LARISA MONDRUS, OR JUST LARISSA
Larisa Mondrus is called the number one star of Soviet pop music of the late 1960s and early 70s. And the first thing that pops up in my memory is the unfading smash hitter “Blue Flax”, which before that had sounded on the radio without much popularity.
And the very first success came to her when the young graduate of the 22nd Riga school Larisa Mondrus became the soloist of the famous Riga orchestra, famous throughout the Soviet Union.
Conquest of Moscow
The singer was born in Latvia on November 15, 1943. In 1962, after school, she went through a competition to a pop orchestra and immediately attracted the attention of the public. And two years later, Larisa Mondrus arrives in Moscow, and from this moment a new stage begins in the work of the young singer. Almost without looking, she is invited into her orchestras by Lundstrom and Rosner. She chooses the latter. Eddie Ignatievich was at that time leading perhaps the most popular orchestra in the Union. The work was for Larisa a kind of bridge or springboard in terms of integration into the metropolitan environment.
And then she married the composer and the head of the instrumental ensemble, singer Larisa Mondrus-Egil Schwartz, and for more than forty years this beautiful couple has demonstrated a vivid example of many years of love and deep affection.
Riga stage music of that epoch was uniquely focused on Western music, on the symphonic style, orchestras of Miller, James, Kenton. In Latvia, no one tried to “straighten saxophones”. For the time being, Moscow put up with this liberty: “The remnants of the bourgeois past are still alive there, nothing, we will soon eradicate this unprincipledness.” Do you understand now, on which leaps and bounds Larisa Mondrus’ talent flourished?
Wrong repertoire of Larisa Mondrus
Her creative credo could be formulated in two words: “Nothing Soviet!”. And this is the source of its “silent” conflict with the authorities. The first hit of Larisa was the song “Is it really me alone.” Unfortunately, in the film for which it was intended, the director chose Maya Kristalinskaya, whose name was already well known.
The main contribution to the All-Union fame of Larisa Mondrus, probably, was made by Central Television. A start was made by the New Year Blue Light of 1964, where Mondrus lit up with the moonlight by Eddie Rosner. The singer appears in other TV shows. For the next “New Year’s Blue Light”, Mondrus, together with singer Larisa MondrusMuslim Magomayev, recorded the first game clip – “Birds Talk”, producing a fair sensation – such a beautiful duet, especially with “declaration of love”, our television did not yet know.
The situation was extremely paradoxical: the popularity of Mondrus among the listeners was not created thanks to, but rather in spite of the authorities. She was invited to sing in Czechoslovakia and the GDR, and Rosconcert stated that there were no applications for Mondrus. People like her songs about simple human feelings, and officials of the Ministry of Culture strongly recommend her “civil themes”. “Darling, what are you about love, but about love. Include something patriotic in the repertoire, – one experienced administrator advised her, – prepare, for example, “Songs of the war years”. There (he raised his finger up) will appreciate it. You look, and the title will get “…
Will in a fist!
Of course, sometimes it was necessary to compromise: to record patriotic pieces of music (by the way, Schwarz’s entry into the Composers’ Union, by the way, depended on this). Without an explanation of the reasons, Mondrus was suddenly deprived of solo concerts or singer Larisa Mondrusnadili a ridiculous excuse for this. Once such a ban was caused by the fact that she dared to perform in the Star City in a mini-dress. Another time, Mondrus was removed from the jubilee festive program already for “maxi” – the long patchwork sleeves of her dress seemed to someone from the jury “rags.”
So, along with the awareness of nationwide appreciation, the resistance to the aesthetics of the “radiant life” that was implemented on the Soviet stage grew in it. The last straw that broke the patience was the story of a giant disk, which a classic composer killed on an artistic council. He didn’t like the “pessimism” of the song “Leaf Fall” and some others performed by Larisa Mondrus.
In 1971, after Sergei Lapin came to the leadership of the State Committee on Radio and TV Broadcasting, she was deprived of television broadcasts along with Vadim Mulerman.
The fateful decision of Larisa Mondrus
And then Mondrus and Schwartz submit the documents for departure, and in March 1973 they quietly and without delay leave the USSR. The first problem that has become in front of the family is the employment of a specialty.