Choicest VGM - Kalinka

Screenshot of Peter the Great in Sid Meier's Civilization VI
Kalinka is used as the theme for Russia in Sid Meier's Civilization VI

Continuing on from last week's VGM Monday, we're going to take a look at a piece of music that served as the inspiration for Russia's theme on the Civilization IV soundtrack. So let's have a look at this version of "Kalinka" which was performed in Moscow in 1965 by Yevgeny Belyaev and the Red Army Choir (as shown in the video).

The original version of this song was composed in 1860 (so around the same era as the American folk song "Hard Times Come Again No More") by Ivan Larionov. The song has a speedy tempo and light-hearted lyrics and the word "kalinka" actually refers to a plant called the "snowball tree". The song is not only famous in Russia but around the world; it can even be found playing in North American ice hockey arenas! Kalinka was eventually arranged into an operatic aria which is probably the inspiration for the Modern Era version of this track in Civilization VI (it seems to be the only track in Civ VI to even feature a choir IIRC).

[ VIDEO: "Kalinka" - The Red Army Choir ]