Author(s): Bahtiyar Vahapzade and Talat Sait Halman
Source: World Literature Today, Vol. 70, No. 3, Literatures of Central Asia (Summer, 1996), p. 498
Published by: University of Oklahoma
The long silences
Were more expressive
between words, sentences . . .
So many ideas are contained in each pause.
You spoke so,
I saw at one point
Silence in the light, words on the shadow.
Into these end-of-sentence intervals could go
The entire lexicon of a language.
Knock the Fences Down
Everyone puts up a fence around his own field
Saying: "On this side of the fence, mine is the yield."
Come, tear the fences down, demolish the ramparts
so that our eyes can gaze at all the distant parts.
How can the rooms contain the heart that must live free:
It should leap over hill and valley on and on.
So long as my eyes possess the power to see,
I shall keep scanning the widening horizon.
Never go the way of the flowers, of the rose,
Never put their hearts in death's throes.
Nature is free:
It inside the fortresses, in captivity.
We must refuse to play a game of backgammon
Sequestered into the square inlaid with gold.
Our hearts should keep growing and soaring on and on
Like the ever-broadening, endless horizon.
Come, tear the fences down, demolish the ramparts
So that our eyes can gaze at all the distant parts.
"Good and Evil"
A world voyages through the heart that feels passion,
And the earth revels in a many-splendored dress.
Some give their lives for the good of the populace;
For personal gain, some will sell out their nation.
The soil's one color nurtures a thousand colors;
Both cure and death lie in the same poisonous root;
Out of the earth sprout bushes as well as flowers:
Both good and evil are borne as the same mind's fruit.
All that is good or bad is in us --- admit it.
Neither one has a fire of its own --- now we know.
Good and bad gor arm in arm! There is no limit,
We find, to rising to the heights or stooping low.
Two Blind Men
There's a blind man I know: His eyes have no sight,
But he is not blind.
Though he sometimes gets scorched in the fire of sorrows,
He does not turn a cold shoulder to his passion and his mind.
He reads and writes day and night,
In his mind's eye he sees, feels, knows.
But . . . There is someone else . . . Although he is not blind,
He cannot see nonetheless.
His bosom friend might get killed before his very eyes,
"I saw nothing," he says.
He claims whatever is good as his, but fails to see the bad;
Looks at the clock, but can't tell what time it is.
Nothing noble visits his thoughts and feelings;
Often he denies he saw something though he really did.
A man is hardly blind if his eyes have no sight;
Blind is he who does not want to see.
To such an ignorant troglodyte,
Life itself is a grave, if you ask me.
Translated by Talat Sait Halman
Bahtiyar Vahapzade (1925-2009) is one of Azerbaijan's most prominent poets. He obtained a doctorate in philology at Azerbaijan State University, where he subsequently became professor of modern Azeri Literature. His publication include many collections of poems and short stories, plays, travel journals, scholarly articles, and journalistic pieces.
Source: Bulletin of the American Musicological Society, No. 11/12/13 (Sep., 1948), pp. 55-57
Published by: University of California Press on behalf of the American Musicological Society
Compared with other branches of Ottoman Turkish music, the old military music (Turkish mehterhane or davulhane) is of especial interest for two reasons:
(1) its origin is more clearly Turkish, its long history less involved with foreign influences;
(2) it is the only branch of Turkish music which has exerted any considerable influence on western musical culture.
Out of the European imitation "Turkish music" of two centuries ago came the leading percussion instruments and numerous stylistic features of the modern military band, together with similar elements of the opera and symphony orchestra - elements now so much a part of our musical system that their once exotic connotations have long since disappeared.
The earliest suggestions as to prototypes of the Ottoman military band are in Chinese references to military instruments acquired by the warriors of Han from their Turkish neighbors in Central Asia, around the beginning of the Christian era. Direct historical allusions appear for the first time in Arabic sources of the Abbassid period, when Turkish soldiers flocked into southwestern Asia as mercenaries of the Caliph and, later, as builders of such Turkish empires as those of the Seljuks and Khwarizmians. With the advent of Jengis Khan, there are significant references to the music, no doubt already of long tradition in central Asia, of the predominantly Turkish armies of the Great Khan and his successors.
From the founding of the Ottoman Empire, at the close of the thirteenth century, until the westernization of its armies early in the nineteenth century, the military band was the most characteristic emblem of the authority and magnificence of the Sultan and his generals. Available references to music of the earliest period are meagre, but beginning in the reign of Suleyman the Magnificent (1520-1566) there is a succession of accounts, both Turkish and foreign, which together provide a fair picture of the Ottoman bands.
The instruments, especially -their construction, appearance, manner of playing and musical effect- can be described in considerable detail. They included zurna (oboe type, in two sizes), davul (cylindrical drum), zil (cymbals), nakkara (small bowl or kettle drums), kus (large kettle drums), boru (trumpet), and chaghana (stick rattle, simple model of the elaborate European "jingling johnny"). Numerous functions of the bands, ranging from continuous playing during battle to formal concerts, are described, and various customs of administration, training and performance are commented on.
Unfortunately, with one exception the authors are historians, diplomats or adventurers rather than musicians; thus there is almost no discussion in technical terms of the actual music performed. In general, the foreign writers are confused by the unfamiliar tonal relationships, the complex rhythmic polyphony, and above all by the overwhelming emphasis on noisy percussion instruments. They usually admit, however, that the total effect is strangely stirring, and they frequently comment on the unifying qualities of the large davul, the characteristic, never-varying "UM-pah" of which eventually became a prominent feature of Western march music.
To the Ottoman writers, the mehterhane is obviously less significant as a musical factor than as a military institution stemming from ancient Turkish tradition.
In the earlier centuries, when the Ottoman armies were superior to all others, that tradition was an honored one. But by the nineteenth century the Turkish soldiery had been far surpassed by European military science, and when, in the 182os, long-delayed Westernization did away with the old institutions, the discredited ancient music of the Khans was replaced by bands in the still-developing European style. Paradoxically, it was important elements of that some style which had first appeared in Western Europe, less than a century before, under the name of "Turkish Music."
Dr. Souleimanov, assistant professor at the Institue of Political Science at Charles University and at the University of Public Administration and International Relations in Prague, is a Fulbright visiting scholar at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University. He is author of An Endless War: The Russian-Chechen Conflict in Perspective (Peter Lang Publishing Group, 2006). Ondrej Ditrych is a research fellow at Prague’s Institute of International Relations and a Ph.D. candidate at the Institue of Political Science, Charles University.