If Germany and Russia were allowed to be political allies the world would be saved. That is my conviction and one of the reasons for this musical undertaking that occupied the best part of July 2019. It is my first Russian CD and it is a tribute to Russia and the Russian peoples all over the world.

Not all songs are in Russian but every song has a connection to Russia and can be listened to here on this page. Lyrics are also included as well as some background information and personal opinions. The album is completely free of charge and there may be some street performances with giveaway CDs to promote my musical undertaking.

St. Petersburg - Pushkin
€xecutive Producer:      NeoMusic
Producer:   Wolfgang Liebert
Language Advisors:    Anastasia Vinnytska
  Rimma Ledneva
  Ekaterina Panova
  Zhanna Arzili
Recording Date:  2019 July 7 - 31 (24 days)
Recording Studio: The Matrix (Bad Nauheim)
Art Design:     Wolfgang Liebert

Pianos: Roland F-30 / Nord electro 6
Recording Software: Cool Edit Pro 2.1

I have produced all the backing tracks (drums, percussion, bass, guitars, strings, flutes, orchestra etc.), sung the lead vocals and played most of the pianos (except were indicated). I was inspired by the upcoming 75th anniversary of Victory Day in 2020. May 9 is commemoration day for Russian peoples remembering their victims of war.

Wolfgang Liebert on July 7, 2019

Music & Lyrics: Lionel Bart

Vocals: Wolfgang Liebert
Music: The Ian Rich Orchestra

Key: Dm
Produced & recorded: July 11

The 2nd James Bond film featured this masterpiece sung by English bus driver Matt Munro (also Monro) in 1963 and reproduced by me in 2019 as the opener to my tribute to Russia.

I played no instrument on this song because for the first track I envisioned a real symphonic 007 sound and so I didn't beat around the bush and purchased the Ian Rich Orchestra instrumental. However, the music clearly was not tailor-made for singing on top of it but with a sophisticated digital trick I was able to lower the balalaika volume and especially the loud trumpet in order to make my vocals heard.

Music & Lyrics: Vasily Solovyov-Sedoi / Mikhail Matusowsky

Piano, Lead & Harmony Vocals: Wolfgang Liebert
Drums, Bass, Strings: Wolfgang Liebert
Additional Strings: Maestro Constantine Orbelian
Add. Piano, Pizzicato & Violins: Vladimir & Anton Jablokov

Keys: Cm / C#m
Produced & recorded: July 11

Originally written by the author for his native city St. Petersburg the Moscow Politbureau requested a name change to reflect Russia's capital that was deemed more important than Leningrad.

The title translates to "Moscow Nights" and the song has received such worldwide attention with dozens of cover versions that it can be regarded as one of the most famous Russian melodies ever. So widespread that it has become overplayed with a tendency to cause "listening fatigue".

That is why my version is an audacious sound collage where in an effort to stifle yawns I completely rebuilt the famous song from scratch: I played a digitally sampled Steinway D, rearranged a spacious drum beat and bass, added lots of lush, handplayed orchestral strings, borrowed pizzicatos and solo violins from virtuosos, manipulated and inserted fractions of an a cappella choir and overstretched some melodic lines to create a new wall-of-sound causing me goosebumps in the process. Especially towards the end. However, I intentionally left out archetypical features like the ubiquitous vintage balalaikas and guitars for a fresh listening experience of this classic.

Live at Bessertnyj Polk 2019

Music & Lyrics: Raimonds Pauls / Leons Briedis (Russ.: Andrei Voznesensky)

Vocals: Wolfgang Liebert
Strings: Wolfgang Liebert
Remix: Wolfgang Liebert
Original Latvian Remix: Lotars Lodzins & Roberts Lejasmeijers

Keys: Dm / Ebm
Produced & recorded: July 12

The biggest hit the Soviet Union had ever seen. Then famous singer Alla Pugacheva was reluctant to accept the song when she received it because she deemed it musically trivial and lyrically silly. However, as history has shown she did make up her mind and became the woman with an estimated 240 million musicassettes circulating the Russian continent. No Slavic song has ever achieved a following of this magnitude and despite the iron curtain it was soon translated to several Western languages and went on to top the charts in countries like Finland, France and Italy among others.

Furthermore it is noteworthy that the music and lyrics were first written in Latvia and in an effort to pay some credit to its Baltic origin I thoroughly edited a Latvian remix by the two native artists credited above and came up with a more modern sounding version. Admittedly, the unusual song takes some time to settle in but be warned that after a while you cannot get it out of your head.

***

Confronting the ridiculous rumor about an alleged "Persian original" let me clarify that Million Alykh Roz is NOT from 1969 and was NOT sung by Iranian superstar Googoosh as some online buffoons have suggested. There is indeed a cover version in Farsi but it was recorded in 2008 by a singer called Farzaneh. As stated above the original is from Latvia and was not written before 1981, so don't be fooled by this marketing hoax!

Music & Lyrics: Matvey Blanter / Mikhail Isakovsky

Vocals: Wolfgang Liebert
Synth Bass: Wolfgang Liebert
Bayan: theonewhoCheekiBreeki
Melbourne Bounce Mix: Jose Antonio Gomez (Teknova)
Extra Beats: Varvara

Keys: Dm / Ebm
Produced & recorded: July 12

The common name Katyusha (from Ekaterina) and the infamous Katyusha rocket launchers (aka "Stalin's organ") are the inseparable topics of this classic and were sung by Russian POW during WWII as a mocking tune for their German guards. The innocent lyrics don't easily reveal the double meaning and so no suspicion was aroused that may have alarmed the wardens. It is one of the most well-known Russian melodies.

For this song I remixed a remix by Teknova and was inspired by Russian girl group Varvara. The Bayan (accordion) is played by a guy with the telling moniker "Kalashni Blin" who seems to make no prisoners and plays his instrument with an automatic rifle on his back. Of course he plays fantastic and makes no mistakes, ever.

Music & Lyrics: Boris Fomin / Konstantin Podrewski

Vocals: Wolfgang Liebert
Choir: Ivan Stolyar & the Red Army Choir
Playback: Recisio

Keys: F#m / Gm
Produced & recorded: July 16

I put a lot of effort and brainpower in most of the songs on this album, however, this is a rather basic recording. I purchased the Dutch cover Daar Word Ik Vrolijk Van by Jet Westerhuis from Recisio, raised the key by a third, tweaked a few chords here and there, added a famous Russian choir and sang the original lyrics on top.

Admittedly not highly creative but a comfortable quickshot and a must-have for my album because who doesn't like or at least remember: "Those were the days, my friends..."

Music & Lyrics: Frank Farian, George Reyam, Fred Jay, Noah Holladay

Male Vocals: Wolfgang Liebert
Playback: Recisio
Blue Remix: David Zof
Bootleg Remix: Audio-Bass-phile

Key: F
Produced & recorded between: July 12 - 18

Back in the day Rasputin was not just a hit in the Western hemisphere but also a huge success in the former Soviet Union. Due to this and the accuracy of the factual historical events recounting the life and acts of Grigori Rasputin, the somewhat mythical advisor to the Russian tsar I had to put it on my CD. But of course I wrapped it in a different rhythmic frame by editing two cool modern remixes with heavy dance beats underneath. I also lifted the key by a third to match my vocal range. It was a very complex and tenacious process and it took almost one week before the final mix was done, making it the most laborious track on this album.

Boney M was enjoying big record sales in Russia long before other artists tried their luck in the biggest country on the planet and this masterpiece by German super producer Frank Farian turned out to be another must-have for my efforts to pay homage to the Russian peoples.

Here are the musical sources of this tedious production:

1. The Blue Remix by David Zof
2. The Dopedrop Bootleg by Audio-Bass-phile
3. The isolated Boney M background vocals
4. The original Boney M instrumental
5. The purchased playback from Recisio

And this is how Rasputin looked during production:

Music & Lyrics: Ivan Larionow

Vocals: Wolfgang Liebert
Bass, Strings, Bells & Sound Effects: Wolfgang Liebert
Choir: JMU Chorale, Harrisonburg (US)
Balalaika: Recisio
Accordion: Basil Bunelik (UK)
Orchestra: Philharmonic Wind Orchestra

Key: Dm
Produced & recorded between: July 21 - 23

One of the oldest and most famous Russian folk songs that enjoys worldwide popularity to this day thanks to its easy chorus. My version has an up-tempo dance beat that does not reflect the typical tempo changes of the original. I've omitted them because I didn't want to craze my non-Russian audience. Also, the repetitive song can easily get on your nerves, so I tried to produce it as less annoying as possible.

Music & Lyrics: Florian Hermann (1884) / Yevheny Grebyonka (1843)

Spanish, French & Russian Vocals: Wolfgang Liebert
Piano: Wolfgang Liebert
Playback: Recisio (Nostalgie)

Key: Am
Produced & recorded: July 18

The title of this Russian opera classic translates to Dark Eyes and in 1998 it was adapted and recorded as two separate romantic ballads called Nostalgie and Nathalie. The first one in French, the second in Spanish it was released by crooner Julio Iglesias who thusly popularized it among a potential new audience of over a billion people.

For my version here I bought a multitrack cover, lowered the key and sang one verse in each Romance language. However, for the chorus I reinstated the Russian lyrics to make it eligible for this special tribute album.

Music: Maurice Jarre

Digital Fazioli: Wolfgang Liebert
Drum, Bass, Piano & String Arrangement: Wolfgang Liebert
Accordion, Balalaika & Balalaika Bass: Trio St. Petersburg
Orchestra: André Rieu

Key: G
Produced & recorded: July 13

This beautiful instrumental piece, subtitled Lara's Theme from the major box office success Dr. Zhivago was produced by first making basic drum, bass, piano and string arrangements and later adding sliced parts of Andre Rieu's huge orchestra and the artistic handcraft of the fabulous St. Petersburg Trio.

The piano I play here (and on several other songs) is a sampled version of the Italian Fazioli F308, the Rolls Royce of grand pianos. Bigger and more expensive than the world famous Steinway D-274 whose digital equivalent I also play on this album.

Music & Lyrics: Billy Joel

All instruments, Piano & Vocals: Wolfgang Liebert

Keys: D / A
Produced & recorded: July 11

This is one of my favorite real-life tales about an unlikely friendship against the odds and defying the Cold War propaganda of the time. When I produced a Youtube video with my cover version of Billy Joel's moving experience from a concert he gave in Leningrad in 1989 I sent out notifications to some of my friends. Among them one of the founders of the German Peace Movement. A day later I received the following answer from him and I quote:

       "Yesterday, 75 years ago the heroic Red Army stopped
        the fascist German Wehrmacht 20 km before Moscow
        (in the suburb Khimki) and started their counter offensive.
        This marked the beginning of the liberation from fascism."


When I read this I was in awe because I had not been aware of the historic date. I had been wanting to record Leningrad for quite some time and finally on December 5 in 2016 I woke up and felt the compelling urge to go for it at last. And even though playing and singing only took a few minutes, the whole process of recording, mixing, cutting and editing the audio/video kept me busy for 14 hours until I uploaded it shortly after(!) midnight on December 6. However, magically the Youtube upload was still clocked on the aforementioned anniversary of the historic date: December 5.

To add to the mystery I believe my grandfather partook in the barbarous and pointless Siege of Leningrad. Who knows, maybe he sent me a sign of guilt or remorse from "somewhere over the rainbow" to nudge his grandson some 75 years later... I was very connected to him and I'm still flabbergasted.

Click on the image of St. Petersburg below to watch the video:

Leningrad - Video
Despite all the mayhem and grief I never met a Russian who was hostile towards me. They are our friends not our enemies!

Music & Lyrics: Yan Frenkel / Naum Grebnyov (Rasul Gamzatov)

Piano & Vocals: Wolfgang Liebert
Timpani, Chimes, Bass & Strings: Wolfgang Liebert
Choir: Boys Choir from St Petersburg

Key: Em
Produced & recorded: July 7

One of the finest and most touching poems about the evanescence of life ever written. Click on the image below to watch me sing Zhuravli broadcast on Russian TV in 2018:

Leningrad - Video

Music & Lyrics: Jerzy Petersburski / Ludwig Friedwald

All instruments, Piano & Vocals: Wolfgang Liebert

Key: Cm
Produced & recorded between: July 15 - 16

A Polish tango in Argentinian style with Russian words written by two Jews and sung by Ukrainian/American Yana Grey is an odd mélange and my German take on this classic is hopefully a succeeded attempt to recreate the magic blend from way back then.

If you like Argentine tango music, listen to my free Tango CD from 2018.

Music & Lyrics: Jerzy Petersburski / Jacob Goldenberg (Galitsky)

Vocals: Wolfgang Liebert
Accordion, Synthesizer, Guitar & Strings: Wolfgang Liebert
Basic Playback (Drum & Bass): Recisio (Qué Será)

Key: Am
Produced & recorded between: July 24 - 27

The famous Estrada waltz about the "little blue shawl" by the composer of the preceding tango written four years earlier became popular around 1940 when the Soviet Union was already embroiled in WWII. However, for my tribute CD I tried to give it a fresh coat of paint with some modern sounds and a few rhythmic surprises. Enjoy.

Music & Lyrics: Eduard Kolmanovsky / Leonid Derbenev

Female Vocals: Emilia Wengorz
All instruments & Male Vocals: Wolfgang Liebert

Key: Em
Produced & recorded between: July 25 - 27

My only duet on this album. I originally had planned to sing it with my Ukrainian language advisor Nastya but due to force majeure she had to opt out a week before the recording. But I was lucky to run into the charming young German-Russian singer Emilia who had never heard the song but nonetheless was able to record a duet with me within 5 days from the moment I approached her on the streets of Bad Nauheim.

Emilia's vocal booth during the recording:

Music & Lyrics: Mikael Tariverdiev / Robert Rozhdestvensky

Orchestra, Organ, Piano & Vocals: Wolfgang Liebert
Orchestra: Maestro Constantine Orbelian

Key: Dm
Produced & recorded between: July 18 - 20

When this album was already halfway finished I still had no notion of this amazing operatic song and I must give thanks to my chief language advisor Nastya from Kiev who hinted Gde-to Daleko to me while we were discussing the phonetics for Vechernaya Pesnya. At first I wasn't a fan of this Soviet film score classic but when I heard Dmitri Hvorostovsky sing to Constantine Orbelian's grandiose orchestral adaptation I was so touched that I spent three days and nights producing a similar symphonious arrangement using all the tricks in the book... and voilà, this is the outcome.

Of course I love all the songs I produced for this CD but if I had to pick one this would be my favorite. Hear the dark piano intro and outro, feel the agony of the protagonist and be soothed by the lyrics and the dramatic orchestra and you will be closer to the Russian soul than you can ever imagine. In fact it goes so deep: Somewhere far away.

Music & Lyrics: Bulat Okudzhava

Bass, Guitars, Piano & Vocals: Wolfgang Liebert
Choir: Flashmob (Lutugino)
Drums (Brushes): Florian Alexandru-Zorn

Key: F#m
Produced & recorded: July 21

We Need Another Victory is a very moving song. The original is from a Soviet film classic and the performance is so intimate and authentic it is only rivaled by Jacques Brel's deeply moving Ne Me Quitte Pas twelve years before his untimely death.

For the sake of completeness, the choir towards the end is a public flashmob from Eastern Ukraine recorded live in mid-December 2016.

Music & Lyrics: Vasily Solovyov-Sedoi / Aleksander Tchurkin

Piano, Vocals & Orchestral arrangement: Wolfgang Liebert
Orchestra: Maestro Constantine Orbelian

Keys: Cm / C#m / Dm
Produced & recorded: July 14

This song was penned by the author of Podmoskovnye Vechera and this time Solovyov-Sedoi didn't have to give credit to the Politbureau and it soon became the unofficial hymn of his hometown. To this day in St. Petersburg the song is known by its epithet Slushaj Leningrad rather than by its official title that translates to Evening Song in English.

As with almost the entire album this version was inspired by the late great Dmitri Hvorostovsky who as many say was the greatest baritone of all time.

Music & Lyrics: Anatoliy Grigorevich Novikov / Yakov Shvedov

Synths, Guitar, Strings & Vocals: Wolfgang Liebert
Choir: Flashmob (Kaliningrad)
Intro Accordion: Zbigniew Szczepaniak
Intro Guitar: Seva
Intro Balalaika: Viktor (Vitek) Olechnovich
Drums & Bass: Recisio (Despacito)

Key: D#m
Produced & recorded between: July 28 - 30

The tale of the "dark Moldovan girl" that withstands the persistent courting of a man and instead invites him to join the partisan movement is the topic of this great tune that was composed like a Moldovan folk song and whose lyrics were somewhat controversial at the time.

On this track I play the main guitar parts myself but for the intro the balalaika and the guitar were tickled by a duo called Klyukva Show, two young Russians who dedicate some of their online time to performing native music.

Music & Lyrics: Claude François, Jacques Revaux / Paul Anka

Strings, Piano & Vocals: Wolfgang Liebert
Playback: Recisio (My Way)

Key: C
Produced & recorded: July 20

Originally a French tune it was heard by Canadian singer/songwriter legend Paul Anka who paved the way for its worldwide success by putting My Way to the francophone song. I already had it in my repertoire and sang it to my live audience in either English, German, French, Italian, Spanish or Algerian-Arabic but this is of course the Russian adaptation popularized by Estrada artist Josif Kobzon who usually receives standing ovations when he performs it with Sinatra-like posture, spirit, impetus and voice.

Moj Put in English - live at Hilton 2019

Music & Lyrics: Alexander Vasilyevich Alexandrov / Sergey Mikhalkov

Digital Fazioli: Wolfgang Liebert
Single Vocal Line: Wolfgang Liebert
Drum & Timpani Arrangement: Wolfgang Liebert
Solo Violin: Evan Ren
Orchestra: by Michael Leone

Key: C
Produced & recorded between: July 17 - 18

The final song on my free Russian disc has got to be the powerful and tear-jerking national anthem. The music (based on Johann Pachelbel's Canon) was written in 1943 when the Soviet Union was embroiled in WWII and new lyrics were added in 2000 at the behest of Vladimir Putin to represent the Russian Federation.

As a native German I don't feel it's appropriate to vocalize another country's patriotic hymn but it is my pleasure and my honor to present my very own instrumental sound collage to which I added a solid rock beat, played the piano and singled out the most important line that not only reflects my profound wish but is also the subtitle to this free CD:

Tak bylo, tak est i tak budet vsegda

Russian National Anthem

Bonus Tracks:

Music & Lyrics: Oleg Gazmanov

Drums, Bass, Piano, Guitar & Orchestra: Wolfgang Liebert
"Fidelity" Choir: Artem Kosenkov (Balashikha)

Key: Em / F#m / Gm
Produced & recorded between: August 20 - 21

This is the bonus track that was hinted to me by the Trubitzin family who organize Bessmertnyj Polk Frankfurt. Their daughter Alina has authored the German lyrics to Zhuravli and next year on May 3, starting 11 o' clock we will sing it together along with other songs from this CD during the "Bessmertny Polk" commemoration day at Frankfurt Römer celebrating the 75th anniversary after the end of WWII. It is a non-political event and everybody is invited to come. Russians and Germans alike!

Bessmertnyj Polk is the only "modern" song on this album and it was written by Russian patriot and multi-talent Oleg Gazmanov who seems to have taken inspiration from the 1970 march We Need Another Victory (song no. 16).

Music & Lyrics: Yan Frenkel / Alina Trubitzin

Piano & Vocals: Wolfgang Liebert
Timpani, Chimes, Bass & Strings: Wolfgang Liebert
Choir: Boys Choir from St Petersburg

Key: Em
Produced & recorded: September 17

The German words to Zhuravli were written in 2018 by the charming and highly talented Alina Trubitzin who not only translated the difficult Russian lyrics but also made it rhyme like the original. It took her only 2 hours to come up with this beautiful poem which I added as the final bonus track to my CD upon recommendation of Tanja Heidt from Baden-Baden.

Alina Trubitzin - 2018


I received help and/or inspiration from the following people (in alphabetical order):
  - Arzili, Zhanna
  - Benisch, Reimund
  - Camet, Giuliano
  - Heidt, Tatjana
  - Hvorostovsky, Dmitri
  - Kurnushkina, Valeria
  - Ledneva, Rimma
  - Orbelian, Constantine
  - Panova, Ekaterina
  - Rieu, André
  - Rupp, Olena
  - Seryabkina, Olga
  - Starikov, Nikolaj
  - Trubitzin, Alina, Lily & Dima
  - Varvara
  - Vinnytska, Anastasia
  - Wengorz, Emilia

Немецкий музыкант Вольфганг Либерт записал диск на русском языке. Основная идея создания диска - это дружба и уважение к искусству, культуре и истории народов бывшего Советского Союза.

Вольфганг родом из Бад Наухайма, и славянскую культуру открыл для себя всего 5 лет назад. В 2015 году он совершил поездку по Украине, затем по Беларуси, и в 2018 году впервые побывал в России.

Итак, за 24 дня уединения, которые сам музыкант называет "творческим взрывом", было записано 20 особенно полюбившихся ему песен, которые и вошли в этот диск.

  - Bessmertnyj Polk (Frankfurt)
  - Бессмертный Полк (Франкфурт)
  - Unsterbliches Regiment - Facebook