On the night I got the “SAPSAN” train from St Petersburg to Moscow, as I boarded, this piece of music started to play full-blast in the station.

At first I didn’t really understand what was going on, it made the whole boarding process so dramatic and joyous. It was awesome!

I asked around for some explanation and the people told me that it’s a tradition (since 1965) to play this tune whenever you board a night train from St Petersburg to Moscow. The piece is called “The Hymn to the Great City” and was composed by Reinhold Glière.

What a wonderful, wonderful thing! I wonder what other beautifully poetic initiative we could come up with if our societies weren’t only based on profit. I was truly transported (well, literally!) and it will remain a very special memory for me. I guess the russians still have a thing or two to teach us.



  1. Maaarc

    Yes!! this tune and the night train trip are just awesome. took the Red Arrow a couple of times (I believe Sapsan was not around yet) and during one of these trips, I have read my favorite Russian novel (written in French though): La Musique d’une Vie, by Andrei Makine. just wanted to load up your “to read” pile even further with another great book. Take good care. maaaarc

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