UK première of Khojaly 613 by Pierre Thilloy moves a London audience - PHOTOSESSION

UK première of Khojaly 613 by Pierre Thilloy moves a London audience - <span style="color: red;">PHOTOSESSION
# 27 February 2013 20:40 (UTC +04:00)

The programme also included the Nizami Symphony by the Azerbaijani composer Fikret Amirov, the Schola Cantorum of the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School Choir, and Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater and Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus. Also on the programme was Sir Edward Elgar’s elegiac Introduction and Allegro for Strings, a multilayered symphonic poem, featuring polyphonic interwoven themes and a fragment of a Welsh traditional song. As an encore, the string orchestra performed a piece of meditative music by Laurent Petitgirard, written for a section of the film Ecrire contre l'oubli (Lest We Forget).

The centrepiece of the evening was the UK première of a moving new piece, Khojaly 613, composed by Pierre Thilloy, dedicated to the victims of the Khojaly tragedy, which received its world première in Paris on 21 February. The work was written for violin, balaban, percussion and string orchestra. Featured was the evocative sound of the balaban, an Azerbaijani wind instrument, performed by the internationally-acclaimed virtuoso Shirzad Fataliyev. The violinist was Sabina Rakcheyeva, the first Azerbaijani graduate from the Juilliard School in New York.

This outstanding work ably captured the horror of the Khojaly Massacre, featuring Azerbaijani folk tunes, including Lachin and Sari Gelin, set against a rich orchestral backdrop of military march rhythms and the sounds of conflict.

Writing about the piece, the composer said: “The Khojaly Massacre ranks amongst one of the most vivid and nightmarish visions in the collective memory of the Azerbaijani people, stemming from the dark, insidious Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that continues to harm an entire people.

“There is a mechanism, commonly called ‘memory’, which, far from providing vulgar pathos, is a bulwark against oblivion, and operates as a timeless sentinel of dignity. ‘Memory’ has always been a creative banner for composers and artists, who, beyond any political or revolutionary context, are able to remind others of milestones, troubled moments, and dramas, which touch the very depths of their soul.”

H.E. Fakhraddin Gurbanov, Azerbaijani Ambassador to the UK, said: “The tragedy happened exactly 21 years ago today. At that time, the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia was taking place, and we still remain at war, although a ceasefire was declared in 1994. The Khojaly Massacre was one of the blackest pages in the history of our nation. It is apt that this concert is taking place in a former church. Whether it is a church, mosque or temple, these are the houses of God. Human beings are the creatures of God, who gave us life, and only God has the right to take away life. Those people who took away the lives of these 613 people have never been brought to justice. International law forbids the killing of civilians, and this was a crime. Such terrible occurrences must never be repeated.”

Tale Heydarov, Chairman, TEAS commented: “The UK has been through two world wars, which were the biggest in the history of mankind, and Europe lost millions of people. Today, we see a stable Europe. Those wars have taught people a big lesson. Those people who committed crimes were brought to justice. This was not the case with the perpetrators of the Khojaly Massacre, which was a planned offensive against civilians.”

Christopher Pincher MP, Chair, Azerbaijan All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) continued: “All those who died were someone’s husband, wife, daughter, or son. The Nagorno-Karabakh war has a continuing impact. The great English philosopher Edmund Burke said that: ‘Those who do not know their history are destined to repeat it.’ We must never repeat the horrors of 26 February 1992. It is the responsibility of those who seek greater friendship with Azerbaijan to remember this, and to play their part in remembering the victims and ensuring that it never happens again.”

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