Composer Dilorom Amanullaeva, Professor, Honoured Artist of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Head of Popular Singing Department of the State Conservatory of Uzbekistan, is well known to the Uzbek people. Her songs contributed substantially to the development of Uzbek popular performance. A song by Amanullaeva is a stage play in miniature, a monologue, a soulful confession of a person sharing his experiences.
In the diversity of genres explored by the composer, there is room for light music too, although the attention of the musical community in Uzbekistan is focused on symphonic qualities manifest in all pieces she authored. This is not surprising, as she studied with famous composers such as B. Zeidman, R. Vildanov, and T. Kurbanov. Before she wrote her first popular song, in the background Amanullaeva had a Suite for Strings, Percussion and Piano in 5 parts, cycles for piano “Samarqand Pictures” and “Children’s Album”, sonatas, romances, two quartets for strings, a chamber symphony, Symphony No.1, and a brilliant piano concerto.
In March 1990, to take part in a contest for the best song about Navruz holiday, Amanullaeva wrote a song called “Sumalak” (lyrics by P. Mumin) that placed second (the first place did find its winner). Lead Uzbek pop singers attending the song rehearsals started approaching the composer for new pieces. This was the starting point for the rise of her composer’s art and career. In the same year she wrote three songs: “Bolicha” (lyrics by contemporary poet U. Jamol) in aruz rhythm, with complex vocal score; and on the verses by U. Azim “Yomghir Yoghdi” and “Siz Yoqqansiz”, all profoundly dramatic, where words and music, intertwined, shaped into an integral whole. “Yomghir Yoghdi” was the first work of Amanullaeva as arranger. Yet these songs were not performed at that time. Only in 1991, after the composer had met V. Baramykov and K. Razzakova, the songs immediately became popular.
It seemed that from that moment on, her songs were writing themselves: these include children’s cycles “Topishmoq Qushiqlar” [Riddle Songs] in 2 parts (lyrics by P. Mumin) and “Alifbe Qushiqlari” [Alphabet Songs]; popular romances to ghazals by Nadira “Yor Kerakoshiqqa” and “Jahondin Ketch”; songs “Ikki Daraht”, “Men Seni Hechkimga Bermaiman”, “Saraton”, etc. These songs feature a wide spectrum of genres: monologue-contemplation, dreamy waltz, romantic ballad (1, p. 208).
Songs written specially for singer Kumush Razzakova brought to mind an autobiography, where the woman’s character shows its different manifestations: she can be playful and fun, or she can be sad or full of anxiety. This requires high performance skill of a female singer. Along with popular songs Amanullaeva also created academic pieces. She rendered six Turkish folk songs for “Sogdiana” folk orchestra, created a romance “Sensiz” (lyrics by B. Baikabulov) for the voice and chamber orchestra (for Muyassar Razzakova), a 5-part symphony for choir “Kungil Sohili” (on the verses by S. Sid), a cycle for choir “Khaiyom Ruboilari” (in 5 parts), and a piano piece called “The Stars of Ulugbek” (2, p. 19).
Creative tandem with singer Kumush Razzakova helped popularize the composer’s songs, despite the disagreement of her teacher, composer T. Kurbanov, who discouraged the songwriting of his student. He believed it irrational for a symphonist to waste energy on songs. Many mentors, however, including S. Yudakov, M. Leviev, D. Zokirov, M. Nasimov, and N. Hasanov supported her, saying that “symphony and concerts are for a limited audience, whereas writing a song that would touch the strings of a human soul and that would be sung by people is very difficult”. The words of M. Leviev proved prophetic: “Child, symphonies will not earn you people’s recognition. Do write songs, and they will bring you happiness! For the songs you will be thanked!”
Since 2000 Dilorom Amanullaeva has worked at the State Conservatory of Uzbekistan, at the Popular Singing Department. This was already art of another kind: the school turns into the composer’s creative laboratory. She comes up with songs written specifically to develop student professional skill. The library is being filled with teaching aids created by the composer. At this stage she creates a unique cycle of pop and jazz vocalizations – one of the key elements in training. Before the Amanullaeva’s vocalizations arrived, the Department was using those of G. Abt and H. Seidler. Vocalizations by Amanullaeva are noteworthy for the fact that besides teaching technical skills, they help students develop generic and stylistic orientation: they are wholesome pieces, and every number is a dedication to a particular individual. The vocalizations reflect the singing style and manner of a performer they are dedicated to: M. Magomaev, I. Akbarov, T. Khanum, B. Zeidman, J. Dassin, Dalida, F. Sinatra, R. Vildanov, M. Jackson, E. Piaf, V. Mustafa-zadeh, E. Fitzgerald, B. Zakirov, E. Presley, W. Houston…
Vocalise No. 6 (dedication to Tamara Khanum) in folk-pop style is saturated with national flavour, yet it shows distinct and individual manner characteristic of Tamara Khanum. Syncopation, on which the vocalization’s rhythm pattern is based, lends a dance-like and playful quality to the piece. Vocal part develops dynamically, in short, staged phrases, allowing a student’s breathing apparatus to be exercised and developed. The vocalise is intended for first-year students.
More technically and emotionally complex is a vocalization written as tribute to F. Sinatra. It reproduces the singer’s crooner style, requiring its performer to have not only good breathing and vocal span, but also dramatic abilities. With minimal expressive means the composer managed to most precisely convey the sound of a symphony orchestra. Different is the sound of a jazz vocalization (¹ 22) dedicated to the memory of Vagif Mustafa-zadeh. Its complex key set (a-moll – b-moll – a-moll), its rhythmic structure of chords, and frequent modulations from the main key in the vocal part require a performer to have certain training. The vocalise is recommended for the final year of the Bachelor’s program.
Dedication to Batyr Zakirov (Vocalise No. 25) is one of the most remarkable ones. Being personally acquainted with the founder of Uzbek popular performance, the composer expressed her sincere appreciation of the singer’s art and the time in which he worked. The popular rhythm of the 1970s songs, Bossa nova, employed in the vocalization, captures the spirit of the era. The composition’s imagery helps to visualize a picture of riding an old tram along the streets of Tashkent back in 1970s.
The composer’s vocalizations were created under different influences: it could be the sad news of somebody’s passing away, or listening to a piece of music, or vivid impressions from a faraway journey. Thus, Vocalise No. 19 in the style of soul, a dedication to Michael Jackson, was written shortly after his death.
The most difficult in terms of composition turned out to be the Vocalise No. 23 in memory of Whitney Houston. It took the composer three months to complete it. The product was a complex key set (G-dur – D-dur – G-dur), a three-part form, rich texture, voice range and rhythm pattern, modulations, and orchestral sound. The piece is very challenging, even for postgraduate students. A singer should demonstrate not only the technical capabilities of her voice, but also great dramatic skill and artistry characteristic of Houston’s performance. An autobiographical Vocalise No. 12 was created on the composer’s birthday. Its emotional dimension is light melancholy. Melody taken from voice to piano gives the Vocalise airiness and lightness, requiring its performer to have fine vocal motility and mobile larynx.
The composer’s art of Dilorom Amanullaeva is very valuable, due to its dramatic and symphonic qualities. Currently the author is preparing to release 25 vocalizations. Besides, the Amanullaeva’s pop-jazz vocalizations contain methodological guidance for each of them. In working with her students Amanullaeva as teacher has been able to build their relationship in a way that a student trusts his mentor completely.
The composer has lots of interesting ideas she dreams of realizing: write music for a ballet, create a musical, complete a piano cycle, create a new cycle of vocalizations for intermediate level students training to become popular performers…