How the waltz "On the Hills of Manchuria" was written

on the hills of Manchuria

In the initial version, the waltz had a different name: "Mokshan regiment on the hills of Manchuria." In the Penza province, at the end of the 19th century, a reserve battalion was formed, which was named Mokshansky. At that time, Mokshan was a small district town near Penza.

The battalion was famous for its brass band. In 1901, the Moksha residents were transferred to the Ural city of Zlatoust. Soon the orchestra was headed by second lieutenant Ilya Shatrov, who graduated from the Warsaw Institute of Music, the orchestra's performances became a real treat for the townspeople.

During the Russo-Japanese War, the battalion was replenished, receiving the name 214 Mokshan Infantry Regiment. In the summer of 1904, the regiment was sent to Manchuria; even Emperor Nicholas II took part in the ceremony.

In February 1905, the Mokshan regiment in the Mukden battle found itself in the enemy's ring. At the critical moment of the battle, Kapellmeister Shatrov led the musicians to the breastwork of the trenches. The combat march inspired the fighters, the encirclement was broken through. The regiment's losses turned out to be terrible, among the dead was the commander, Colonel Pobyvanets.

Shatrov's orchestra also did not do without the fallen. For this feat, seven musicians received the highest soldier's award - St. George's Crosses, and Ilya Alekseevich Shatrov was presented to the Order of Stanislav 3rd degree with swords.

After the end of the war, Ilya Shatrov decided, in memory of the fallen comrades, to write a waltz. In 1906, in Samara, where the regiment was transferred, Shatrov met the publisher and composer O. F. Knaub, who agreed to publish a new waltz in his publishing house.

Soon the work became so popular in Russia that Knaub achieved a monopoly on the release of The Hills of Manchuria and the rest of Ilya Shatrov's works. The businessman clearly did not incur losses: for three years, the sheet music with the waltz "Mokshansky Regiment on the Hills of Manchuria" was reissued 82 times in huge print runs. Since 1911, the name of the waltz was shortened, it began to be called simply "On the Hills of Manchuria".

By the way, it was in 1911 that a copyright law was adopted in Russia, and Ilya Alekseevich Shatrov began to receive from the Sirena Record company 15 kopecks from each sold gramophone record.

Many poets wrote words for this waltz. There were several versions of the text, and the most popular of them was written by Stepan Gavrilovich Petrov, better known as the Wanderer. It is he who owns the lines:

Quiet all around, the hills are covered with haze ...

From behind the clouds the moon flashed, The graves keep peace

During the Second World War, the waltz again became extremely popular in the country, especially in the summer of 1945, when the Red Army fought fierce battles with Japan in the Far East. After all, hostilities also took place on the territory of Manchuria.

And the composer Ilya Shatrov, after the revolution, joined the Red Army. For many years he was the conductor of the cavalry regiment in Pavlograd, then led the orchestra of the cavalry school in Tambov. In this city, the author of the famous waltz died in 1952 and was buried at the Vozdvizhensek cemetery.