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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000063.txt from 2001/05

From: Jay Niepoetter <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Slavic Farewell
Date: Wed, 2 May 2001 22:30:29 -0400


I think the piece you are referring to is a "Farewell to a Slavic Woman"
by Vasilij Ivanovitj Agapkin. Agapkin was born in 1884 and died in
1964. "Farewell to a Slavic Woman" is equivalent to Stars and Stripes
Forever in the United States. It is the most famous march in Russia.
It was recorded by the United States Marine Band on our "Sound Off" CD.
I played this march on tour in the Soviet Union in 1990. I've yet to
hear a crowd give a louder cheer than we kicked off this march in Moscow
and other Russian cities.

The program notes on Agapkin and the march are reprinted here. Frank
Byrne, our former exective officer and now general manager of the Kansas
City Symphony, wrote these program notes.

"Farewell to a Slavic Woman" will undoubtedly remain the best known
march in Russia and the surrounding independent states of the former
Soviet Union. When Agapkin was a child, his parents moved to Astrachan
near the Black Sea. Tragically, both parents died when he was 8 years
old and he was left homeless. Soon after, he was accepted as an
apprentice "band boy" in the 308th Tsarjob Battalion in Astrachan. He
remained a musician in the army and in 1912, during his enlistment with
the 7th Cavalry Regiment in Tambov, he composed "Farewell to a Slavic
Woman" Agapkin also worked as a cinema pianist, playing accompaniments
for silent films. Legend has it that the inspiration for this march
came from Agapkin having seen newsreels of the Balkan War. During this
conflict, Russian and Slavic forces fought together and reportedly the
newsreels contained poignant footage of Slavic soldiers parting with
their wives and families. The march became popular in WWI, during which
time Agapkin served as the musical director of the Tjekan 7, a
forerunner of the KGB.

Hope this helps,
Jay Niepoetter (US Marine Band)

Forrest Davie wrote:
> We are playing a piece called "A Slavic Farewell" in
> my band and I wanted to get more information about it.
> It was written by Vasilij Agapkin, but I have no other
> info. The march was edited by one of the members of
> our band so I don't know the publisher.
> Thanks,
> Forrest Davie <>
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