Behbudov's phenomenon

Talking about the creativity of Rashid Behbudov, the phrase “first” is used often. Rashid was the first to create the unique characters of Asger on screen, and Balash in opera. Rashid was the first and inimitable performer of a number of songs.  Rashid created a miraculous world called Song Theatre. Rashid travelled almost all over the world with Azerbaijani songs and personified native Azerbaijan in every corner of the world. Just utter the name of that person, and immediately the whole epoch appears in the mind. It was a phenomenon that will be perceived by each new generation.

We certainly are not empowered to stop that magnificent moment of our life by name Rashid Behbudov, but that phenomenon of our culture still lives in each and every one of us, because it was both beautiful and unsurpassable. Behbudov's phenomenon was, undoubtedly, in the fact that his musical thinking was absolutely in tune with the time. Musical tastes are changing. During each epoch, they change differently - sometimes by leaps, sometimes smoothly. Behbudov himself was the driving force, the inner power of those changes. His ear did not simply pick up the rhythms. He seemed to be permeated by the element of eternal motion, creating new tunes, new rhythms, and new musical visions. The leap, the jump he could make was ensured, first and foremost, by his adopting the national traditions. Just perceiving the past and making it his own, he succeeded in creating a model of Azerbaijani song in which that past, perceived and turned toward the future, became the reality of the new day. Behbudov's phenomenon was in the unique style backed by the personality of a great talent and charm. Usually the manner of performing is considered to take shape under the influence of the composer. In the case of Behbudov, the opposite was true.

His voice, his performance exerted huge influence on the musical style of Azerbaijani composers. Not without reason composer Tofik Gouliyev called Rashid Behbudov an implicit co-author of all the songs performed by him. It was the style of the performing, the inner artistry of the virtuoso, and the encyclopaedic knowledge of the musical folklore that had a great impact on our composing school.

No matter what was composer's musical vision of the song, on the stage there was only one author - Rashid Behbudov. And he managed to deliver the song into the heart of every listener. Just such an atmosphere of pure Behbudov songs surrounded Behbudov's all genuine triumphs.

Behbudov's phenomenon is in his success in creating the whole musical world, which is inseparable from us. Behbudov's voice, his artistry, aura of his individuality were directed toward some visionary world, and sometimes he seemed to be a jar or an agent that pored the enchanting music into our souls. He managed to combine things that might seem incompatible. His act of musical performance was so skilfully woven out of melodies of musical folklore, modern rhythms, and music of various countries that it kept the audience enchanted and fascinated. We all were under the spell of his performance, his voice, and his producer designs. This magic was able to make the audience burst into dancing excitement, to lull them by soft lullaby, or to carry away both to the world of classical romances and to art treasure of mughams and eastern poetry. There was everything - from tragedy to comedy, from oriental exotics to lofty ideals of genuine patriotism. That is why the play, the performance of his Song Theatre was absolutely unique. He never played at theatre as well as at pseudo-patriotism. His ego was so pronounced in everything he performed that whatever he did was natural and popular. Behbudov's phenomenon was in his astonishing capability to extremely keenly listen and hear.

To him a sound was the continuation of the silence, and in his music that continuation was really harmonious. It was the quaint combination of a sound and silence that he used while demonstrating to us the scope of the confession genre in singing. The ability to listen to silence was likely to beget his capability to get into contact, to establish a connection with any audience. Amid the incredible success and deafening ovation, he managed to adhere to his own inner melody, which guided him over the lifetime. It was its sounds to which he subordinated his mundane life. It was its spell and magic that make us follow his lead. It is this melody that captivates us nowadays too. Behbudov's phenomenon is in getting over all solidified, stagnant precepts and stereotypes. Fantastically intertwined in his works were the West and the East, Europe and Asia, national and international music. Having become a legend, yet he remained the same Rashid, the same "trader" Asker, and the same boy from Garabagh, who was able to open door-locks of any palaces, of any souls and hearts by the magic key of the Behbudov voice. He is one of the few creators who leaving us remain with us. Part of him will always live in each of us, in our children and grandchildren. The way mother's lullabies create the inner life of the children, Behbudov's magic voice, preserving as a code our entire musical heritage and our whole history, will be heard within us.