Azerbaijan International

Volume 15.1
Page 29

Azeri Love Song Debuts in New York

The Melodia Women's Choir of New York City performed Tofig Guliyev's soulful love song, "Your Beauty Won't Last Forever" [Sana Da Galmaz] in a program of song entitled "Shout Sister Shout!" at St. Peters Church, 346 West 20th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenue, in Manhattan on Saturday, May 5, 2007. Sopranist Naila Aziz arranged the piece for choir and was featured as soloist. Both Naila and the choir, as well, performed the song in Azeri. This was the U.S. premiere for this song as performed by an all-women's choir and as a song performed by English speakers in Azeri.

Left: Naila Aziz

The lyrics of this love song were written by Azerbaijani poet Rasul Reza (1910-1981) and the music was composed by Tofig Guliyev (1917-2000). The piece has become one of the most favorite Azerbaijani love songs created in the Soviet Era. The piano score for Tofig Guliyev's "Sana da Galmaz" can be found in Azerbaijan International, AI 3.4 (Winter 1995), pp 76-77.

Left: The Melodia Women's Choir of New York performed Tofig Guliyev's soulful love song, "Your Beauty Won't Last Forever" (Sana da Galmaz) on Saturday, May 5, 2007. Solo performer was sopranist Naila Aziz.

The late Tofig Guliyev was famous for his classic melodies and songs, and was one of the most celebrated contemporary composers of Azerbaijan. His works have been performed by Azerbaijan's foremost vocalists such as Bulbul (1897-1961), Rashid Behbudov (1915-1988) and Shovkat Alakbarova (1922-1993). Tofig was one of the founders of the Jazz movement in Azerbaijan during the 1940s and served as President of the Composers' Union of Azerbaijan in Baku.

Melodia Women's Choir is an ensemble of 32 singers who explore, create and perform music for women's voices. Melodia's repertoire is an eclectic mix of rarely performed classical and contemporary works, including new commissions.

The Guliyev piece was part of a larger program of song entitled "Shout Sister, Shout" conducted by Cynthia Powell which featured Girl Groups from the 12th to 21st Centuries.

Naila Aziz is at home in both classical and folkloric repertoire. A native of Baku, Azerbaijan, she graduated from the Azerbaijan State University of Culture and Art, with honors in musical theatre. As a composer and performer, Naila has participated in many competitions and festivals in Moscow, Tbilisi, Yerevan (Armenia), Abinsk (Russia), Gelinger (Belgium) and Vitebsk (Belarus). She currently works with Danzas Españolas in New York City, where she combines her knowledge of Western classical music and Eastern traditional singing styles.

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