“God Save the Tsar” - the national anthem of the Russian Empire from 1833 to 1917. It was written on the instructions of Nicholas I after his visit to Austria and Prussia in 1833, where the emperor was greeted with the sounds of the English hymn. For the first time, "God Save the Tsar" was performed in December 1833 and at the end of the month, on the 31st, became the official anthem of the Russian Empire. The history of the creation of the anthem will remind Marina Maximova.
Among the definitions of the hymn you can find such: the anthem is a symbol of the state, reflecting the ideological and spiritual mood of society, or the anthem is a summary of the national and sovereign idea of the people. Historians argue that in the 19th century, the need for a new, official national anthem of the Russian Empire became apparent. The anthem was supposed to open a new stage in the development of Russia as a self-sufficient great power. The main song of the country, laid on foreign music, no longer corresponded to the ideological tenets of its time.
For the first time in Russia, they thought about their own hymn at the end of the 18th century after victories in the Russian-Turkish wars, then there was the famous capture of Ishmael, and finally, a new patriotic impulse swept Russia after the victory over Napoleon. In 1815, Vasily Zhukovsky wrote and published in the journal “Son of the Fatherland” a poem called “The Prayer of the Russians” dedicated to Alexander I, which began with the words: “God Save the Tsar!”. And it is this work, set to the music of the English anthem (God Save the King), used as the Russian anthem from 1816 to 1833 - as much as 17 years. This happened after the conclusion in 1815 of the “Fourth Union” - Russia, Great Britain, Austria and Prussia. It was proposed to introduce a single hymn for the participants of the union. One of the oldest anthems of Europe, God Save the King, was chosen as music.
However, Nicholas I was annoyed that the Russian anthem was sung on a British melody, and he decided to put an end to this. According to one data, on the orders of the emperor, a closed competition for a new anthem was held. Other sources claim that there was no competition - a talented composer and violinist from Nicholas I's entourage, Alexei Lvov, was entrusted to create a new anthem.
Lvov recalled that the task seemed to him very difficult: “I felt the need to create a magnificent anthem, strong, sensitive, understandable for everyone, having an imprint of nationality, suitable for the church, suitable for the troops, suitable for the people - from a scientist to an ignoramus”. Such conditions frightened Lvov, later he said that the days passed, but he could not write anything, when suddenly one evening, returning home late, he sat down to the table, and in a few minutes the anthem was written. Then Lvov turned to Zhukovsky with a request to write the words to the already prepared music. Zhukovsky provided practically the already existing words, “fitting” them to the melody. Only 6 lines of text and 16 melody bars.
God save the Tsar!
Reign in glory to us;
Reign in fear of your enemies,
God save the Tsar!
Eyewitnesses say that Nicholas I was delighted with the new hymn. The emperor praised Lvov, saying that he “absolutely understood him” and presented him with a golden snuffbox with diamonds. For the first time, the anthem was publicly performed in Moscow at the Bolshoi Theater on December 6, 1833. Here is how one Moscow eyewitness describes this memorable theatrical evening: “As soon as the words“ God save the Tsar! ”Were heard, all three thousand spectators who filled the theater followed the representatives of the nobility until the end of the singing. The picture was extraordinary; the silence that reigned in the huge building breathed its majesty, the words and music had such a deep effect on the feelings of all those present that many of them burst into tears from an excess of excitement. ”
For the first time in the official setting, "God Save the Tsar" was performed in St. Petersburg during the opening of the Alexander Column in Palace Square. After that, the hymn was subject to mandatory execution at all parades, at divorces, at the consecration of banners, at the morning and evening prayers of the Russian army, at the meetings of the imperial four troops, during the oath, and also in civilian educational institutions.
As a hymn, the work of Zhukovsky and Lvov existed until the abdication of Nicholas II from the throne - March 2, 1917.