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Azerbaijani Music

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Author Topic: Azerbaijani Music  (Read 1504 times)
« on: February 19, 2020, 12:15:51 pm »

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

Lastly we come to Sevil's aria from the opera Sevil written in 1953 by Fikrat Amirov. His second opera Arabian Nights was written in 1979. Karimova takes this aria which includes extensive melisma as well as a radiant French verismo style akin to that of Hajibeyov in Koroglu.

The words for these operas are not printed in the booklets which, by the way, are in English only.

Ballet is represented by sixteen tracks divided seven to Garayev and nine to Amirov. Garayev's Seven Beauties (1952) based on the work of Nizami (as was his orchestral piece Leyli and Majnun). The Waltz has some of the nervy hysteria of Prokofiev and the stalking Procession march also smacks of that composer. However the starry Delian Adagio with its Soviet style solo horn is the prize here. The Most beautiful of all beauties sings in the shade rather like Griffes' Pleasure Dome but Garayev's textures are clarified and sing like Borodin and Khachaturian.

Six years later and Garayev probed at a deeper emotional level although still within a language broadly recognisable as having been set by Prokofiev (rather than Shostakovich). Here he takes the book Path of Thunder by Peter Abraham and courageously bends it into shape as a ballet. The plot relates to the liberation movement in Apartheid South Africa. The dance rhythms are as alive as those that skip through the Caribbean-set opera Our Man in Havana by the late Malcolm Williamson and through the superb Alan Bush opera The Sugar Reapers (or Guyana Johnny) - another exploration of revolution against oppression. This is masterful music - highly poetic (try tr.14 - Dance of the Girls with Guitars - with vibraphone), scorched in places but not at all bombastic. There is no feeling of an apparatchik going through the motions although he veers close once or twice in the overweening victor's confidence of the finale.

Garayev has also written three symphonies, a violin concerto, various orchestral tone poems, chamber and instrumental pieces as well as 24 preludes for solo piano.

Amirov was born in the city of Ganja where his father was a Tar player and singer. He studied at Baku's conservatory. He has written prolifically. Amongst a host of orchestral works there are also various musical comedies including Urakachanlar (Heart Stealers) of 1944 and Gouzun Aydin (1946). Just as with Garayev, Amirov avoids the sway of Shostakovich and instead revels in Azerbaijani and Middle East melodic material and treatments. Ceremonial dance and dervish rounds are presented without exotic instruments such as the Tar. The struggle of Nasimi is brilliantly painted with screaming Tchaikovskian strings and thudding percussion. Two years after Nasimi came the opera-ballet Arabian Nights. This is also known as One Thousand and One Nights. It was written with the librettist Nelya Nazirova and the brothers Maksud and Rustam Ibrahimbeyov. This too is much in keeping with the scorching oriental style of Nasimi without being unduly 'ethnic'. The drum-punctuated and blaring 'Orgy' recalls Khachaturian's motoric ballet music.

Favourite works include any of the pieces by Garayev, Mardan's aria from Garayev and Hajiyev Vatan, Huseinli's The First Love, Alizade's Jangi, Hajibeyov's Sansiz and the music of Rafig Babayev.

If you have a taste for hyper-coloured music and enjoy Borodin, Hovhaness, Ravel, Khachaturian and folk music of the mid-eastern steppe then this set is certainly for you.

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