Do you love “The Great,” one of Hulu’s most successful new shows? “The Great” is a comedic reinterpretation of the rise of Catherine the Great from an Austrian Princess to one of the most powerful rulers in the history of Russia. The long-form historical fiction imagines the conversations and interactions between young Catherine, only recently betrothed and moved to Russia, and her husband, Emperor Peter III.
The show does a delightful job of balancing the grim nature of usurpation, as Catherine takes the power from her husband and makes herself the new monarch of Russia, with the curious happenings of the Russian court. The result is both hilarious and occasionally disturbing.
While the acting, costuming, and production are superb, what really makes the trailer work is the use of authentic Russian folk dance as the background music. The music was taken from the Level 77 library, and is an excellent example of how using premium music for video production can transform a project. The Russian dance track is titled “Russian Folk Dance” by composer David Burk, and was produced and distributed through Level 77’s The Vault label, specializing in instrumental music for traditional and specialty genres, some of which are difficult to source.
What is striking about the “Russian Folk Dance” track from “The Great” is its authenticity. Russian folk music was exclusively vocal through the 12th century, and the use of musical accompaniment for folk music was outlawed in Russia until the Bolshevik revolution. The use of a three-stringed fiddle, called a gudok, a double pipe called a rozhok, and a winged auto-harp called a gusli all define the traditional musical elements of Russian folk music, and all three are featured heavily in the trailer for “The Great.” That sort of authenticity is the hallmark of Level 77 Music.