melody from the TV show “In the world of animals”

In the world of animals
Nikolay Drozdov, host of the program “In the world of animals”

The history of a melody from the Soviet TV show “In the world of animals”

The TV show “In the world of animals” has been on the air for over 50 years, and for 46 years the same melody performed by the orchestra has been playing on the screensaver. We will tell you who wrote the famous music, how it got on television and what makes it related to the church work about the birth of Jesus Christ.

In the world of animals
Screensaver of the program “In the world of animals”

“Dove” and “Lark” in the screen saver of the program

The program “In the world of animals” first appeared on the screen in 1968. The first episodes were without screensavers and titles: the air simply showed footage from documentaries about wildlife. In mid-1969, documentary filmmaker Alexander Zguridi joined the creators of the program. He suggested using animation for the screensaver, and the composition “Colombe Ivre” (“Drunken Dove”) by the French composer Paul Mauriat became the background music. The TV show was named “In the world of animals” – like one of the books by Alexander Zguridi.

In 1974, the director handed over to the management of the program a new screen saver, which he was preparing for his documentary “The Wild Life of Gondwana”. Cranes were circling in the frame and ostriches were jumping, and another orchestral work by Paul Mauriat – “Alouette” (“Skylark”), sounded. This screen saver opened the show for 46 years, and the music became one of the most recognizable melodies in the USSR and the CIS.

Screensaver of the program
Screensaver of the program “In the world of animals”

Melody from the collection of the Grand Orchestra by Paul Mauriat

In the years when the first issues of the TV show were created, the composer Paul Mauriat was known all over the world. He worked with Charles Aznavour. Delilah, was the musical director of the singer Mireille Mathieu, with whom he came to the Soviet Union.

Back in 1965, Paul Mauriat gathered his own grand orchestra – this was the name of the pop and symphony groups in France. The musicians performed popular songs arranged for orchestra. The collective traveled all over the world on tour, recorded several albums. In 1968, Paul Mauriat’s orchestra released a collection, which included “The Skylark”. It was this recording that Alexander Zguridi heard, and it sounded on the screen saver of the program “In the world of animals”.

Spanish Christmas melody

Like many other works from the repertoire of the grand orchestra, “Lark” was not written by Paul Mauriat. He only transposed the pop hit of singer Gilles Dreux for the symphony orchestra. But Dreux was not the author of the melody either.

The composition appeared in 1964. It is part of the choral cantanta of the Argentine composer Ariel Ramirez “The Nativity of the Lord”. The tenth part – “Pilgrimage” – and became “Skylark”. Initially, it sang about the journey of the Virgin Mary through the desert and the birth of Jesus Christ. In the Spanish-speaking world, this work was necessarily sounded on Christmas Eve both in temples and in houses at the festive table.

Chansonnier Gilles Dreux heard “The Pilgrimage” performed by Argentine singer Mercedes Sosa and decided to borrow the melody. He asked the songwriter Pierre Delanoe to adapt the lyrics for the secular scene. He played on the consonance of the Spanish text and French words. A la huella” (“Follow the trail”) sounds almost the same as “Alouette” (“Skylark”). The new text of the song was dedicated to the bird – so the work lost its religious meaning. In France, the song became a hit and in 1968 entered the repertoire of the Paul Mauriat Grand Orchestra.