Tag: domra


The Red Sarafan – Dimitry Kalinin – Balalaika Virtuoso…

The Red Sarafan is a well known Russian song that I have found a long time ago in the mandolin method by Ernesto Köhler published in 1887 by the Zimmermann publishing company.

I have looked through this method recently and thought that I should watch some videos of this song. So I found this video with a great version played by the balalaika virtuoso Dimitry Kalinin and the Academic Orchestra of Russian Folk Instruments of the Russian State TV and Radio Broadcasting Company.

A. Varlamov. – The Red Sarafan

Dmitry Kalinin, balalaika. The Academic Orchestra of Russian Folk Instruments of the Russian State TV and Radio Broadcasting Company.

From Dimitry Kalinins homepage:

Dmitry Kalinin, was born in Moscow in 1978. He began to play the balalaika at the age of 7 and now he is one of the most recognized professional balalaika performers in Russia.

Dimitry Kalinin has played the music for many films, he composes and is a conductor for several orchestras. You can find many videos of his activities in his youtube channel. In those videos you can hear typical Russian music, but also arrangements of western music like music by George Gershwin or performaces with a Japanes player of the Shamisen.

One interesting video shows Dimitry Kalinin with his Balalaika quartet playing Smoke on the Water:

Smoke on the water – Deep Purple

Dmitry Kalinin`s Balalaika quartet.

Homepage Dimitry Kalinin: http://dmitrykalinin.com/

youtube channel Dimitry Kalinin: http://www.youtube.com/user/dmitrykalinin

Another interesting version of The Red Sarafan, played by the Meteor Quartet, with two domras, a bass balalaika and a bayan (accordeon):

Meteor – eine russische Legende 08

To end with here I have a very special version of  The Red Sarafan taken from an old 78 record – this version is played by three singing saws:

Der rote Sarafan – Russisches Volkslied

Telefunken – M 6021 (19823)
Der rote Sarafan (The red Sarafan)
Played on singing saw by Dr. Otto Frederich and his ensemble.

Composition by Nikolaj Grigorjewitsch Ziganof (1797-1831) and Alexander Warlamoff (1801-1848)

A Sarafan (Russian: сарафан, from Persian sеrāрā) is a traditional Russian long, shapeless jumper dress (pinafore) worn as Russian folk costume by women and girls.

It was the dress worn by peasant girls and women in the central and northern part of Russia until the 20th century. Russian women from the upper and middle classes stopped wearing traditional Russian costume, apart from the kokoshniks as part a court dress in the 18th century, during Peter the Great’s modernization of Russia (although the clothing style of Russian aristocrats differed greatly from those of commoners). It is now worn as folk costume for performing Russian folk songs and folk dancing.

I have just prepared a scan of the mandolin method by Ernesto Köhler and added it to my homepage as a free download from this page:

aa mandolin guitar

The Washington Balalaika Orchestra – Concerts with Balalaika, Domra,…

Today I want to present the Washington Balalaika Orchestra. The concert given on Oct. 9 has been recorded and is available in five youtube videos.
The orchestra was founded more than 20 years ago and is directed by Svetlana Nikonova since 2003. Today the Washington Balalika Society has the biggest balalaika orchestra in the USA, with more than 60 members.
The Washington Balalaika Society was founded in 1988 by a group of Washington-area musicians interested in studying and performing the music of Russia, Ukraine and eastern Europe on traditional Russian folk instruments — the balalaika, domra, bayan and related folk wind and percussion instruments. The Society’s initial membership of eight has grown to more than sixty, and the WBS Orchestra is now the largest of its kind in America with musicians at all levels from beginner to professional, from teens to 80s in age.
Artistic Director Svetlana Nikonova, who joined the WBS in 2003, has brought new depth of artistry and performance to the Washington Balalaika Society Orchestra. A graduate of one of Russia’s preeminent postgraduate conservatories with a degree in conducting as well as a former professional orchestra musican herself, she understands the individual needs of the orchestra’s members and has a keen appreciation for the preparation and presentation of our repertoire to the Washington area’s discerning audiences.
In 2009 the 20th aniversary was used to found a Children’s Music Academy to be able to educate young players.
The Washington Balalaika Society launched the Children’s Music Academy in February of 2009 as part of its 20th Anniversary celebration. This is an exciting opportunity for all children, ages 7 to 14, to learn to play Russian folk instruments, such as the balalaika, domra, bayan, and related folk wind and percussion instruments. Rental instruments are available.
Two other concerts given in November in Rockville and in Arlington have also been recorded and can also be found on youtube:
The Washington Balalaika Society presented “Balalaika Across the Steppes” on November 20, 2010, in Rockville, MD, and November 21, 2010, in Arlington, VA. The two concerts are complete, broken into seven sections each. For information on the Washington Balalaika Society, go to www.balalaika.org
Enjoy the balalaikas, domras and other folk instruments of the  Orchestra of the Washington Balalaika Society!

Washington Balalaika Orchestra at Washington, Va – Part 1

  • Lyrical Suite – Budashkin
  • Russian Winter

Washington Balalaika Orchestra at Washington, Va – Part 2

  • Solovey – Amy Prussing Lochass – Flute

Washington Balalaika Orchestra at Washington, Va – Part 3

On October 9, 2010, members of the Washington Balalaika Orchestra performed at the historic Theater at Washington, Virginia. Under the direction of their artistic director, Svetlana Nikonova, they performed to an appreciative audience. The video of the concert is in five parts. For information on the orchestra, go to www.balalaika.org

Washington Balalaika Orchestra at Washington, Va – Part 4

  • Gopak from Gayane

Washington Balalaika Orchestra at Washington, Va – Part 5

  • Ah, vy seni – Andre Saveliev, Balalaika
  • Korobeiniki

More information about the Washington Balalaika Society

Homepage: http://www.balalaika.org/

Playlist with the concert videos and some other balalaika videos: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=F79AE6C940A86A44

aa mandolin guitar

Wolga Virtuosen Quartett

The Wolga Virtuosen Quartet was one of the groups at the Eurofestival Zupfmusik in Bruchsal that got a lot of applause for their performance of typical Russian folklore. It was a lot of fun to watch the players play and act. The group was composed of prim-domra, alto-domra, bass-balalaika and the accordion instrument bayan.

Ther is one video that gives some impressions of a typical performance by this group that plays well known classical works by Russian and European composers and virtuous arrangements of Russian folk music. In their arrangements they use all the possibilities of the typical russian instruments domra, balalaika, bayan and others.

Wolga Virtuosen Quartett

The Wolga Virtuosen do also play in other groups, you can find all information about composition, instruments and music on their homepage (with a nice intro too):

A second video shows differrent groups, ballet dancers, the audience talking about some typical Russian food that was served during the beak, with some information in German and shows some very special miniature accordeon instruments:

Weltmusik: Wolga Virtuosen verzauberten das Publikum


Playlist Wolga Virtuosen Quartet


aa mandolin guitar

Watermusic – Georg Friedrich Händel on plucked instruments

Last year was the 250th year after the death of Georg Friedrich Händel, and so Händels music was present in the media.

Händels music can also be played on plucked instruments, here I have collected some interesting examples:

Suite by Händel played by the Mandolin Orchestra Het CONSORT

Evan J. Marshall, Solo Mandolin: Handel’s Pastorale

One of the popular works by Händel is the Fireworks Music. Here is an interesting arrangement with 8-string guitar and domra:

Handel – Music for the Royal Fireworks – Abaca String Band

This is the Bourrée, La Paix: Largo alla siciliana, and La Réjouissance: Allegro – from George Frideric Handel’s “The Music for the Royal Fireworks (HWV 351)”, written in 1749 to celebrate the signing of a peace treaty ending the War of the Austrian Succession and the signing of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748.

Originally for Orchestra, Handel also did an arrangement for Violin and Harpsichord.

The Abaca String Band was founded in 1991 by Andrew Schulman. The members of the group are Schulman, Music Director/8-String Guitar, Robert Zubrycki/Violin, Tamara Volskaya/Domra-Mandolin, Julie Goodale/Viola, Bradley Lovelace/Double Bass.

Recorded at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts, San Diego, CA, on October 22, 2008.

Music arranged by Andrew Schulman
Videography by Gary Stoefen


Finally I have a version of Händels’ Water Music:

Handel – Water Music – Suite in F maj – Alla Hornpipe


Additional infromation

Evan Marshall: http://www.solomandolin.com/

Orchester Corelli: http://digilander.libero.it/OrchestraCorelli/

Händel Haus – German Site of the house of birth of G. F. Händel with a lot of resources: Händel-Haus Halle

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