This “authentic” Russian folk song about winter turned out to have an unexpected author

Kira Lisitskaya (Photo: Archive photo; Tretyakov Gallery; Slavgorod Museum of Local Lore)
The alleged composer and songwriter didn’t manage to prove her copyright, so most of the country still believe it’s an ancient Russian folk song!

Famous Russian folk song ‘Oh, frost, frost’ (‘Ой, мороз, мороз’) turned out to have an author! Maria Morozova, a soloist of the Voronezh folk choir, is an alleged author of the song. She was very well aware of other folk songs and motifs that her own song seemingly turned out to be very similar to ancient Russian folk tunes about winter.

Maria Morozova and her husband Alexander Uvarov

Maria used to performed the song together with her husband Alexander Uvarov. The first known recording was made in Moscow in 1956. And, for some reason, the sound designers were sure that the lyrics and music were ancient folk. And that’s what they actually wrote on the released vinyl record, having only listed the performers.

Vynil record with the song

Soon, the song was broadcast on radios to all corners of the Soviet Union and was firmly entrenched in its "folk" status in the minds of the audience. It really became a part of folk and was sung by all the ethnic choirs and regular people at gatherings.

The song became even more popular after being performed by Valery Zolotukhin in the movie 'Master of the Taiga' (1968).  

Maria Morozova never managed to prove her authorship. There was no documentary evidence of it, while Soviet cultural officials hinted that they didn’t need such a scandal. In order to restore fairness (and, at the same time, increase interest in forgotten Russian songs) she wrote a book titled: ‘How it was. The Story of the Creation of the Song ‘Oh, moroz, moroz’...’. 

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