Russian song of the week

I Asked the Ash-Tree - The Irony of Fate

Я спросил у ясеня – Ирония судьбы (1975)


Out of all the songs that sound in the movie “The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath“, the composition “I Asked the Ash-Tree” gives the impression of the weakest in terms of lyrics. It feels awkward next to lyrics of Bella Akhmadulina, Marina Tsvetaeva and Boris Pasternak.

The reason for that is that it was written by someone who, with all desire, can not be put on a par with the aforementioned poets. It was the Soviet playwright and writer Vladimir Kirshon, who also wrote a lot of proletarian plays and propaganda songs in the twenties and thirties of the last century.

In addition to his creative activity, Vladimir Mikhailovich fiercely fought bourgeois manifestations in Soviet literature. He wrote denunciations to Stalin, made accusatory speeches at party meetings, and considered criticism of his works as persecution. Mikhail Bulgakov, Aleksey Tolstoy, Mikhail Zoshchenko, Veniamin Kaverin, Mikhail Prishvin and other famous writers suffered from his activity.

In 1937, Kirshona was devoured by the system he served so faithfully. He was called a Trotskyist, expelled from the Writers’ Union, arrested and soon shot. In the fifties, Vladimir Mikhailovich was rehabilitated and even a collection of his plays was published. Some directors even tried to stage them, but, for obvious reasons, the performances were not successful.

Kirshon composed the song “I Asked the Ash-Tree” for his comedy “Birthday” which was shown on the stage of the Vakhtangov Theater. The music was written by Tikhon Khrennikov.

It is difficult to say how this song attracted the attention of the movie director Eldar Ryazanov. They say that he had long wanted to use it in some film, but found the place for it only in “The Irony of Fate”. The new music was composed by Mikael Tariverdiev, and the song was performed by Sergei Nikitin.

Subsequently, the song “I asked the ash” was performed by many other artists.

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Lyrics and translation

  • Я спроси́л у я́сеня:
    Где моя́ люби́мая?
    Я́сень не отве́тил мне
    Кача́я голово́й.

  • I asked the ash-tree:
    Where is my darling?
    Ash-tree did not answer me
    Shaking his head.

  • Я спроси́л у то́поля:
    Где моя́ люби́мая?
    То́поль заброса́л меня́
    Осе́ннею листво́й.

  • I asked the poplar:
    Where is my darling?
    Poplar threw at me
    The autumn foliage.

  • Я спроси́л у о́сени:
    Где моя́ люби́мая?
    О́сень мне отве́тила
    Проливны́м дождём.

  • I asked the autumn:
    Where is my darling?
    Autumn answered me
    With a heavy rain.

  • У дождя́ я спра́шивал:
    Где моя́ люби́мая?
    До́лго до́ждик слёзы лил
    За мои́м окно́м.

  • I asked the rain:
    Where is my darling?
    The rain poured its tears
    Behind my window for a long time.

  • Я спроси́л у ме́сяца:
    Где моя́ люби́мая?
    Ме́сяц скры́лся в о́блаке
    Не отве́тил мне.

  • I asked the moon:
    Where is my darling?
    The moon disappeared into a cloud,
    Didn't answer me.

  • Я спроси́л у о́блака:
    Где моя́ люби́мая?
    О́блако раста́яло
    В небе́сной синеве́.

  • I asked the cloud:
    Where is my darling?
    The cloud has melted
    In the blue of the sky.

  • Друг ты мой еди́нственный,
    Где моя́ люби́мая?
    Ты скажи́, где скры́лася?
    Зна́ешь, где́ она?

  • My only friend,
    Where is my darling?
    Tell me, where did she hide?
    Do you know where she is?

  • Друг отве́тил пре́данный,
    Друг отве́тил и́скренний,
    Была́ тебе́ люби́мая,
    Была́ тебе́ люби́мая,
    Была́ тебе́ люби́мая,
    А ста́ла мне жена́.

  • My loyal friend answered me,
    My sincere friend answered me,
    She was your darling,
    She was your darling,
    She was your darling,
    But became me my wife.

  • Я спроси́л у я́сеня...
    Я спроси́л у о́сени...
    Я спроси́л у то́поля...

  • I asked the ash-tree...
    I asked the autumn...
    I asked the poplar...


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