Ouzbekistan: Les Grandes Voix Du Passe (1940-1965)
Ocora - Radio France

This recording is quite a find. It offers Sufi chant from a time when it was forbidden, in a lyrical ballad, courtly songs of love, compositions of the classical repertoire, and songs and melodies representative of the regional maqam (modes) that show both instrumental and vocal mastery. "The art music of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan is an off-shoot of the great Arab-Moslem traditions which, from the Magrab to Chinese Turkestan, is characterized by a continual reference to certain fundamental forms like the rhythmic cycle (usul, iqa'), poetic meter ('aruz), the mode and its melodic types (maqam, shu'ba), the suite (nawba, fast),etc." These recordings provide the opportunity to delve into this complex and frequently mystic region of inner Asia that historically revered its traditions and provided its artistic practitioners both honor and status. As early as 1905, recordings of Central Asian musicans were issued. They capture musical forms that survived decades of Soviet cultural domination but remain at risk from the global pop tendencies to relegate national and indigenous musics to an ever diminished role. - Richard Dorsett

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