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Azerbaijani Piano Concertos (Works For Piano And Orchestra/ Shusha For Soprano And Orchestra) CD

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Frequently bought together

  • Azerbaijani Piano Concertos (Works For Piano And Orchestra/ Shusha For Soprano And Orchestra)
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  • Amirov: Shur (Shur/ Kyurdi Ovshari/ Gyulistan Bayati Shiraz/ Azerbaijan Cappricio)
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Product details

  • Conductor: Dmitry Yablonsky
  • Composer: Amirov/Nazirova, Badalbeyli, Guliyev, Adigezalov
  • Audio CD (26 Sept. 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: NAXOS
  • ASIN: B005KNOE1S
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 80,426 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Piano Concerto after Arabian Themes (Fikret AMIROV / Elmira NAZIROVA)
  2. Piano Concerto No 4 (Vasif ADIGEZALOV)
  3. Gaytagi Dance (Tofig GULIYEV)
  4. The Sea, Shusha (Farhad BADALBEYLI) - Murad Adigezalzade/Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Product description

Product Description

All of the composers here combine elements of ancient Azerbaijani tradition with Western forms, colourful orchestration and vivid musical storytelling. This is epitomized in Vasif Adigezalovs symphonically proportioned Fourth Piano Concerto, while Fikret Amirov adds a touch of Arabian exoticism into his Concerto. The bubbling energy of Tofig Guliyevs Gaytagi dance adds a splash of jazz, and Farhad Badalbeylis works depict The Sea in an expansive and atmospheric score, followed by the sad tale of the city of Shusha expressed in a vocalise.

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Customer Reviews

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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Naxos has been a great pioneer in the far corners of the classical repertoire. The title of this recording must make it appear one of the most exotic and, potentially risky purchases for more conservative listeners. It turns out that nothing could be further from the truth. All of these works would sit very happily on Classic fm and I'm surprised that some don't already.

With vivid and clear sound this is a very fine recording of almost unheard works in the West. That the music comes from Azerbaijan provides little more exotic than Khachaturian, Rimsky Korsakov and Rakhmaninov: hardly an intimidating repertoire. The main question then is whether any of this music is any good?

In truth, quality varies but the two concertos on the disc are significant works. Amirov's concerto includes some marvellous writing for the soloist. How much that is a result of his collaboration on the work with Elmira Nazirova is a good question. Unfortunately for her, Nazirova was a gifted musician but she'll be forever remembered here for her association with Shostakovich and his Tenth Symphony in particular. I think this the better of the two concertos here partly because of the fine solo part and the material is the themes more memorable. There is nothing challenging here but there's plenty of fine music that deserves a much wider audience.

Aligezalov's Fourth Piano Concerto was written as recently as 1994 but belongs to Khachaturian's time and style with a few jazzy bits and hints of Bartok added. It's a more weighty piece than Amirov's but less colourfully orchestrated and with a touch more dissonance. It's certainly a decent work, worth repeated listenings, again with nothing to frighten any listeners.
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Format: Audio CD
Everything here is at least intriguing. If you're looking for some exuberant, lush, cinematographic, Western-style, flashy piano concertos than you can only buy this disc. It's marvellous. Helped by the playing of the Royal PO and crisp piano playing by two, I think, Azerbaijani piano soloists, I enjoyed this disc very much and they do the most to introduce the listener into the world of Westernized Azerbaijani classical music. I own two other CD's of the composer Friket Amirov, on Olympia with an altogether as exciting as possible ballet called `Arabian Nights', and his piano concerto on Arabian Themes is as colourful as that ballet. The first thing I was thinking listening to this concerto was `Rimsky Korsakof with a Rachmaninov sauce' and there's nothing wrong with that. The booklet states these are original Persian melodies but I thought I was lost into Sheherazade or heavy footed Saint Saens. Altogether I enjoyed it very much. The 4th piano concerto by Adigezalov is also new to the catalogue and somewhat more difficult on the ear. It tries very hard to sound modern, and it isn't, and the repeating, loud passages in the wilder outer movements did me ask `could you please quit somewhat earlier and be somewhat briefer, mr. composer?' Here and there you get the feeling Gerschwin tries to gets through but it dies out instantly. Of the two shorter pieces I liked `The Sea' by Badalbeyli, it reminded me of Addinsell's Warsaw concerto with it's very cinematic program and lush string melody. The piano tingles and tangles along the way giving you the impression of being on a very luxuriant ocean steam liner. The vocalise `Shusha' could have been left out, it's for soprano and orchestra trying to imitate Rachmaninov's Vocalise. Mrs. Rodgers - the soloist - was just doing some shopping when mr.Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 4.7 out of 5 stars 6 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Discovering 20th-Century Caucasian Romances 26 Oct. 2011
By Dr. Debra Jan Bibel - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
What a happy, delightful surprise! Prejudicial skepticism and dread of bland, empty Soviet-style folkloric classical works are quickly put aside, as these highly dramatic, rich, enthralling piano pieces are in the tradition of Rimsky-Korsokov and especially Khachaturian, influenced by Prokofiev and Shoshtokovich with a touch of virtuosic Rachmaninov. The first piece, Amirov's 1957 concerto after Arabian themes opens with vigorous orchestration with repetition and variations of phrases suggestive of mugam (maqam) modes with Caucasian and Arabic melodies, and follows with a serious andante, somewhat religious of sonorous Asian harmonies and crisp but driving melodies. The concerto closes with an allegro conversation of piano and orchestra that brightly and rapidly summarizes the work. Adigezalov's 1994 concerto, his fourth, has modern sensitivity, a jazzy tempo, and interplay, yet lushly lyrical and chorded, percussive piano work. The first allegro is cinematic and an exciting dance. The andante is led by an oboe; the orchestral development is both pastoral and romantic. The final allegro is jagged, powerful, and energetic. Its luxuriant palette of orchestral color and flurry of phrases, however, strikes me as overblown. The remaining tracks of this 69-minute album are miniatures: Guliyev's 1958 fast dance; Badalbeyli's 1977 majestic poem of the sea with oscillating arpeggios; and his 2003 vocalise lament and homage to the cultural city of Shusah. These composers are esteeemed in their nation and have produced a plethora of ballets, operas, symphonies, concertos, film scores, and chamber works. Conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is Dmitry Yablonsky, but kudos especially go to the pianists, Farhad Badalbeyli, who performs Amirov's and his own works, and Murad Adigelzade, who plays the Adgezalov concerto. Thus, I highly recommend this remarkable, edifying album for those who enjoy the energy and exotic themes of Khatchaturian concerti and ballets.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable 27 Jun. 2014
By G.D. - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is fun. Azerbaijan is one of few predominantly Muslim countries with a rich classical music tradition, instigated by Uzeir Hajibeyov (Gadzhibekov) and developed by people such as Fikret Amirov and Kara Karayev during the Soviet period, who attempted (rather successfully) to integrate elements of Azerbaijani folk music with Western art music forms. Of course, much of the music composed during the twentieth century, and most of the music on this disc of Azerbaijani piano concertos, is rather conservative (Karayev being an obvious exception), often unashamedly romantic, but the music here is enjoyable, well-crafted and often inspired.

Fikret Amirov (1922-1984) is the most familiar name here, though the Piano Concerto after Arabian Themes written with Elmira Nazirova (b. 1928) in 1957 (the division of labor is unclear) does not sound particularly typical. As some critics have pointed out it is hard not to hear this work as a version of Falla’s Nights in the Gardens of Spain with Arabian themes; it is not a copy or a rip-off – indeed, the work rather ingeniously employs musical formats of traditional Azerbaijani music – but the inspiration seems rather clear. Still, this is an enjoyable affair; lushly colored, romantic, picturesque, atmospheric but with more than a bit of bite in the propulsive faster parts.

Vasif Adigezalov (1935-2006) is probably unknown to most potential listeners, though Melodiya recorded his third symphony back in the days (oh, how one wishes that someone would make the vast number of recordings Melodiya made of currently forgotten Soviet and Eastern European composers available), and some of his music, including the second symphony and second and third piano concertos have been recorded by Azerbaijan International. His fourth piano concerto (1994) is a substantial work, somewhat reminiscent of the Khachaturian concerto though with a personal stamp. Pretty conservative for its date of composition, it nevertheless contain plenty of interesting material, and is overall a well-constructed work – perhaps a bit overlong at times – with plenty of enjoyable ideas, energy and spirit.

Tofig Guliyev (Kuliev, 1917-2000) founded Azerbaijan’s first ‘pops’ orchestra and jazz orchestra, and wrote plenty of popular music. I was familiar with his lightish but well-constructed and rewarding violin concerto on a Russian Disc, and the brief Gaytagi – Dance, for piano and orchestra is fun and full of energy without, perhaps, creating a lasting impression. Finally, we get two pieces by the pianist Farhad Badalbeyli. The Sea is film music-like, very light and very literally picturesque, but atmospheric enough to be worth a listen, as is the pop music-like vocalize for soprano and orchestra Shusha, though both works do feel a little out of place on a disc like this.

The performances are excellent. Badalbeyli sounds like a first-rate pianist, and is – of course, given that he is a central contributor to Azerbaijani musical life – thoroughly in control of the idiom. Murad Adigezaladze is at least equally impressive in the Adigezalov, and they are both sensitively and energetically accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under Dmitry Yablonsky. The recorded sound is first-rate as well, and although the music here may perhaps not be world-shattering discoveries, this is a very enjoyable disc, well worth investigating.
5.0 out of 5 stars fine music from Azerbaijan 12 Feb. 2015
By John C. Leopold - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
As the above reviewers have noted there is some rare fine music on this disc. Not mentioned however is the 8 minute work by Farhad Badalheyli titled The Sea for piano and orchestra from 1977. It sounds like it came out of a romantic movie from the 40s - the famous Warsaw Concerto and the Cornish Rhapsody come to mind when you listen. Gorgeous music you will come back to again and again. Thanks to Naxos, the Royal Phil and conductor Dmitry Yablonsky - now radio stations play this!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing addition 26 Nov. 2012
By argyle4087 - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I am just a classical music lover, not a musician. I have been seeking lesser known works, and this CD fits the bill. The music is quite traditional, steeped in romanticism, and that is fine for me. A touch of exotica and very listenable music. I wish there was more of this to supplement the overplayed masterpieces.
3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Azerbaijani Piano Concertos 12 Jan. 2012
By Margaret A. Koger - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
What a wonderful set of concertos. The music is exciting and has great character. I'm sure to be looking for more Azerbaifani Piano Concertos in the future.
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