Photo: Vladimir VELENGURIN
“Music by Alexandra Pakhmutova, words by Nikolai Dobronravov…” – this phrase was heard countless times at “Songs of the Year” and other Soviet concerts. The composer and the poet were inseparable. They got married in 1956, and since then Nikolai Nikolaevich wrote lyrics for all the songs of his infinitely talented wife. “He said: “Let’s go,” he waved his hand…,” “How young we were, how sincerely we loved,” “The team of our youth, the team I can’t live without,” “Real men play hockey, a coward doesn’t play hockey.” hockey”, “The Earth is empty without you, how can I live for a few hours”, “Goodbye, our affectionate Misha”, “And the battle continues again, and my heart is anxious in my chest”, “My homeland is Belarus”, “Hope is my compass earthly”… Hundreds of lines, without which Soviet art and the Soviet Union as such are unthinkable.
Nikolai Nikolaevich was born on November 22, 1928 in Leningrad. His father was arrested in 1937, and his mother soon went to prison. The boy left Leningrad shortly before the start of the blockade, in July 1941. He lived first in Nizhny Novgorod, then in the Moscow region, where he graduated from school. And then he entered the Moscow Art Theater School. He was madly in love with the theater, even at school he cut down trees and sold firewood to earn money for tickets to the Moscow Art Theater – and then all his life he was terribly proud that Olga Knipper-Chekhova herself signed his acting diploma.
Then he received a second higher education, teaching, graduating from the Moscow City Pedagogical Institute. But as a result, he did not become either an artist or a teacher (however, he starred in two now-forgotten films, “Sporting Honor” and “The Return of Vasily Bortnikov”). Poems defined his life; At first he wrote them, as all teenagers write, and then he took them seriously.
In the mid-50s, in the editorial office of the children’s broadcasting of the All-Union Radio, he encountered Pakhmutova. (Dobronravov got there because he wrote plays, fairy tales and dramatizations for radio shows). “Suddenly a miniature girl entered the room, and they said to me: “Here is a very capable composer, why don’t you work with her?..” The building of the House of Radio Broadcasting and Sound Recording, where we met, remained sacred for Alexandra Nikolaevna and me for the rest of our lives.” .
Alexandra Pakhmutova and Nikolai Dobronravov
Photo: Larisa KUDRYAVTSEVA/EG
Speaking about their marriage, Nikolai Nikolaevich liked to quote Saint-Exupery: “To love does not mean to look at each other, but to look in the same direction.” Their songs were performed by dozens of Soviet singers, from Joseph Kobzon to Alexander Gradsky, from Lev Leshchenko to Muslim Magomayev, and this wonderful couple maintained friendly relations with everyone: hardly anyone could say a bad word about them. They were the standard of marriage and creative union.
One day Nikolai Nikolaevich was asked if he dedicated poems to his wife. He replied that he didn’t do it on purpose, but when the song “You are my melody, I am your devoted Orpheus” came out, everyone started telling him: “Well, it’s clear who you wrote this about…” (By the way, he wrote this poem two years, looking for the right words for the melody created by his wife; there were a lot of options, but he could not express in verse what was said in the music, “and the text is a translation from the language of music, and it needs to be an accurate translation” ). Dobronravov confirmed: behind many of his poems “there is an invisible image” of Alexandra Nikolaevna. Now she was left alone.