| | | | |
| | |

Observations by Clement Bailly – No. 2
Collaboration between Uzeyir (1885-1948) and Jeyhun Hajibeyov (1891-1962)

Email from Clement Bailly, grandson of Jeyhun Hajibeyli [brother of Uzeyir Hajibeyov], who lives in Paris. Posted on with permission from the author.

To: Betty Blair, Editor of Azerbaijan International magazine and, who lives in Los Angeles.

Issue: Researching the history of the Hajibeyov Family since so much was lost during the Soviet period and Uzeyir the composer was living in Baku while his brother, vehemently anti-Communist was forced to live in exile in Europe.

Occasion: Written a week after Clement’s return from his first trip to Baku on the occasion of the Azerbaijani World Congress meeting (November 9-10, 2001) to which Clement was invited as a guest from France.

Date: November 19, 2001
Dear Betty,

I have spent the weekend trying to sort everything out, writing down my first impressions of what I have experienced and documented in my notes and microcassette tapes from my visit to Baku.

Now I have to start all over again rewriting my Grandpa’s biography [Jeyhun Hajibeyli]. There are so many new documents and so many more to collect especially now that I know now where to find them.

Jeyhun’s Role in Uzeyir’s Music
There is now a big discussion in Azerbaijan about the collaboration between the two brothers - Uzeyir and Jeyhun. The version by the late Ramazan Khalilov [1900-1999] [former Director of the Hajibeyov Home Museum and assistant to Uzeyir Hajibeyov] seems still to be the “official” position. That is, that the brothers did collaborate on “Leyli and Majnun”. That the European style composition came from Uzeyir while the choice of mughams and text were suggested by Jeyhun. [During the Soviet period, Jeyhun’s role was rarely acknowledged because of his political involvement in the ADR (Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan) government that the Bolsheviks overthrew in 1920].

As for “Arshin Mal Alan” and some of the other operas that were written before 1918, Ramazan always insisted that Uzeyir did everything and just happened to mention Jeyhun as co-author because he loved his younger brother so much.

However, another version is being suggested by the Director of the State Archives. He says that the two brothers collaborated on everything. That Uzeyir did the music and Jeyhun wrote the text.

Last week, Pascale Hadjibeyli, the widow of my father Timuchin by his second marriage, presented me with a collection of letters of condolences that she had saved from the Azerbaijani community after Jeyhun’s death (1962). They confirm the second version of collaboration between the two brothers. I’m convinced that the second version is true and that Jeyhun was involved with more musical works than just “Leyli and Majnun.”

Arshin Mal Alan in Paris - 1928
My Grandpa managed to produce a version of the musical comedy “Arshin Mal Alan” in 1928 in France where it was performed by French vocalists. He even drew sketches for the costumes. These original drawings are in the Baku Archives. I’m sure that Grandpa did not travel to Paris in 1918 with the scores and text in his hand. [Remember he was there on a diplomatic mission as one of the representative of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR) and was never able to return when the Bolsheviks took over Baku in 1920]. I can’t imagine that he traveled to Paris in 1918 with scores and text in his hand. I think the reason he could produce this musical was that he knew everything by heart because he had been involved in its creation. The truth is hidden somewhere in Baku’s archives. I just briefly saw some of the files that were in the Russian language. There are hundreds of documents.

“The Caucasian Review” [published in Munich in the 1950s and which my father wrote about developments in Azerbaijan] should be checked, too. Audrey Aldstadt is starting a biography about my Grandpa, too. Betty, we are just starting.

[Additional comment on November 23, 2001: Nobody wants to know that Grandpa was the first anti-Communist. He started to fight the Soviets in 1920 in Paris and London.

Relatives Gather at Hajibeyov Home Museum
I have photos of me in Baku with relatives, but no photos of the last meeting where those 300 people showed up to surprise me at the Hajibeyov Home Museum. The Museum’s Director Saadat [Garabaghli] should have those photos. I have pictures with Rain [the jazz musician], too, in front of Maiden’s Tower. They took hundreds of pictures during those jam sessons [me playing percussion with Rain’s group] in the Jazz Club, too.

Ismayil Hajibeyov [composer and grandson of Uzeyir’s uncle] was at the gathering. Farhad Badalbeyli [Rector of the Music Academy and grandson of the sister of Uzeyir’s mother] must know exactly what has happened with the unfinished Cantata by Uzeyir called “Firuza”.

My brain is still boiling. I have a lot of handwritten documents by Grandpa Jeyhun. One is about my uncle’s death (Jeyhun Junior) in France during WWII. It’s so beautiful I have to translate it. It’s great poetry about life and death. He used to write down all his dreams, too, in small books. Incredible. Lots of work. They did a TV document about Grandpa’s life in Baku. Lider TV did it. Thank you again for this amazing and everything you are doing for AZ culture.

Amitiés. Take care.
Paris, November 19, 2001

PS. Everybody calls me “Jeyhun” in Baku!

| | | | |
| | |