By Laman Ismayilova
The year 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of one of the most outstanding figures in the Azerbaijani culture Gara Garayev.
He masterly combined the roles of outstanding composer, social activist, talented teacher, writer and scholar.
The author of nearly 110 pieces, including ballets, operas, symphonic and chamber pieces, piano solos, cantatas, songs and marches, Garayev devoted his life to the art of music, composing many modern, progressive masterpieces.
The great composer juxtaposed features of Mugham with jazz, blues, African music, European counterpoint styles, and developments related to the 20th century Western music such as the 12-tone technique.
At the age of twenty, Garayev composed his first musical piece, a cantata "The Song of the Heart" to the poem by Rasul Rza.
In 1945, Garayev and Jovdat Hajiyev wrote the "Motherland" ("Vətən") opera, for which they were awarded a prestigious Stalin prize.
At the age of 30, talented composer was again awarded this prize for his symphonic poem "Leyli and Majnun", based on the same-titled famous work of Nizami.
In 1952, under the direction of the choreograph P. A. Gusev, Garayev's "Seven Beauties" ballet was staged at the Azerbaijani Theater of Opera and Ballet. It is based on motifs of Nizami Ganjavi's "Seven beauties" poem, written in 1197.
The ballet tells the story of a young prince, who draws inspiration and wisdom from his seven international princesses.
His second ballet, "Path of Thunder" ("İldırımlı yollarla"), staged in 1958, was dedicated to racial conflicts in South Africa.
He also wrote the soundtrack for the documentary film "A Story About the Oil Workers of the Caspian Sea", directed by Roman Karmen and set at the Oil Rocks, world's first off-shore drilling town built in 1949 on rigs in the Caspian Sea.
Upon the death of Uzeyir Hajibeyov in 1948, Garayev became the Chair of the Union of Composers of Azerbaijan SSR and the rector of Azerbaijan State Conservatoire.
Garayev died on May 13, 1982 in Moscow at the age of 64. The memory of great composer will always live in the hearts of Azerbaijani people.
President Ilham Aliyev signed an order on October 17 to mark the 100th jubilee of the legendary Azerbaijani composer.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Ministry of Education and the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences, are tasked to prepare and execute an action plan for the jubilee in consideration of proposals of the Union of Composers.
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lam_Ismayilova
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