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70th Birthday of Franghiz Ali-Zadeh


Franghiz Ali-Zadeh was born in Baku/Azerbaijan. She will celebrate her 70th birthday on 28 May 2017. Franghiz Ali-Zadeh’s highly individual musical language vacillates between Orient und Occident, between avant-garde and tonality, between folkloristic influences and new techniques.

Franghiz Ali-Zadeh’s compositional style moves between the traditional music of her homeland of Azerbaijan and the (sometimes also experimental) music of the present day. Two forces are at work in her, she once said, and something new is created out of the contradiction. Her style is marked by an individual synthesis of these two worlds, a sonic entity that still seems untouched by through-composition. Ali-Zadeh creates music in which Eastern modal thinking merges with Western constructivism.

In her numerous works, the composer attempts to build a bridge between the Western avant-garde and the music of her homeland of Azerbaijan, but also to other regions of the Near East. A central work cycle in her production is summarised under the comprehensive term “Silk Road”.
Two forces are at work in her, she once said, and what is new results from the contradiction. Her style is dominated by an individual synthesis of these two worlds, a sound event that seems untouched by thorough compositional design. Ali-Zadeh creates a music in which Eastern modal thinking merges with elements of Western constructivism.

The “Nasimi Passion” by Franghiz Ali-Zadeh was given its world premiere in Amsterdam on 7 April 2017, performed by the baritone Evez Abdulla, the Groot Omroepkoor and the Concertgebouw Orkest Amsterdam under the direction of Martyn Brabbins. The composer has supplied the following comments on the inspiration and background of this work:

“Exactly six centuries ago, in the year 1417, the Azerbaijani poet, thinker and Sufist Nasimi was executed and buried in the city of Aleppo. From history we know that the best people of their time found their deaths at the place of execution; there are sufficient examples of this. And today, they do not even have to be determined: Aleppo is bombed out, and everyone is dying there - the best thinkers as well as simple people, and children and old people!
Whilst I worked on the Passion, the situation in Aleppo changed every day, becoming worse and worse. These circumstances have given my work a certain influence.
On the other hand, I am extremely fortunate that my life is connected with Berlin and that I hear Bach’s Passions each year in various churches. All these facts, thoughts and feelings have found their way into the music of my Passion.”

Further compositions of recent years include “Duo of Accordance” for clarinet and violoncello, “Raegs” (Dance) for string quartet, “Schwindende Schönheit” (Disappearing Beauty) for viola d’amore, baroque cello, percussion and harp and “Leb wohl, vergiss!” (Farewell, Forget!) for baritone and piano.


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