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Vladimir Fyodorovich Vavilov (5 May 1925 – 3 November 1973) was a Russian guitarist, lutenist and composer. He was a student of P. Isakov (guitar) and I. Admoni (composition) at the Rimski-Korsakov Music College in St Petersburg. He played an important part in the Early Music Revival in the Soviet Union.

Vavilov was active as a performer on both lute and guitar, as a music editor for a state music publishing house, and more important, as a composer. He routinely ascribed his own works to other composers, usually Renaissance or Baroque (occasionally from later eras), usually with total disregard of a style that should have been appropriate, in the spirit of Fetis, Kreisler, Ponse, Casadesus and other mystificators of the previous eras. His works achieved enormous circulation, and some of them achieved true folk music status, with several poems set to his melodies.

The most famous of his hoaxes were

  • "Kanzona by Francesco da Milano" (known as the "The City of Gold" song (in Russian "Город Золотой")),
  • "Mazurka by Andrey Sychra",
  • "Elegy by Mikhail Vyssotsky",
  • "Russian Melody (tremolo study) by Mikhail Vyssotsky",
  • "Ricercar by Niccolo Nigrino",
  • "Impromptu" by Balakirev, and most famous of all,
  • "Ave Maria by Giulio Caccini" (Vavilov himself did not call it so, having it as Anonymous instead, after a few years since it was first released Mark Szachin added "Caccini" name to it[citation needed]). It is often performed to this day, notably by Andrea Bocelli, Sumi Jo, Charlotte Church inter alia.[1][2][3].

Vavilov died in poverty, of pancreatic cancer, a few months before the appearance of "The City of Gold", which became a hit overnight.


  1. ^ Сергей Севостьянов, "Страницы жизни Владимира Федоровича Вавилова". Журнал «Нева» № 9 (2005).
  2. ^ "Вавилов Владимир Фёдорович", Иллюстрированный биографический энциклопедический словарь.
  3. ^ Гейзель Зеев, "История одной Песни" (15 февраля 2005)


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