When I started to be interested in the lines of poets, which later became simply folk songs, I even found a kind of intrigue. Here, the ensemble “Žemaitukai” asserts on the Internet that the lyrics and music of the popular songs belong to the composer Algimantas Raudonikis, who is now in his eighties. Is it really so?
I have just read the rather solid book of diaries by the writer Algimantas Mikutas, “From checkered notebooks: notes of ten years (2011-2020)”. The author claims that the work of the poet Jonas Lapašinskas did not go to waste: “According to his text “I will pick a red rose”, Lithuanians are looting all the caches” …
This fact was recently confirmed by the creator of the song himself – composer A. Raudonikis. “The story is simple,” said A. Raudonikis. – I was thinking about what to give my wife on the occasion of the first anniversary of our married life. I came up with a song, but I don’t have the lyrics or the music. I started it with the music, then I asked J. Lapašinskas to write the text. He was on vacation in Druskininkai then, it was summer here. I said that I need about flowers, about roses, it doesn’t matter, there can be wildflowers.
That’s how this song appeared in 1967, on the occasion of the first anniversary of the composer’s marriage. The poem was called “Red Rose”. But his colleagues warned him even then that the name could be a hindrance – the mood against urbanism prevailed in the society. And so it was – the managers of the then Lithuanian Radio categorically demanded to change the name of the song. – “I will wait for you when you come.” Here are a couple of stanzas from J. Lapašinskas’ then poem “I will wait for you when you come (Red Rose)”:
Blooming, fragrant variegated flowers.
Today I found some sprouts again.
Laughing with the rings up
To the rays of the sun, to me and to you…
I will pick a red rose
And I’ll bring you gifts every morning –
A drop of hope and beauty,
Ray of spring days…
The new song was satisfied both by the jury and the composer’s wife. After all, everything was enough in the text – love, flowers, and beauty. “Everything went like butter,” A.Raudonikis recalls, “and the whole of Lithuania sang”. The first recording by Stase Laurinaitytė and Jonas Mašanauskas was heard on the radio. It was performed on stage for the first time by Nijolė Ščiukaitė and Jurgis Žukauskas. Soon the song appeared in the repertoire of other soloists. Most importantly, it was sung by the people themselves: who doesn’t remember the words of this popular song today? The melodious song is often played at parties, loved by both old and young…
The author of the text J. Lapašinskas (1923.03.04 – 1997.12.11) has created a number of poems for songs, published six books of poetry, devoted many verses to children. The poet’s cousin, Vidas Zizas from Rokiškės, remembers Jonas Lapašinskas like this: “In my memory, he was as he was, and he remains so: a tall man with eye-catching long hair… dainon was “uploaded” by the famous composer A. Raudonikis, all the hearts of the family were burning with pride.
And the beginning of J. Lapašinska’s poetry was given by… Salomeja Nėris. As the editor of a peasant newspaper, Michalina Meškauskienė recommended a budding provincial author to the poet. After reading the young man’s first poetic attempts, Salomea encouraged Lapašinskas’ loyalty to the muse of poetry.
True, that loyalty did not become the main mission of life. A few books of poems are not really a large dowry. Much more has been done in the areas of journalism. The writer Algimantas Mikuta, who worked together with the poet “Jaunimos gretose”, now evaluates J. Lapašinskas like this: “He was a soft, kind-hearted man, who completely pleased the party government, who wrote sentimental poems.”
And perhaps mostly J. Lapašinskas wrote texts for songs whose melodies were composed not only by A. Raudonikis, but also by music greats such as Benjaminas Gorbulskis, Teisutis Makačinas, Vytautas Laurušas and others.
Be that as it may, the poetic duet of J. Lapašinskas with the composer A. Raudonikis left a bright mark in people’s memory. That “I’ll pick a red rose” still often makes the hearts of Lithuanians flutter in the evenings…