If a nation does not know its history, if the country loses its history, then its citizens have nowhere to go.
Mirzhakyp Dulatuly

Contribution of Kazakh composers to music

Contribution of Kazakh composers to music - e-history.kz

The 20th century was marked by significant events. For the first time, history made it possible to cover all the events that systematically took place in Kazakh musical culture over the centuries, as if they were in the past. In the 20th century, a new direction in Kazakh music took place - the formation and development of compositional creativity of a new European tradition. This is one of the important phenomena that concentrated the novelty and important differences of this era from previous periods of national musical culture. Many works of musicology were devoted to the development of a new European tradition with our national characteristics. Currently, the relevance of the study of compositional creativity is objectively defined as a relatively holistic, independent musical-historical phenomenon, determined by the need to consider its individual period from a complex historical, theoretical and cultural point of view.

Traditional artists embraced new musical genres and expressed a relaxed attitude towards the first traditional norms. In the first half of the 20th century, the famous folk singer G. Kurmangaliev carefully mixed Western stylistic traditions and experimented. He and other traditional singers participated in opera productions between the 1930s and 1950s, performing traditional songs based on folk melodies. Within this system, some composers were able to move from traditional to academic performance. These changes in music led to a new era of free development of folklore and folk art in modern national culture. New creative forms developed from the 1920s, recognizing for the first time the appropriation of European musical experience. These include academic performance, symphony, opera, ballet. They were influenced by Western musical instruments and styles that emerged in earlier periods. These forms of development remain a special part of the musical culture of the Kazakh people of the pre-revolutionary period.

An important part of the spiritual culture of the Kazakh people in the pre-revolutionary period was folk music, created by many generations of talented poets, singers, and instrumentalists. Over the centuries, an oral musical and poetic culture developed. Epic tales, historical events and patriotic feelings for the native land, traditions of work, family and social life are preserved in songs, artistic images, national instrumental and musical creativity. They represented a diverse spiritual world of aesthetic views on the beauty of man and nature, as well as philosophical reflections on life and the moral foundations of life. Kazakh music took shape after the October Revolution. With the onset of the inevitable processes of globalization at the end of the 20th century, the cultural and historical identity of the nation in the field of musical creativity was under threat. The rapidly developing performing arts on European instruments expanded the sound space and introduced the artistic values of Western European art into the national culture. Compositional creativity of the new European tradition is also focused on European genres. Western influences created the stylistic diversity of popular art. Technological developments in music have increased the influence of Western culture. In this case, national forms of musical consciousness represented a small but deeply rooted “island”. Their research has acquired special scientific significance when it comes to the fate of national culture. In the 20th century, the main object of the history of musical culture was the work of composers of the new European type. Therefore, questions about the fate of European-type music in Eastern cultures and the compatibility of European and national forms of musical art began to arise later. Our people were distrustful of the introduction of Western genres into their native traditional culture. “It didn’t fit the classical style of 19th-century European music.” 

The musical culture of the Kazakh people is a unique national phenomenon. For musicology of the 20th century, it has long been no secret that the musical cultures of the world differ in period and typology. The phenomenon of music varies across cultures and, moreover, in one culture it is interpreted in two ways during specific historical periods. The period of the 15th-19th centuries was characterized by the increasing influence of folklore on the work of composers. However, it was recognized as a full-fledged and independent branch of music only in the 20th century. Folk music has become the object of attention of listeners, a special musical value, in the formation of which the formation of a new, previously unknown form of culture - mass music - played an important role. On the one hand, official Soviet culture was characterized by many years of rejection of forms of mass musical culture, on the other hand, by an outdated view of folklore as ancient music, the value of which was measured by a reflection of the spiritual world of the people. the huge working masses of the peasantry, as well as the stimulation of new compositional ideas. Totalitarianism, having the idea of controlling the spiritual life of society, conceived the development of folklore within the strictly limited framework of showing the achievements and victories of the new socialist life. The official idea of musical culture in the USSR was aimed at understanding music as a separate area of compositional creativity, characteristic of the ruling classes of European society in the 19th century, with its special genres and methods of writing. Ideally, concepts of mass education are aimed at ensuring that children, future members of society, grow up to be connoisseurs and appreciators of the composed music of Europe. These ideas didn't really work. The decline of the musical culture of society and the alienation of a large audience from the world of high classical music created in Europe (this music, despite the limitations of its geographical and temporal context, has always been called world musical classics), is today a generally accepted fact. The musical cultures of Eastern countries differ in many ways from European ones. Firstly, in many eastern cultures, including the Kazakhs, specialized concert forms of listening to music, the sound of which was combined with other forms of social communication, were not developed. In the Islamic world, music is part of religious ceremonies (singing the azan, reading verses of the Koran), musical and poetic meetings, types of secular communication, such as holidays, as well as hospitality ceremonies, in which the most serious, refined, high music is added to the celebration. Secondly, eastern music is characterized by a certain system of genres. So, in that Islamic world there was no theater, therefore, theatrical music (opera, ballet) and choral music. The most difficult genre was not the symphony, as in Europe, but the status of the symphony as an exhibit of society’s conceptual ideas about the world order and its high spiritual values.

Kazakh music, which is partially related in typology, has its own high conceptual genres in the Islamic world - kuy, zhyr, aitys, lyrical song. In addition to genre specificity, oriental music has a unique musical language. Its organizational system (musical grammar) is monody (as opposed to European polyphony). From the history of Kazakh musical culture of pre-revolutionary times, it is known that Kazakh musicians participated in major competitions in Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Karakalpakstan, and Kalmykia. Kazakh traditional music is an integral part of the vast musical world of the Central Asian region, and as its listener and connoisseur can freely enter the world of music. Genetically, this is the world of Turko-Mongol nomads. But in the historical process, the Kazakhs, who underwent Islamization, adopted a lot from the music of the Islamic world, due to which they were influenced by the music of Central Asia, Arab countries, Turkey, northern India, etc. b. The music of Islamic peoples was open to connoisseurs of Kazakh music. Therefore, raising children in Kazakhstan with folk music makes it possible in the future to form listeners who understand the music of many eastern peoples.

The connection between the work of new composers and national culture also had a contradictory meaning in the context of understanding the Soviet period. The 1920-1950s coincided with the socialist period of social development. This situation determined the general expression of the previous understanding of composer creativity, mainly as a phenomenon of Soviet music. The opinion that compositional creativity in national culture is purely a product of the Soviet era and a manifestation of its ideas is completely connected with Kazakh music. During the Soviet period, the composer's work shone, merging with our native culture. The idea of depicting folk-national traditions in new genres and forms meant a supranational interpretation of a new type of culture, determined by European tradition. The new direction in the development of Soviet music was isolated from national culture. Although it is known from the history of music, the work of European composers was closely connected with a certain national culture as a new stage in its development. In addition, the emergence of new types of musical art for non-territorial European (in particular, Kazakh) national cultures also meant the interaction of Europe and the East, West and East, which also further highlighted the characteristics of the same phenomenon. But the most dramatic thing in the presentation of new, non-national types of musical creativity that entered the national culture with the Soviet era was the socio-political factor of the collapse of the Union, which became the basis for the correct interpretation. artistic processes. Thus, in some national cultures of the former Union, in particular in the Central Asian republics, over the past twenty years the role of academic music has significantly weakened, and there has been a significant decline in opera houses, symphony orchestras, and performing arts. on European instruments. In fact, there were also situations that threatened the gradual disappearance of the new European type of compositional creative practice. 

There was no fundamental opposition to new forms of musical art in Kazakhstan. But a downward trend in their role was observed in the last decade of the twentieth century with a change in the sociocultural significance of composers’ work. As part of the formation of a new national ideology and the revival of traditional national forms of musical art, the field of academic music began to occupy a “simple” place in the public consciousness. During Soviet times, the status of an ideologically significant composer changed. The end of the era of Soviet music inevitably led to a creative crisis. The 20th century was full of important musical events. In the culture of Kazakhstan at the turn of the 20th-21st centuries, A. Zhubanov, E. Brusilovsky, M. Tolebaev, B. Baikadamov, G. Zhubanova added the names of composers. In Soviet times, the creative environment was not in sufficient demand. National artistic ideas and creative methods united the composers of the period under review. The model for the development of a new European tradition in national cultures was not a characteristic of the phenomenon of “Soviet music”. Within the framework of Soviet art, there were schools of composition. Despite the general direction, there were significant differences in the nature of their formation and development. After the end of the Soviet era, each school of composition inevitably became a unique image of Soviet music. The paths of development of national cultures of all republics of the former Union, which previously seemed uniform and indestructible, have radically changed. Along with the prerequisites for denying the role of the composer school, the need arose to study its image and paths of development.

Non-European cultures mastered European genres, and the aesthetic task stood on their national basis. The political goal of Soviet art seemed even more contradictory: to create music that was national in form and socialist in content. On the one hand, there was a desire to preserve the original relics of national culture as eternal value. The 20th century saw the emergence of radical approaches to traditional music. As a guitar-like pop culture instrument, the tambourine was presented and performed on the popular stage in a completely uncharacteristic role in stylistic contrasts due to its performance medium and aesthetic purpose. In general, the Kazakh musical culture of the 20th century and the work of the composer during this period “collided” in the form of interaction between the traditions of two cultures in the aspect of antinomy. In the same way, a Kazakh of the twentieth century is a person torn between two opposites, having absorbed his qualities. The feeling of native steppes and alluring high mountains ended there. He firmly held the roots of the ethnic tree and at the same time moved away from them, intensively “drinking” them from the fountains of new musical influences.

The creativity of composers through their perception of music, inner intuition, feeling, musical experience and aesthetic taste, being in relationship with other cultural foundations, reaches the beginning of artistic and unsurpassed creativity. Our history says that the feeling of music in the creative heritage of Kazakh composers is determined by traditions, history, and the worldview of the people. The musical culture of different peoples is formed and develops depending on their geographical location, past history and events, and traditions that they have followed for a long time. It is clear that the task of preserving the musical heritage from external influences and not destroying its foundations is not easy. In the antinomic aspect of the 20th century, the complexity and complexity of the implementation of a new European type of composer's creativity was determined by the unity of two emerging contexts of European and national traditions, which form the basis of modern Kazakh musical culture. Based on this, one of the tasks posed in this work is the methodological relevance of determining the significance of the Kazakh composer school of the twentieth century and the ways of its development. The work of Kazakh composers has become a special phenomenon of modern Kazakh culture, which has its own history, meaning and values. In this context, the relevance of new methodological approaches was especially evident in the crisis of Kazakh musical folkloristics and academic musicology, which led to certain difficulties in explaining the features of music of the past and present, and the laws of its development. At the present stage of research into Kazakh music of the 20th century, a need has arisen for methodological approaches that would allow us to present the composer’s work as a historical, typological and nationally specific unit. The work examines the features of the implementation of the universal model of compositional creativity of the new European tradition in the context of national culture by identifying the features of the interaction of national and European traditions at different levels of creativity. Kazakh music of the twentieth century is interpreted as a new unity, not connected with the traditions that make up the national culture “on the surface” of the work of Kazakh composers. The work is based on the works of Kazakh composers representing different historical generations (A. Zhubanov, S. Mukhamedzhanov, M. Sagatov), different genres (symphonies by E. Brusilovsky and G. Zhubanova, operas by M. Tolebaev) and A. Zhubanov, L. Hamidi, B. Baikadamov’s choral melodies, E. Rakhmadiev’s symphonic melodies, songs, music for an orchestra of Kazakh folk instruments).

In the composer's work as a whole, the attributes of the new musical culture did not immediately appear. The process of genre formation, which began in the 1930s and depended on the creation of conditions for performance and reception (institutions of musical culture, instruments, performing groups), ended in the late 1940s. By this time, the main musical groups had been organized. Later this process expanded. During this period, the performing environment is formed, professional groups are formed (opera theater, choir, symphony orchestra, etc.). The practice of performing works of Western European and Russian classics began. The works of Kazakh composers receive performing interpretation. Musical materials were collected for scientific research. The first statements about music were of a journalistic nature. Academic musicology initially had a practical function. 19 30s-1940s – his preparatory period. A small amount of experience in the functioning of a new type of culture did not yet require general conclusions and in-depth research from musicology. An important period that contributed to the revival of scientific activity was the opening in 1944 of the Almaty Conservatory (now the Kurmangazy Kazakh National Conservatory) and in 1945 of the art history sector of the Academy of Sciences (now the Institute of Literature and Art). National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Kazakhstan named after M. Auezov). These institutions concentrate scientific and teaching personnel.

This period became the time of formation of the main directions of Kazakh musical science. The problems of folkloristics were formed based on practical goals. Thanks to scientific research, Kazakh folk instruments were widely introduced into cultural use, and a repertoire of new creative groups was formed. Academic musicology was also closely connected with the practical tasks of introducing works of the European classical repertoire and works created by Kazakh composers into public life, and educating the general public. The practical significance of the scientist’s activity, its relevance from the moment of the formation of a new culture, formed the universal type of scientist (A. Zhubanov, P. Aravin, B. Erzakovich, N. Tiftikidi). The orientation of science towards practice was also observed in research immediately after writing and performing work for the first time. In this case, the fact of composition far exceeds the moment of connection with earlier history. The most common problems are related to the study of a specific work. Musicologists study the implementation of folklore in a specific composition, harmonic language and other stylistic features of specific works. This approach to work led to an insignificant role in generalizing monographic works. Historical summaries covering the entire region, including the most recent - 1970-90, were compiled by musicologists from other Central Asian republics. Musical-historical consciousness was focused on the most important, but separate phenomena of art. Among all types of musical creativity, mainly folklore and compositional creativity were studied. The true diversity of musical culture is lost behind the idealization of one type of music. The issues of acceptance, enforcement and interpretation that arose in this case resulted in conflicting decisions. For example, in studies of states written in earlier eras, the position is not clearly formulated. They were mainly considered as a heritage, but at the same time questions were raised about their current existence (implementation, perception, understanding). Therefore, thoughts about the stable aspects of tradition did not allow a deeper understanding of the objective reality of its changes. Similarly, a different approach to composition in the 1930s-1950s and 1970s-1980s was required in accordance with its historical development. Continuing to describe musicology in the process of evolution, it should be noted that in the 1960s there was a stratification of two branches of musicology. As mentioned earlier, musicologists have included two areas of research in their activities. There were time boundaries between folklore and academic musicology. Folklore began to study folk music as a heritage, and academic musicology began to study modern culture as it is today. Describing the problems of “folklore and composer”, “traditions and innovations”, “national and international”, “folklore and composer”, “traditions and innovation”, “national and international”, the objective-subjective side of two directions of creativity is revealed. Kazakh musicology has been defined. Already at this time, an original study of stylistic features that had similarities in the musical heritage began to emerge. This identification of folklore primarily with the past - with heritage - led to its perception as ahistorical. In the first layers of folklore, historical kinship was limited mainly to confirmation of its antiquity. In later models, historical time was conventionally established; at best, it was indicated that it belonged to a certain century. Indeed, due to the absence or incorrectness and insufficiency of the information created in the non-written method of transmitting music, questions about the relationship of artistic phenomena over time were raised or not resolved. However, the objective reason for this approach could not justify a broad interpretation of the concept of antiquity. Samples of folklore recorded in later historical periods (late 19th - first half of the 20th centuries) required special scientific substantiation. In addition, a generalization of modern field folklore expeditions and a study of the activities of traditional musicians who lived in the twentieth century were carried out from the standpoint of continuing the tradition and serving the heritage. The marginal role of depicting music as a process of historical development has led to a privileged view of traditional music as a heritage rather than as an independent branch of modern creativity. Questions about the current state of folklore and traditional music were not relevant in the 1930s and 1950s. The contrast between “folklore and modern music” determined the main direction of research into the work of Kazakh composers, both past and present. It was considered from the point of view of Soviet art and its socio-political determinism. The main problem associated with the work of composers throughout the period under study was the “connection of the centuries-old traditions of local artistic cultures with the achievements of European professional art,” which determines the folk-national characteristics of recorded music. The absolutization of modernity in the history of music determined the interpretation of the past as preparation for the present period. Folk music in this sense was only a tradition based on new modern creativity. Issues of connection with national tradition were of special, paramount importance. Not a single musical work dedicated to the work of Kazakh composers addressed this problem. The study of folklore in new musical genres and the definition of national style formed a problem space where substantive questions were posed. In a number of cases, the absolutization of the role of national primary sources has led to conclusions that are not entirely justified from the point of view of the goals of compositional creativity aimed at creating new meaning. For example, A. It is clear that the concept of the opera “Kurmangazy” by Zhubanov and G. Zhubanova cannot be brought into thematic correspondence with the original (tunes), although this aspect has interested many researchers. The transfer of attention from the new musical text to its original material was very characteristic of Kazakh musicology of the indicated historical period and arose from the recognition of the historical value of the original folk sources, their artistic superiority and immeasurable realization. And this, in turn, led to a limited understanding of the true work of composers, since it was reduced to an artistic interpretation of folklore. One of the reasons for the predominance of musical interest in the use of thematic material was the prevailing idea at that time about the similarity of the content of the work with folklore material. What was studied was not the semantic side of the new music, but the form of presentation of the meaning-forming elements: thematic organization, textural design, composition. Musicology has deepened the semantic meaning of the original source and included in it the problems of structuring and processing the original form instead of giving independent visual content to the work. The boundaries and depth of processing and the degree of rethinking have been established. These were primarily structural rather than substantive parameters of the revision. Thus, science emphasized the utilitarian practicality of composers mastering folk heritage. At the same time, the composers’ appeal to folk heritage was associated not only with the search for material for musical form, but also with the motives of the content. In the musical literature, there is an opinion that the current life of a heritage is determined by its preservation in its original meaning. However, the composers clearly understood that “in works for a symphony orchestra, complete freedom of creative imagination and the possibilities of compositional technique are allowed.” As is known, many neofolk composers adhered to this position. Of course, examples of a passive attitude towards the material are not excluded. As the composers themselves say, in Kazakh music “there are cases of considering the mood of the people from the outside, without delving into its spirit, visual content, aesthetics.”

But experience shows that when working with folk songs, this figurative rethinking is often the essence of the composer’s creative task. The use of folklore, of course, is not limited to utilitarian practicality. The musical approach, based on the recognition of the similarity of the content of the work with its folklore source, significantly narrowed the content of the new work and limited the composer’s understanding of the possibilities of artistic thinking. The paradox of this approach was that its result was the division of the composer’s work, contrasting it with traditional national creative forms. The national style was considered one of the main achievements of the new culture during the period under study. Therefore, the problem of national motives was one of the fundamental problems in the study of composers' works. Based on the discovery of similarities and similarities with examples of folklore and professional folk music in European genres, the signs of a national style are again established in the field of mood formation, texture, timbre, meter rhythm, dramaturgy and form. While the process of implementation determined the approach from a national point of view, the study of national style established the approach from the point of view of European genres. It is worth noting that there are two views on creativity: a) it is based on the interaction of traditions and b) it has an independent meaning in relation to them. The essence of creativity was explained as the composer’s activity aimed at adapting European genres to national culture and national genres to European genre conditions. The composer's work, which represents a qualitative difference between the new type of culture and the old one, was interpreted as the implementation of the idea of progress. In the works of the 1950s and 1960s it is shown as a high evolutionary stage: from the state to the symphony, from monody to polyphony, from folklore to the professional level, etc.

By the 1980s, this idea of progress was being revised; the historical role of composers has now been reduced to the influence of Western European art on national culture. But this could not radically change the composer’s ideas about creativity isolated from national culture. 

Taur Kasymul