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Azerbaijani Music

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Author Topic: Azerbaijani Music  (Read 1504 times)
« on: February 19, 2020, 12:13:49 pm »

re: "THE CLASSICAL MUSIC OF AZERBAIJAN: Symphonic; Ballet; Concerto; Piano; Opera; Chamber" (cntd)...

Vasif Adigozal is the father of the conductor Yalchin Adigozalov who conducts the Azerbaijan State Symphony orchestra throughout this series. There are four symphonies by Adigozal (1959, 1970, 1976, 1995) as well as a Violin Concerto, tone poems (Africa Struggles, 1962; Stages, 1968) and the Poem for four pianos and symphony orchestra, 1982. His oratorio Karabakh Shikastasi won the State Prize. There is plenty of chamber music and romantic songs as well as film scores. This pupil of Garayev writes a turbulent piano concerto - rather old-fashioned and highly romantic, blazing with colour and exotic nationalistic elements. This heady soup may well remind you of Poulenc (the casually sauntering piano theme that launches and closes the first movement), Rachmaninov, Bax (especially in Winter Legends), even Villa-Lobos. The adagio second movement is again highly romantic with long themes for the violin - cinematic stuff. It is a pity that this thirty minute structure was not tracked individually. The first movement ends at 12.11; the second at 19.26. Martellato work for the piano was a feature of the first movement and it returns in the finale a grandiloquent echo of Bartók, Shostakovich and Khachaturian. There is some remission from frenetic activity in a central pool of calm but the perfervid striving romance soon reasserts itself.

Haji Khanmammadov's dignified and exciting Tar Concerto is from 1968. It is the second of four such works: 1952, 1968, 1973, 1984. Apart from a Harp Concerto and various suites there are several operettas including One Minute and All Husbands Are Good. He conducted the Azerbaijan State Philharmonic 1966-68. Guliyev is a virtuoso of the stringed Tar and an authority on its performance practice and teaching - much as we might look to Julian Bream and John Williams in the context of the guitar. Khanmammadov writes in a style that leans more towards Western orthodoxy than for example Adigozal or Azer Rezayev (see Chamber volume). He also is less prone than Adigozal to piling on the instrumentation. The writing for orchestra is supercharged and tumultuous with activity in the manner of Kabalevsky and Khachaturian. There is less of the peppery sway than you may expect from say Terteryan. The composer reconnects with the distanced strangeness of the Azerbaijani countryside in the middle section of the first movement. This is dominated by the solo Tar in the equivalent of a soliloquised cadenza. The second movement starts at 13.03. The spare orchestral contribution is funereally hollow and proceeds at a steady gait rising to defiant sorrow at 16.01. The third starts at 17.45. This movement darts and pecks - full of exuberance but devoid of excess detail.

The piano disc is presented by four pianists. Tamilla Guliyeva plays Uzeyir Hajibeyov's gentle pastel sketch Sansiz (Without You) the equivalent of the flowery stems of Billy Mayerl. Adigozalzade's reading of Vasif Adigozal's 1992 Elegy is in much the same charming and unassuming vein. Similarly for the two pieces by Rafig Babayev who was killed in a bomb outrage on the Baku Metro. Ulviyya Valiyeva puts Three Sketches in the Spirit of Vatto by Ismayil Hajibeyov through its impeccably Bachian paces - fast and slow.

Murad Adigozalzade (a mainstay of this set) gives us Gara Garayev's three preludes from 1950. These are gently emphatic romantic pieces in the straightforward Western style we might associate with the writing of the British pastoralists of the 1920s. That is until we get to the third prelude. This is a surprisingly original piece: part Bach, cakewalk and jazz strut. Garayev certainly had something about him. The same pianist continues with eight brief solos by Amirov. After the Hajibeyovs and Garayev, where folk material is either absent or deeply subsumed into Western styles, these Amirov pieces are clearly indebted to folk voices from the plains and mountains and countryside. All the usual and enchanting paraphernalia of sinuous sway, dance and rite are implicit in the music. It is no wonder that Stokowski took to this music like a duck to water. The Toccata echoes with the sounds of the Tar.
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