Moscow at the age of 63, in 1977. But his legacy continues to this day.

Tabachnikov as a composer

Over the years of his composing career, Tabachnikov wrote operettas (“Sensation”, “I Love, I Love”, etc.), music for 50 drama performances and 7 films, more than 230 songs (“By the Black Sea”, “No, the soldier will not forget”, “Song of the Reindeer Breeder”, “Exactly”, “The Old Man and Death”, “The Flower Girl Anyuta”). He collaborated with the most famous performers of the Soviet Union. The first success of the then beginning composer was the song “Mama” written in 1937 by the poet Gridov. She gladly undertook to perform the prima of the Soviet stage, Klavdia Shulzhenko. Later, the composer’s songs were included in the repertoire of Leonid Utyosov, Pyotr Leshchenko, Mark Bernes, Emil Gorovets, Vladimir Troshin, Gelena Velikanova, etc. The most famous hits of the Soviet stage: “Let’s smoke”, “Sailor’s guitar”, “Song of a reindeer breeder”, “Sister”, “I remember an old house in Vyazma”, have become classics and have not lost their relevance.

In his life, the composer not only wrote music, but also loved to play it. He gradually played many musical instruments, but his favourites throughout his life remained the piano and accordion, which he mastered masterly.

The music of Tabachnikov

Despite the fact that Tabachnikov wrote different music in different styles, from bravura marches to delicate and gentle lyrics, his native Odessa always occupied a special place in his work. One of the most popular songs about the city: “Oh, Odessa, a pearl by the sea” can be called the pearl of his work. I must say that the words to this song were also written by Tabachnikov. World famous and loved his song “You are from Odessa, Mishka” to the verses of Dykhovichny. And the subtle and sincere “There is a city that I see in a dream” to the words of Kirsanov has become the unofficial anthem of the city. It is Tabachnikov’s melody that has been meeting and seeing off residents of Odessa and city guests for many years, sounding at the railway station.