The Chamber Instrumental Band in Uzbekistan

Issue #1 • 191

Lola Ganieva, Art Critic

The music band art reflects the processes characteristic to various forms of art, because it is closely linked to the poetry and even painting. Composers often turn to the artistic legacy of thinkers and poets of the East such as Firdausi, Nizami, Alisher Navoi, and others. The nature of their works, rich in metaphors, is subtly reflected in the miniatures of the masters of the XV – XVII centuries, such as Sultan Abdul Jamil, Qasim Ali, Sultan Ali Meshhedi, wich allows tracing the certain points of coincidence and common aspects in poetry, painting and music. In this respect, is quite remarkable the piece inspired by the works of Alisher Navoi “Sabai Sayor” (“Seven planets”), the miniature of Sultan Ali Jamil “Musiqa Hirot Maktabi” (“The Herat School of Music”), which shows the band of musicians playing the Uzbek folk instruments like roubab, dutar, and tanbour. In the miniatures like “Leyli wa Majnun sahroda” (“Leyli and Majnun in the wilderness”) by Sultan Muhsin Heravi, “Leyli musiqa Qays maktabida” (“Leyli and Qays at school”) by Qasim Ali are depicted the musical duets of two dutars.
The nature of the instrumental band is conducive to the contemplative embodiment of the musical idea underlying the poems, ghazals, of Navoi, Fizuli, Mashrab, Mukimi, and other classical Uzbek poets. Hence, the ability to subtly influence people’s consciousness through the word. In particular, compositions for voice and piano, possessing the significant functional expression means of the native language, are able to adapt the music to linguistic features of the given national culture. Specifically, the great Uzbek poet Alisher Navoi dedicates his address to the musicians:
Oh, a musician, who knows the secrets of my soul,
Tune your instrument,
And attune your voice to the sadly sounding strings,
Burst forth into song filled with lucid sorrow, and
Singing this song, penetrate into the crypts of my soul…
This ghazal is a proof of the genesis of the art of music band that has deep roots, in particular, the bands of dutarists, changists, roubabists, and players on the homogeneous folk instruments that enrich a different palette of the bands adding the elements of polyphony.
The miniatures illustrating the publications of Firdausi, Nizami, Babur, are also reflected in a variety of types of musical bands. Not accidentally, Alisher Navoi in his work “Mahbub-ul-qulub” (“The Beautiful Collection”) pays special attention to the performance of the instrumental bands, and in “Majolis-un-nafois” (“The Beautiful Assembly”) writes about the outstanding musicians playing different instruments. It is noteworthy that the Uzbek musical instruments are characterized both from the viewpoint of their emotional impact on the listener, and how each of them can vary the melody in the musical band due to its constructive features. In the scores of such folk instruments as gijak, roubab, and dutar, especially the mono sounds can be traced. In particular, the piano in synthesis with these instruments emphasizes the polymonodic specifics of the bands. In cooperation with such organologies (stringed, wind, and percussion instruments) it makes a part of the ethnic chamber band.
Being one of the most interesting instrumental music genres, the chamber band is a joint collaboration of several participants. The chamber music (Italian – camera – room) is called the kind of music that is played in the home environment. The chamber (small) band is closer to the acoustics of piano band. It is used more often in instructional music. In this type of musical band, the principal and the leading role belongs to the piano. Giving way, for example, to the dutar and roubab, violin and cello in a variety of voices, flexibility and expressiveness, the piano excels them with the breadth of its sound range, covering almost the entire volume of the sounds used in music. Many stringed instruments transmit the monophonic fabric of music. Polyphony is rare. It is difficult for the interpreter. In the wind instruments it is impossible at all. At present, we can identify four instruments adapted to the performance of polyphony: piano, harp, organ, and guitar. The organ requires vast premises and it is not suitable for the chamber atmosphere; the possibilities of the guitar are quite limited; the harp sounds relatively low. The piano wins in a chamber band performing in competition with these instruments.
Among the instrumental bands are leading the following genres of chamber music: duets – violin and piano, cello and piano, gijak and piano, dutar and piano; piano trio – piano, violin, cello; piano quartet – the string quartet – two violins, viola, cello; piano quintet – piano and string quartet. These are the pieces for violin and piano by M. Burkhanov, S. Yudakov, T. Kurbanov, M. Bafoev, pieces for wind instruments and piano by A. Hashimov and others. Often these pieces of music are interpreted by the teachers of the State Conservatory of Uzbekistan. In particular, Dmitry Ovchinnikov (viola) and Maria Ahadjanova (piano) are the permanent interpreters of the works of M. Bafoev.
One of the types of chamber and instrumental band is a piano trio – a joint performance of musical compositions by three performers. Using the method of historicism, it should be noted that the piano trio had spread in the XVII – beginning of XVIII century. This musical band was formed already in the era of viols with their feeble dull sounding. The harpsichord, also sounding faintly, was in perfect harmony with its partners, filling the soft melodic contour created by them with its delicate harmonic sound. The emergence of violins had changed the composition of chamber music band, because the sound of violins with their sonorous voice has overshadowed the sound of the harpsichord. Thus, new bands – the piano trio, string quartet, and piano quintet have emerged. Such are the ballads on the subject of Uzbek folk songs for two roubabs and piano by N. Nasimov, two pieces from the series “The homage to Tagore” for Kashgar roubab, flute and piano by M Bafoev, “The Cross and the Crescent” for violin, clarinet and marimba by H. Rakhimov.
The most typical kinds of chamber music are the, ceremonial and festive plays. The festive and ceremonial instrumental chamber pieces are distinguished with their special solemnity and emotional elation. The perfect examples of the festive chamber-instrumental music are “Khorezmian Festive Procession” by S. Yudakov, and “Shodiyona” (“Triumph”) by F. Alimov. Cyclic in their composition, they are based on the national melos.
“Shodiyona” is an Uzbek folk melody, which is being performed using the national instruments since ancient times. It begins by the usul of the invocatory character, played on dol-nagor, which sounds relatively low and resonantly (9 measures), and then repeated as an echo on rez-nagor that sounds relatively high. By its very nature ‘Shodiyona’ dates back into the ancient origins of the Uzbek national festive days associated with the spring and autumn equinoxes: ‘Navruz’, ‘Sumalak’, ‘Gul Surkh’, ‘Mekhrgoh’ or ‘Mekhrijan’ (“the Harvest Feast”), harvesting – ‘Sayil’, holiday of the red flowers – ‘Kizil Gul Sayli’.
Festive, playful chamber and instrumental pieces directly relate to the Uzbek folk games and dances. At the same time, they are dance tunes, performed since ancient times outside normal working hours and on various occasions. An example of Uzbek folk tunes are “Lyazgi”, “Bartaul”, “Norim-Norim”, Ot Eroniy”, “Warsak”, “Huroz Uyin” (“The Rooster Dance”), “Fergana Dance”, “Ot Uyin” (“Horse Dance”). This is not a complete list of the Uzbek folk dances. These musical works are interpreted by the chamber bands of the State Conservatory of Uzbekistan by the winners of the international contests, Oybek Imamov and Sergey Skobin.
It is interesting to trace the introduction of the elements of folk theatrical performances – maskaraboz (clowns), kughirchokboz (puppeteers), tightrope walkers, darboz (comics) into the chamber instrumental music. This is, for example, a piece for a band titled “Maskaraboz” by B. Giyenko, reflecting the art of professional clowns, dancers and comics. It should be noted that the Uzbek national culture and theatrical performances of maskarabozes used music only to a certain extent. The composers of similar pieces used to focus on declamatory side of their compositions.
The band music at the present stage as well reflects the most important trend for the musical art of Uzbekistan aimed at individualization of artistic concepts and its theatricality. This manifests itself in the presentation of the theme, in the behavior of the band on stage, in the dressing in colorful costumes, picturesque settings, imaging of characters, good imagination, artistry, and fluent virtuoso technique. Such trend of the music bands is being studied for the first time and it is called the instrumental theatre. In particular, the instrumental theatre with exposition of pictures and sketches helps the viewer to reveal the dramaturgy of a musical work. Professionalism, presentation of musical material depend on the ability and skillfullness of the band. An example of such theatrical composition is exposition of the professor of the State Conservatory of Uzbekistan – Adiba Sharipova. With a help of a variety of sketches on stage, a listener deeply perceives the drama of this musical composition.
Out of all kinds of the chamber music, apparently, trio and quartet are the most “chamber” types. It is a conversation of four participants. These are the “Adaptation of the Uzbek folk songs”, quartets by B. Giyenko, string quartets by F. Yanov-Yanovsky, A. Mansurov, O. Abdullayeva and others. These pieces are frequently performed in the concert hall of the State Conservatory of Uzbekistan. So, the String Quartet under the direction of the Professor of the State Conservatory of Uzbekistan, Ulugbek Imamov, is the every year participant to the variety of concerts, competitions and festivals. The young musicians, laureates of the international contests, as Khurshid Khamidov, Zebo Sabitova, Hosiyatkhon Hasanova, and Maria Isaeva play in the Quartet, which represents the quartet art of Uzbekistan. The audiences in France and Kazakhstan have enjoyed and admired performances by this Quartet. A significant event for the Quartet was its participation in 2014 in the International contest-festival “Shabyt” (“Inspiration”) that was held in the capital of the Republic of Kazakhstan and where the Quartet was awarded the Grand Prix. The contest consisted of three rounds. The jury was composed of the renowned representatives of the musical culture of such countries as Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Kazakhstan, and other states. In the repertoire of the Quartet are the pieces by J. Haydn, W. Mozart, D. Shostakovich, D. Schnittke, F. Yanov-Yanovsky, M. Bafoev, A. Mansurov and other composers.
The piano quintet is a performance of a musical piece by five musicians. It consists of two violins, cello, viola, piano or Uzbek folk instruments. A piano quintet is better accepted by the audience than a string quartet. The genre of the piano quintet is vibrantly represented in the musical works of G. Muchel, T. Kurbanov, N. Giyenko, F. Yanov-Yanovsky, A. Nabiyev, L. Mujdabaeva. The early samples of the piano quintet refer to the first quarter of the XIX century Repertoire of this genre is not extensive, but it is of interest for methodological study of the chamber and instrumental music.
Larger music bands like sextet and septet arouse interest of the contemporary composers of Uzbekistan. They are looking for the new sound possibilities and instruments, the combination of different timbres of modern palette. The new compositions and new playing techniques appear thanks to the contemporary composers, for example, performed by the bow on the drum or on the piano strings. This is, in particular, “Black Blues” for four cellos, double bass, drums and piano by E. Pak; “Chorsarb” for string band, percussion and instrumental quintet; “Music of dreams” for harpsichord, chang and tape, counter-tenor and string trio by D. Yanov-Yanovsky; “Predestination” for harpsichord and band, pieces for chang, oboe, clarinet, fagot, trombone, trumpet and piano by N. Giyasov.
The wind instruments have taken their worthy place as well in the band music. Like multi-timbre bands, the wind instruments, most often are used in the home music. Subtle nuances, less flexibility, intimate chamber sound is characteristic of the wind instruments in the bands including the piano. Just so, the pieces for brass and piano by A. Hashimov embody the picturesque imagery, and emotional elation. Some of these works are arranged for interpretation by the chamber orchestra of the State Conservatory of Uzbekistan.
The chamber music – duet, instrumental trio, quartet, quintet, and so on, every day is gaining a significant number of new fans. Indeed, there is an unusual breadth and diversity of ambitions, the diversity of the ensemble music. The chamber art reflects the most important trend for the musical arts of Uzbekistan towards individualization of artistic concepts. Many of the concerting bands record, including on radio, their performance of the pieces of the composers of Uzbekistan, as well as the works by composers of other countries. It would be advantageous, if their performances were more often broadcasted in the Central Asian region, involving the listeners from other countries into the Uzbek chamber-instrumental music. The exchange of experience, enrichment of the repertoire, familiarity with the musical achievements of different countries could be the staging, at least once in three years, the regional chamber music contests. Moreover, there are a number of problems, in particular related to formation of repertoire requiring the immediate solution. It would also be advisable to create the chamber instrumental bands of the national status.
Thus, the prospects for the development of the genre of chamber art are linked to the following factors: enrichment of the repertoire of composers of Uzbekistan with new original compositions; further improvement of the professional training of performers; improvement of the recording system of the musical pieces performed by chamber bands; introduction of the contemporary chamber art to the broad audiences.
Formation of the musical perception in the listeners must follow the path of exploring and mastering the music works included into the treasury of the national musical heritage. The raising of interest in the folklore, folk music traditions is designed to implement new perspectives in the art of chamber music of Uzbekistan.

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