People’s Artist of Uzbekistan Tokhtasin Jalilov entered the history of the national culture as a prominent virtuoso instrumentalist, composer, great connoisseur, interpreter and passionate promoter of folk and classic musical heritage; he was also a gifted administrator and theatrical activist who played a major role in the establishment of professional Uzbek art of stage performance of the 20th century.
The author of remarkable melodies, songs and musical drama such as “Takhir and Zukhra”, “Nurkhon”, “Mukimi”, “Ravshan and Zulkhumor”, he created works that embodied a true national spirit of nobleness and great compassion for a human being; he glorified gallantry and heroism of the sons and daughters of his motherland who rebelled against lawlessness and emotional and physical enslavement. His music is vivid and emotionally charged – it is a living tissue of a play, the soul and thought of each individual character. A character that champions all the good, calls for creation, teaches beauty and draws strength and inspiration from the sources of popular wisdom.
Tokhtasin Jalilov developed love for art in the years of his youth, when he, holding his breath, listened to beautiful melodies and songs performed by famous musicians of Fergana Valley who often visited his native city Andijan on the occasion of some festivities. He took his first lessons of dutar playing from a well-known master Yusufjon-changchi. He learned to play gijak and tanbur independently, bringing his skill to perfection. Having a unique musical memory, excellent ear and naturally good voice, Tokhtasin carefully studied the technique of traditional singing, perfecting his vocal mastery.
In 1918-1920 Tokhtasin Jalilov performed as gijak player being part of different propaganda teams and working alongside leading instrumentalists and singers such as Ashurali-dutorchi, Yokubjon-changchi, Zokir-doirachi, Orifjon-dutorchi, Berkinbai-khafiz, Dekhkanbai-khafiz, Rustam-surnaichi, Ismat-karnaichi and Saifi-kairakchi. Folk and classical tunes such as “Yallolashailik”, “Ailanaman yorlarim”, “Ishonma”, “Ghirya”, “Gulyor”, “Shakhnoz”, “Rabbano”, “Kora sochim”, “Mirza davlat”, “Surnai navosi” and “Oraziy”, as well as Uygur, Russian, Armenian and Azerbaijani folk songs constitute far from exhaustive list of pieces he performed.
The popularity of the young musician grew. Not a single cultural event in Andijan went without his participation. In 1919, together with Orifjon, Berkinbay and Mukhiddin Najimiddinov he took part in “Oriental Nights” (Sharq kechalari) organized by Khamza. In 1923, among masters such as Mukhiddin Kari-Yakubov, Tamara Khanum, Usto Alim, Yusuf-kyzyk, Akhmajon Umrzakov, Abdukadyr Ismoilov, Domla Khalim and Mulla Tuychi, Jalilov won over Moscow audience during an agricultural exhibition that was organized there.
In 1925, as part of the group of Uzbek performers, Jalilov went on a concert tour to Paris, in 1927 to Moscow, Leningrad, Kazan and Ufa; and in 1935 to London. In 1937 he visited Moscow again on the occasion of Uzbek Literature and Art Decade. Later on he toured the cities of Russia and Ukraine, demonstrating truly national Uzbek art to the world.
In 1926 Tokhtasin Jalilov as an unsurpassed virtuoso gijak player was one of the first to be included in the ensemble of traditional instruments of Uzbek concert and ethnographic company that united the country’s best creative resources, including Khait Akhun, Davlyat Akhun, Madaminjon Alimkhanov, Jurakhon Sultanov, Mamat bobo, Otakhoja Saidkhojaev et al. Folk songs (khalq kushiklari) such as “Azizim”, “Gulyuz uzra” and “Nailaram”, large form songs (qatta ashulalar) such as “Yovvoyi chorgokh”, “Yovvoyi ushok” and “Bebokcha”, instrumental tunes (kuilar) “Mirza davlat”, “Laizon gul”, “Kari Navo”, “Suvori” and “Sarbozcha” and other pieces they performed left a profound impression in the memory of the future bastakor and were used by him in his histrionic compositions.
In 1937, through the efforts of Tokhtasin Jalilov, a song and dance ensemble was created under the Uzbek State Philharmonic Society; due to the fact that among its participants were the oldest masters Safo Muganniy, Khoji Abdulaziz Abdurasulov, Domla Khalim Ibadov, Sheroziy and Bola bakhshi, its significance cannot be overestimated. Representing different local cultures and traditions, they had a unique store of musical knowledge and skills. They shared their experience with young performers and replenished the company’s repertoire with such remarkable pieces as “Yalang davron”, “Eh, nozanin”, “Jonon”, “Khosilim”, “Ul parivash”, “Abdurakhmonbegi”, “Eh, guzal Fargona” and fragments from “Segokh” and “Navo” maqoms.
Truly admiring the art of famous musicians, highly respecting their talent, and becoming involved with personal and professional destinies of many of them, Tokhtasin Jalilov was able to delve into the secrets of his trade, to comprehend its nature, depth and philosophy, to enrich his knowledge in the field of traditional melody and perfect his performance skills.
Theatrical activity of Tokhtasin Jalilov began in 1920s with the selection of tunes for the plays “Lolakhon” by K. Yashen and “Kashgar qizi” by S. Abdulla staged by an Andijan amateur company “Kizil guncha”. By the end of 1920s the list of plays for which he selected music grew significantly. These were “Erk bolalari”, “Bakhor”, “Tuygunoy” and “Khalima” by G. Zafari; “Leili va Mejnun” and “Farkhad and Shirin” by Khurshid; “Khujum” by V. Yan and Chulpon; and “Bogbon qizi” by S. Abdulla, where various folk songs and professional forms of oral tradition were employed. Marked not only by the diversity and expressivity of borrowed material, but also by its conformity to the stage situations, the musical canvas was characterized by purely “theatrical” qualities, which gave prominence and vivid emotional and psychological colours to the characters and dramatic action.
In his subsequent works on a very relevant contemporary subject (“Urtoklar” by K. Yashen, “Purtana” by S. Abdulla, “Ichkarida” by K. Yashen and M. Mukhamedov) that appeared in early 1930s, Jalilov tends to turn more to common rhythms (usul) and simple couplet forms (“Chamanda gulzor”, “Dust yalli, yalli dust”, “Olmacha”, “Urgilai”, “Jazoir”, “Jon-jon urtok”, “Jamaligim”, “Hai, hai ulan”, “Kani-kani”, “Hai yor-yor”) and makes an attempt at composing recitatives to characterize negative characters (“Urtoklar”); he introduces bi-phonic quires, skilfully linking traditional melody to the events on stage.
Starting from 1935 the play “Ichkarida” was on under the new title “Gulsara”. It retained many remarkable song-and-dance tunes such as “Galdir”, “Endi sendek”, “Tanovar”, “Savti Mukhayar”, “Mugulchai Segokh”, “Kalandar”, “Feruz” and “Netai”, as well as “Guluzorim” that became the base for the central aria of Gulsara “Oh, otam”. In 1936 R. M. Glier, enchanted by “the beauty and originality of traditional Uzbek melodies and dances”, created a new version of the piece together with T. Sadykov.
Jalilov’s melodic version for Khurshid’s play “Farkhad and Shirin”, being the best of the existing ones, was used as basis for a musical drama “Farkhad and Shirin” by V. A. Uspenskiy and G. A. Mouchel. “Gulsara” and “Farkhad and Shirin”, which soon won the national fame owing to their ideological and artistic merits, occupied a special place in the history of musical theatre and opened new prospects for its subsequent development.
In 1940 Jalilov, who already acquired an extensive experience in working with professional theatre companies (Mannon Uygur Drama Company, Andijan Theatre, Uzbek National Musical theatre) was appointed Art Director of a newly organized Uzbek National Theatre of Musical Drama and Comedy named after Mukimi.
Plays such as “Takhir and Zukhra” by S. Abdulla and “Nurkhon” by K. Yashen that appeared during the first years of the company’s establishment and became legendary, constituted a new phase in Jalilov’s work as bastakor; not only did he dwell on musical traditions, changing and adjusting them to the stage environment, but also created his own original compositions in the spirit of these traditions.
How keenly the author sensed the nature and the element of folk music, and how deeply and naturally he identified with the material can be seen on the example of Takhir’s arias “Hey, kuyosh”, “Ayirmush”, “Ruboiy” and “Sitora”, and Zukhra’s “Suv kelar”, “Ayirganlar”, “Kalamlar”, Mokhim “Izlarning”, orphan’s song “Yiglarman”, or Nurkhon’s aria “Hey, sabo” and “Vakhtu iqbol”. Besides, Jalilov had an amazing ability of giving new life – associated with theatrical imagery – to the traditional musical classics and song-and-dance folklore.
In musical dramas “Kurban Umarov” by S. Abdulla and Chusti on the subject of war and patriotism, in “Orzu” and “Istibdod” by S. Abdulla, “Gunchalar” by Z. Fatkhullin, “Surmakhon” by B. Rakhmonov, “Fargona khikoyasi” by Kh. Gulyam and “Dala malikasi” by J. Mashrabiy about the life of his contemporaries, Tokhtasin Jalilov combines original and traditional intonation-rhythms. Pieces such as “Paranji sirlari” by Khamza, “Mukimi” by S. Abdulla and “Ravshan and Zulkhumor” by K. Yashen, being different in their theme and genre and style peculiarities, are distinguished by proximity to the musical life of that time.
This is exemplified by Ofarin’s aria “Oshkor” that is based on “Galdir” folk song, Sherali’s song “Hey, chekhrasi tobonim” from Fergana qatta-ashula (“Mukimi”) or arias of Ravshan, Gur Ogly and Zulkhumor from Khoresm folklore (“Ravshan and Zulkhumor”). These pieces – the proof of ceaseless search for heartfelt and emotionally charged melody, vivid and rich rhythm and unique intonation palette – sounded fresh, innovatively accurate and capacious in the power and depth of expression, bringing into musical drama new spirit, new ideas and emotions that help realize dramaturgic conception.
Gifted bastakor and instrumentalist, Tokhtasin Jalilov skillfully employed representational and expressive capacity of an orchestra and the tone quality of traditional instruments, which “shared” the characters’ feelings, expressed their inner world, their doubts and anguish; which sang, wept and rejoiced with them, encouraging them for heroic deeds and accomplishments, and became kind of living participants of the action. Notwithstanding its bond to stage, Jalilov’s music carried the sensation of personal presence, the presence of an individual who was strong, independent and could bring triumphant energy into his creation, who inspired both the performers and the audience and made a man rise above the mundane.
Having reached remarkable creative heights, communicating with prominent musicians, poets, dramatists, composers, artists, directors, actors, public figures and statesmen, as well as with ordinary people whom he dedicated his work to, Tokhtasin Jalilov avidly absorbed the wisdom of life. Perhaps, that was the reason why he always remained modest and courageous man, the man of big heart and kindness.
Musical drama pieces by Jalilov, as well as his songs, both solo and quire, such as “Figonkim”, “Uynasam”, “Signal”, “Dovruk”, “Yer ekkaniki”, “Pakhta sharaf-shonimiz”, “Piyolamiz”, “Gulistonim mening”, “Ul sarvinoz”, “Aziz vatan”, “Zaraf”, marches “Farkhod kakhramonlari”, “Otlik askar”, romances “Bagishlov” and other pieces, and his mastery as performer made the finest pages in the history of musical culture of Uzbekistan of the 20th century.
The cause of the great master is carried on by his children: composer, conductor and gijak player Kholkhoja Tokhtasinov; singer and actress, People’s Artist of Uzbekistan, Etibor Jalilova; bastakor and instrumentalist, Honoured artist of Uzbekistan, Salokhiddin Tokhtasinov; conductor, Honoured artist of Uzbekistan, Dekhkan Jalilov; and singer and pedagogue Kholida Jalilova.
Tokhtasin Jalilov’s students, including well-known composers, bastakors and instrumentalists Ganijon Tashmatov, Komiljon Jabborov, Mirzajon Tillaev, Mamadaziz Niyozov, Yusufjon Dadajonov, Obijon Ubaidullaev and many others, played an important role in the preservation of the musical heritage and further development of the national musical and performance art of Uzbekistan.