Speech of Heydar Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan in the ceremony devoted to the 110th anniversary of the great Azerbaijani composer Uzeyir Hajibeyov - the Republican Palace, September 18, 1995

Ladies and gentlemen!

Dear sisters and brothers!

I sincerely congratulate you on the 110th anniversary of Uzeyir Hajibeyov, a national holiday, a holiday of culture and music of Azerbaijan.

With his extraordinary talent, perfect education, intellect, patriotism and socio-political activity, Uzeyir Hajibeyov was one of the most prominent persons of our people.

Born in Agdjabedi, one of the beautiful places of Azerbaijan, educated in Shusha and Gori, inspired by the environment of Shusha, graduated from the conservatory of Saint Petersburg, Uzeyir Hajibeyov lived a glorious life and held an eminent place in the history of Azerbaijan.

Being very talented in his childhood Uzeyir Hajibeyov learned our history, the history of our culture, our music. Profiting from the said and of the great music of the Azerbaijani people, he wrote his opera "Leyli and Majnun" and introduced it to the world at the age of 22 and was recognized as a prominent composer.

The history of opera in Azerbaijan starts with "Leyli and Majnun". The theatre in Azerbaijan founded by Mirza Fatali Akhundov, has a great and rich history. The founder of the Azerbaijani opera was Uzeyir Hajibeyov. Thanks to his inexhausting activity, the art of opera and ballet developed in Azerbaijan, we have our theatre of opera and ballet today

Later Uzeyir Hajibeyov wrote nice and valuable musicals, gained his fame thanks to his operettas "Arshin mal alan", "O olmasin, bu olsun". He dedicated the rest of his activity to the development of the Azerbaijani music and culture. Uzeyir Hajibeyov made his first step with "Leyli and Majnun" based on the poem by the great Fuzuli. He benefit from mugham, folklore and national music of Azerbaijan. He put onto note the pieces of the Azerbaijani music existing for many centuries, conducted the Azerbaijani symphonic orchestra.

The history of Azerbaijan is rich in culture, science, literature, architecture. We have great men-of-letters like Nizami, Khagani, Fuzuli, Nasimi, Vagif and others. The Azerbaijani people has an ancient architecture and painting, it made great contributions to the treasury of the world civilization.

One of them is famous Uzeyir Hajibeyov, who wrote the musical compositions which became popular world-wide; he systematized the Azerbaijani music and introduced it to the world. As a writer, publicist, scientist, teacher, philosopher and social figure, Uzeyir Hajibeyov dedicated his entire life to the development of our culture and music, to the education of our people.

After the establishment of the first democratic republic in Azerbaijan in 1918, Uzeyir Hajibeyov took an active part in the socio-political processes then. As a prominent figure, he influenced the ongoing processes and made efforts to raise the self-identity of the nation.

He worked and acted for the development of the Azerbaijani Democratic Republic and its territorial integrity. His recommendations and advices to the Azerbaijani delegation (his younger brother Jeyhun Hajibeyov was also a member of that delegation) going to the Versailles conference, prove it. Hajibeyov served as editor-in-chief for the newspaper "Azerbaijan", the main government newspaper of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan.

Later he always participated actively in the public life of Azerbaijan. He made efforts for the literacy of the people, development of the culture. The establishment of musical schools and higher musical education, development of art in Azerbaijan are connected with his activity.

Uzeyir Hajibeyov contributed to the birth of a number of composers in Azerbaijan. I can say that he was the first composer in the history of Azerbaijan. The next generations of composers who wrote new musical compositions, were his students and inspired by his works.

The works by Uzeyir Hajibeyov are important from musical, as well as socio-political and moral point of view. Freedom of man, moral purity, sincerity, kind relations among people are praised in his compositions, such as "Arshin mal alan", "Meshedi Ibad", in his opera "Koroglu". One of the main features in the creative activity of Uzeyir Hajibeyov is that he created and invented the themes of all his works, including his musical works himself. Humanist feelings, thoughts on freedom, pure love described in the poem "Leyli and Majnun" by great Fuzuli inspired Uzeyir Hajibeyov to create such a great opera. It has been staged for 87 years; we are sure that it will live for centuries.

In his operettas, the goal of Uzeyir Hajibeyov was not only to please the people with wonderful music or make them laugh. His aim was to criticize the negative features of our people, such as inertia, illiteracy, negative customs of the past, as well as to open the eyes of the people, to lead them forward, to raise the culture and improve the morals of our people, with the help of music - by his influential music. Undoubtedly, the music influenced the people more than anything.

By the way, I want to express my opinion. Each art work influences people positively, makes a great impact on the formation, development and improvement of the cultural level of them. But the influence of music is more than others. Taking into account that at the beginning of our century the most of our people were illiterate and there were few books, no television and other means, then imagine how greatly Uzeyir Hajibeyov contributed to the moral and cultural development of the people with his operettas and music.

In his works, Uzeyir Hajibeyov praised freedom of man and opposed tyranny and despotism. The use of the great epos "Koroglu" by the composer was a great event in the history and culture of Azerbaijan.

The epos of "Koroglu" has passed the centuries up to now. It always called the people to heroism and bravery, to struggle for freedom and against oppression. Everybody liked it, because it contains significant thoughts on life, future of people. The creation of the opera by Uzeyir Hajibeyov and introduction of it to our people, the entire world more effectively were a revolutionary event in our culture. Uzeyir Hajibeyov was a composer, musician, publicist and scientist. When celebrating his anniversaries, we always illuminated these features of his activity.

With great pleasure I want to say that I was one of the organizers of the anniversaries of Uzeyir Hajibeyov. He is never forgotten by our people. He was loved in his life and after his death. Our people always loved him, benefited from his works. Thus, we celebrate his birthday every year.

I remember the 90th anniversary of Uzeyir Hajibeyov. In 1975 we celebrated it in Azerbaijan, also in other republics of the Soviet Union. He was the first cultural figure in Azerbaijan whose house was made a museum. It was 20 years ago - in 1975. We all are satisfied with the service of this museum to our culture. Since its establishment, this museum has been directed by Uzeyir Hajibeyov`s close associate Ramazan Khalilov. For his merits, I signed a decree on awarding of Ramazan Khalilov with a high order of Azerbaijan "Shohrat".

Ramazan Khalilov is a lucky person. At the age of 95, he is still active. He was Uzeyir Hajibeyov`s associate, his symbol, his sign for us. He is very dear for us. I suppose that we`ll celebrate his 100th anniversary.

In 1985, the 100th anniversary of Uzeyir Hajibeyov was solemnly celebrated in Azerbaijan, as well as in Moscow, capital of the Soviet Union. In the ceremony in Moscow, the representatives of all the republics of the USSR delivered speech, telling their memories about Uzeyir Hajibeyov. We all felt proud when we listened to them, when we heard what they said.

Today we are celebrating the centenary of Uzeyir Hajibeyov. I am happy that I led the organization of the 90th, 100th and 110th anniversary of the composer.

The works of scientists about Uzeyir Hajibeyov and the speeches delivered in the anniversary ceremonies were mostly dedicated to his musical activity. That`s why mostly musician, musical experts and composers made speeches in these ceremonies. It is the first time that President of the republic delivers a speech in the anniversary of Uzeyir Hajibeyov. It is not accidental. Because Uzeyir Hajibeyov was not only a composer and musician, but a great scientist, philosopher and enlightener as well. His works, activity played a great role in the revival, in the rise of self-consciousness of our nation. The Azerbaijani people, especially the youth understand how dear the motherland is, being influenced by his works.

Uzeyir Hajibeyov was a great citizen. During the hard period of the first independent republic of Azerbaijan in 1918-1920 and also later his activity was great, his merits are undeniable.

From history we know that Uzeyir Hajibeyov lived under the rule of three states. He was born in Azerbaijan, part of the Tsarist Russia. Later the democratic republic was established in Azerbaijan in 1918, which existed nearly 2 years. Afterwards the Soviet government was established in Azerbaijan whch lasted till 1991. Despite the three administrations, Uzeyir Hajibeyov always served his people. He served his country faithfully, no matter which government ruled the country.

In the past, Uzeyir Hajibeyov was talked about, only his works, his social-political activity before 1920 was not mentioned. Sometimes it was secretly said that his membership of the Musavat government must be hidden.

Later he lived under the Soviet rule from 1920 till his death in 1948. That period was also productive and important.

After the change of the political system in our country, it is not necessary to hide the other periods of his life. Uzeyir Hajibeyov lived his entire life as a prominent person of the Azerbaijani nation. He always served his people, led them, used all the opportunities, despite the system he lived in.

We should evaluate the life and activity of Uzeyir Hajibeyov as a whole. After 1920 culture flourished, people became educated in Azerbaijan; Uzeyir Hajibeyov played a great role in the development of our culture.

Uzeyir Hajibeyov introduced to the world the opera "Koroglu" in 1937. I declare again that it was a revolutionary event in our history. The culture of Azerbaijan was represented by "Koroglu" in Moscow. Uzeyir Hajibeyov was applaused in the Kremlin Palace. It was s historic event which can`t be forgotten.

During the Great Patriotic War in 1941-1945 Uzeyir Hajibeyov wrote nice songs, marches to inspire patriotism, made his efforts for the victory over fascism, even sent a plane, which he had bought, to the front. That was Uzeyir Hajibeyov.

He took part in the socio-political life of Azerbaijan at the beginning of the century, then in 1918-1920, also in 1920-1948. Uzeyir Hajibeyov was a member of the parliaments of Azerbaijan and the Soviet Union. We should not forget that he belonged to our nation with his life and activity.

One of the greatest services of Uzeyir Hajibeyov is the national anthem of Azerbaijan. Later it was replaced by the anthem of the Soviet Azerbaijan, also written by Uzeyir Hajibeyov. After the independence of Azerbaijan, our beloved anthem written by him in 1919 was restored. It is the history of Azerbaijan. They all are stages of the life and activity of Uzeyir Hajibeyov.

Every day of his life, every work written by him are valuable for us. So is his entire socio-political activity. Because he served to the revival of the Azerbaijani people, the development of our culture. These services are incomparable.

Therefore, the heritage of Uzeyir Hajibeyov is the national treasure of the Azerbaijani people. He is our national pride.

Uzeyir Hajibeyov spent his youth in Shusha, a sacred city for every Azerbaijani. He always struggled for the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Reading his articles written in 1918-1920, you can think how actual they are for the current period, too. The situation that emerged then, is watched now: the aggression by Armenia against Azerbaijan, the attempt to occupy our territories, defense of our country by patriots. Uzeyir Hajibeyov did all his best. Pursuing the way of the people like Uzeyir Hajibeyov, we try to maintain the independence and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.

There was a house-museum of Uzeyir Hajibeyov in Shusha where he spent his youth. Perhaps some people have visited it there. I have visited it several times. Monuments to Uzeyir Hajibeyov, as well as to Bulbul, Natavan were erected in Shusha.

In May 1992 Shusha was occupied by Armenia. A lot of cultural monuments were destructed. The monuments to Uzeyir Hajibeyov, Bulbul and Natavan, holed by fire were rescued from captivity and brought to Azerbaijan via Georgia. Now they are demonstrated in the Museum of Art. Our enemies which couldn`t shoot Uzeyir Hajibeyov personally, fired at his monument. These are hard events for us. But it proves how savage the Armenian occupants are.

But they should know that their bullets can not shake the heritage of Uzeyir Hajibeyov, Bulbul and Natavan, they should know that they can not shake the spiritual valaues of our people. They should know that Shusha can not remain under occupation eternally.

Celebrating Uzeyir Hajibeyov`s anniversary today, we can confidently say that his heritage will live and the places where he lived, will become places of pilgrimage. We are sure that the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, Karabakh, as well as Shusha will be liberated, the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan will be restored.

There is a ground for it. The ceasefire regime between sArmenia and Azerbaijan has been goingon for sixteen months. We try to libearate our territories and restore our territorial integrity peacefully. The measures taken, the activity of the international organization, our activity within the frames of international organizations and our policy prove it.

The superpowers, the international organizations try to solve the conflict peacefully within the frames of the Minsk Group. I am sure that they will increase their efforts. Because aggression, separatism can not be supported. If there is justice and international norms, then we are right and will achieve the solution of the problem.

Uzeyor Hajibeyov`s works always call for patriotism. If we remember him, evaluate his heritage, then we must cultivate the feelings of patriotism and prepare the youth for the future.

We must solve the problems peacefully. With the will of the Azerbaijani people we must liberate Shusha, Karabakh and other occupied territories. With the bravery of our heroes, the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan will be restored.

With these dreams and thoughts, I wish the Azerbaijani people happiness and success. We all bow to Uzeyir Hajibeyov with respect. With my respect to him, I call our people for unity, bravery and patriotism for sake of Uzeyir Hajibeyov`s heritage, our culture and our spiritual values. Thank you!