Ikram Akbarov and Evolution of Uzbek Symphonic Art

Issue #1 • 2034

In process of Uzbek musical culture development a great role belongs to the artists of the elder generation. The composer Ikram Akbarov having entered the ninth decade of his life is among the best composers of the republic, whose talent and skills determined the ways of Uzbek music. He entered the circle of composers as an original artist with own individual style.

Achievement of Akbarov – musician was bright and intensive. After the faculty of piano at the Musical College named after Khamza he entered the faculty of composition at the Tashkent Conservatory (class of Yu. Fortunatov from the Moscow Conservatory, and then classes of S. Vasilenko, L.Revutskiy and A.Kozlovskiy) and later he continued his study at the Leningrad Conservatory where I. Akbarov graduated from master class of M. Steinberg and then classes of B.Arapov and V. Voloshinov. His multifaceted talent revealed itself in his young years.

I. Akbarov was very active in his study of different musical genres – chamber music, symphonic and vocal genres. Many of his early works prove an independent style of the author, who could reflect the beauty of his native land and original folk lifestyle by means of new, for national culture, genres. Later the creative work of Akbarov developed within close contacts among traditions of different musical cultures – it was Russian classic and modern music, there were also motives of Indian, Spanish and Kyrgyz themes, and first of all, he addressed to heritage of Uzbek musical culture. Thus, the composer turned to musical sources both of world and national culture, perfectly combining traditions of different schools. The circle of composer’s interests is wide and various. But the name of Akbarov, first of all, is linked with the making of Uzbek symphonic music.

Ikram Akbarov and Uzbek symphonic music can not be separated from each other. His work brightly represents development of this genre from the period of its birth. He paid much attention to instrumental European genres (poem, overture, concert and symphony) and sonata forms basing on generalized instrumental style of minding. Formation of this art way of I. Akbarov happened under the influence of his teachers at the Leningrad Conservatory. But this didn’t bear Akbarov off from bright national culture and did not make indifferent to ties with native musical culture. Both systems organically synthesized in his mind. If in his early period he was closer to the European style of minding, later, with years dualism of “European – National” in his works had been downplaying and finally caused his own original style and art manners. His poems “In Commemoration of the Poet” and “The Epic”, suites, “Samarkand Stories” and finally one of his latest works, the symphony “Navruz” demonstrate stability of this process, which at the same time reflects evolution of symphonic music in the republic – from imitation of the European model and its standards through interaction with national tradition towards creation of original genre structures according to specificity of monophonic minding.

Then the composers of the republic put forward more complicated problems. The principal one was searching for accordance of tonal components (as a rule, folk – vocal) with principles of form making (general European structures). The works of Akbarov said above present an example of synthesis of specific initial polyphony (strict logic of musical compositions, intensive symphonic development and feeling of orchestra, which reflect the European classic tradition and rythmo-tonal specific features of Uzbek folklore. At the same time the poems obviously demonstrate influence of modern Russian master, first of all, of D. Shostakovich, whose art principles are more accordant with minding of oriental artists (smooth contrasts in expositional sections, absence of obvious conflict in development, distinction of instrumental arrangement and large portion of polyphonic means). But musical traditions live in the works not as they are but as organic art alloy proving true orientation of the author to development of symphonic genre.

The genres Akbarov chose, poem and suite, reflect a general trend in development of Uzbek symphonic music since the process of realizing of specific features of monophony has been running within themes and means, and the genre was interpreted as a problem of adaptation of definite European structure. So this choice was reasonable. And only after these symphonic works I. Akbarov approached the symphony “Samarkand Stories” (many music critics specify this opus as symphony in spite of the author doesn’t call his work so). In this period (the 60s and especially 70s) symphony became a leading genre in the art of Uzbek composers. Having good professional skills, now the composers can solve more complicated creative tasks.

The stage is coming when composition of a work is realized “. as integrity of content and structural elements” and when the genre is interpreted “. as a type of content” accessing different and very individualized structural solutions (1, p. 27). In “Samarkand Stories”, distinctions of monophonic minding present in methods of development and, what is especially important, in dramaturgy of the work. But, it will be noticed that if at the previous stages the composers used general laws typical of just folklore pieces, now they try to include professional oral traditions, first of all, makomas, into symphony. It is logic, according to many experts, symphonic music develops better in those republics of Middle Asia, which are rich in classic monophonic heritage. Taking resources from this treasury, the composers principally revise the canon of European genre creating “national” variants of symphonies. So, five parts of “Samarkand Stories” of Akbarov are systemized in accordance with image and tempo contrasts, which analogue is makoma composition: odd deep and lyric parts are slow, even parts are quick. Having orientation to national principles of form making, the composer subordinates them to the logic of symphonic development and as a result, the national and traditional symphonic elements are organically synthesized. Preference of features of oriental monophony, which meet the style of European genre the author chose, is a typical feature of Akbarov creativity. This kind of alloy manifested in “Samarkand Stories” later gave a correspondent impulse.

Appreciable results were in the next big work of Akbarov, symphony “Navruz”, which is something like final result of all his previous work in symphonic genre (symphony was made shortly before the 80th anniversary of the author). Akbarov created his first abstract work becoming the most remarkable among symphonic opuses. It demonstrates general evolution of Usbek symphonic art: first are opuses under the program and then are free improvisations of composers’ creative imagination . The last ones, so called “clear” works, demonstrate more flexible degree of individual and independent dramaturgy and full realization of various national elements. Unlike “Samarkand Stories” where the author declared the subject definitely, the name of the symphony “Navruz” is used just as orienting point for final part of the work. This determined the fact that a problem of individualization is moving forward in comparison with earlier symphony.

“Navruz” is a colourful symphonic picture where Akbarov addressed to different layers of well – developed system of national monophony with its own style means and opened their originality through modern symphonic minding. The national, penetrating into composition of the opus, brings its own corrections into European form opening the perspectives for synthesis of different national traditions.

Nature of monophonic minding also presents in separate elements of dramaturgy: tonal structure of subjects, methods of their solution, structure of material and great role of rhythmic dramaturgy. I. Akbarov – composer educated within traditions of European culture, in particular symphonic, can perfectly use methods he obtained from this richest treasury. As earlier he bases his choice of the style maximum correspondent with national minding. The fist part of the work is a bright example where were perfectly combined elements of sonata form and two – part reprise structure typical of Uzbek instrumental works; besides, Akbarov creatively interprets the sonata form according to specificity of monophonic compositions – not the contrast and conflict of subjective motives but gradual accumulation of inner dynamic.

So, using specific style features of his native art and basing on achievements of world musical culture, Akbarov created dramaturgically integral work. Symphony “Navruz” demonstrates advanced modern level of art minding in the field of this genre. Broad minding, permanent search and active interest to the musical life of the republic are typical features of Ikram Akbarov, who belongs to the composers, whose art enriched and continues to enrich professional musical art of Uzbekistan.

Author: Tatiyana Davidova

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