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Split personality. Liking the arts, especially opera, and hockey and Los Toros. I know, I know THAT one is non pc currently. But I can't help it saw some in Spain and got hooked, but good. But on the other hand right now opera and hockey are in the forefront!


Saturday, May 21, 2011

A musical trip to Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan Map
 thanks to HGO's Song of Houston undertaking,
I became acquainted with mugam music from Azerbaijan tonight.
As composed by Franghiz Alizadeh for piano with alternating lyrical and boisterous passages, she did not, as far as I could see, use the pedals.
The music sounded at times as if played on a harpsicord.

A plangent sound rather than the more mellow one we are used to from a piano.

Later she accompanied Babek Niftaliev, tenor. in Bayati Shiraz with Fakhraddin Dadashov on kemancha.

Followed by Mugam Sayagi (but no ballet here ) for Viola, 2 Violins, Cello, gong and drum, with an almost atonal sound, but yet deeper shadings. Surging sounds similar to waves and wind on  desert floor, sounds like the chirping of baby birds, the whispering whoosh of insect wings, and at times a brazen warlike drone and pounding.
Like camel hoofs on bare rocky terrain.
Here a similar piece - I think- played by the Kronos Quartett and choreographed for ballet
Alizadeh, also composed, and wrote the libretto for, a chamber opera
"Your Name means the Sea" sung by Babek Niftaliev and Malakkhanim Eyubova, as the Azerbaijanis
and Soprano Laura Borkin and Baritone John Packard as the Americans.
Accompanied by a small orchestra on stage with tar , played by Mohlat Muslumov, kemanche (both are also used in Iranian music), cello, flute, viola and violin and some piped in sounding tones...it was an interesting evening musically.
The singers, especially Eyubova sounded very much like Arabian singers with similar ululating and vibrating tones. She did remind me of Umm Khulthum, the Egyptian singer.
But also Niftaliev had that vibrating, plaintive, plangent sound. Which, I am sure, needs to be learned, just like one needs to learn how to yodel properly!
                                          A sample of Azerbaijan instrumental music below

and vocals by Eyubova with her penetrating clear voice

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