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Orchestra "Zdravitsa" is the only one of its kind in Russia. Its unique feature is in its unusual instrumental composition. It consists of instruments only of Russian origin; balalaikas of all kinds (piccolo, topstrings, second strings, alts, basses and contrabasses) guslies (stringed and key) and percussion instruments.

Lack of bayans and domras reduces technical and artistic opportunities of the orchestra, but at the same time makes the sound of the orchestra original and unique. Such "poor", in comparison with traditional, instrumental composition supposes higher demands to the repertoire. Small range of balalaikas and diatonic order of guslies (main instruments leading the melody) gives very narrow bounds for creating instrumentation of full value. Such simplified but not primitive orchestra sounding in combination with simple compositions gives the right to speak about "Zdravitsa's" own style. It may be characterized as "naive music".

Main advantages of the orchestra "Zdravitsa" are the following:

  1. Absolute genre clearness. All its instruments are not just Russian — balalaikas and guslies — it is a symbol of Russia instrumental culture.
  2. Wonderful diverse repertoire which are created in "Zdravitsa" — for all cases of life as people say — from arrangements of Russian folk songs to classics. There are original compositions in the repertoire. Wonderful miniatures by E. Derbenko — the most performed composer in the genre of instrumental music for Russian folk instruments — are the biggest part of the orchestra repertoire. Compositions played by our orchestra are adjusted up to the last note. Everything that concerns playing, correctness of conducting parts are irreproachable — because it is played a lot of times.
  3. Mobility is also the advantage of "Zdravitsa". As our orchestra has no domra and bayan group the quantity of musicians almost in three times less than in usual orchestra of Russian folk instruments.
  4. Undoubtedly there is an exotic element in the finest sense of this word in "Zdravitsa". Balalaikas from piccolo to contrabass put in a line give the impression of their likeness with Russian matryoshkas and it stresses their "Russian character" even more.
  5. And at last — the main thing — stringed gusli. The sound of this instrument is so perfect that it has charming almost mystic effect on the audience. Clear tones of stringed guslies supporting with the arpeggio of key guslies plait into sound pattern created by balalaikas group.

The main idea being realized in "Zdravitsa" — playing modern music which is understandable for any audience. And the main thing here is cooperation of the orchestra with the composer E. Derbenko has created democratic and highly artistic repertoire for "Zdravitsa".

All musicians of the orchestra take great interest in youth trends of musical culture and it is the unique feature of musical training in "Zdravitsa" orchestra. At certain age every musician begins playing an instrument of a rock-group: various kinds of electroguitars (solo-guitar, bass-guitar) as well as synthesator and percussion set. And their interest is not of amateur character. Sometimes young musicians are able to play masterly passages. Their playing both old Russian and modern instruments, as the leader thinks has principal character: a real mutual enrichment of polar musical cultures. Musicians of the orchestra thanks to their achievements in rock-music feel quite confident in their teenagers environment. At the same time their musical style is formed by the music which is based on the folk instruments existing for hundreds of years.

In the orchestra "Zdravitsa" the idea of full value musical training of children and teenagers is being implemented on the best examples of Russian and world music. And the connection of generations is being realized by playing music on the ancient Russian musical instruments and its quite understandable for modern audience.

Director of the orchestra
Andrei Krasnikov

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