Published in: Underground Music from the USSR, edited by Valeria Tsenova.
Amsterdam: Harwood Academic Publishers, 1997.
genug or not genug
EACH WORK OF ART, MUSIC INCLUDED, IS A MODE OF AUTOBIOGRAPHY. THE COMPOSER CANNOT reconsilE HIMSELF TO HIS MUSIC. MUSIC IS INFINITE; A COMPOSER HAS JUST TO DISCOVER IT.
THE SOLE TRUE CRITERION IN APPRAISING A PIECE OF MUSIC IS THE COMPOSER'S DESIRE TO BE ITS CREATOR. LUCKY IS HE WHO CAN ACKNOWLEDGE AT LEAST SEVERAL BARS AS HIS OWN.
ONE CANNOT BE SERIOUS IN APPRAISING ONE'S OWN ENDEAVORS. ONLY THOSE WRITE MUSIC WHO COULD NOT FIND IN THEMSELVES WILLPOWER ENOUGH TO GIVE UP THIS USELESS OCCUPATION.
ALL MUSIC HAS ALREADY BEEN WRITTEN.
Such an introduction seems to invalidate any attempt at drawing a creative profile or a composer since further discussion, no matter how detailed and argumentative it may be, would fail to add anything essential to the characteristics of his artistic personality. Or it should be equaled in its text to the notorious preface to The Picture of Dorian Gray, unfolding within the range of similar aesthetic poles from its initial phrase ("The artist is the creator of beautiful things") and its final line ("All art is quite useless"). And in this case it would be quite adequate to start the narration with the following lines borrowed from the same source.
"The studio was filled with the rich odour of roses, and when the light summer wind stirred amidst the trees of the garden there came through the open door the heavy scent of the lilac, or the more delicate perfume of the pink-flowering thorn."
For the obvious reasons we would not even venture undertaking anything like The more so as by the close of our century too many things have changed, begin with our environment to the self-sensations of a man living on this earth.
Vladimir Barsky: I have no doubt that there are two composers going under the name of Karayev. It is another point that the matter now involves the final outcome. In the ordinary human consciousness there exists a certain set of cliches on this matter such as: the nature seems to take a rest with the children, and scions of the great men could feel quite protected under the magic of their name. As for the reality, one has nevertheless to pass this road on one's own, without relaying on the accumulated experience, and finding the appropriate arguments inside oneself rather than from the outside...
Faraj Karayev: I have always regarded myself as a minion of fortune, since I was the son of the outstanding composer, Kara Karayev; I have been living in Baku and, by virtue of the circumstances beyond my power, could feel undoubtedly quite safe. On the other hand, one has to meet one's bills, and it often got me into a lot of trouble. I was invariably introduced to all as the son of Kara Karayev.... True enough, once during my talk with an old score copyist in Baku she asked me: 'Is your father's name Karayev?' I answered in the affirmative and got prepared for the usual question... But all of a sudden it came somewhat revised: 'Aren't you the grandson of Professor Abulfaz Karayev, the pediatrician?' I confirmed this fact, too. – 'You know, he used to treat me.' It was unexpected and pleased me very much. And for the second time, during my stay at the guest house for composers in Ruza I happened to catch the following phrase in a talk between two local cooks when one of them said pointing at me: 'Do you know who is this man?' I strained myself inwardly. But then she added: 'It is little Ashdar's dad.' The fact is that my son used to go there for his summer holidays when he was a little boy...
V. B.: Though the musical atmosphere in Baku in those years was quite conservative, your musical education seemed to be oriented from the outset onto the Western tradition, wasn't it so?
F. K.: During some period in my life it was so exclusively thanks to my father. His library and his erudition were just great. I remember how in 1951, when I was just eight years old, in our country house near Baku, taking precautions against seeing it be anyone, even by the other members of the family, he showed me the score of Petrushka and said: 'It is a work of a genius, 30 or 40 years later this music is sure to be played.' In those times it was quite a feat on his part, which left its imprint on my child's memory. When I started writing music at the age of ten or twelve, the range of my musical interests was confined to Mozart, Chopin, Scriabin, and the study of the period form and other fundamentals of the metier. Once my father called me into his study, got a pile of scores and said: 'In addition to the music you already know, there is something else.' Those were Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Ravel, Debussy, Casella, and Schoenberg... In 1957 we stayed in a country house near Kiev where Father was working for 15-16 hours a day, which was natural for him, on the orchestration of his ballet The Path of Thunder. He had a copyist who had arrived expressly for this purpose from Baku and who could not keep pace with him while I sat nearby watching all this. In this way I came to learn the purely practical attitude to the composer's work. While studying at the conservatoire I virtually never attended the classes in instrumentation. Besides, I had a remarkable tutor in harmony, Ella Markovna Nikomarova, who also taught me a lot. And not only from the viewpoint of harmony, but also as regards the sense of style and musical taste. This made the basis for developing my ability to play jazz, and many other things. During the years following my graduation from the conservatoire I learned quite a lot from my friend Oleg Felzer. Together we made two left-wingers, both acting as the number eleven, to use the football terminology.
Nevertheless, there was no full guaranty for leading a peaceful life. Following the premiere of my Sonata for Two Players, which took place in March 1977 in Baku, some sneaking person informed Suslov, the communist party chief ideologist, about an act of 'ideological subversion' committed allegedly by myself, demanding that this case should be duly 'investigated'. It was not so amusing in those days. The inertia of this wave was somehow stopped because it was quite faraway from Moscow, nearly two thousand kilometres...
When in the late seventies I set up a chamber orchestra at the operatic workshop of the Baku Conservatoire designed to play 20th-century music, all the repertoire problems were settled in the following way: a draft programme was sent to Moscow to my father on which he used to put down his approval, with no problems arising afterwards. But two weeks after his death a scheduled concert was cancelled in Baku. The rector of the conservatoire thus explained his decision: 'You are planning to play a composition by Oleg Felzer, and yours, there is no need to do it here. When you go on tour in Moscow, you can play whatever you like over there'.
V. B.: And how was your father taking what you were doing?
F. K.: Our relationship was not so simple, particularly during my first two student years at the conservatoire. I wished to do what I was unable to do yet, and he made me learn the fundamentals of the metier. But by the end of my third year at the conservatoire we found common ground. Sometimes for several months running we were not on the speaking terms because of the purely professional problems. Even when I tried to raise at home some point concerning my current compositional matters, I could get a curt reply: 'Tuesday and Friday at the conservatoire, no home lessons'. True enough, I changed my attitude to the educational process just before graduating from the conservatoire. And then he let me go and have a free hand. Upon listening to the recording of my Sonata for Two Players, Father asked me: 'What are you going to do now? Have you got any ideas?' I told him that I had some. 'Well, I hope so, ' he said just that. At any rate, he displayed neither negative response to my music nor attempted to guide me into 'a proper way'. I got the impression that Father believed in me, which was encouraging and very important to me. It was a real school of life that Father has taught me. Thanks to him I early came to realize in what way a true musician should work and what an honest attitude to one's own endeavors meant.
...One of my first encounters with Faraj Karayev's music was Goya, a film to which he had written the incidental score, produced in 1971 by the German film director Konrad Wolf. As early as then I glimpsed in it the polemic and paradoxical character of his inner perception of the reality. The subsequent years only confirmed this initial impression. This composer is constantly in motion, his music is restless and full of contrasts. The sensation of stability and serenity becomes quite an unattainable ideal hidden beyond the horizon. His compositions, irrespective of their instrumental cast in most cases present a certain scenic action whose characters walk about, quarrel and argue, they put down their instruments only to take them up again, then they play and shout, the members of the ensemble scan and cry out separate phonemes while the pianist beats the lower soundboard of the piano by a beetle...
One could treat Faraj Karayev's style as a customary manifestation of the avant-gardist mind and let its inner understatement be buried in some conventional notions. And yet, something in your soul resists such approach to his music. For a stereotype evolved within many years habitually fixes down a certain field of common aesthetic aspirations and the common foundations of style and techniques. But an incessant ramification of creative trends leads to formation of particular multidimensional musical soundscape within which the concept of "the avant-garde" could hardly be defined in any unambiguous terms. Therefore, the treatment of compositions written by some major representatives of modern trends emerging in the second half of this century as the avant-garde looks quite problematic. On the one hand, they seem to reproduce some definite archetype, passing through the conventional stages in their development as the avant-gardist composers – from the perpetual search for novel, uncommon devices through the expansion of the tangible horizons of the soundscape, up to taking an interest in the music of non-European cultures, conducting experiments with the musical time and striving for "autohermeneutics" and theoretical substantiation of their own compositions. On the other hand, aesthetics often differ from the reality whereas some concepts by their very nature imply in many cases not the elucidation of their meaning but obscurity and ambiguity. The avant-garde came to be replaced by the Post-avant-gardism and Postmodernism. The pace of time has got accelerated. To quote Sergei Averintsev, an eminent Russian writer, "our time calls itself by several names whose inner structure seems to be based on paradoxes. Post-modernism, post-industrialism, post-totalitarianism, etc. – all these word-formations sound like saying: after the end of the world, after the Judgment Day."
To my mind, a singular feature of Faraj Karayev's music and his style consists in that it represents something more than a purely musical phenomenon. His compositions invariably involve a certain wider artistic field embracing painting, literature, dramatic and plastic art. His creative work is rooted in the cultural sources past and present, with the aesthetic phenomena of the past to be easily identified in the modern artifacts: the poetry of René Char, Carl Sandburg, Edward Estlin Cummings, Nazym Hikmet, Jacques Prévert, Thomas Stearns Eliot, Giuseppe Ungaretti, and Ezra Pound; James Joyce's Ulysses and Samuel Beckett's Theatre of the Absurd, the paintings of Marc Chagall and Pablo Picasso, the films of Fellini and Antonioni, and the music of Charles Ives, Igor Stravinsky and Luciano Berio.
In my opinion, his early Piano Sonata No. 2 bears the hallmarks of Faraj Karayev's now well-established musical language. Within its quite conventional instrumental two-movement framework, representing a sample of sonata cycle widely employed in modern music, one can discern the theatrical imagery and tangibility of its "plot line" and dramatic collisions, which came to be so naturally developed in his later works.
The first movement embodies the idea of harmony and well-balanced proportions inherent in the truly beautiful world of stable spiritual values. The natural flow of the mutually complementing voices fill in the entire musical space. The logic of their development is aesthetically self-sufficing and significant. Like three Dorian Columns, the "vault" of its form is supported up by the chordal progressions in G-sharp minor arising at its outer facets-expressive of nostalgia for the "Golden Age" and an attempt at synthesizing the past and the present day.
The mood prevailing in its second movement is alarm, uncertainty and anxiety. The musical matter falls into separate "dots," "flashes," and "spots." Its aesthetic prototype – Webern's music – is transferred by the composer onto a different musical soil and mediated by the latest devices, which finds its manifestation in the invasion of rigid urbanistic structures of the middle section and the nostalgic reflections inherent in the recurrences from the first movement...
The initial period in Faraj Karayev's work could be defined in full justice as the "Sturm and Drang": the composer was looking for the relevant aesthetic sources, trying his hand at diverse genres, as if seeking his own "ecological niche," his own place in the musical world where his voice would not be lost in the intricacies of innumerable trends and styles. In his endeavors he relied on the experience of his great predecessors – Webern (Concerto grosso), Bach (Concerto for Piano and Chamber Orchestra), Scarlatti and Stravinsky (the ballet Kaleidoscope). He acquired the invaluable experience from his contacts with the theatre when he was writing his ballet The Shadows of Kobystan based on the Eastern tradition of musical thinking and embodying the idea that was to become most important to his further progress as a composer: the birth of man through the birth of an artist.
Yet, according to the composer himself, the first opus to adequately convey his vision of the world was his Sonata for Two Players, which had been conceived during his work on the opera Morning of the Third Day after Jean Anouilh's play. Lord Byron's following verses, used by the great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin as an epigraph to his poem Poltava, provided an additional impulse for his work:
The power and glory of the war,
Faithless as their vain votaries, men,
Had pass's to triumphant Czar
The score of this composition makes a kind of journey into the microworld of sounds, meditation, and an attempt to render the unrenderable, to embody the idea (in Plato's meaning) and to express its beauty and appeal adequately as possible in human power. The musical time seems to stop its run in this intransient world, with the artist just for a few minutes penetrating within its boundaries...
By the close of the 1970s Faraj Karayev wrote his vocal monodrama Journey to Love, the most uncommon composition as regards its conception and its acoustic and visual aura.
...On the stage you see a singer and an orchestra most uncustomary for our time – three grand pianos (the ordinary one, the electric and the prepared), accordion, vibraphone, bells, electric guitar, bass guitar, the percussion battery, flute, bass clarinet, and twelve strings (without the double-bass). Moreover, the performers constantly change their habitat, taking irregular seats and getting engaged in quite Brownian motion. The line of the solo voice intoning in the instrumental manner the verses by modern British, French, Spanish, Italian and Turkish poets (in the original language) is unfolding against the background of the carefully elaborated "scenography" of taped sounds (the murmur of the sea, the cries of seagulls, the howling of the wind, the rustle of grass, the honks of motor-cars, din and hubbub, and the recorded improvisations of the American Jazz organ-player Emerson and a melody from the mugham Segyakh, this mode of love, played on an Azerbaijan folk instrument). And the whole of this intricate fusion of the sounds associated with modern civilization and the voices of nature is interwoven into the eternal, albeit a sad narration about Romeo and Juliet, Tristan and Isolde, Pelleas and Melisande...
Interlude I (Journey to Love) *
* The verses in this section are recited in any order, not necessarily in conformity with the sequence they arise in Faraj Karayev's composition; they may be also recited against the background of the initial text recorded on tape.
Once upon a time there lived a lonely and unhappy man.
One wouldn't say that he was too unlucky in his life, but in real earnest he had only once a stroke of luck – he met a woman he had been looking for all his life, they lived together and he felt happy.
Within a very short span of time he came to realize that his current life was nothing else but an illusion, a myth he had created himself. Or to be more precise, it was just false.
The finale was quite predictable: all ended in a vile betrayal and they parted.
At first he took it very hard, feeling grieved and miserable.
But gradually he reconsiled himself to the idea that "you cannot lose what you don't have."
His contacts with this woman, for he was still unable to go without seeing her, were now confined to rare and chance encounters when two persons, once so close to each other, had nothing in common any longer.
Yet, at times he got very sad, feeling some bitterness tinged with insincerity from the life he has been leading now.
And at such moments everything went dark before him and he saw everything in the worst possible light, and the fact that this woman was not near him and his desire to see her merged together.
And in his innermost he puzzled at himself: how can one love so blindly.
* * *
In the early 1980s compositions for orchestra and for voice and orchestra, in some or another way associated with the name of Kara Karayev, predominated in Faraj Karayev's creative work. The symphony La Quinta del Sordo (Goya), written in collaboration with his father and based on the above mentioned incidental score to the film Goya, embodies the eternal collision of "the artist and the world" throughout his entire "hard road to cognition." His symphonies Tristessa I and Tristessa II may be viewed as a kind of cycle. The dramatic pattern of the first composition is built up on a confrontation of symphony and chamber orchestras, manifesting the perpetual struggle of goodness and evil, the beautiful and the ugly, the humane and the hostile to man. Correspondingly, the composition is noted down in two scores to be rendered by two conductors while the thematic material of the episodes in an extended rondo-like form, with their refrain coming to be second in importance, is made up of Kara Karayev's three piano preludes to be played by the conductor: B (Prelude in G-sharp minor)-A-C (Prelude in A major)-A-D (Prelude in C-sharp minor, either behind the stage or in taped recording).
Tristessa I, dedicated to the memory of "Father, Teacher and Friend" and subtitled Parting Symphony, has been preconceived as its world-famous predecessor: the orchestra players leave the stage while Kara Karayev's taped prelude remains alone on the empty scene with the curtain drawing back up to the sizes of the surrounding world wherein there is room for the intransient and the beautiful – for Music.
The next symphonic cycle written in the eighties is the serenade I Bade Farewell to Mozart on the Karlov Bridge in Prague (and its version, The year 1791, a serenade for small symphony orchestra). The dramatic pattern of this composition, similar to the one described above, is explained by fact that it was written shortly after the father's death and dedicated to Mozart's death anniversary. The thematic material of its outer movements (Prelude and Postlude) incorporates the newly orchestrated and transposed fragment from Lacrimosa, "submerged" into a more gloomy tonality. The central Chorale enhances the tragic tone of the composition while the bell measuredly beating the pace of time stresses the intransient character of its plot, moving already beyond the earthly time and space...
Faraj Karayev's Suite for string quartet In memoriam dedicated to Alban Berg, also belongs to that group of works in which the composer pays homage to the great musicians of the past. In conformity with the device used by this neo-Viennese classic himself, the tonal vocabulary of this suite is based on Alban Berg's personal motto (a-b|,-a-b|,-e-g) and mediated through the fragment of The Rhythm of Destiny from his opera Lulu, and quotations from his Violin and Chamber Concertos.
In the same vein was written the chamber concerto Alla Nostalgia for eight instrumentalists, dedicated to the memory of Andrei Tarkovsky. Its premiere took place in January 1990 in Switzerland (performed by the Soloists Ensemble of the Azerbaijan State Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Rauf Abdullayev, who had commissioned the composer to write this work). Its basic form-building element is a tritone to be used in one or another shape throughout its four movements.
In the first movement the tritone makes the basis of serial structure to form eventually a chorale that may be so defined only tentatively.
In the second movement the tritone stays motionless in somewhat paralysed state to dissolve then in the extended quasi-arpeggio chords of the third movement.
In the finale the basic idea seems concentrated as if summing up the previous development and representing a kind of epilogue-afterword of the entire cycle (see Example 1).
"This composition embodies mugham as an idea, as an emotion, as a perception of time, and, perhaps, as an abstract principle of working with melodic models. The individuality of the composer's tone is indeed impressive, for the national is fused here in full measure with his own style" (Tages-Anzeiger).
However, Faraj Karayev has been preoccupied not only with the past but also trying to correspond with his contemporaries, too. In his composition A Crumb of Music for George Crumb the following poetic lines of Emily Dickinson act on a par with the musical material, making its integral component and lending some mournful and mystical aspect to its general atmosphere:
If I shouldn't be alive
When the Robins come
Give the one in red cravat
A memorial crumb
If I couldn't thank you
Being fast asleep,
You will know I'm trying
With my granite lip!
This piece by Faraj Karayev provides a mixture of diverse expressive means lying quite apart from one another: the poetical theatre and "pure music" are presented in various combinations, producing the convincing artistic imagery.
"Faraj Karayev's A Crumb of Music for George Crumb copied the American master only in using special effects, whispered poetry, amplified breathing and the sympathetic resonance of the open piano. The Dorian flavour and the strong sense of evocation make it, in contemporary sense, a typically Russian product" (Independent).
Interlude II, or Instrumentation of Scriabin's Tenth Sonata
...with the profoundest veneration for Music, without losing the perception of the Personality, neither imitating, nor following in his footsteps, for "you cannot enter the same river twice".
He always remained his own self, and His line came to a tragic rupture together with his music.
Why the Tenth Sonata in particular?
As compared to the striking Ninth Sonata, it may seem just a draft copy, rather than composition chiselled in all of its parameters, "merely" an insight of a genius, "eureka" – like an uncut diamond discovered in the boundless diamond-placer of the richest deposit awaiting its time to be properly cut;
besides, it contains a great amount of slips as regards its voice-leading, texture, and notation – any yet, it is so easy to communicate with!
there is no need to cast bridges into the past, the present day is breaking in, it is still too far until the sunset, and the future is not so near at hand;
and with the profoundest reverence for the Personality, without losing the perception of Music...
V. B.: What ideas are predetermining your current work?
F. K.: Today I feel myself to be fully exhausted and in an intellectual vacuum. Nonetheless, I've lately completed a few pieces which are of major importance for me.
Fifteen Minutes of Music for the Town of Forst were expressly written for the piano duo Akif and Marina Abdullayevs, who played this composition on their tour in Germany. It is a short suite: the first piece lasts one minute, the second-two minutes, the third-three, the fourth-four, and the last fifth-five minutes. Conventionally speaking, Prelude, Canon, Interlude, Farce (a conglomeration of quotations from Beethoven, Chopin, et al, with the whole piece played on one pedal, fortissimo from beginning to end), and Postlude.
Der Stand der Dinge, written in 1990 on a commission of the Modern Ensemble, offers a certain projection of Webern's Five Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 10, ephemerally arising in the labyrinths of the orchestral texture and making up the core of the composition. In the process of playing the orchestra repeatedly falls into several self-contained ensembles: the string and wind quartets, a trio of brasses and strings, a duet of double-bass and bass clarinet, and so on. On a par with Webern's music, at times ringing but then invisibly existing exclusively in the conductor's mind, the musical texture is developing according to its own laws. The ensuing intricate complex of mutually penetrating structures at each new coil of development achieves a different quality, leading to a climax in its statement, which quite often fails to coincide with the culmination point in its dynamics. Such horizontal shift makes the musical form somewhat unstable, becoming still more dispersed owing to such episodes as the recitation of Max Frisch's prose and of Ernst Jandl's verses, an irrealistic funeral procession, and other similarly illogical interpolations in the spirit of the absurd theatre. The quasi-quotation from Kara Karayev's A Haunting Idea, a piano piece for children, which emerges in the first, third and, in a concise harmonic block, in the fifth movement, adds to all the above ambiguities inherent in this composition another unanswered question that could be unravelled by MUSIC alone. Anyone who finds quotations, or something else of interest, in my composition should not look for any hidden meaning behind all this and cherish any illusions. "You are looking the wrong way, for there is nothing hidden over there," to quote Khoja Nasreddin, the immortal hero of the Oriental epos.
"Karayev in this composition embodies the idea of spatial music reminiscent of Kagel's instrumental theatre. Snatches of words are hovering in the air, at a certain moment the entire composition, after a cradle song with its string flageolets, comes to a close. An Alpine dream? At any rate, an upside down world..." Achim Heidenreich (Die Welt).
Recently I completed quite a big composition, lasting for about 40 minutes, entitled Ist es genug?, which I believe needs no translation. It was written on a commission of the Schoenberg Ensemble of Amsterdam where it had its premiere on March 29,1993. This is a vast collage from my various on compositions, having not a single new note. You see, I was fifty last birthday, hence the question: is it enough or not? In this case it is not even a play of words (if we take into consideration Bach's celebrated chorale quoted by Berg in his Violin Concerto), just a question addressed to himself. In conformity with the conception the use has been made of many ideas underlying my earlier opuses, with a great amount of dedications summing up all of them in the quoted pieces.
This composition may well be entitled in some other way to convey more authentically my message, say, "An Attempt at a Self-Portrait with the Untouched Ear" or, perhaps, "A Profile of the Baffled Biography."
... Summing up the experience accumulated over many years in overcoming the fear of facing a blank sheet of paper.
... Revising the absurd conceptions and unwise ideas implemented in the earlier compositions.
... Prologue and Epilogue with five principal movements in-between, each movement representing a spiral, a motion deep down and inward; with clots of "pure" music discernible behind the chaos and phantasmagoria of quasi-meaningless structures...
... And each clot-postlude is a quotation while the entire composition presents an endless postlude concluded by the tragicomical outcome:
— Genug, es ist genug!...
And yet, I don't like the idea that all my best pieces have already been written...
V.B.: And what pieces do you regard as your best accomplishments?
F. K.: These are certainly my Sonata for Two Players, then Small Music of a Sad Night dedicated to my daughter, and the Second Piano Sonata, written many years back, the first after my graduation from the conservatoire. There are some pieces that I have no wish to ever listen to, though at times I can look through their scores.
V. B.: What ideas do you entertain today?
F. K.: I hope to write Es ist genug without the question mark, it will be my last composition. Besides, I would like to write a Violin Concerto and dedicate it to the memory of my mother. But it will hardly be in the nearest future.
V. B.: Do you usually write guided by your own urge, or your writing depends on the commissions you get?
F. K: For the last few years I have been writing mainly on commission, but not more than one piece a year, which is, in my view, not so bad if you have a valuable idea for at least one composition.
V. B.: Now you live in Moscow but go on teaching composition at the Baku Conservatoire, don't you?
F. K.: From time to time I have to cover two thousand kilometers to get to my alma mater... In Moscow it was Edison Denisov who helped me very much. Once I received a letter from him; it was, as far as I remember, in 1987, in which he wrote that upon listening to one of my recorded compositions he got convinced that my music should be played in the West-European concert halls and that he would do all in his power to promote it. And he kept his word. Likewise did Alexander Ivashkin and the Soloists Ensemble directed by Alexander Lazarev, and Rauf Abdullayev, who started performing my compositions throughout the world.
...es ist genug..,
...ist est genug?..
...genug! es ist genug...
...genug or not genug?..
...that is the question...
Faraj Karayev was born in 1943 in Baku, graduating from the Baku Conservatoire (1966) and completing a postgraduate course there (1971), studying composition with his father, Kara Karayev. His works have been repeatedly performed within the programmes of major music undertakings, both at home and elsewhere, such as: the International Ballet Festival (Paris, 1966), the Soviet-American Festival "Making Music Together" (1988), within the framework of the Kara Karayev International Music Festival held under the motto "20th-century Music" (Baku, 1988, 1990); "Almeida" (London, 1989), "New Beginnings" (Glasgow, 1989), "Alternative" (Moscow, 1989, 1990), the Prokofiev Festival (Duisburg, 1990-91), the Biennial in Berlin (1991), and the "Schonheit" – eine Utopie?" in Frankfurt (1991).
In 1979 Faraj Karayev set up the chamber orchestra at the operatic workshop of the Baku Conservatoire; since 1986 he has been Artistic Director of the Soloists Ensemble of the Azerbaijan State Symphony Orchestra. He has been one of the sponsors of the Kara Karayev International Music Festival.
Since 1966 Faraj Karayev has been teaching composition at his alma mater. He currently resides in Moscow.