Nikitin sings “Cold Waves Lapping”

Victor Ivanovich Nikitin (Виктор Иванович Никитин) sings “Cold Waves Lapping” (Плещут холодные волны) with the Alexandrov Ensemble 1950.

This is a song about the Russian naval ship Varyag which, when cornered in battle in 1904, was scuttled by her brave crew who refused to surrender. There is more information about the Russian cruiser “Varyag” on Wikipedia here.

No wonder it is said that in World War 2 the Nazis stopped shooting when they heard Nikitin sing in the trenches. If he sang like this it would have knocked ’em dead. This is probably his finest recording. He sings with his very recognisable, slightly nasal voice, seemingly not quite fully trained. Although he has tremendous power, attack and enthusiasm, there is still a tentative or fragile edge to his performance, which is what makes it so dramatic. He manages to sound slightly vulnerable, yet massively energetic and powerful at the same time. Fans must have dropped at his feet when they heard this. Why have we not heard of him in the West before?


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