Study of formation and development of the artistic culture is one of the priority issues of the historical and fine arts sciences in Uzbekistan. As for today tender aspect of the history of formation of the Uzbek culture remains completely undeveloped; its study is particularly important for the formation of the artistic processes in the country.

F. Abdurakhimova and the orchestra of the Uzbek folk instruments Sogdiana

Since the olden times, the Uzbek traditional culture has had certain strata of peculiar female culture with the female rites. Among them are a slumber party ‘Kiz bazmis’ or ‘tog tois’; ‘Yuz ochdis’ — bride’s face opening; wedding rites — ‘Muchal tois’, ‘Sallabandoms’; funeral and last rites — ‘Sadrs’, ‘Tasiyas’; calendar rites — ‘Sus hotins’ — calling for the rain; healing rites called ‘Kuchs’ and songs — wedding songs ‘Yor-yor’ and ‘Kelin salom’; ‘Alla’ lullabies; labor songs; charming songs used when milking animals and others.

Out of musical instruments, women have always preferred dutar, doira, chang-kobuz and etc. Even original local female performing schools have emerged.

Especially actively, women got into gear of arts and culture in the 20th century when such new trends of musical culture like composing creativity, musical performance, education and science were forming. A number of purely female folk and professional creative collectives like dancing ensembles ‘Bakhor’, ‘Tanovar’; vocal and instrumental ensembles of female dutar-players, variety groups ‘Sado», ‘Asal’, ‘A’lo’, ‘Fayed’ and others.

Such beautiful names as Tamara Hanum, Halima Nasyrova, Nazira Akhmedova, Hadia Yusupova, Fotima Borukhova, Zainab Palvanova, Saodat Kabulova, Berta Davydova, Kommuna Ismailova and many other women making up the pride of our musical and performance arts embellish historical pages of the Uzbek musical arts. Huge is their contribution to preservation and further development of traditional layers of the Uzbek musical culture and abrupt mastering of new genres and forms of modern culture.

At the beginning of the 21st century movement for the restoration of the national art started, and talented composers, musicians and singers let their voice be heard far beyond the borders of the Republic.

«Many people say that life entered the human body with the help of music, but the truth lies in the fact that life is music by itself», Hafiz wrote. One automatically recalls these wise words while hearing a folk song or a musical composition. Indeed, music makes a human being suffer or smile, grieve or enjoy himself.

Folk songs or makoms developing for centuries have embodied the spiritual power and beauty of the Uzbek nation: its precise mind, firm character and patience. «Listen attentively to the folk songs; they make up an inexhaustible spring of prettiest melodies depicting features of different people», Robert Schumann.

Musical heritage of the Uzbek people and local traditions do not imply only the richness and variety of genres, but the national musical performance, forms of music playing, including female vocal and instrumental ensembles.

It has almost clearly revealed itself both in the characteristic peculiarities of yallachi traditions typical of the Fergana Valley, sozanda in Bukhara and khalfa in Khorezm, when small female ensembles fulfilled a very important function of preservation and promotion of musical folklore, primarily, of the female singing and dancing genres.

Miyassar Razzakova

Rich variety of singing genres in Yallachi repertoire that produced sozanda and khalfa is characterized by the predominance of wedding, ritual and lyrical songs, qoshiq, lapar and yalla genres.

Usually two-three yallachas or sozanda make up a traditional ensemble whose performance is accompanied by their own playing doira. Following the tradition khalfa performers’ ensemble along with doira includes an accordion widely used in Khoresm since the middle of the 19th century. Khalfa repertoire along with songs includes passages from the folk and epic legends — dastans.

Dilorom Omonullayeva

Great role in preservation of samples of musical folklore, traditional rites and customs, dances and games is played by such female ensembles like ‘Guler’ from the Bostanlyk district of the Tashkent region, ‘Gavkhar’ from the Bektemir district of the Tashkent City, ‘Yor-yor’ from the city of Kokand and ‘Onahonlar» from the Rishtan district of the Fergana Valley and many others.

Creative work of folk singers and dancers, guardians and propagators of the national musical culture bears great ideological, artistic and educational importance. Their art reaches the hearts of the broadest circles of listeners and often turns out to be the factor of joining audience to the world of music. It is difficult to overestimate their role in the history of the Uzbek music. Besides that, emergence of the earlier unknown forms and genres of professional musical arts in many respects has been determined by their creative activity. Names of the famous performers, singers and musicians, their beautiful musical works live among the people and are loved by them. They were passing the baton of artistic folk traditions to the young generation of singers and musicians that continue the development of the traditions, among them — Rakhima Mazokhidova, Lazokat Nurymova and Oihon Khasanova. The folk wedding and ritual songs, lyrical and genre qoshiq, lapar and yalla accompanied with doira playing represent tradition in their repertoire. At the same time, these women headed the widely known female folk ensembles. They kept and brought back to life half forgotten and often lost songs that have regained their status of people’s heritage.

Female performance of makoms flourished in the 20th century. Creative work of Munojat Yulchieva, Maryam Sattarova, Matluba Dadabaeva, Nasiba Sattarova, Khurriyat Israilova and Zamira Suyunova has largely determined the ways of development of modern Uzbek makom art. Audiences in many countries worldwide applauded them.

Fazilat Shukurova (chang) and Malika Ziyaeva (dutar) continue development of the art of traditional instrumental performance. Their mastery provides for equal success of becoming proficient in diverse repertoire. Variety performance of such female duets like Komila Aminova (singing) and Malika Ziyaeva (dutar) are characteristic of modern culture of traditional performance. Their repertoire includes makoms filled with cordial lyricism.

Yulduz Usmanova

Uzgosteleradiocompany ensemble of dutar-playing girls unintentionally repeats the scenes of the traditional wedding or traditional holiday. Everything in this peculiar national «action» — songs, dances, dialogues, costumes and movements — is permeated with the wisdom and kind-heartedness of the Uzbek people. The People’s Artist of Uzbekistan, bastarkom Ganijon Tashmatov has restored the poetical and deeply sensible text of ‘devishnik’ scenes. At present, his pupil, Zamira Suyunova, continues these traditions. Ensemble’s repertoire includes local varieties of wedding ‘Yor-yor’ or ‘Omon yor’ conveying the nobility and purity of the Uzbek female procession and glorifying song.

«The artist must feel himself to be a part of the nation; he must also remember that his advantage is his ability to express feelings of the masses. Being the part of his nation and growing from the nation, today’s musician shall serve the public crier and prophet of nation’s aspirations, the mouthpiece of its dreams and expectations», remarked Zlotan Kodai, the greatest musician of the 20th century.

Profession of a musician performer is surprising and mysterious. The task of the artist seems to be simple — just to bring the author’s idea, fixed in the notation text once and forever, home to the audience. All or almost all are trying to fulfill the will of the composer accurately. However, the result is such that in the hands of one performer this text remains a dead letter, in the other hands it revives and turns into an exciting world of sounds. However, there are actors who serving the intermediary between the composer and the listener become creators themselves. Their unrepeatable individuality seems to merge with the author’s individuality and raise the music to a new and higher stage.

Many significant pages in the history of the vocal arts of Uzbekistan are connected with the names of Khalima Nasyrova and Saodat Kabulova.

Dibar Abdurakhmanova

They were equally talented on the opera and variety stages. Subtle feeling of national coloring distinguished their voices both in the opera parties (Gulsara, Maisara, Oikhon, and Dilorom) and in the songs of the Uzbek bastakors and traditional music genres. Singers of today’s generation continue their traditions. Talented Miyassar Razzakova demonstrates her mastership on the stage of the Bolshoi Opera and Ballet House named after A. Navoi. She has performed enough parties from the European opera classics and works of the Uzbek composers. Their diversity testifies for the wide scope of creative capacity of the singer.

Different performance specializations attach different requirements to the singers. One can imagine a talented instrumentalist or singer that does not possess rich life experience and artistic outlook. Sometimes natural capacities appear to be quite enough. Conductor’s profession is completely a different matter. It is impossible to interpret the greatest musical works produced by the human genius and lead the big creative organism without deep and multifaceted erudition. In this respect the contribution to the musical culture of the country made by Dilbar Abdurakhmanova, conductor of the Bolshoi Opera and Ballet House named after A. Navoi, who has accumulated huge interpretation experience of such musical pieces like the following operas: ‘The Queen of Spades’ (P.Tchaikovsky), ‘Khovanshchina’ (M. Mussorgsky), ‘Faust’ (Sh. Gounod), ‘La traviata’ and ‘Otello’ (G. Verdi), ‘Peter I (the Great)’ (A. Petrov), ‘Fiery Angel’ (S. Prokofiyev), ‘Storm’ (M. Ashrafi, S. Vasilenko), ‘Maisara’s Tricks’ (S. Yudakov), ‘Leopard from Sogdiana’ (I.Akbarov) and ballets: ‘Swan Lake’ (P.Tchaikovsky), ‘Spartacus’ A. Khachaturian, ‘Anna Karenina’ (R.Schedrin), ‘Don Quixote’ (L. Minkus), ‘Amulet of Love’ (M. Ashrafi), ‘Tanovar’ (A. Kozlovsky), ‘In the Valley of Legends’ (U.Musaev) and etc.

Severa Nazarkhan

Great is the contribution to the promotion of the Uzbek music and the Uzbek musical tools made by the head and conductor of ‘Sogdiana’ folk chamber orchestra Firuza Abdurakhimova, whose success was applauded by the connoisseurs of music in Holland, Spain, Germany, France and many other countries of the world.

Composing and musical performance creations are inseparably linked in Uzbekistan. It is particularly characteristic of the 20th century.

Composing creation of Uzbekistan formed in the middle of the 20th century has achieved great success during 50 years. We should not underestimate the contribution made by women-composers who work in any genre — from mass songs to symphonies and musical dramas that have enhanced repertoires of the theatres, orchestras and choirs, singers and instrumentalists. Their works are filled with modernity, its urgent problems, and at the same time, they preserve the traditional musical heritage. Thus, the works of Shakhida Shaimardanova relies upon the traditional Uigurian music.

Saodat Kabulova

Creative work of Dilorom Saidaminova gives much space to piano and symphonic music. Deep spirituality, embodiment of the most subtle inner feelings combined with the original and distinctive methods of composition make up the main characteristic of her works that are famous beyond the borders of our Republic. Dilorom Omonullaeva is very actively working in the democratic genre of songs. Melodiousness, sincerity and kindliness of intonations distinguish her variety works. Oidyn Abdullaeva, one of the first awarded with the State Prize named after Zulfia, represents the young generation of lady-composers. Talented composer, O.Abdullaeva, is famous for the theatrical and symphonic music. Her music nicely combines traditional and modern achievements. Eventfulness of almost every composer’s work is closely connected with the philosophic insight of the imaginary content and great dramatic powerfulness.

Musical characters are usually reluctant to their translation into a literary language. It is best seen in the textless instrumental music; the richer the image contents, the higher it is. Life of the music is in its performance. The trinity of ‘composer-performer-listener’ always and everywhere provides vitality and viability of the musical work.

Piano music is the art of Ofelia Yusupova. She has been involved in pedagogical and concert performing activity for many years.

She performed both solo concerts and with the accompaniment of the symphonic orchestra in a number of foreign countries. Her performance combines the high musical culture matching refined taste and high professionalism. Piano classics and, particularly, works of the Uzbekistan composers, make up the musical repertoire of Adiba Sharipova. By refining and perfecting her piano form, A. Sharipova enhances the musical piece with the attractiveness rooting from the depths of the musical material, from the spiritual, artistic and poetical essence of the performed works.

Irena Gulzarova

Modern musical palette of Uzbekistan simultaneously includes, on the one hand, traditional (folklore, oral professional music and bastakor’s creation work), and, the so-called, academic professional culture (composer’s creation work and performance) that preserves itself mainly in the intellectual and artistically aesthetic environment. On the other hand, we see the mass musical culture (pop or rock music and variety shows) actively penetrating all cultural areas during the last century. This calls forth the style diversity of contemporary socio-cultural situation at large. Artistic, and particularly, musical values undergo revaluation processes. During the last decade, a pop song has strengthened its position in the mind of the modern individual. Its main advantage is in its universal accessibility and lightness of the perception disregarding the age of the listener. Undoubted is the leadership of modern entertainment activity in the formation of musical tastes and passions of the listeners, especially when it concerns the youths.

A good pop song, ably performed shall always be a success. The famous Uzbek singer Yulduz Usmanova carries out broad concert activity within the country and beyond its borders. Her rich repertoire includes traditional songs — ‘Sanamghinam’; hymn and patriotic songs — ‘Hech kimga bermaimiz, Uzbekistoni’, and multiple pop songs of the Uzbekistan composers, as well as her own songs. Singer’s voice is one of the wonders of the world.

Shakhida Shaimardanova

Those who possess this gift can believe in their happiness. Yu.Usmanova is a happy woman as natural gifts and the destiny itself gave her the capability to develop the wonderful gift of singing in the people, to share the joyfulness of being a party to the heights of the arts. Charm, simplicity, lively voice, freedom and naturalness of stage behavior (hiding the tiresome preparatory work) fascinate the audience.

The older generation remembers performances of Luiza Zakirova and Rano Sharipova. Today, Nasiba Abdullaeva and the whole galaxy of other young singers are continuing their art.

Speaking about the music, one cannot but touch the school of musicology — the driving force of today’s musical culture. The scope of the topical interests, addressed scientific research and the highest professionalism distinguish the activity of such musicologists of the older generation like Yelena Romanovskaya and Tamara Vyzgo, followed by Karima Alimbaeva-Akhmedova and Natalya Yanov-Yanovskaya. Be it a fundamental research, a laconic article in the encyclopedia or comment to the collection, they all are characterized by actuality, vivid connection of a scientific problem with the challenges of the present.

Participants of the folk-lore festival

Performances of young violoncellists, singers and representatives of other specializations applauded during the international competitions in Italy, England, Austria, Germany, France, Russia, Korea, Kazakhstan and other countries have earnestly proved the progress of musical performance in their country. These applauses paid due to the whole system of musical education and training implemented in Uzbekistan, to the system providing talented people with the open road to mastery and improvement through availability and accessibility to the treasury of arts. Among those are the pianists — Madina Faizieva, Gulnara Alimova, Narghiza Alimova, Irena Gulzarova; vocalists — Anna Guzairova and Saida Mamadalieva; a singer — Sevara Nazarkhan; instrumentalists — Marina Sarkisova, Anastasia Yudenich, Narghiza Yusupova; Laureates of Traditional Performance ‘Shark Taronalar’ — Munojat Yulchieva, Nasiba Sattarova, Dilnura Mirzakulova and many others.

The art of feminine composers, singers and musicians will always serve the source of high artistic delight for many generations of performers and listeners.

Rustambek Abdullaev