Autumn 2006 (14.3)
One of Azerbaijan's Most Prolific Composers
by Vasif Adigozalov
Vasif Adigozal only written "Carnation" (1960) which
dozens of Azerbaijani singers have performed in various arrangements,
it would have been sufficient enough for him to assume an honorable
place in the history of Azerbaijani music and culture.
Adigozal [alternative spellings: Adigezalov, Adygazal], one of
Azerbaijan's most distinguished composers who passed away on
September 15, wrote "Carnation" at the age of 25, as
a tribute to Natavan (1832-1897), a famous 19th century poetess
and ruler of Karabakh - a mountainous region known for being
a cultural center in western Azerbaijan.
Left: Composer Vasif Adigozal is best known
for incorporating traditionial modal mugham music into his works
- both orchestral and solo pieces.
Great Expert on Mugham
Quite amazingly, this
small piece embodies many characteristic features of Adigozal
- both as a composer and personality. What immediately impresses
one about Adigozal's music is his innate and comprehensive knowledge
of mugham - the richest genre of traditional modal music of Azerbaijan.
Above: Scenes from Vasif Adigozal's opera,
which opened on December 7, 2003.
This could be expected since Vasif was the son of Zulfugar Adigozal
(1898-1963), a prominent "khananda" singer of Azerbaijani
mugham. Simply put, Vasif grew up in an atmosphere, which was
saturated with mugham music, as many famous musicians often visited
their home and performed their traditional works.
These unique experiences and memories manifested themselves in
Vasif Adigozal's music through various genres, including large
symphonic works, small instrumental pieces, operas and operettas,
as well as soundtracks for plays and movies. For example, his
Fourth Symphony "Segah" (1998) and his oratorio "Garabagh
Shikastasi" (1989) took their names from Azerbaijani mughams.
example of the influence of mugham on his work is the piece called
"Mugham Sonata" for organ. Vasif Adigozal followed
what might be called the romantic stream of Azerbaijani music
to become a great lyrical composer.
Left: Grand Finale of "Chanakkale",
an Oratorio composed by Vasif Adigozal performed here by the
Symphonic Orchestra of the Turkish President, Ankara, Turkey,
1998. Vasif's son Yalchin conducted.
He was like him to bare his thoughts and feelings directly, through
beautiful melodies and colorful harmonies. This meant that, in
general, he distanced himself from 20th century experimental
The one exception was his Second
Symphony (1970), which was based upon the 12-tone technique,
an avant-garde expression of contemporary music. Though this
work was sufficiently successful, the composer returned to pursue
a more conservative style.
Vasif Adigozal was a genuine professional, and greatly influenced
by Gara Garayev (1918-1982), the distinguished Azerbaijani composer
and teacher with whom Vasif had studied at the Azerbaijan Conservatory
(now Music Academy) in 1953-1959.
Adigozal excelled both
as composer and performer-a rare combination these days. He majored
in Piano as well as Composition at the Azerbaijani Conservatory.
His piano professor was Simuzar Guliyeva and throughout his career,
he gave numerous concerts on stage as a pianist and accompanist.
In the early 1960s, he accompanied legendary Azerbaijani singer
Rashid Behbudov (1915-1989). Later on, he pursued a solo career
and performed his own pieces. This explains Adigozal's interest
in piano music and the distinctive contributions he made to the
genres of piano music in Azerbaijan. Vasif Adigozal's piano concertos
and preludes continue to be appreciated and performed by Azerbaijani
pianists of all generations.
As an outstanding public figure, his opinions always carried
a particular weight in the world of Azerbaijani music as he was
greatly respected by colleagues and friends. Adigozal also was
actively involved with the administration of music. For example,
in 1973-1983, he was the director of the Baku Music College.
He showed extreme courage and determination up to the very last
days of his life. Although he had become seriously ill, he continued
to carry out his responsibilities both at the Composers' Union
where he was Chairman (1990-2006), as well as the Music Academy
where he had taught since 1961, and where he had chaired the
Department of Choral Conducting (1992-2006).
Vasif Adigozal enjoyed official recognition as the recipient
of Azerbaijan's highest national awards - People's Artist of
Azerbaijan (Khalg Artisti, 1989), State Prize (Dovlat Mukafati,
1990), Glory (Shohrat Ordeni, 1995), and Independence (Istiglal
Known for his charisma and innate
ability to value people and situations fairly, he was known for
his directness laced with diplomacy at the same time - that,
along with his amazing sense of humor.
He was always proud of his family - his wife Khalida and two
sons Yalchin and Toghrul, his daughter-in-laws Farah and Sabina,
and grandchildren - Zulfugar, Khalida and Tamerlan. Unlike Toghrul
who made a career in medicine, Vasif's other son Yalchin (born
1959) continued the Adigozal music dynasty. A graduate of the
St. Petersburg Conservatory and Vienna Music Academy, Yalchin
has served as the Chief Conductor at the State Symphonic Orchestra
in Azerbaijan during the 1990s. He now works with the Azerbaijan
State Opera and Ballet Theater.
In Azerbaijan, we have a tradition of placing carnations on the
graves of our dear ones - two blossoms - to indicate that our
spirit is united with the one who is deceased. These days Vasif
Adigozal's "Carnation", along with many of his other
works can be heard on TV and radio - clearly a sign of sympathy
and gratitude to an outstanding musician and great individual
who has just left us. Azerbaijan commemorates its son whose legacy
has already become an indispensable part of the national music
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