Author Topic: Admiring Amirov 1922-1984  (Read 10379 times)

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Offline listener

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Admiring Amirov 1922-1984
« on: February 28, 2010, 08:59:43 PM »
There were a few posts recently on this Azeri composer arising from a new Naxos disc of his music.  I'll quote a paragraph from the notes to one of the Olympia releases.

   "Fikret Mezhadi Dzhamil ogli Amirov grew up in surroundings which gave him a thorough knowledge of Azeri folk music: his father was a singer who played the tar (a plucked string instrument) and was a renowned interpreter of mugams.   Amirov received his academic education at the  Baku Conservatory, where he studied composition and also worked in the folk music department; his older colleague Useir Gadzhiekov layed a significant part in his development.  Amirov's first major compositions were musical comedies, and these were soon followed by works in many other genres.  In 1948, before his 26th birthday, he composed his first two symphonic mugams, Shur and Kürd Ovshari."

copying an earlier post of mine:
Egyptian Nights is on the Olympia label, with Shur and Symphony for String Orchestra
an earlier ASV disc duplicates much of the new Naxos one  (Shur, Kyurdi Ovshari, .Azerbaijan Capriccio, Gyulistan Bayati Shiraz on Naxos, Shur, Kyurdi Ovshari, .Azerbaijan Capriccio are on the ASV with Symphonic Dances )
His opera Sevil was on a 3-disc LP set  Melodiya 33D 019415-420, and there was a Stokowski  arrangement/paraphrase/great moments from the Azerbaijan Mugams on Everest.   I seem to remember a short excerpt filling the LP of the Glière horn concerto as well  (Glière conducting).   His Six Pieces for flute and piano are on BIS 419.

Another Olympa disc OCD 490 has the choreographic poem A Tale of Nasimi, plus  Kyurdi Ovshari, .Azerbaijan Capriccio, Gyulistan Bayati Shiraz.

The scores to Shur and Kürdi Ovshary were published in 1971

His music should delight those who enjoy the folk elements in the music of Khachaturian and Kabalevsky.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2010, 09:02:58 PM by listener »
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Online vandermolen

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Re: Admiring Amirov 1922-1984
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2010, 03:36:41 AM »
There were a few posts recently on this Azeri composer arising from a new Naxos disc of his music.  I'll quote a paragraph from the notes to one of the Olympia releases.

   "Fikret Mezhadi Dzhamil ogli Amirov grew up in surroundings which gave him a thorough knowledge of Azeri folk music: his father was a singer who played the tar (a plucked string instrument) and was a renowned interpreter of mugams.   Amirov received his academic education at the  Baku Conservatory, where he studied composition and also worked in the folk music department; his older colleague Useir Gadzhiekov layed a significant part in his development.  Amirov's first major compositions were musical comedies, and these were soon followed by works in many other genres.  In 1948, before his 26th birthday, he composed his first two symphonic mugams, Shur and Kürd Ovshari."

copying an earlier post of mine:
Egyptian Nights is on the Olympia label, with Shur and Symphony for String Orchestra
an earlier ASV disc duplicates much of the new Naxos one  (Shur, Kyurdi Ovshari, .Azerbaijan Capriccio, Gyulistan Bayati Shiraz on Naxos, Shur, Kyurdi Ovshari, .Azerbaijan Capriccio are on the ASV with Symphonic Dances )
His opera Sevil was on a 3-disc LP set  Melodiya 33D 019415-420, and there was a Stokowski  arrangement/paraphrase/great moments from the Azerbaijan Mugams on Everest.   I seem to remember a short excerpt filling the LP of the Glière horn concerto as well  (Glière conducting).   His Six Pieces for flute and piano are on BIS 419.

Another Olympa disc OCD 490 has the choreographic poem A Tale of Nasimi, plus  Kyurdi Ovshari, .Azerbaijan Capriccio, Gyulistan Bayati Shiraz.

The scores to Shur and Kürdi Ovshary were published in 1971

His music should delight those who enjoy the folk elements in the music of Khachaturian and Kabalevsky.

I have both Olympia CDs and the ASV, both of which I enjoy - especially the single Olympia CD. The music is very oriental, exotic and memorable. Shur and Kyurdi Ovshari are especially good. Didn't know there was a Naxos CD - how exciting!
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Elnimio

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Re: Admiring Amirov 1922-1984
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2011, 11:43:48 PM »
This guy is pretty awesome, not gonna lie.

eyeresist

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Re: Admiring Amirov 1922-1984
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2012, 07:50:53 PM »
I became interested in Amirov after encountering his darkly exotic "symphonic mugam" Gulistan Bayaty Shiraz on an Arte Nova disc (which also included Terterian's amazing 3rd symphony). I bought the Naxos CD of mugams conducted by Yablonsky - sadly, although it's well-played and recorded, on direct comparison of performances of Gyulistan Bayati Shiraz (as it's called by Naxos) Yablonsky comes up short, tending to speed where he should wallow (pretty much everywhere). His Shur is about 20 minutes long, whereas the two previous recordings are reportedly about 30 minutes each.

I've also encountered Amirov's symphony for strings "To the Memory of Nisami", hidden away on a Naxos disc called Caucasian Impressions. Together with the orchestrations of folk songs, I think this work is the best thing on the disc. Not as colourful as the mugams, it reminds me favourably of Shostakovich's string quartets - which is a neat trick considering Amirov wrote it in 1941, at which time Shost had only written his first one (1938).

I've resisted the Naxos disc with the piano concerto so far, as it's the only Amirov work on that CD, and only 25 minutes long.

Other than these Naxos releases, there's practically nothing of Amirov's work available on CD apart from one OOP ASV disc (probably my next purchases), some very expensive old Olympia releases, and short entries in various chamber flute compilations (not my thing). This is a shame, as from the little I've heard Amirov is one of the great Soviet nationalist composers, possibly placing well ahead of Khachaturian. I wish the Naxos recordings were better, so that they could encourage greater interest - sometimes "adequate" recordings have a worse effect on obscure composers' reputations than no recording at all.

Sadly, the site bearing his name lists only a few of his compositions (which I believe number in the dozens), but does host some MP3s.
http://www.fikretamirov.com/ (Google translation from Azerbaijani)
There is more info on the works here ( http://home.wanadoo.nl/ovar/amirov.htm ), but even this I suspect is incomplete.

Arte Nova misspell his name as "Amirow".


(Note, it's Arabian Nights, not "Egyptian Nights"!)
« Last Edit: June 17, 2012, 04:17:02 PM by eyeresist »

Offline Brian

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Re: Admiring Amirov 1922-1984
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2012, 05:21:51 AM »
I've resisted the Naxos disc with the piano concerto so far, as it's the only Amirov work on that CD, and only 25 minutes long.

The piano concerto is absolutely terrific, co-written with Elmira Nazirova, best known for her "appearance" in Shosty's Tenth Symphony. It is definitely the best thing on the CD, though. If you download music, look to download it from ClassicsOnline. The other concerto on the disc was pretty interesting, but there are a few miniatures composed by the pianist which are genuine elevator music - nasty.

I have the Yablonsky disc and definitely both see the fun/good in the music and wish for more. Am distrustful of Almeida in Russian music - he tends to conduct really soggy performances - so I guess we just have to wait for the Second Coming of Evgeny Svetlanov...

Online vandermolen

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Re: Admiring Amirov 1922-1984
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2012, 10:31:09 PM »
The Arte Nova CD has some other fine music on it too - I was very pleased with that inexpensive double album.  Didn't know about the Stokowski CD. I feel OCDCDCD kicking in  :D
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

eyeresist

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Re: Admiring Amirov 1922-1984
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2012, 04:27:47 PM »
Thanks, guys. Sorry about the OCDCDCD ;)

I listened to the Yablonsky disc of mugams a couple of times over the weekend. Maybe it's not perfect, but still hugely enjoyable, and those musical earworms are burrowing into my brain  :o

I've read Amirov compared to Rimsky-Korsakov, but I think Borodin would be closer (particularly the Polovtsian Dances, of course). Unlike the mighty handful, there is perhaps less of an athropological feel - Amirov's father was a prominent folk musician, so the son had it in his blood.

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Re: Admiring Amirov 1922-1984
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2012, 09:30:33 AM »
The Stokowsi performance (above) is terrific. At first it sounded very fast to me - a bit like a 45rpm record being played at 78rpm (for those of you old enough to know what I am talking about!) However, it has the authentic eastern feel to it and is the most gripping and intense performance I have heard, much as I enjoy the recordings on Olympia,  ASV and Naxos.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

eyeresist

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Re: Admiring Amirov 1922-1984
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2012, 04:35:49 PM »
Thanks for the report! I was listening to the Yablonsky disc just this morning - a nice wallow.

It occurred to me recently that "Amirov" is probably the Russified version of Amir, which seems a much more likely Azerbaijani name.

I noticed that the ASV disc came up in the "recently mentioned" banner a few days ago. I wonder if some forumite has ordered that disc? (It would be a nice option to see in what context these things were mentioned.)
« Last Edit: July 01, 2012, 07:34:36 PM by eyeresist »

Offline Superhorn

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Re: Admiring Amirov 1922-1984
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2012, 05:07:14 AM »
    Ethnic minorities in the former Soviet Union have generally Russianized their names, so we get  composers like Amirov ,etc
The Azerbaijanis are ethnic Turks, and only minor differences in dialect separate them from the people of Turkey . Azerbaijani Turkish has sometimes been  classified as a separate language from Turkish,  but  it differs very lttle from Turkish as spoken in Turkey .
There are also about 30 million ethnic Azerbaijani Turks in Iran , but they are treated terribly by the Tehran government, which is ironically made up largely of  Azerbaijanis, including  Ayatollah Ali Khamenei , and  they are not allowed to  have Turkish names .
The Azerbijanis call  the standard Turkish of Turkey "Istanbul Turkish ". 
    The Republic of Azerbaijan is now an independent nation , and  is trying very hard to rid itself of Russian influence.  It has adopted
a latinized alphabet  for writing  its language after decades of  being frced ot use the cyrillic alphabet .  But  the Azerbaijanis of iran still use the  Arab alphbet .  This created a bizarre situation in the past where if  someone from Turkey met  Azerbaijanis from the former Soviet union and Iran,  all three could easily understand each other, but none could read each others alphabet !   All three groups consider themselves to be one people .

Offline Angelos_05

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Re: Admiring Amirov 1922-1984
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2015, 04:23:09 PM »
Something that I am particularly fond of is the exotically-scented sound world as expressed by rich, opulent, flourishing, luxurious, resplendent and  lavish orchestrations. To that extent, Fikret Amirov is one of the composers who can deliver to a satisfactory degree/manner. I actually place him to the same page with Reinhold Gliere, Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov, Rimsky-Korsakov.   He has an unabashed tendency to the grandiloquently exotic (and this is the reason I love him so much)
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2000/nov00/Glieremultiple.htm


So,  what we have so far.....
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2010/July10/Amirov_Symphonic_Mugams_Naxos8572170.htm
http://www.classicstoday.com/review/review-15375/

His Piano Concerto with Elmira Nazirova
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2011/Dec11/Azerbaijan_PCs_8572666.htm
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2011/Nov11/Azerbaijan_PCs_8572666.htm


Stokowski's Amirov
http://www.classicalmusiccommunications.com/agency.php?view=news&nid=5756
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2014/Aug14/Scriabin_ecstasy_SDBR3032.htm
http://www.sa-cd.net/showtitle/9358
http://www.classical.net/music/recs/reviews/e/evc03032a.php
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2013/Dec13/Everest_again.html

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2014/Aug14/Shostakovich_sy1_GHCD2415.htm
http://www.guildmusic.com/shop/wbc.php?tpl=produktdetail.html&pid=16135


The ASV disc is not bad at all.
http://www.allmusic.com/album/fikret-amirov-shur-azerbaijan-mugam-no-1-azerbaijan-capriccio-mw0001826691


The Olympia-Melodiya entries should not be missed! They are a must-have for every Fikret Amirov fan
http://www.allmusic.com/album/fikret-amirov-azerbaijan-capriccio-a-tale-of-nasimi-k%C3%BCrd-ovshari-g%C3%BClistan-bayaty-shiraz-mw0001820478
http://www.catawiki.com/catalog/records-and-cds/artists-bands/adigezalov-yalchin/1818263-fikret-amirov

http://www.allmusic.com/album/release/the-arabian-nights-mr0002736017
http://www.catawiki.com/catalog/records-and-cds/artists-bands/abdullayev-rauf/1818441-fikret-amirov-the-arabian-nights




http://www.catawiki.com/catalog/records-and-cds/artists-bands/amirov-fikret/1818187-music-from-tajikistan-georgia-azerbaijan-armenia
http://www.allmusic.com/album/release/music-from-tajikistan-georgia-azerbaijan-armenia-mr0002515874



Alexander Gauk also conducts Fikret Amirov
http://www.allmusic.com/album/release/alexander-gauk-tsintsadze-machavariani-vol-1-mr0003910496
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gauk-Edition-Historical-Russian-Archive/dp/B0036J02HI


http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2003/Apr03/Azerbaijaniset.htm


One LP with Herman Abendroth. Urania Records released this on CD back in the '80s.







And another LP from Melodiya featuring Fikret Amirov and his son Djamil Amirov (both seen on cover jacket) as conducted by Nazim Rzayev.








http://militscky.narod.ru/cd-r.html


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I actually find quite a treat/delight Suleyman Aleskerov's Bayati Shiraz Symphonic Mugam
http://e-library.musigi-dunya.az/simf_mugam_en.html
https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%90%D0%BB%D0%B5%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B5%D1%80%D0%BE%D0%B2,_%D0%A1%D1%83%D0%BB%D0%B5%D0%B9%D0%BC%D0%B0%D0%BD_%D0%AD%D0%B9%D1%8E%D0%B1_%D0%BE%D0%B3%D0%BB%D1%8B

And Soltan Hajibeyov's Caravan is well-crafted exotic orchestral delight (in the style of Borodin's In the Steppes of Central Asia)
http://classic-online.ru/ru/composer/Hac/10097
https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%93%D0%B0%D0%B4%D0%B6%D0%B8%D0%B1%D0%B5%D0%BA%D0%BE%D0%B2,_%D0%A1%D0%BE%D0%BB%D1%82%D0%B0%D0%BD_%D0%98%D1%81%D0%BC%D0%B0%D0%B8%D0%BB_%D0%BE%D0%B3%D0%BB%D1%8B


« Last Edit: August 18, 2015, 04:22:14 AM by Angelos_05 »

Online vandermolen

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Re: Admiring Amirov 1922-1984
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2015, 10:22:17 PM »
I agree with the link with Ippolitov-Ivanov and Gliere. Years ago I had some correspondence with Francis Wilson the owner of Olympia (who sadly died a few years ago) it was he who recommended Amirov to me and those Olympia CDs were excellent although I guess they are probably very expensive now as Olympia no longer exists. I liked the Symphonic Mugams in particular.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Angelos_05

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Re: Admiring Amirov 1922-1984
« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2015, 06:53:15 AM »
The prices for the Olympia Amirov CDs are soaring high...... The musicweb reviewers mention that clearly.
Quote
If you want more Amirov you should not hesitate to seek out two deleted Olympias (OCD490 and OCD578)

Did the owner, F Wilson, tell you anything more about Fikret Amirov? How he chose to include him into his company's releases?

Online vandermolen

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Re: Admiring Amirov 1922-1984
« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2015, 07:36:08 AM »
The prices for the Olympia Amirov CDs are soaring high...... The musicweb reviewers mention that clearly.
Did the owner, F Wilson, tell you anything more about Fikret Amirov? How he chose to include him into his company's releases?

Not as far as I recall although I still have some letters from Francis and will see if he mentions anything. I just remember that he thought very highly of the music and said that I should hear it. I tried to get him interested in Janis Ivanovs but he said that he found the music a bit boring - I don't agree however.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Angelos_05

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Re: Admiring Amirov 1922-1984
« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2015, 11:05:21 AM »
Did you ever tell him about other Azerbaijani composers and their symphonic-orchestral music (Suleyman Aleskerov, Niyazi Hajibeyov, Soltan Hajibeyov, Uzeyir Hajibeyov, Ogtay Zulfugarov) ?
For people who enjoy orchestral exoticism, as expressed by Russian-Soviet composers (Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin, Gliere, Khachaturian, Balakirev, Lyapunov, Ippolitov-Ivanov, etc). Fikret Amirov came in as a very pleasant surprise. And moreover, his importance as an orchestral composer sunk in.
To that extent, Francis Wilson was right when he thought high of Amirov's orchestral output.

You mentioned that you were fond of Amirov's Symphonic Mugams. Hopefully, you gave a go Aleskerov's Bayati Shiraz Symphonic Mugam which cries out for a DDD recording.


Offline Scion7

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Re: Admiring Amirov 1922-1984
« Reply #15 on: August 18, 2015, 07:03:38 PM »
I enjoy this guy's stuff.

One mention - which was sort of off-topic in the first place, but the historian in me feels the need to comment (although I am by no means a linguist) - the Azerbaijani Turkic language may generally be similar to the Turkic language that is spoken in Turkey (which has the honor of being called Turkish) - but one must remember that the Seljuks invaded Anatolia in relatively smaller numbers than the native population - which had at the base Hittites and Lydians, with some Celts (Galatians) and Greeks and Persians in some numbers.  The Seljuk dialect incorporated many loanwords from Greek and other languages spoken in today's Turkey, so the variance from other Turkic languages is not all that small, and that's why linguists split them apart as separate languages (among other reasons.)  Russian has not influenced the Azerbaijani language to the same extent due to a much, much shorter time period for inter-mingling.

Amirov is probably much more of a Turk than most people in Turkey - who interbred with the Byzantine population and lost many of their central-Asian genetic traits, but were the militarily dominant culture there, even if by blood today they are much more Anatolian than anything else.

The area of the Carpathian basin has been called that "whirlpool of races" in Europe - Anatolia would be the Asian equivalent.
Your barricades lie broken ... your enemies lord.

Online vandermolen

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Re: Admiring Amirov 1922-1984
« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2015, 02:23:10 PM »
The prices for the Olympia Amirov CDs are soaring high...... The musicweb reviewers mention that clearly.
Did the owner, F Wilson, tell you anything more about Fikret Amirov? How he chose to include him into his company's releases?
Extract from a Letter from Francis Wilson (founder of Olympia) to me in December 1995.

 'Among recent releases since you appear to be attracted by Soviet music, I can recommend to you the Amirov 'Arabian Nights' ballet which displays an incredible variety of musical style.' I found the letter in an old glossy Olympia catalogue that he sent me (those were the days).
« Last Edit: August 20, 2015, 02:24:50 PM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Angelos_05

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Re: Admiring Amirov 1922-1984
« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2015, 04:28:39 PM »
Extract from a Letter from Francis Wilson (founder of Olympia) to me in December 1995.

 'Among recent releases since you appear to be attracted by Soviet music, I can recommend to you the Amirov 'Arabian Nights' ballet which displays an incredible variety of musical style.' I found the letter in an old glossy Olympia catalogue that he sent me (those were the days).

Thanks mate! Much appreciated. Yup, those were the days :  catalogs, brochures, flyers, magazines and periodicals.

 

Online vandermolen

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Re: Admiring Amirov 1922-1984
« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2015, 10:04:43 PM »
Thanks mate! Much appreciated. Yup, those were the days :  catalogs, brochures, flyers, magazines and periodicals.
My pleasure.  :)
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

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Re: Admiring Amirov 1922-1984
« Reply #19 on: September 15, 2015, 06:53:22 AM »
This might appeal to admirers of Amirov. Arif Melikov is another Azebaijani composer. His 'Legend of Love' ballet should appeal to admirers of the ballet music of Glazunov, Gliere, Prokofiev and especially Khachaturian. It is very approachable and entertaining but not, I think without depth. Striking cover art! My attention was held throughout the two discs.


Here it is on You Tube:
https://m.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8D57440DB8AC6093
« Last Edit: September 15, 2015, 06:55:53 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).