Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Zakaria Paliashvili

Zakaria Paliashvili was a composer from the nation ofGeorgia. He is regarded as a founder of Georgian classical music.As a young boy he sang in a choir and learned to play the organ in the St. Mary Catholic Church of Kutaisi. His first tutor was his brother Ivan, who later became aconductor. Paliashvili moved to Tbilisi in 1887 as a chorister in the St. Mary Assumption Catholic Church of Tbilisi, eventually entering the music school there, studying French horn and composition.
Paliashvili composed works for symphony orchestra (e.g., Georgian Suite on Folk Themes), but is probably best known for his vocal music, which includes choruses and songs.

His father, Petre Ivanovich Paliashvili (1838–1913) was a kind, hard working man, a model father and husband. he was an elder at the Kutaisi Georgian Catholic Church. Zakaria's mother, Maria Pavlova Mesarkishvili (1851–1916) was noted for her grace and spiritual beauty. Zakaria was the third child in a family of eighteen children (thirteen sons and five daughters). Seven children died in infancy. 
Thought Zakaria's parents were not professional musicians, their children remembered their mother's singing.
 The first to display considerable musical abilities was the eldest son Ivane (Vano) Paliashvili (1868–1934) who subsequently became an outstanding conductor. When Vano was eleven years old he was made assistant to the church organist, and the eight-year-old Zakaria was admitted as a chorister to the church choir. With the help of the dean, Father I. Antonishvili, little Zakaria studied "Lullaby for Jesus" and sang it with great success on Christmas night.
The Kutaisi period, however, left a deep impression on the life of the future composer. It was the place of his first contact with music, and the basis of his professional attitude to his life's dedication - music - had developed there, too.
 The first performance of a Georgian Ethnographic choir, established of the initiative and with the material support of Lado Agniashvili, a well-known public personality of those days, took a place in Tbilisi in 1886. Later the concerts of this choir were conducted by Joseph Ratil (Navratil), though Czech by birth had forever associated his life with Georgia. The concerts of Agniashvili's choir evoked very favourable comments from the patriotically minded Georgian public. Vano and Zakaria Paliashvili sang in this choir in 1887-1889 and this fact was of importance for future composer.
In 1889 Vano left for Russia where he was engaged as an opera conductor. His post of church organist was taken over by Zakaria who now had to support the entire family; as a result, he had no opportunity to continue his musical education.Zakaria Paliashvili graduated from the school with honour diploma in the spring of 1899.During his school years he had founded a mixed choir factory and office workers which performed Georgian and Russian folk songs for workers. In 1898 Paliashvili conducted his choir in Gyandja and had a tremendous success.
As a pupil of the Moscow Conservatory in 1901, Zakaria Paliashvili made his first trip through Georgia to collect folksong material. He recorded remarkable speciments of Georgian songs. This work laid the foundation for Paliashvili's folklorist activity.
Towards the end of June 1903 Paliashvili completed his studies under Taneyev. Together with his young wife Julia Mikhailovna Utkina, Zakaria Paliashvili returned to Georgia to put into practice the knowlage gained in Russia. In autumn of 1903, Paliashvili began teaching at the Tbilisi High School for the nobility, where he had a singing class and also conducted the choir and orchestra, founded by him. Zakaria was a strict and uncompromising teacher. He demanded full accuracy of intonation and precision of rhythm for every pupil-member of his choir or orchestra. He made such big progress in this field, that the school choir and orchestra soon began giving public concerts.
In the summer of 1903, Zakaria Paliashvili and A.S. Khakhashvili (Khakhanov), professor at the University of Moscow and specialist in the history of Georgian literature, made a tour of Svanetia (a high-attetude area in western Georgia). where they recorded some very rare old Georgian folk songs. Paliashvili described the trip to his favourite teacher, S.I. Taneyev. in 1903-1908 with the same goal in view Paliashvili toured such districts as Racha, where he recorded local folk singers, and in particular a mestvire (Bag-piper); Guria (Ozurgeti), ImeretiKartli and Kakheti. Part of the songs, recorded by Zakaria Paliashvili were published in Moscow as a collection in 1910.

When Georgia joined Russia, the autocephaly of the Georgian Orthodox Church was avikusged. This endangered the national music, which is based upon a well-developed polyphony. The first notations of chorals, on the suggestion of the Georgian clergy was carried out by M.M. Ipolitov-Ivanov. His Collection on Georgian Chorals from the Liturgy of St. John the Golden Mouthed formed the basis for the Collection of 22 Georgian Chorals, compiled by Paliashvili and published in Moscow in 1910, together with his collection of folk songs. An illustrative and creative elaboration for the rich traditions of Georgian folk and church singing are the remarkable choral compositions by Niko Sulkhanishvili, a gifted composer and Zakaria's friend. 

The opening night of this opera took place on February 211919. It was produced by A. Tsutsunava and conducted by the author. The leading parts were performed by B. Zapliski (Absalom), who was soon substituted by Vano Sarajishvili; O. Bakutashvili-Shulgina (Etery) and Sandro Inashvili (Murman).

Since the beginning of the thirties, Zakaria was frequently unwell. His illness was diagnosed as sarcoma of the adrenal gland. Anton and Nikoloz Paliashvili, the composer’s brothers took Zakaria to Leningrad to see a friend of theirs, Yustin Djanilidze, a famous Soviet surgeon. The latter operated on Paliashvili, but when he saw that surgical interference would do no good, he stopped the operation and sewed up the wound. In regard to Paliashvili’s health he said: “There is no hope. He will live not more than two or three months.”
 The radio was switched on. Paliashvili strained to listen and at first his face was happy but soon it was contorted with severe pain. At 5 p.m. on October 6, 1933, Zakaria Paliashvili died. He was buried on October 10 in the garden of the opera house next to the grave of his friend Vano Sarajishvili, known as the “Georgian nightingale” By a decree of the Georgian Government the Tbilisi Second Musical School, the Tbilisi Ten-Year Musical School, the Batumi Musical School and a street in Tbilisi were named after Zakaria Paliashvili. Later, a street in Moscow was also named after him.

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