Isaac Schwartz: Soviet film composer

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The Independent Online

Isaac Schwartz, who died on 27 December at the age of 86, was a composer whose music adorned some of the most popular films of the Soviet era.

Schwartz started his career in the early 1950s, eventually earning fame for his romantic and melodic soundtracks to such beloved Soviet films as The White Sun of the Desert (1969), The Straw Hat and One Hundred Days After Childhood (1974), The Captivating Star of Happiness (1975) and Melodies of a White Night (1978).

Helped by Dmitri Shostakovich early in his career, Schwartz went on to write the music for 110 films and 35 theatrical performances. His theme song to The White Sun of the Desert, "Your Excellency Lady Luck", became a huge hit, and it became a tradition among cosmonauts to watch the film before taking off on a mission.

Schwartz was born in 1923 in Ukraine. His family later moved to Leningrad, where his father was arrested on trumped-up charges in 1936 and executed two years later. Schwartz's family spent eight years in internal exile before they were allowed to return home.