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Kara Karayev (1918 - 1982)

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Kara Abulfaz oghlu Karayev (February 5, 1918 in Baku - May 13, 1982 in Moscow), also spelled as Kara Karaev, Qara Qara(y)ev or Gara [Abulfazovich] Gara(y)ev, was a prominent azerbaijani composer of the soviet period. Karayev wrote nearly 110 musical pieces, including ballets, operas, symphonic and chamber pieces, solos for piano, cantatas, songs and marches, and rose to prominence not only in azerbaijan SSR but also in the rest of the Soviet Union and worldwide.

Karayev was born in 1918 to a pediatrician father, who was famous in Baku, and a musician mother. In 1926, at the age of eight, Karayev first entered the junior music school at the Azerbaijan State Conservatoire, currently known as the Baku Music Academy. Due to his musical talents, in 1933 Karayev was allowed to enroll simultaneously in two faculties at the conservatoire. In 1937, Karayev joined the Union of Composers of Azerbaijan SSR.

In 1938, at the age of twenty, Karayev composed his first musical piece, a cantata “The Song of the Heart” to the poem by Rasul Rza. Karayev conducted his cantata during its premiere the “Decade of Azerbaijani Art” festival in the Bolshoi Theater, an event also attended by Joseph Stalin. In the same year, he moved to Moscow State Conservatoire, where he became a student and a good friend of Dmitri Shostakovich.

In 1945, Karayev and Jovdat Hajiyev wrote the “Motherland” opera, for which they were awarded a prestigious Stalin prize. In 1948, at the age of 30, Karayev was again awarded this prize for his symphonic poem “Leyli and Majnun”, based on the same-titled famous work of Nizami.

In 1952, under the direction of the choreograph P. A. Gusev, Karayev’s “Seven Beauties” ballet was staged at the Azerbaijani Theater of Opera and Ballet. Based based on Nizami’s famous poem, “Seven Beauties” became the first Azerbaijani ballet and opened a new chapter in the history of classical music of Azerbaijan. Karayev’s only other ballet, “Path of Thunder”, staged in 1958, was dedicated to racial conflicts in South Africa. His ballets remain his most well known and critically acclaimed work.

Upon the death of Uzeyir Hajibeyov in 1948, Karayev became the Chair of the Union of Composers of Azerbaijan SSR and the rector of Azerbaijan State Conservatoire. In the latter position, Karayev retained Hajibeyov’s traditional emphasis on Azerbaijani folk music in teaching, and also promoted the contemporary genres, such as jazz, in Azerbaijani music.

Karayev suffered from heart disease, which prevented him from attending his own 60th jubilee celebration held in Moscow, where he was awarded the title of the Hero of Socialist Labour, a highest recognition award of the Soviet government. Karayev spent the last 5 years of his life in Moscow, away from public, although his love for Baku remained strong and was reflected in his writing. Karayev died on May 13, 1982 in Moscow at the age of 64.


I didn't see a composer thread for Karayev, so we'll have one now! 8) This is a composer that is completely new to me and so far I'm really enjoying his ballet suites from Seven Beauties and In The Path Of Thunder. Absolutely beautiful music full of wonderful orchestration, harmonies, rhythms, and melodies. This is definitely accessible music, but not without some harmonic tensions to give the music an edge. Anyone else familiar with this composer's music?

Picked up this one today, and will give it a spin soon (I'm in the mood for some colorful exotica):

This one also looks tempting (though the album artwork less so):

Other than one more album from Delos (which duplicates the first Naxos album above), there doesn't seem to be much Karayev available.

I've been greatly enjoying this CD of colourfully exotic music. It's a bit like Khachaturian meets Rimsky-Korsakov meets Basil Poledouris's score for 'Conan the Barbarian' but great fun and I have played the CD several times with much pleasure. There is a Naxos recording (see above) of 'Seven Beauties' coupled with the equally enjoyable 'The Path of Thunder' (only the 'Lullaby' appears on the Chandos disc). Symphony 1 and the more modernist Symphony 3 are worth hearing as well. John (MI) was right to recommend this music. Karayev's music also shows the influence of his teacher Shostakovich in places.


--- Quote from: vandermolen on June 16, 2019, 11:47:20 PM ---I've been greatly enjoying this CD of colourfully exotic music.

--- End quote ---
Finally a CD that was legally smuggled into your house! (For Father's Day).  :D


--- Quote from: Christo on June 16, 2019, 11:57:05 PM ---Finally a CD that was legally smuggled into your house! (For Father's Day).  :D

--- End quote ---
Haha! Absolutely. It was actually presented to me IN FRONT OF MY WIFE  :o

And, as yet, there have been no repercussions.


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