"Musiqi dünyası" № 1 (74) 2018

Article №5; 7986 - 8003 pр.
Alla BAYRAMOVA. Music and Words: an Aspect of Interdependence
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The relevance and productivity of the interdisciplinary approach in the study of the arts are obvious and do not cause doubts, since a convergent approach, "cross pollination" of different sciences allow us to reach a qualitatively new level of understanding. "The rapprochement between the arts and the study of their differences among themselves make it possible to discover such patterns and facts that would remain hidden for us if we studied each art (including literature) in isolation from each other. We must care about expanding the scope of observation of analogies in various arts. The search for analogies is one of the main methods of historical-literary or art criticism analysis. Analogies can reveal and explain a lot", - wrote Russian academician Dmitry Likhachyov (Лихачев 1979, 22).

Word and music studies, being a part of the vast field of multidisciplinary studies of interrelationship of arts, cover a number of phenomena. These, among other things, also include music’s dependence on words, in particular, the issue when the fortune of musical work suffers with the shifts of ideology, regime and power, when its verbal text becomes obsolete and inconvenient in the new contexts – the problem which is the focus of present discussion using such methods as generalization of practical materials, compilation of research undertaken by international and Azerbaijani scholars, survey of the verbal texts of certain musical works of the Soviet era, comparative analysis of the situation in music and other arts, and study of the existing experience of returning those works of art music which had been excluded not because of their musical qualities, but because of their words.

Survey of Literature

The growing interest to cross disciplined studies of music and other arts, and especially literature revealed itself since the first half of the XXth century. In 1918, the celebration of the centenary anniversary of Ivan Turgenev, one of the most outstanding representatives of Russian XIXth-century literature, inspired the rise of research of his works, and, as a result, paper I.S.Turgenev and Music was presented by Mikhail Alexeyev (Алексеев 1918) in Kiev, launching the studies of musico-literary relations in the Russian Empire, what coincided with the growth of interest to this field in the West. In England, Music&Letters journal, “since its foundation in the 1920s, has especially encouraged fruitful dialogue between musicology and other disciplines” (Music&Letters), including literature. Among the articles of journal’s first decade were the papers on references to music in literature, such as two articles Musical Parlance in English Literature (Roberts 1924a; Roberts 1924b) and Music in "The Tempest" (Barder 1925). They were followed by the papers on comparative analysis of the creative personalities of musicians and men of letters, such as Beethoven and Goethe (Goddard 1927), Beethoven and Shelley (Dawson 1929), by the reviews of such books as anthology Music in the Poets (Howard 1927), etc. Music&Letters has paid significant attention to the various aspects of the “encapsulation of music and literature as mutually dependent forms that continue to be defined in relation to and through each other—with ensuing ontological problems” (McGrath 2015, 681).

The links between music and literature have attracted increasing attention in the second half of the XXth century and especially in recent decades: “One of the most significant developments in musicology since the advent of postmodernism has been the willingness of scholars to think beyond disciplinary boundaries, a reflection of the understanding that texts are culturally contextual and protean in their meaning. A result of this has been a growth in scholarship that considers the relationship between literature and music” (Thomson 2012, 86).

As early as the 1960s and 1980s, large monographic studies on the connections of music and literature were published in Europe and the Soviet Union, which still retain authority today. It is the work of Stephen Paul Scher, who developed the typology of musical and literary connections, which is relevant nowadays as well (see Scher 2014; Scher 1999). In 1986 The Leningrad branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences published a collection Russian Literature and Foreign Art (Русская литература 1986), which considers relations between literature and other forms of art, in particular, music, through thematic reminiscences, juxtaposition, comparison, ranking of subjects and images. Late 80s were the beginning of publications of Walter Bernhart’s (see 2008 and 2015) studies of theoretical aspects of word and music relations, such as musico-literary ‘comparative poetics’, the concept of ‘genre’ in music and literature, iconicity in both media, their narrative as well as metareferential and illusionist capacities, etc.

In 1990's and 2000's the field of intermediality found its further development in the works by such scholars as Lawrence Kramer (see 2016) with his valuable input to musical hermeneutics, as Werner Wolf (see 2002; 2012; 2017a; 2017b), who contributed a lot to the studies of history and theory of intermediality, as Irina R. Rajewsky (see e.g. 2005), whose work, mainly focuses on the connections between literature and cinema, as Maria Marcsek-Fuchs (see 2015) with her studies of intermedial encounter of dance and literature, and so on.

Special attention is attracted to ekphrasis of music in literature (e.g. Schirrmacher 2016) and to the references on music “with the necessity of a certain amount of scepticism” (Aubrey 1989, 110) to interpret them as adequate as possible.

It should be noted that Western scholars study the intermediality field mostly within the European and American humanities. The eastwards studies go as far as Eastern European countries and Russia. Literature and music of other parts of the globe remain out of scope yet, in particular, neither work of literature, nor of music from Muslim world has been included into the circle of Western intermedial research.

Interrelations between Music and Literature in the Focus of Conferences, Institutions, and Educational Organizations

The first conference on interart studies (1995) was followed with the establishment of The International Society for Intermediate Studies (ISIS) in 1996. Its goal is to support the study of the interrelationships of arts and media, considered in the broadest cultural context. In 1997 The International Association for Word and Music Studies (WMA) was established. It conducts its biennial conferences (the latest, 11th international conference was held in Stockholm in 2017) and issues the publications on a wide range of topics at the intersection of literature, music and other arts. WMA is designed to "promote transdisciplinary scientific research on the relationship between literature, verbal texts, language and music; ... aims to create an international forum for musicologists and literary critics interested in the interaction of arts and intermedial research outside cultural boundaries and disciplinary framework " (see the site of The International Association for Word and Music Studies). One of the international committees of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) - Committee of Literary Museums (ICLM) was transformed into the Committee of Literary and Composers' Museums. Founded in 1999, the journal Interdisciplinary Literary Studies, published by the Penn State University Press and focusing on the relationship between literature and other disciplines, presents, in particular, articles on literary and musical interrelations. The Centre for Intermediality Studies was established in the University of Graz (CIMIG), The Centre for Literary and Intermedial Crossings (CLIC) operates at the Free University of Brussels (Vrije universiteit Brussel).

It is not surprising that in the higher educational institutions it has become a tradition to hold conferences on the relations of the arts, such as the thematic conferences " Word and Music" at Moscow Conservatory, held for a number of years and conceived in the early 1990's by Alexander Mikhailov. So called, “The Paverman Readings - Literature. Music. Theater" are regularly organized by the Department of Foreign Literature of the Ural Federal University (Yekaterinburg, Russia), dedicated to the memory of the founder of the department, V.M. Paverman, who, from the very foundation of the department in the 1990s, gave it an intermediate direction. The Open University, United Kingdom, hosted the conferences "Purcell, Handel and Literature" (2009) and "Literature, Music and National Identity" (2011). Named after M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of Russian Academy of Sciences in conjunction with Ryazan State University and Sergey Yesenin Museum-Reserve organized the international conference in 2013. It was followed with the publication of the proceedings - a collection of scientific works "Sergei Yesenin and Art" («Сергей Есенин и искусство» 2014), dedicated to the consideration of the issues of the relationship betweenYesenin's works and art, including music.

Such courses as “Word and Music", "Music and Russian Literature", "Music and Foreign Literature" have been introduced to the curricula of a number of Western and Russian universities for philology and musicology students. Universities of different countries, introduced cross-disciplined specialities into their programmes of graduate and doctoral levels (Correa, Chornik, Samuels 2009).

The programme of the IV International St. Petersburg Cultural Forum (2015) included the conference Literature and Other Arts: Narrative and Performative Practices.

All the above mentioned confirms the relevance of the problems of this study. However, the scholars admit, that “a lot of changes happened both in the scientific and in the creative consciousness during the past decades, and the old questions arise with renewed vigor" (Данилина 2008, 262).

The Degree of Scientific Exploration of the Field in Azerbaijan

Musicologist Kubad Kasimov was the first in Azerbaijan who began, in 1940s, to study references to music in literature through the research of poetry by XIIth-century poet Nizami Ganjavi (Kasimov 1949). He succeeded in restoring the facts from the history of medieval music of the Muslim East, in particular, of that its part which is present Azerbaijan. This was, perhaps, for the first time ever when bi-disciplined music-literary analysis was introduced to the studies of Islamic art.

Successfully engaged in comparative art studies, one of the departments of the Institute of Architecture and Art of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences has already celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of its activities. The research, scientific publications and dissertations that appeared in the last decades also speak of the growing interest in the issues of syncretism and intermediality, primarily in the study of the interrelation between the word and music in the music of the oral-auditory tradition in the Ashig art and mugham art. This broad direction, various aspects of which have found their deep coverage in the studies of Tariel Mamedov (see Мамедов 2014), Lala Kyazimova (see Кязимова 1997) and the others. The correlation of music and literature in the vocal music was in the focus of research of Babek Kurbanov (Курбанов 1972), Imruz Efendiyeva (Эфендиева 1981), Sevda Kurbanalieva (Курбаналиева 2009), Ulkar Talibzade (Talıbzadə 1995), Jeyran Makhmudova (Mahmudova 2012), Ayanda Adilova (Адилова 2004), and other Azerbaijani musicologists. Philosophical understanding of the commonality of art has been the subject matter of Gulnaz Abdullazade’s research (Абдуллазаде 1991), while Rena Mammadova has focused on interrelations of the arts (Məmmədova 2011). Among the others who contributed to the field are Ulkar Aliyeva with her works on the picturesque in music (Алиева 2013), Inna Pazycheva, who writes about some universal patterns of medieval artistic thinking, manifested in all spheres of Azerbaijani art, including literature and music in a broader spectrum of intermedial relations (Пазычева 2013), and other representatives of Azerbaijani musicology.

However, as a special subject, musical-literary interrelations in the context of Azerbaijani culture in all their diversity have not been sufficiently studied. This area of the Azerbaijani science (intermedial research) has not yet fully integrated into the relevant section of international art and philology (interart, or interrelations of the arts and media), which, in its turn, has not yet incorporated Azerbaijani culture into the study of musical and literary connections.

Besides the above mentioned aspects of intermedial studies of the interrelationship of literature and music taken place in Azerbaijan, the study can also be carried out in some other directions. For example, it can be the study of literature as a source of information about the details of musical practices and musical instruments of the past epochs, or the consideration of music as an illustration to literature. Unexpectedly fruitful is often the consideration of the techniques common to the literary and musical arts that can serve as instruments of interpretation and even, in some cases, of reconstruction of the certain peculiarities of the non-survived arts. For example, architectonics and the specificity of the narrative development of the medieval literary works of the Muslim East can shed some light on the music which did not survive. The negative impact of one art on the fate of another also requires careful analysis: the case of music turning out to become a hostage to the word, when the text becomes a hindrance to the fate of the musical work associated with it. Let us consider the latter and provide the examples referring to this aspect of musical-literary relations in the context of Azerbaijani culture.

Socio-Political Aspect of Music’s Dependence on Words

The collections of the State Museum of Musical Culture of Azerbaijan (further in the text - SMMCA), music departments of the libraries and archives in Azerbaijan preserve a lot of the items related to the music written by Azerbaijani composers during the Soviet era – music manuscripts and published scores of Azerbaijani composers, concert posters and programmes of musical theatre performances, photographs, etc. Many of these works fell into oblivion: a big volume of music is not performed even being of certain artistic value and written by the most outstanding of the Azerbaijani composers, such as Uzeyir Hajibeyli (1885-1948), Niyazi (1912-1984), Qara Qarayev (1918-1982), Jovdet Hajiyev (1917- 2002), etc. The reason of the oblivion is rooted in the words, or verbal component of these pieces. Speaking about this component we mean any verbal insert - the title, the lyrics of the vocal works, or the libretto of scenic music. The text becoming out of fashion, non-suitable for nowadays becomes the obstacle in the life of music. The shifts of regime, change of ideology bring reorientation and the change of benchmarks.

As a result a lot of talent, creative efforts, and time of the prominent composers were spent in vain, as their works, ordered by the authorities to reflect glorify Soviet ideology and to reflect the very ‘issues of the day’, is not sounded, performed, recorded, or published now.

How interdependent are music and verbal text in the works of music and how do they determine the fortunes of each other?

Talented and popular music can add popularity and even bring worldwide fame to the work of literature. For example, novella Carmen by Prosper Mérimée and novel La Dame aux camélias by Alexandre Dumas, fils, gained world recognition thanks to their opera interpretations – Carmen by Georges Bizet and La Traviata by Giuseppe Verdi respectively. Opera Eugene Onegin by Pyotr Tchaikovsky is more famous in the West than its literary origin – Alexander Pushkin’s masterpiece, his novel in verse with the same title. Besides, if music of the song is good, it can ‘help’ bad lyrics, make them sound better.

Timely relevant text touching most pressing issues is able to support weak music. But it can last only until text’s social popularity.

If music is popular, it may be accompanied by the new, another lyrics, which is better than original text. E.g., melodies of some songs on Robert Burns’s poems had been known as the tunes of other songs which became more famous when the words were replaced by Burns’s poetry. The most worldwide known of them is Auld Lang Syne, which sings about old friendship and is considered as national musical emblem of Scotland and the symbol of Christmas and the new year celebrations in many countries.

If a play in drama theatre is not performed any more, then music composed for this play is often completely forgotten.

The text, becoming outdated in ideological and topical sense, can act as a reason for the excluding music from the performing practices, even if this music is nice. As examples can serve such songs which used to be in everyone’s ears in the USSR as The International (lyrics by Eugène Edine Pottier, music by Pierre Chretien De Geyter), or as the songs of the Russian Civil War (November 1917 – October 1922) - «Варшавянка», «Там вдали за рекой», «Смело мы в бой пойдём за власть Советов», «Дан приказ ему на Запад, ей – в другую сторону», etc.

Created in 1945 by Uzeir Hacibeyli, the founder of Azerbaijani composers’ music, the Anthem of the Azerbaijani Soviet Socialist Republic sounded no more since the collapse of the USSR, while one of his Military Marches composed in 1919, which was not performed long years after the Sovetization of Azerbaijan in 1920, has become the hymn of the modern independent state, The Republic of Azerbaijan, since 1991 (see Fərəcov 2010).

Topics of the Ideological Music of the Soviet Era

Analyzing the works of Socialist Realism, one comes to conclusion that the outdated topics of the Soviet ideological art reflect some ten main directions which, accompanied with the examples from the Azerbaijani art music, may be defined as such:

1). The struggle with the Russian tsarism; The October Revolution in the Russian Empire. Examples: symphony poem The Epistle to Siberia by Jovdet Hajiyev (1937), oratorio October by Ramiz Mustafayev;

2). The Sovietization, Communism. Examples: songs “We Go Towards Communism” by Sh. Kerimov (music) and T.Mutallibov (lyrics) and “Roads to Communism” by A.Rzayev (music) and G.Kazim (lyrics).

3). The Communist party, the Komsomol (The All-Union Leninist Young Communist League), the Pioneeria (The Vladimir Lenin All-Union Pioneer Organization - mass youth organization of the Soviet Union for children of age 10–15 that existed between 1922 and 1991, similar to the Scouting organisations of the Western world). Examples: songs “My Party” by M.Akhmedov (music) and G.Fizli (lyrics), “The Glorious Pioneeria” by A.Aliverdibekov (music) and I.Joshgun (lyrics); “The Komsomol March” by Q.Qarayev,

4). The Soviet leaders (Lenin, Stalin) and heroes (26 Baku Commissars). Examples, songs “Lenin” by J.Jahangirov & S.Aleskerov (music) and G.Fizli (lyrics), “The Song about Stalin” by S.Rustamov (music) and S.Rustam (lyrics).

5). Peace and protest against war. Examples: songs “I Vote for Peace” by S.Rustamov (music) and H.Huseynzade (lyrics), “The Song of Peace” by A.Rzayeva (music) and M.Dilbazi (lyrics).

6). The international friendship between the Soviet republics and working people of the globe. Examples: vocal-symphony poem Glory to the Russian People by V.Adigezalov, songs “To the Brother Hindu” by A.Abbasov (music) and A.Jamil (lyrics), “Friendship” by S.Rustamov and N.Babayev (lyrics).

7). The Soviet holidays and anniversaries (May 1 – International Workers’ Day, the Anniversary of Russian Revolution, etc.). Examples: “The October Song” by S.Aleskerov (music) and R.Rza (lyrics).

8). The Red Army and its heroes. Examples: songs “Wait for You“ by U.Hajibeyli, “Our Glorious Army” by A.Rzayev (music) and R.Heydar (lyrics),

9) Heroic labour for the sake of the Socialist aims and ideals and labour heroes (first of all, workers and farmers). Examples: song “I Am a Baku Worker” by A.Rzayev (music) and A.Jamil (lyrics), ballet Gulshen by Soltan Hajibeyov.

10). Love to the Socialist Motherland (to the USSR and its capital Moscow). Examples: songs “My Motherland” by I.Mamedov (music) and I.Safarli (lyrics), “Moscow” by J.Jahangirov (music) and Z.Khalil (lyrics).

So, with few exceptions, tens, or even hundreds of works composed by Azerbaijani composers in different genres dedicated to the listed above, outdated topics are not performed nowadays.

Better Immunity and Independence of Other Arts

Among all the arts the most determined by the ideology shift are performing arts connected with word and also literature itself. Visual arts, applied arts, and architecture of the same time and related to the same style – Socialist Realism - are more lucky, as they have survived. Objets d’art are collected in private collections and museums; exhibitions of the art of Socialist Realism, internet forums dedicated to the same theme often take place nowadays. The interest to this art is in its peak at such auctions as Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and MacDougall’s. Price-catalogues are published, e.g. on the Soviet porcelain of 1930-1980s (Белоглазов 2006), which includes the porcelain busts of Lenin and Stalin (by the way, according to this catalogue the porcelain bust of Stalin is twenty times more expensive than that of Lenin). The art of Socialist Realism is supported by some private institutions, the new Socialist Realism Museum has been announced in London. The exhibition Revolution: Russian art 1917-1932 took place in Royal Academy of Arts, London, in February - April 2017. The Azerbaijani Carpet Museum celebrated the International Museum Day 2017 with the opening of the exhibition of carpets on Soviet ideological themes.

Sculptures and paintings presented working class people and Kolkhoz (collective farm) heroes of labour, glorify work - one of the main ideals of Socialism and its art trend Socialist Realism. Many of these works are featured with high artistic value. For example, sculptor Vera Mukhina’s famous statue Worker and Kolkhoz Woman in Moscow, or the works of the prominent Azerbaijani artist Tahir Salakhov (b.1928) depicting oilmen, repairers, and installers.

Many architectural monuments and reliefs on the buildings of the Soviet time are well preserved and within our scope, e.g., the symbol of the union of the working class and peasantry – sickle and hammer, by the way, on the building of The Museum Centre in Baku, which, until 1990s, used to be the Lenin Museum, in the decoration of some stations of Moscow Underground and so on. The theme of socialist industry and collective farming, extremely significant in the style of Socialist Realism, is presented on the top of the hotel The National on the corner of Tverskaya and Makhovaya streets in the very centre of Moscow, near the Kremlin, or on the house of the Azerbaijani Composers’ Union in Baku, as originally it was built for the Miner’s Union in 1930s.

If the workers-and-farmers topic is still present in architecture and arts of Soviet time although being obsolete, the works on patriotic theme and heroism in the Great Patriotic War (the struggle between Soviet Union and Nazi Germany in between June 22, 1941 and May 9, 1945 during World War II) remain hot issues up to present, e.g. sculptor Yevgeny Vuchetich’s huge and magnificent statue-monument The Motherland Calls – the central part of the ensemble dedicated to the heroes of the Battle of Stalingrad, the major battle of World War II, in Volgograd (former Stalingrad).

Depictions of communist leaders and various symbols of communist ideology in paintings, statues, carpets, etc., seeming curious, cool and sometimes even funny are willingly used nowadays by the designers for the interiors of some fashionable restaurants and cafés in the post-Soviet countries, such as Shirvashakh restaurant-museum popular among Baku citizens and tourists. The common person looks at a carpet depiction of Lenin with Nariman Narimanov, one of the first Communist leaders in Azerbaijan, and mentions its naivety. Watching old cinema a spectator always feels that it is old, screened in the past. He has a clear idea that this film presents the morals and ideals proclaimed then. He does not think about the transferring its revolutionary appeal, or call to the global union of working class people, according the famous slogan of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels “Proletarier aller Länder, vereinigt Euch! (Workers of all lands, unite!)”, for the struggle with bourgeoisie, or ever else into his present life. Exhibitions of Bolshevik art attract attention because of their artistic values and historic qualities. Announcing the exhibition Revolution: Russian Art 1917-1932, which presents “socialist realist utopias, hymns to mechanisation and films of peasants waiting gratefully for the arrival of the first steam train”, The Guardian correctly notes that “this is no display of communist propaganda” (Cummings 2017).

But one can find himself much more impressed with the magnificently arranged Russian Soviet song “Lenin is Always with You” by Seraphim Tulikov (music) and Lev Oshanin (lyrics) performed by a big choir, or Qara Qarayev’s symphony work The Tragic Ode in Memoriam of 26 Baku Commissars (1968). The latter, Qarayev’s masterpiece, continues its life under the shortened title – just The Tragic Ode, as the view at the deeds of 26 commissars have been radically altered and they are considered heroes no more in Azerbaijan.

While literature of the period remains accessible for readers in the libraries and on the internet, so called programme music, that interprets musically a verbal narrative, and music composed for songs and plays on Soviet ideological topics is not, because to be accessible for music means to be performed. This is determined by the very essence of music. It strongly impacts listeners here and now, and, being enforced by its words, sounds as a challenge, a call, and propaganda of the ideas, expressed in its text, here and now. Therefore, if the text does not response to the new ideology, music becomes excluded from cultural practices. Of other arts, perhaps, only drama is also distinguished with the same quality of immediate present challenge. That is why namely music with words and drama suffer more than other arts during the changes of ideology. Their audio recordings become often lost or even thrown as useless anymore, but, happily, survive in archives, libraries, and museums.

Ways of Escape: Text Revision and/or Music Reduction

The injustice towards music and its authors should be and, in certain cases, can be corrected. The solution can be found in the possible replacement of the old text (titles, lyrics, libretti) by a new one. The edition of the verbal component could return many pages of beautiful music back to life. Inasmuch, history of music knows such an experience. The landmark of Russian musical history Mikhail Glinka’s opera Life for the Tsar in the Soviet time was performed under the title Ivan Susanin (name and surname of the main character). Its libretto was also rewritten by the poet Sergey Gorodetsky, who had to exclude everything related to monarchy and Christianity from the text (Петрова 2013, 40-41). The little known of Alexander Borodin’s works, comic opera The Bogatyrs (1867) was performed in 1936 under the same title but with absolutely new libretto (Мартынова 2002, 4). The USSR anthem by Alexander Alexandrov (music) and Sergey Mikhalkov and Gabriel El-Registan (lyrics) after the collapse of this state and the changes introduced by Mikhalkov to his former verses, while music remained the same, in 2000 became the anthem of the Russian Federation. There were also cases of the necessity to introduce changes to an anthem within the frames of Soviet history. The anthem of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic in its original text mentioned Stalin twice, glorifying Georgia and telling that it gave birth to him. These words were removed after Stalin’s death and the dismantling of his cult, while words about Lenin remained some forty years more, until the end of the Soviet Union, when Georgia, as an independent state, got its new anthem. Another example of the shift in the lyrics, not because of ideological, but of gender reason, is the anthem of the United Kingdom, where the words ‘Queen’ and ‘King’ may replace each other depending on the gender of the monarch.

Aiming to rescue from oblivion some works by the Azerbaijani composers certain attempts have been undertaken by the SMMCA. The song “Jan Stalin” (Dearest Stalin) by Niyazi (music) and Rasul Rza (lyrics) was short-lived as it appeared in 1950, less than three years before Stalin’s death and the end of his cult and was not performed after it. The poet’s son, writer Anar, the present head of the Azerbaijani Writers Union, was offered to edit his father’s poem to modernize it. As a result the song with the same music, but with and renewed lyrics and other title - “Long Live Azerbaijan!” – has been performed again, after more than 60 years of silence.

Another example of museum activities in restoring forgotten music is related to music for theatre, which can be sounded in fragments, independently, without its direct attachment to the narrative. The preparations to the centenary anniversary of Qara Qarayev (1918-1982), in Azerbaijan, have included activities on the revival of his theatre music. Between 1950s and 1970s he wrote music for more than 20 plays staged by the best drama theatres of Moscow, Saint-Petersburg (then Leningrad), and Baku. Among them were such plays of Russian playwrights as The Optimistic Tragedy by Vsevolod Vishnevsky and The Run by Mikhail Bulgakov. Both were performed by Leningrad theatres and described the events of the first and very dramatic years of the establishment of the Soviet power, accompanied with the civil war, presented, especially in The Optimistic Tragedy, through the prism of communist ideology, which is not popular in Azerbaijan any more. Although these performances were regarded theatre masterpieces and some people, including Qarayev, received the highest Soviet awards – the State Premium - for The Optimistic Tragedy, nowadays they are on the stage neither in Azerbaijan, nor in Russia. Music recordings and author’s score manuscripts preserved in the theatres were copied by SMMCA and presented to the museum visitors during the events dedicated to the composer, for example, bright and picturesque music accompanying scene ‘The Bazar’ (The Market, from The Run) which takes place at an Oriental market, in Istanbul where the characters, escaping from the Russian Bolshevik revolution, occurred.

Another possible way of rescuing may be the reduction of music, which can survive in an abridged version, e.g. when some parts or scenes related to the favourite and encouraged by the Soviet authorities theme of the class conflicts – the oppression of the poor by the wealthy and the struggle between them –have been excluded from opera or ballet as in the latest posthumous version of Qara Qarayev’s ballet The Seven Beauties, which has become shorter than previous versions because some scenes have been excluded, while other scenes’ contents, titles, and places within the ballet have been changed.

The similar changes can be useful to return other works of Qarayev and of other Azerbaijani composers (fully or partly) as well, e.g. operas Ayna (1940) and The Motherland (Vatan, 1945) by Qara Qarayev and Jovdet Hajiyev as co-authors, opera Nargiz (1935) by Muslim Magomayev, ballet Gulshen (1950) by Soltan Hajibeyov, etc. Ayna, Gulshen and Nargiz are dedicated to the life of Soviet village and glorify socialist collective farming.

If the never performed opera Ayna is restored, its libretto, which has been restored by us via the score manuscript (Qarayev and Hajiyev 1940), will pass through certain changes, we suppose. The main heroine, Ayna, would not think about weaving a new carpet with the portrait of Joseph Stalin, and the public presentation of her, finally completed carpet will not become the apotheosis of the opera. Opera The Motherland, written during the last year of the World War II and performed on May 4th, few days before the official victory over the Nazis, was dedicated to the heroic struggle of the people of the Soviet Union. If this opera is going to be re-staged, its libretto, obviously, should be also revisited and such fragments, as the song of the Ashig glorifying Stalin’s leadership of the Red Army (from the end of the first scene in Act I) and the text of some other fragments verbally praising the Communist Party will be removed. Their texts are outdated and, besides, they should arose controversial and ambiguous reaction among the great portion of society because of its hatred to Stalin as the tyrant, who was guilty in the deaths and broken fortunes of the millions of people, and the USSR’s Communist Party lead by him for decades. Although Joseph Stalin appears in the numerous films, old and new, about the war and Soviet life, they are perceived differently and do not aggravate spectators as singing him odes in music can do. As above mentioned, art of music and art of theatre are distinguished with the strong force of special impact of something as taking place just now. Therefore, the magnifying somebody or something, performed with words together with music is perceived by listeners and spectators as honest as possible, as the call to feel the same senses and share the same thoughts, thus becoming pure propaganda of the values proclaimed.


1. When music is connected with word it may become word’s hostage. Music containing verbal component depends on the ideological shifts, the change of socio-political systems and authorities mentioned in the texts.

2. Any reorientation harms music with words in greater degree than words-free music and other arts. The visual arts and architecture of the Soviet period are understood by general opinion as artifacts of the past. Old cinema as well: when you watch it, you keep in mind that it was screened long ago. Literature proclaiming socialism and communism also is not understood as challenge, but as old curiosity. But music with related text sounds as call, so it is difficult to find place for it in the changed circumstances.

3. The precedents from art history show that sometimes the work of musiс can be revived through the change of its verbal component. Many can say that such an approach is not good and does not respond to the policy of museums and academic institutions to preserve and present history in its purity and to show everything adequately in its original context without any falsification. But this means no-performance for many talented and skillful musical works. The lesser of two evils and the only possible way for music is to sound and to be available in its original or any other form, while, to paraphrase Hamlet’s words said before his death “The rest is silence”, the way of silence is fatal for music.

4. Not only Azerbaijan, Russia, but, certainly, other states which used to be former republics of the USSR, together with other former countries of the socialist sector also have faced similar issues of music’s exclusion because of its words.

5. Museums and other institutions aimed to the preservation of memory and promotion of arts should look for the possible ways to rescue cultural values from oblivion and to attract public attention to them in order to present, in a wider sense, cultural diversity and variety. These phenomena, being “the very spice of life, that gives it all its flavour” (William Cowper), are amongst the most important and crucial priorities of the modern culture and cultural management.


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