Internet Site “Murmanski Vestnik” (The News of Murmansk). Russian Federation. 20.07.2013
Author: Tatiana Britskaia
Because of a huge size of the present article, we decided to upload to the Web site the translation of only important parts from it, – The Ensemble “Rustavi” Administration.
This time, we got a chance to listen to the legendary academic Ensemble “Rustavi” “live” in a small town Forde, situated in the western part of Norway, where the vocal group arrived at the music festival.
The incredibly talented
Legendary Anzor Erkomaishvili, the founder and permanent artistic director of the “Rustavi” (the ensemble is already 45 years old), assures us that he isn’t strict in relation to his pupils at all.
There is a very big competition in the group. If, as a result of any reason, there appears a vacancy there, the conservative boys stand in line. Though, there is very little conservatism there.
There are as many songs as the singers
Mr. Erkomaishvili’s dynasty sings for 300 years already. Personally Mr. Anzor Erkomaishvili, – is a representative of the seventh generation of the singers. And not merely of the singers, but also of the people, who carefully collected and kept unique songs during the centuries.
The songs performed by the “Rustavi” sounds authentically. The maestro states that in fact during the last one hundred years, they didn’t change as the language. Though, the Georgian melodies are distinguished for their improvisation, and each performance, to some degree, is unique.
Rehearsals in “Rustavi” – the vocalists and the dancers (in total the ensemble – this is about 70 people) – are every day. The group of the singers practice three hours every morning. Frankly speaking, I assumed that in the mornings the vocal chords “sleep”, but the secret here is in the fact that the rehearsals are held in a low voice. And only after the song is properly elaborated, the master lets them “raise the voice”.
Especially interesting is the fact that the Georgian polyphony is sung not only in its motherland: Several years ago Anzor Erkomaishvili taught this art even to American and Japanese singing groups. As Mr. Erkomaishvili tells us, they sang well, but “not so as the Georgians.”
The head of the ensemble shares with us: last spring, after a tragic death of one of our soloists, we were forced to invite two singers at a time as the singer who died in the accident had a very special voice that enabled him to perform the songs of different parts of the country.
Georgia – is a special civilization, assures us Mr. Erkomaishvili, and, while speaking with him, you are being convinced in that with great pleasure. Since the very arrival of the “Rustavi” soloists, singing at the hotel hasn’t stopped. At first, you could hear tunes, that were followed by their appearance – handsome, dressed up in capes with daggers in their belts of course.
What can I tell you, they sang even in the swimming-pool, where the participants of the festival had a rest between the concerts. When “heavily suntanned” guys from Senegal who were nearby in the water caught the melody, they tried to imitate the rhythm through striking their palms on the water. That was a complete international harmony. Though, the vocalists ceased singing from time to time in order to demonstrate some jumping into the water for the arrived company of women… And, of course, put down the applauses. In a word, they are – the Georgians.
Though, this is not the first time that “Rustavi” arrives at “Forde Festival”, it still manages to amaze the audience gathered from all over the world. The first concert was held in a local Kirche (Lutheran church) at midnight. Beyond the wooden walls, the torrent of heavy rain flooded the town, but in the shadow of the altar they sang quietly and sweetly.
For instance, the Georgian chants differ from the music of other Orthodox Churches of the world. And there is the Erkomaishvilis’ great merit in the maintenance of them. Mr. Erkomaishvili’s grandfather was the best master of Georgian chants. He knew more than two thousand works by heart. He didn’t reveal all this in the period of fighting against Christianity. But in the sixties, before passing away, he decided to record them. Though, there was already no one to sing the Georgian chant polyphony with: Erkomaishvili – the senior, by that time was the only master who had appropriate knowledge. And in spite of that, he managed to transfer to the film of a tape-recorder a bit of the church hymns, that he kept in his mind.
The second Norwegian concert held at dawn, in the town washed out from the heavy rain. They were waiting for the audience in open-air, on the roof of a local art gallery, though they turned the concert performance to breakfast, when they seated the artists and the guests side by side at the tables. Wine was poured into glasses, flowers were blooming in scarlet, they were treated with fresh vegetables and hot pies. And you could hear standing toasts. Oh, how well said them a tenor Merab Samkurashvili, handsome and smart! After that – they sang. Suitably, with pleasure – so that it really seemed the part of the civilization, the name of which is Georgia, as the Georgians call their motherland, reigned here, in the extreme north of Europe.
Close your eyes – and you will see
Anzor Erkomaishvili remembers how he brought “Rustavi” over here twenty years ago. A hearty welcome, brilliant society – they have a strong willing to arrive again. And they are ready to return even this fall, – even with the whole group, or with the vocalists. The “Rustavi” seldom performs with microphones – the head calls them “chemistry” with antipathy, he prefers live voice.
Goderdzi has a rare voice. You could hear his velvet, mild bass in Tbilisi Opera House before. Mr. Erkomaishvili explains: the repertoire of the ensemble is always formed around the soloists:
The stars, the sky, the sea – all this is easily felt in their wonderful songs. So it is absolutely unnecessary to define about what are the songs.
Their music, as the singers by themselves, emits such sunny charm, such love to the life, that can heal any grief and sorrow. For instance, I can tell you about medicines that in the repertoire of the “Rustavi” there is something special – healing songs. They have been performed since old times by dads to their sick children.
Until you hear the “Rustavi” ’s songs, you can easily forget any grief and sorrow.