COMPOSERS: Azerbaijani Folk Music
WORKS: Anthology of Folk Music
PERFORMER: Various musicians
CATALOGUE NO: MEL CD 30 01639
There are moments when the Azerbaijan Music CD recalls the music of Chechnya – they share the lezginka dance – but on the whole it’s closer to the Orient. Azerbaijan’s Sufi tradition binds it to Persia and Turkey, and the modes of its mugams are cognate with the Arabic maqam; its oboe-like balaban has the same plangently flattened tones as its Armenian cousin, the duduk.
Thanks to Alim Qasimov and his friends, we are now more familiar with this Azerbaijani music than with the Russian folk songs, but it’s good to hear it as it sounded 40 years ago, before it had been touched by the outside world. Michael Church