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Russian Composers You Hear In Pop Songs

Updated on December 19, 2014

All you wanted to know about Russian Composers in Pop Music

Russian composers and pop music - it is hard to know where one finishes and another begins. I love to listen to Russian music. Great music with great melodies by Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky Korsakov, Mussorgski, Prokofiev - they are ALL wonderful, the best great composers! Russian music and Russian composers seem to have taken all the best tunes, so pop music loves to crib from Russian composers.

This page is about the best Russian music used in pop songs. It is humorous, but also carries a serious message for music lovers searching for classical music online. An enormous amount of chart topping music is "recycled". Many buy classical music without realizing!

Only this week, I was watching the movie Shine about David Helfgott and what happened when he played Rachmaninov as a student. There is no doubt that Russian music has immense emotional power. Tin Pan Alley knew that, and many writers of popular music quote from Russian composers. Although I would not knowingly steal a Russian composer's tune as many rock and pop songwriters have, I confess to a fondness for Tchaikovsky which sometimes leaks through into orchestrations for my own recorded music. Here I show how some of the great Russian composers have contributed to the history of popular music. I hope you enjoy it!

Radioactive ice cream designed by me for Reggae Sundae sheet music! Please do not copy

Russian Composers - Borodin Polovtsian Dances - AKA Stranger In Paradise :)

Good news for those searching for a Prince Igor mp3! 1955 was a good year - it was the year my parents got married, and Stranger In Paradise was one of their favourite songs. "Hold my hand, I'm a stranger in Paradise.... da daaaa da da da da daaaaaaa"

Well, LOADS of people recorded that song, one of whom was Tony Bennett who did quite well with it! He got it to Number 1 in the charts, Bing Crosby, Don Cornell, Eddie calvert, The Four Aces and Tony Martin also made a packet as did the writers of Kismet! So, who wrote Kismet? It was a joint effort, but poor old Borodin, the chemist from Russia who composed part-time, was too dead to collect his royalties. Such is the way of genius....

Russian Composers - Buy Russian Music - Buy Music Russian Composers

Russian Composers - 1950s too long ago? - Russian Composers - even used in Hip Hop!

If Tony Bennett and the great Bing Crosby are too ancient history for you, I could maybe sell Borodin now with Warren G's version of Prince Igor from 1998. Although Borodin's opera Prince Igor is very long Warren G knocks it off for the impatient or operatically challenged in the space of a few minutes with this very street-wise rap number, happily cloned here by somebody else....

Borodin T Shirt

Related to Borodin?

Related to Borodin? Wear this with pride!

Buy Borodin Prince Igor Album - Russian Composers - Borodin Album

I adore the original. Not to say I didn't enjoy the cheerful sound-a-likes too, but Borodin gives me a tingle every time....

Borodin - Prince Igor
Borodin - Prince Igor

If you are going for Borodin and you want to do it properly the Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor are the absolute BEES. You might want to explore the rest of the opera too if you are really into music!


Borodin Polovtsian Dances

Here's a shorter version of the tingly, pretty bit! If this tune doesn't make you smile you must be made of marble!

Russian Composers - Borodin Polovtzian Dances Sheet Music

Straight and swing scores of Borodin's Polovtsian Dances

"C.F. Peters Corporation presents "Polovtzian Dances (from Prince Igor)".

This product contains music composed by Borodin.

Peters' scoring: 3322 4231 T,P,Hp,Str (SATB ad lib)"

Mike Lewis arrangement based on Alexander Borodin's "Polovtzian Dance," is a swing version for young players, ranges are modest, rhythms basic and solos are written out to give all the brass players a chance to solo.

Tchaikovsky Statuette - Composer Busts inspire musicians

Busts of composers are made of unbreakable vinyl plastic which is attractive, durable and washable.

Russian Composers - Jazzing Up Tchaikovsky! - (Plus those who live by the sword....)

Don't we just love modern instrumental versions of great classics? Even those for whom the orchestra holds no charm can be swept away by creamy electric guitars and honky saxes. Tchaikovsky was on to such a good thing here, not to mention Khachaturian. Again, it is a great pity they never lived to cash the royalty cheques preferring cholera and other sticky ends to the pop music industry!

Classics for Cool Cats

The early great versions by The Cougars and The Cats may have slipped into obscurity, but the great switcheroonie goes on and on perpetrated by such celebs as Thomas Tantrum. Keep it up guys, you might just make number 1,000,000 in the Amazon Hit Parade soon...

Russian Composers - Tchaikovsky Complete Symphonies - (For the REAL Music Lovers)

I have all the Tchaikovsky Symphonies on vinyl - he was a favourite always!

Tchaikovsky: The Symphonies
Tchaikovsky: The Symphonies

Tin Pan Alley recycled many of the wonderful themes from Tchaikovsky Symphonies before the charts were even invented and when music sheets were hawked on street corners by struggling singers.... No bigger collection of memorable tunes and passionate harmonies exists anywhere. If you loved Tchaikovsky enough to see Ken Russell's film you should own this at least!


Russian Composers Khachaturian - Russian Composers - Theme from Spartacus

Didn't I say not to mention Khachaturian? Well, I can't let the opportunity pass without pointing out the ballet Gayaneh or the wonderful Theme from the Onedin line TV series - Spartacus that is....

Russian Composers - Prokofiev - I Believe In Father Christmas? - Or I Believe In Lieutenant Kije?

Greg Lake took the Troika theme from Lieutenant Kije, which is gorgeous in its own right, and turned Prokofiev's Sleigh Ride into one of the biggest Christmas Hits ever! Well done Greg!

Best of Prokofiev

Well, I thinkI need a whole series, not just one lens and guess what? I STILL have the great Sergei Rachmaninov to come! I have the feeling that he will be so collossal I need to do a lens all about him. However, here is a little Prokofiev to leave you with for now as it is well past pumpkin time and my eyeballs are falling out.

If not, can I interest you in a radioactive ice-cream then? Thank you for calling in and I hope you found this lens entertaining.

Did You Enjoy Russian Remix? - Or Do You Prefer The Originals?

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    • LisaMarieGabriel profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa Marie Gabriel 

      4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you. I just think they had all the best tunes, don't you? :D

    • Rangoon House profile image


      4 years ago from Australia

      I loved visiting and listening to your Russian music selection. I have the Tchaikovsky complete symphonies that you highlight and just love every disc in the set.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      7 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      What a great selection of Russian music. This is not something I listen to but it's nice to have this resource handy.

    • Laniann profile image


      9 years ago

      Congratulations on your win. Your old manager was not a good person. Great products you have here and they should sell out fast.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Wonderful lens. If I had the means I would definitely buy a piano from you. Your old manager was in the wrong business.

    • LisaMarieGabriel profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa Marie Gabriel 

      9 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you all - I may not have sold a single piano (yet), but it was fun to write :)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Congratulations for your win at the Best New Selling lens contest!

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 

      9 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      Congrats on winning the Best New Selling lens contest! I wish the Manager at that piano store knew about this. Great job!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      The radioactive ice-cream looks good! How does it taste? Where can I buy one?

      Cute lens. Very entertaining.

    • spunkyduckling profile image


      9 years ago

      Congratulations on your lens. Very engaging.

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Gee 

      9 years ago

      Congratulations! This lens won the contest for "The Best 'New Selling' lens on How's My Selling!

    • LisaMarieGabriel profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa Marie Gabriel 

      9 years ago from United Kingdom

      To which she replies:

      Life is un-Ravel-ling fast round here. Just so fast. Spilled coffee all over my shirt and I have no Purcell, then I wanted to feed Debussys, but - guess what - there was Note in t' cupboard. Where's my Liszt, have to go Chopin.... Bach in a Minuet

      aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaak :P

      [in reply to AddaptAbilities]

    • Addy Bell profile image

      Addy Bell 

      9 years ago

      OK, I've been studying music since I was 7, so I've seen the Chopin Lizst a dozen times at least. But this is the first time I've seen it filled out. Just for that, I'm going to inflict on this lens a joke I heard on Garrison Keillor's show a few years ago:

      A B, a D , and an F# walk into a bar. The bartender says:

      "Sorry, we don't serve minors."

      So the D left, and the B and the F# shared an open fifth between them.

      (Oh yes. I did.)


    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Gee 

      9 years ago

      Love the narrative! Yes this lens is entertaining!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Very entertaining

    • LisaMarieGabriel profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa Marie Gabriel 

      9 years ago from United Kingdom

      But if I knew that where would be the fun? :D LOL.... Music I guess, as Ebay don't give commission on pianos at the moment :P [in reply to a_willow]

    • Mihaela Vrban profile image

      Mihaela Vrban 

      9 years ago from Croatia

      This was fun to read! So, what are you selling exactly? :)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I think that this may be the cleverest(?) selling lens I have ever seen. Enjoyed every minute of it. No piano for me, though. I may come back for some Tchaikovsky.


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