The speech of the President of Azerbaijan Republic Heydar Aliyev at the evening devoted to the creative activity of the famous composer of Azerbaijan, Arif Melikov - State Art Museum named after Rustam Mustafayev, February 5, 1995

Dear Arif Malikov, I congratulate you for presenting these beautiful and interesting works today, and I wish you good health and success in your future activities.

The recent years have been very hard for our republic and our nation. However, even in these hard years our culture and art have flourished, and the talented and famous persons, who played significant roles in the development of our art, have demonstrated the Azerbaijani culture to the world. As an Azerbaijani I am proud of the achievements of my nation, irrespective of where I am. The success of our nation in art and culture is a source of proud for each Azerbaijani, who loves his motherland and nation. I am always proud of it.

Arif Melikov is one of the distinguished figures and composers. I have witnessed a great part of his creative way. I have always highly appreciated the music of Arif Melikov and always felt his devotion to his job, and I think that he is enriching the Azerbaijani art and music with his master pieces. Arif today has also gladdened us. Today he attracted us with his talent and music. Again I congratulate you with this successful evening devoted to your creative activity.

Creation of high level music, its presentation, of course, require great talent. Arif Melikov has such a rare talent. Besides his talent, his love for his art, his loyalty and diligence also give him an opportunity for creating such works. Introduction of such high level, professional, and complicated works to the people is difficult than writing them. Today I have seen very talented participants here. Miss Fovziya, who came to Baku from a long way, Rasul Abbasov, who played Arif Melikov`s work on violin with masterfully, and finally, the performance of our young Azerbaijani Araz Elses is a great event for me. No doubt, I closely know most of the Azerbaijani masters in art, and I am aware of their works. However, I meet these performers here for the first time. That`s why, I also congratulate them and those who have performed Arif Melikov`s works on piano and on other musical instruments.

We have a significant event today, the evening devoted to the creative activity of Arif Melikov is held on birthday of a great and immortal composer of the Azerbaijani nation Kara Karayev. I think that this evening probably has been devoted to the birthday of Kara Karayev. I remember the music of Kara Karayev with great respect and esteem. In my youth we were friends with Kara Karayev. We were very close friends. It is true that our professions were completely different - he was composer, musician and an art master, and I was interested in politics since my youth. However, it is known that I always loved art and respected it. Beginning from my youth, I admired Karayev`s art and respected his intellect. Later, in the years when I headed Azerbaijan, Kara Karayev head the Union of Composers of Azerbaijan. Not only because of it I closely contacted with him, but also he was a great composer, and I was following his art. I did my best for the acknowledgement of his activities. Today we are celebrating Kara Karayev`s birthday. I remember well his 60th anniversary. We celebrated it together, and I participated there with great pleasure. Today with I can say proudly that I proposed Kara Karayev was being awarded with “Gold Star”, the highest award in the Soviet Union. We celebrated Kara Karayev`s anniversary in Baku, then in the grand hall of the State Conservatory of Moscow. That`s why, I especially went there. Unfortunately, on that night, his health did not give him a chance to be there. His wife Tatyana and members of his family were also there. Great men of the Soviet art and culture were also there. The head of the Union of Composers of the USSR Tikhon Khrennikov made an opening speech there. The Minister of Culture Pyotr Demichev and the first persons of the state were also there. Of course, these are memories.

Unfortunately, we lost Kara Karayev, he left this world. As a friend, as a person who appreciated his art, and also as the head of the republic I carried the corpse of Kara Karayev on my shoulders. I had never made a speech in funerals, but in the funeral of Kara Karayev I made a speech at his grave. Prayed for him.

I always took care of this family. While I was in Moscow, I talked on telephone to Tatyana. However, you know that later, I was respressed, I needed care. As a result, we lost our contacts.

I tell these words, because today is the birthday of. While I worked in Moscow, I told this among the people at the top of the state, and again I want to mention that Kara Karayev was one of the greatest composers of the world. In those times, we were measuring everything with Soviet Union`s scale. For me, Kara Karayev was in the second after Dmitri Shostakovich in the Soviet Union. Kara Karayev had been a student of Shostakovich. Again I want to say that this is a great pride for us.

The Azerbaijani music, especially the professional music, has a long history. The school created by Uzeyir Hajibeyov has given a lot of prominent composers, musicians, and men of culture culture to the world. Kara Karayev, Fikrat Amirov, Niyazi, Jovdat Hajiyev, Afrasiyab Badalbayli, and Arif Malikov, were the students of this school.

No doubt that everyone has his own genre of music. The music of Arif is a professional music, a classical music. The Azerbaijani classical and professional music, the first examples of the professional and classical music in the Orient and in Azerbaijan they have been created by our composers. Founders of this school were Uzeyir Hajibeyov and Muslim Mogamaev.

In those times - in the 1920s-30s, even in the 1940s -in some republics of the Soviet Union, there were famous composers. One of them was composer Gliyer who worked in Azerbaijan, and wrote an opera about the Azerbaijani life. In the Central Asian republics, Gliyer and others created professional music for those nations. However, in Azerbaijan the music school created by Uzeyir Hajibeyov in the beginning of our century brought up great composers. The activities of this school continue today. The young generation is growing and drawing the attention. I hope that in future, we shall again see great composers. Among the composers, Arif Melikov occupies a special place both in the past and present.

 Arif`s ballet “The Legend of Love” is demonstrated in professional opera and ballet theaters all around the world. Such master pieces popular around the world are few and rare. Just Arif reminded me. Probably in 1986 there was a big event. At the end of that event Arif Melikov`s “The Legend of Love” was played on the scene of Grand Theater by Yuri Grigorivich on the occasion of the opening of the new season. The top officials of the Soviet Union were there, and I was among them. A group of them and I sat in the lodge of the Grand Theatre. Imagine how I was happy for that in Moscow, in the capital of Russia, on the scene of the historical Grand Theatre, in such a great event, in the opening of new the season the “The Legend of Love” by Arif Malikov was played. I was happy, proud of it enjoy. We sat side by side and they turned to me several and congratulated me. I also expressed my gratitude to them. Finally, after the spectacle, Arif Melikov with Yuri Grigorivich was invited to the scene. We applauded and congratulated them. I have more such memories.

Arif talked about our meetings, but did not tell the most interesting one. I always give special attention to men of art and musicians. I remember them, I was meeting them regularly I felt that their relations were strained with each other , and I was trying to ease the tension. If one of them was coming to me, I was telling him that a colleague of him had come and praised him. You know that the talented people are always strange. They are not ordinary, if they were, they would have not been talented. Each of the talented people has his own characteristic feature. A politician, a head of the state like me should know their character and talk to each in his own language. He should try to establish good and kind relations among them. I was trying for this. We repeatedly were gathering, sitting, and talking.

In 1973 I decided to invite them to the summer residence in Zugulba, and spend a day with them. I invited the late Kara Karayev, Fikrat Amirov, Afrasiyab Badalbayli, Jahangir Jahangirov, Soltan Hajibeyov, who came with their wives. Tofig Kuliyev, Arif Melikov, and others were also there. All day we talked, discussed music. I remember that Tofig Kuliyev and Niyazi played on piano. We talked a lot. I think that it was a great meeting. Then the relations among them improved a lot. New compositions were created. I can say to you that the late Fikrat Amirov`s “The Arabian Nights” is very beautiful and the harvest of that year. Among them are also Kara Karayev`s latest compositions.

Then we were meeting with Arif Melikov. Seven-eight years ago I did not knew that he was also an artist. However, he did not show me his paintings. Recently he promised me to show his paintings. Now I have looked at them, and understood that not only in the field of music, but also in this field he has a great talent. I congratulate Arif on this occasion,too.

In these hard periods of life it is very difficult to compose music, especially symphonic, professional, and complicated music. Arif could do it. As he said, he sleeps less - it is not good - but works much. It is necessary for our nation. Arif has recently presented his seventh symphony. My dear friend, Professor Ihsan Dogramachi is a person who takes care of the Azerbaijani music. He conducted an opening ceremony of the first performance of Arif Melikov`s seventh symphony in Bilkent, and did it very well. I congratulated him. I invited Ihsan Dogramachi in March, we shall meet him. Probably, Arif Malikov will present a new piece in that meeting. Arif Malikov is a national resource. I tell it without exaggeration and resolutely. We should preserve and take care of him. His opportunities are very high. Arif should continue his activities. Indeed, he also lives with these feelings. Our today`s meeting, this evening devoted to his creative activity will inspire him and he will create new master pieces.

I also congratulate the admirers of Arif Melikov, who have gathered here to this evening. I welcome all of you, and wish you happiness. Arif, again I congratulate you, and wish you successes.