At the Salikh Saydashev State Great Concert Hall, Rustem Abyazov, the art director of the chamber orchestra La Primavera showed the audience his realized musical ideas closely connected with myths, fairy tales, and legends.
The festival was opened by a unique project “Gudimir” represented by one of the best Russian psaltery players Maxim Anuhin. “Sadko of our time” is how Rustem Abyazov described the musician. The performance of fairytale works by Maxim Anukhin and the orchestra La Primavera captivated the audience in Kazan, just as the Sea Tsar could listen to the ancient bylina (tale) character playing on a magic instrument for hours on end. Judging by the applause, the audience particularly warmly welcomed a fragment from Anukhin's musical performance "Zayanka's Life (A Hare's life)". It was a metaphysical fairy tale for adults, filled with mysticism, humor, and beautiful melody based on the Belarusian folk carol song about the meaning of life “And Zayanka has three dumanky (And a hare has three thoughts)”.
Although the psaltery is a folk instrument, Gudimir's compositions are full of creativity: there are many musical themes in the chords, which Anukhin supplements with a vocal melodic line. Due to the nature of the instrument, however, the themes are played in a small range, making it difficult to follow their melody. For easier perception, the young Tatar composer Ilyas Kamal made orchestrations (“fitting” of themes for the orchestra) of the works, which allowed the psaltery player from St. Petersburg to perform with La Primavera that evening.
“So far, performing together with the orchestra La Primavera has been our first symphonic experience. To go on stage with Maestro Rustem Abyazov and his orchestra is an amazing experience. The feeling that a giant picks you up and leads you forward. It's incredibly comfortable to play,” Maxim Anukhin shared his impressions.
He pointed that Gudimir is the only project on the music scene that creates unique works for the psaltery, which synthesize a variety of contemporary styles and neo-academic techniques with Russian melodies and Indian music traditions.
“Some Russian musicians are shocked by the fact that I arrange Indian Rag themes. Those who like folk, ethnic music, academic psaltery in its pure form do not accept such music. But European jazzmen and symphony musicians, as well as Rustem Abyazov, understand it,” the psaltery player commented.
By the way, the citizens of Kazan heard the works on the unique XXI century psaltery (acoustic and electronic), created especially for Gudimir by the best Russian masters.
The first part of the concert continued with a unique group, the Huun-Huur-Tu ensemble. Through their music, the Tuva quartet told the people of Kazan the legends of their people. They performed both Tuvinian folk songs and songs by the group leader Kaigal-ool Khovalyg.
Using the technique of throat singing and traditional Tuvinian instruments such as igil, khomus, doshpuluur, and tungur, the participants imitate the sounds of nature. With closed eyes, in the mixture of sounds, you can hear birdsong, a crow's cry, peals of thunder, and steppe horse's hoof stomping. Sometimes it is hard to believe that Tuvinians do not use recordings, but reproduce all the sounds with the help of instruments and their voices.
It is no coincidence that the ensemble is called Huun-Huur-Tu, which in Tuvan means splitting sunlight in the clouds into many diverging rays. Traditional throat singing is unique in that the musician is able to produce two, or even three, melodic lines. That is why their music has such a mystical effect.
At the press conference, dedicated to the VII Abyazov-Festival, the conductor of the orchestra La Primavera noted that Huun-Huur-Tu appeared on the poster shortly before the opening of the festival, so they did not have time to create a joint project. The group performed solo for the audience. We can only hope that soon Rustem Abyazov will invite the Tuvan ensemble again, and they will take to the stage together with the orchestra La Primavera.
“Despite all the problems going on in the world, we are happy that the listeners go to our concerts and warmly greet us,” said the band member Radik Tulush.
For many years the orchestra La Primavera has always tried to synthesize the academic string orchestra, not only with all kinds of musical currents but also with different types of art. Rustem Abyazov, always in search of new “meanings”, infects others with his immense enthusiasm. So, at the suggestion of the maestro, Ilgiz Zayniev, the new art director of the Ekiyat Puppet Theater reinterpreted the famous Tatar legend “Shurale”.
Abyazov orchestrated a symphonic Suite based on the ballet by Farid Yarullin for his orchestra, and the result became a musical component of Zainiev's creative work. “Shurale: a new fantasy with music from the ballet” is a performance in which dramatic theater, choreography, and puppetry are harmoniously intertwined”.
The legend of the Forest Spirit has been seriously reconsidered. The stereotype of an enchanted swan girl who has no control over her destiny has been destroyed. Now Suyumbike is a modern self-sufficient person, capable of taking responsibility for her life. She does not need her salvation by a “prince on a white horse”. By the way, Ali-Batyr does not appear in the performance. The audience will meet him only once: in the puppet action - a reference to the events that took place in Suyumbike's past life. By the way, the image of the Tatar beauty for the actress Lyasan Minnakhmetova was her debut dramatic role.
Shurale even changed his habitat: from the forest fauna he moved into the closet of the main character to remind her of her true purpose at the right time. As Ilgiz Zainiev, the author and director of the production, noted, Shurale is the keeper of the wings of Tatar culture, waiting for the return of the beautiful Suyumbike.
The character of Shurale himself is charming: he doesn't terrify or instill fear. His image evokes empathy: only a completely soulless spectator could not sympathize with Shurale, curled up on the floor, while the main character, having lost her temper, ruthlessly throws hardcover books at the terrified forest spirit.
“To assemble the image of Shurale, my wife - Salima Aminova, the choreographer of the performance, and I asked different children how they could describe him. And almost everybody said: “Shurale is frightening, but somewhere deep down inside, he's incredibly kind.” So we decided to show the audience a completely different, sensual side of him,” Ildus Gabdrakhmanov, the Honored Artist of the Republic of Tatarstan and actor at the Kamalov Theatre, told about his character.
Yesterday the audience saw only a draft version of the performance, as the Bolshoi Concert Hall venue is not intended for stage productions. In the new year, “Shurale” will enter the repertoire of the theater Ekiyat, where it will be outfitted with scenery, new puppets, and elaborate lighting.
Two more festival days lie ahead - December 14 and January 28 - with a new one-act mono-opera “The Nutcracker”, a musical performance “The Tale of Igor's Campaign” by Alexey Shelygin, a director ballet “Apollo Musaget” by Nail Ibragimov to music by Stravinsky and works performed by the project “Treugolny son (Triangle Dream)”, the Greek vocalist Yanis Kofopoulos and the orchestra La Primavera.