«We need to look into the past in order to understand the present and foresee the future»
N.A.Nazarbayev

The Eternal Legacy of Kurmangazy

2075
The Eternal Legacy of Kurmangazy
Kurmangazy and his legacy have long had a substantial impact on Kazakh culture and Kazakhstan people. The indomitable feature of this composer and his works are, above all, the precious history of our

people. Kurmangazy went through many barriers, but he remained aspiring for freedom, and this freedom remained for posterity in his unforgettable music.

As it turned out, there is a scarcity amogst those who are well aware of his compositions and and those who have been able to study his legacy in a wider extent. The main source of materials about Kurmangazy are the research of Ahmet Zhubanov, and his compositions (kuis) came to us thanks to his students and the work of Alexander Zataevich. One of the experts who have studied Kurmangazy's heritage for a long time and is seriously studying is Sarah Kuzembay, PhD in Art, Chief Researcher of the Literary and Art Institute named after M.Auezov, who together with the authors' team prepares for publication a book about the great composer of the Kazakh people.

The 20th century can be considered a Renaissance of national culture. During this period, a whole galaxy of national talents-nuggets lived and worked in Kazakhstan. These are outstanding kuishi, brilliant akyns, sal, seri. This era left us the names of famous composers - professionals of traditional art - Mukhit, Aqan seri, Birzhan sal, Abay, Madi, Ybyray, Estay, Zhayau Musa, Aset, and many other brightest representatives of folk spirituality. Among this constellation of talents, the name of Kurmangazy Sagyrbaev rightfully occupies one of the central places.

One of the issues that causes a difficulty amongst academics is Kurmangazy's date of birth. According to some sources, it is 1823, while other sources claim that Kurmangazy was born in 1818.

In the remote steppe at that time there were few literate people, and those who were, were engaged in more serious things than the registration of newborns. The information was transmitted orally, affecting the nomadic and semi-nomadic way of life. But one of the main and first researchers of Kurmangazy's creativity, Academician Ahmet Zhubanov, set this date, comparing the facts of the composer's life, and we adhere to... the book by Ahmet Zhubanov "Kurmangazy" gives evidence of eyewitnesses who buried Kurmangazy, that he died in 1879, at the 73rd year of his life. Among other dates of his birth - 1806 or 1818, and on the grave written dates - 1823-1896.

As the journalist Aizhan Hamit, a relative of poet Khamit Ergali, who created the poem Kurmangazy writes that in 1953 a letter was sent to the Academy of Sciences of the Kazakh SSR signed by several people who were present at the burial of Kurmangazy. In the letter they wrote that Kurmangazy Sagyrbayuly was born in 1818 and died in the middle of 1899. They claimed that they knew the son of Kurmangazy Kazi and the grandson of Kubash, described the nature of Kurmangazy, his manner of dressing, and told that in his 80s he was a strong man and could lift a weight of 10 poods. However, in 1998, the expert commission of the Institute of Literature and Art named after. Auezov at the Academy of Sciences finally established that Kurmangazy was born in 1823, and died in 1896. Such dates are also hewn on his grave to-day.

Kurmangazy was born in the tract Zhideli of Bokei Orda (now Zhangalinsky district of the Ural region) in the family of the farmer Sagyrbai. His musical abilities showed up very early. From childhood, little Kurmangazy could listen to songs and dombyra compositions of local and visiting musicians tirelessly. Once he listens to the melodies, he tries to pick up on his small domybra. However, Sagyrbai did not approve his son's enthusiasm, considering that the occupation of music is not worthy of a man. The father liked to repeat the proverb: "Dombyra player is accompanied by poverty."

Kurmangazy inherited extraordinary musical abilities from Alka's mother, whose family included famous akyns, singers and kuishi. The mother supported the music lessons of her son and helped him in every possible way. However, because of the need, he very early had to go to the shepherds for a bai. The only joy of the little Kurmash was his dombra, which he took with him to the pasture, where he improved his technique every day.

Once the village, where Kurmangazy's family lived, was visited by the famous at that time dombrabrist Uzak. For Kurmangazy, the performance of the Dombrist was a real holiday, he listened with rapture to Uzak's game, trying to remember everything that was new for him. Noticing the child's enthusiasm, Uzak agreed to give him some lessons of dombra skill. So famous throughout the Bukeyev horde kuyshi Uzak becomes the first professional teacher of Kurmangazy. After the huge influence on the creative growth of the national composer was the famous kuyshi of Bukeyevskaya horde - Bayzhuma, Balamaisan, Baibakty, Sokyr Eszhan, Sherkeshe.

At 18, becoming a fully mature musician, Kurmangazy decides to leave his native village to improve performing skills. Traveling along the villages, Kurmangazy meets with many singers, instrumentalists, from them he adopts songs and compositions, enters with the Dombrists into a creative contest - tartys, exchanges experience, sharpens the skill and enriches the repertoire. In his speeches Kurmangazy not only plays on dombra, but also tells interesting stories, legends, legends, sings songs. Gradually, his name becomes known throughout the district, he is invited everywhere.

"Kurmangazy summarized the art experience of dombra art in the style of tok-kui, achieving unattainable heights of professionalism and expanding the theme of dombra music, updating its language," says Sarah Kuzembay. - He is the author of more than 60 kuis. The names of some speak for themselves. "Kairan Sheshem", "Turmeden qashkan", "Kisen ashkan" - they reflect his turbulent, contradictory destiny. The heroic rebellion of Isatay Taimanov and Makhambet Utemisov is dedicated to his famous compositions - "Zhalyn", "Kishkentai", "Kubik shashkan". The top of Kurmangazy's creativity was kui called Saryarka, filled with light tonality, painting a picture of the endless expanses of the Kazakh steppe.

The intransigence of Kurmangazy, his constant criticism of the authorities, was not to the liking of local rulers. They were looking for an extra reason to hide the "troublemaker" in prison. In 1857, the authorities, accusing of horse stealing, conclude the Kurmangazy in prison. Learning that he intends to send him to Siberia, Kurmangazy escapes.

But he was captured and again put in prison. This time - to Orenburg, where it was almost impossible to escape. Tradition says that from there he was liberated by Governor-General Perovsky, who really liked Kurmangazy's game.

After his release from prison, the musician travels a lot around the steppe, meets with famous representatives of oral, poetic and musical culture. Some of these meetings have preserved legends and legends, for example, stories about Kurmangazy's meeting with Dauletkerei, akyn Kashagan, the famous Batyrs Turemurat, Narynbay and Uten. Often such stories were accompanied by kui. Kurmangazy also met with writer and ethnographer N. Savichev, who left an enthusiastic response in the newspaper "Ural Military News" (1868): "In short, Sagyrbaev is a rare musical soul, and he will get a European education, he would be in the music world star of the first magnitude ".

Kurmangazy spent his last years on the coast of the Caspian Sea, in the Astrakhan region. Here he is surrounded by friends, students, among whom were Mamen, Kokbala, Ergali Eshchanov, Dina Nurpeisova, who later became famous Dombrists. One of his followers, Makhambet Bukeikhanov, who reported more than 30 Kurmangazy to A. Zataevich, recalled that Kurmangazy had a long beard, and before playing on dombra, so that she did not interfere, he threw her by the shoulders. According to others, he was an extremely harsh man, whose music was afraid of bais, and the people respected for the keen word and music that conveyed the very essence of his soul.

Kurmangazy died in 1896. On the site of his grave in 1959, on the initiative of Academician Akhmet Zhubanov, a memorial structure was erected. Nowadays, when almost all the compositions of a great musician have been collected and published. Kurmangazy became a star of the first magnitude known not only in Kazakhstan but also abroad. Almaty State Conservatory, orchestra of Kazakh folk instruments, streets of many cities of the republic are named after him.

The music of Kurmangazy and the orchestra named after him has been a visiting card of Kazakhstan, thanks to which the whole world knows about the Kazakhs and their musical culture, and their soul. The orchestra has visited many countries all around the world. Once they were in Austria: so the audience did not take seriously them until they began to perform kui "Saryarka". Needless to say, after the concert they were applauding standing. Kurmangazy's music without words, without borders and language obstacles tells the world who we are. If there was not Kurmangazy and his music, who could do it as brilliantly fast?

There are also five interesting facts that you are likely unfamiliar with. Firstly, in the fall of 1973, Kurmangazy kyi Kurmangazy 'Saryarka', as the best creation of traditional music, won first place in the Asian Tribune of the Asian countries and was recommended through UNESCO for the transfer by means of music networks around the world. Secondly, in 1862 Kurmangazy met with fellow countryman, another great Kuyushi Dauletkerei. Both improvisator dombristas significantly influenced each other. Thirdly, he died in 1896, and was buried in the village of Altynzhar in the present Volodarsky district of the Astrakhan region of Russia. Fourthly, the Kazakhstani composer and collector of folklore music Yevgeny Brusilovsky was the first who undertook the rehabilitation of the name of the genial Kurmangazy, who was known in the Kazakh steppe as an 'unruly robber'. Finally, back in 1951, in one of the villages of Mangistau, the well-known composer, kuishi and akyn Murat Oskembauli performed Ahmet Jubanov and Hamit Ergaliyev with the song "Kaz Azzhan" and the song "Kazhizhan", which was not known to Kurmangazy before.

A good song and dance melody can be heard from many peoples, but why the appearance of the concert "Kurmangazy - Vivaldi" became possible in Kazakhstan? Because both Vivaldi and Kurmangazy are examples of program symphonism in classical music, and dombra is a tool with only two strings that almost every Kazakh has since early childhood has tremendous possibilities. But let us return to the kyms of Kurmangazy, which so brightly reflected the soul of the people. So, kui "Adai", glorifying the courage and heroism of the people, became one of those works that strengthened the spirit of the soldiers leaving for the front. Or absolutely polar, but also a "motor", mobile work - a brilliant scherzo "Saryarka". On the one hand, there are genre sketches of paintings of nature in it, and on the other - the bright, emotional and open character of the people.

Kui "Akbay" is a symphonic poem where the tragic fate of one person acquires a universal scope. Or take the "Machine". Some argue that Kurmangazy foresaw urbanization, others attribute the emergence of kui to the shock experienced by him from the first meeting with the steam engine. And it seems to me that this kui shows a change in the tempo-rhythm of life, and the musician felt it because of his genius.

The strength of the world classics is that their music does not require translation. And the works of Kurmangazy stand in line with Beethoven and Tchaikovsky. Foreign listeners clearly and clearly feel their grand scale. But to produce just such an impression, you need a fundamental approach to the work with which you work. In the music world, it is believed that knowing and being able is different things. That is, you can know a lot, but you do not know how to do it in a concrete case. As for the professional work with the orchestra, it is very important not only to play beautifully and beautifully, but also to make sure that the main thematic material does not overshadow, in particular, the accompaniment, so that there is a dynamic balance, phrasing, because even those technical means that something you can skip, sometimes completely distort the work.

A vivid example of this is composition called 'Mashina'. In the European music, many composers only by the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century began to use metrorhythmic schemes, but Kurmangazy used them much earlier: in the "Machine" there are very complicated metrorhythm. However, when a person first took a kui note as a conductor, I saw a work that had been emasculated beyond recognition. If I were not familiar with the splendid exposition of the "Mashina" for the Kurmangazy Orchestra by other masters, I would not believe that this is the creation of a genius.

When the art of photography was just beginning to gain ground, he was asked what photography is - art or craft? In response, it was said: any craft can be elevated to art and any art can be reduced to a bad craft. Here the same thing: when the author falls into the hands of the performer, it is very important to deal with the work in as conscientiously as possible. But this means not just cleaning the text, so that everything sounds in unison, but it is necessary to make sure that the drama incorporated in the work acquired a specifically expressed professional basis. If this is not done, even great musicians will not sound. I dare to hope that at least a little closer to the scale of Kurmangazy, having performed before it a very serious world classics - the works of Bach, Mozart, Verdi and Tchaikovsky.

We, modern people, ourselves do not fully understand how he and other great subversives, being near to us, help Kazakhstan to reach the positions that the country starts to occupy in the world. Kurmangazy's music, comprehensively reflecting our life, penetrates not only into the souls of those who are Kazakhs on the passport, but also of all other peoples living in our state.

Kazakhs are not by chance famous for their compassion. This, I firmly believe, was formed not only because of the way of life, when a nomad, having cracked through the long winter of communication, was greeted by any guest as the most native person. The fact is that from time immemorial in the steppe there were people who exerted a tremendous influence on the spirituality of the people. From ancient times, gathering together, the steppe people listened to kuishi, who played not easy entertaining music, but program compositions dedicated to major events or an outstanding personality.

Music records of Kurmangazy's works appeared already under Soviet power thanks to Dina Nurpeisova, who kept in memory all the kuis of her great teacher. "It can not be!" - the person far from music will tell. No, it can! Beethoven, for example, having written the score for his piano concertos, did not record solo parts to some of them. So, for example, he played his third concert from memory, and only later published it completely. In the concerts of Paganini, the orchestral score was also without a solo violin part. It is clear that no one, like him, would have played, but he, like any genius, had many ill-wishers, and Paganini was afraid of intrigues in the form of theft. And in the Kazakh tradition, oral memorization is developed to such an extent that all details are reproduced to the smallest detail.

There were cases when Kurmangazy was persecuted for his open criticism of the rich. He was repeatedly imprisoned, but the spirit of the composer who fought for the liberation of his people was unshakable. In the prisons of Uralsk, Orenburg, Urkit he came up with kuis such as "Alatau", "Saryarka", in which he conveyed his deep thoughts on the independence and freedom of the people.

Kurmangazy was familiar with the representatives of the Russian progressive culture - philologists, historians, ethnographers, who collected material about Kazakh music, musicians and folk instruments. Contemporary of Kurmangazy Sagyrbayuly - journalist and poet N. Savichev wrote in the newspaper "Ural Military News": "Sagyrbaev is a rare musical soul and, having received a European education, he would be a star of the first magnitude in the music world". Kurmangazy's kui "Laushken" was dedicated to a Russian friend who helped him in difficult moments of his life. His friendly feelings are also reflected in the kui called "Mashina", "Perovsky March" and others.

In 1880 he moved to the Sakma area near Astrakhan. Kurmangazy, which was in high esteem among the local residents, brought up his heirs: D. Nurpeisova, Y. Eszhanov, and M. Suleimenov. Other dombrists of the time, such as Kokbala, Menetai, Menkara, Sugirali, Torgaybay, Shora considered Kurmangazy their mentor. By now, Kurmangazy's 60 kuis have reached the current generation. The peak of Kurmangazy's creativity has been Saryarka kui, filled with light tonality, which is a picture of the endless expanses of the Kazakh steppe. Special tricks of the game Kurmangazy, in many ways developing the musical technique of that time, were carefully taken and developed by his disciples and followers. This list includes Makhambet Utemisov, Dina Nurpeisova, Ergali Eshchanov and others.

Such works of Kurmangazy as "Baizhuma", "Bozqonyr", indicate him as a magnificent master of art of kui. Kurmangazy became famous for his special talent for performing kui and for expressing melodies. In the kui "Itog", he summed up the hard, full torment, life path. In his works the composer narrates about the history of the people, about the connection between the life of a person and his surrounding nature.

The Kazakh composer and collector of folk music Evgeny Brusilovsky was the first who undertook the rehabilitation of the name of the genial Kurmangazy, who in the Kazakh steppe was known as an "uncontrollable robber". The popularity of Kurmangazy's music in our time, the appropriation of his name by the Almaty Conservatory is one of Brusilovsky's greatest merits. In the creative work of the Kazakh people, the Kurmangazy kui occupy an important historical place. He made a significant contribution to the development of the culture of the people. MusicKurmangazy has a great influence on the creativity of the composers of Kazakhstan. Composers of Kazakhstan widely used his compositions in their large and small works: dances, plays, movies, and cues were included in choral music. 

Kurmangazy's creativity as an author of instrumental works, mostly of a program nature, became one of the founding pillars in the formation of folk and professional art, although the origins of Kazakh folk music go back to ancient times - the eleventh century and earlier. His music always sounds everywhere - in the performance of dombra, ensemble, folk and symphony orchestras, in musical screensavers of radio and television programs. We need it. And we stopped noticing it almost as much as the air we breathe, but it affects the minds and moods of all Kazakhstanis.