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ClassicsOnline Home » CAUCASIAN IMPRESSIONS
This collection of music from the Caucasus features Georgian, Armenian and Azerbaijani composers whose works have long deserved a wider hearing. In common with other composers trained in regions of the former USSR, they draw largely on folk material as their inspiration.
Sulkhan Tsintsadze (1925–1991)
Sulkhan Tsintsadze began his musical career in the 1940s as a cellist in the Georgian State String Quartet. His first composition, based on Georgian folksongs and made up of a collection of miniatures for string quartet, scored immediate success. He also wrote several operas, ballets, symphonies and concertos, but it was his compositions for string quartet that came to take pride of place in the composer's output, making a notable contribution to Georgian music.
One of Georgia's leading composers, Tsintsadze was Chairman of Georgian Composers Union and Rector of the Georgian State Conservatory. He was awarded the titles of 'People's Artist of Georgia' and 'People's Artist of USSR', the USSR State Prize, the Shota Rustaveli Prize and the Zaqaria Paliashvili Prize.
Tsintsadze's quartet miniatures (arranged for string orchestra by the composer himself), composed at different points in his life, are exemplary transcriptions of Georgian folk tunes. Using traditional performance means, he brings out the harmonic colours and sounds of Georgian national instruments such as Salamuri (winds), Chianuri (strings) and Doli (drums).
Sulkhan Nasidze (1927–1996)
A teacher and a prominent figure in public life, Sulkhan Nasidze held the Chair of Composition at the Tbilisi State Conservatory. He was also chairman of the Georgian Composers Union, a 'People's Artist of Georgia' and holder of the Shota Rustaveli Prize.
The Chamber Symphony No. 3 was written in 1969. Constructed in one movement, moving through a range of tempi (Andante, Allegro, Maestoso, Andante), the work takes the folklore from the mountain region Khevsurian as its root inspiration. The Symphony received a successful première in Moscow in 1970. In 1973 the work was awarded the Rustaveli Premium, the national prize.
Fikret Meshedi Jamil Oglu Amirov (1922–1984)
Fikret Amirov was one of the most prominent composers in Azerbaijan and in the former Soviet Union. His music was strongly influenced by Azeri folk melodies. Amirov was awarded the title 'People's Artist of the USSR' and the USSR State Prize. His most famous works include the symphonic works Shur, Kurd Afshari, Azerbaijan Capriccio, Gulustan Bayati-Shiraz, To the memory of the Heroes of the Great National War, as well as the Double Concerto for Violin, Piano and Orchestra.
Symphony 'To the memory of Nizami' was written in 1941, which was the 800th anniversary of Azerbaijanian poet Nizami. Composed for string orchestra, the Symphony has four movements, each of which portrays the image of Nizami as a philosophically-thinking poet, and a leitmotif of Nizami runs throughout. The leifmotif is based on Azerbaijani melodies.
Alexander Grigori Arutiunyan (b. 1920)
The famous Armenian composer and pianist Alexander Grigori Arutiunyan was born in Yerevan, where he received his education at the Komitas Conservatory. He later completed his studies at the Moscow Conservatory with Litinsky (1946-8). He was artistic director of the Armenian Philharmonic Society and began to teach composition at the Yerevan Conservatoire in 1965, being granted a professorship in 1977. He joined the Union of Composers in 1939 and the Cinematographers of Armenia in 1975. He was a recipient of the State Prize of USSR in 1949 and the State Prize of the Armenian SSR in 1970.
Arutunyan's Sinfonietta was written for string orchestra in 1966. Melodic and rhythmic features of Armenian music run throughout the work.
Sergey Aslamazyan (1897–1978)
Serge Aslamazyan, cellist and founding member of the renowned Komitas Quartet was born in Mozdok, Russia. He received his education at the Moscow Conservatory. In 1925 he founded the String Quartet of the Moscow Conservatory, later renamed the Komitas Quartet. In the early years of the Quartet he started work on transcribing famous songs and dances of the Armenian Composer Komitas. Haberban and Alai Luches are two of fourteen pieces Aslamazyan arranged for quartet and later for string orchestra. In these pieces, the original simplicity of the melodies is retained by both composer and arranger.
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