Farhad Badalbeyli: "Best moments of my life happened in Moscow"


The Soviet and Azerbaijani pianist, composer, rector of the Baku Music Academy, founder of the Gabala International Music Festival Farhad Badalbeyli celebrated his anniversary in the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow on December 13. Before the concert, Vestnik Kavkaza asked the maestro several questions.

- Let me congratulate you on this wonderful concert and the upcoming anniversary. This is not your first performance in Moscow. Still, are you worried?

- It is very exciting, because the best moments of my life happened in Moscow - the years of study. And there were certain people in Moscow. Mstislav Rostropovich, with whom we were very close, has already gone. He is a native of Baku, he came to us for master classes, I played with him. It is gratifying that now Rostropovich Festival is held in Baku. It's very sad that Veronika Dudarova, People's Artist of the USSR, who I owe very many good concerts, and not just in Moscow, but also in Leningrad, is no longer with us. In Leningrad, we performed Gershwin for the first time. The Leningrad Philharmonic is very conservative, there were very intelligent old ladies serving as ushers. At first, they were displeased: "Gershwin is in Leningrad?" But after our performance their opinion changed - they like it very much.

We owe the Moscow Conservatory and the St. Petersburg Conservatory a lot. We owe both a piece of bread and our successes to the people who were the pride and glory of Soviet art, to our teachers. We remember it and never forget it.

- The program of the concert includes your compositions, for example Ave Maria. Do you compose a lot now?

- No. It's a hobby, I'm not a professional composer. When I came up with Ave Maria, there was an idea that the Christian and the Muslim could sing together. She sings a Catholic aria in Latin, and he - in Azerbaijani. In the end, both turn to the Virgin Mary, pray for peace. Ave Maria was performed in the Vatican, was a great success, because its idea was: that's enough fighting and shedding blood.

- Have you already decided how to celebrate the anniversary?

- I'll run away into the mountains, so that my numerous relatives will not tear me to pieces.

- You are an ardent fan. Next year, Russia will host the FIFA World Cup. Will you follow the events?

 - Of course. In 1968, when I won the first prize with Victoria Postnikova at the Vianna da Motta International Music Competition in Lisbon, I asked to be introduced to Eusebio (a Portuguese football player of Mozambique origin, Eusébio da Silva Ferreira, who played as a striker). I was taken to the stadium, I met him and was so happy that he gave me his T-shirt. So I'm looking forward to this football event.

- Are you working on something now? Do you have time for yourself?

- Few. I always ask students play etudes by Carl Czerny (an Austrian composer and pianist of Czech origin, considered one of the best piano teachers in Vienna - VK). I had to attend the exams. It was boring to listen to 30-40 Carl Czerny etudes in a row. Then, intentionally or not, I started to sketch vocal parts on these etudes. I came up with 15-16 good ones: chorus, arias, duets. Then I came up with a libretto, as if I had been fired, and Carl Czerny was appointed instead of me. Here is a plot. What is happening next? Then some careless visitor comes, a commission from the tax inspection comes... All this were for sketches with vocals. That is, the musical original was preserved. So we held an amateur concert party, all the students participated in it and were happy.

But that's very rare. I have a lot of work. This was more of a joke than creativity, but sometimes a joke makes a better art.