And the light remained – its music sounds

On February 13, an evening in memory of Hmayak Moryan was held at the theater of the Bulgakov House. Friends and admirers of this amazing person, who left behind music and love, performed here.

Marlena Moš – a poet and performer of ancient Armenian chants, whose poems, in fusion with the music of Hmayak, always warmed souls with their unique harmony, said:

“Hmayak was very fond of Russia, Russian culture. This is his love from his mother, who was born in Russia and whom he loved very much. His mother, while still a little girl, risked her life, took the partisans to the places they needed, rescued, helped the defenders of the homeland, fed them and did not give them out to the Germans, who asked about their whereabouts.

Hmayak wrote a lot of beautiful music to the verses of Russian poets.

His music is very deep, soulful, dramatic, with bursts of light … She always touches the heart with her beauty and sincerity.

He was acutely worried when the Karabakh war was going on, all the time he went to the Armenian Center, asked about everything, worried, was indignant: how can you kill each other when our mother gave birth to all of us?! .. He expressed his pain, love, hopes, aspirations in music, and believed that the beauty and light of sounds, musical harmonies can help the world, the victory of humanity in the space of the struggle between light and darkness.

He himself was an excellent piano performer of his works, he sang, accompanying his songs, and it was original and unique – his voice, music and performance!

I would call his music “Soviet” in terms of internationality – the unity of the Russian musical heritage with the Armenian “flavor”. His songs were sung by Valentina Tolkunova, his music sounds in many TV series.

We have a feeling that Hmayak has not left, that he is always with us.

He made many recordings of his music, which I took in disks to other countries, and he was very well received there! In his music there is a Russian breadth, depth, infinity, which conquers everyone who listens to him. “

Karina Zurabova – the writer and widow of Hmayak Moryan tells about his life and work what many of us did not know, but would very much like to know, and for which we are now very grateful to her:

“Composer Hmayak Moryan passed away in 2020 on December 22. In Slavic mythology, this day was called Karachun – the darkest and shortest day of the year, given over to the forces of cold and darkness. In the life of every person there is a struggle of opposite principles – and in Amayak this confrontation was waged quite clearly.

He was born in Batumi, among palms and magnolias, on the seashore. His father was a shoemaker (“just like Aram Ilyich Khachaturian’s!” – added Hmayak); from him he got credulity, panache and a weakness for alcohol, from his grandfather – musicality, he played the violin. However, his father played the accordion well and it was not by chance that he bought the first-born piano. Very soon, Hmayak is already learning etudes and sonatas, first, as usual, from under a stick, and then in earnest – he studies at a music school as a pianist and even tries to compose himself. Enters the Yerevan Conservatory, composer department. A cheerful and drunken student life with a break for military service, a short work in the orchestra of the Yerevan circus, then again in Batumi, where he sews fashionable shoes with his father and sells them in the cities of Russia, from Moscow to Syktyvkar. And all this time, music is going on in his soul: he composes songs and instrumental compositions.

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Concerts, symphonies, fugues – Hmayak, as a composer, knows what it is, but he is convinced that in the 20th century a more democratic form is needed, understandable not only to music lovers. He chooses for himself the genre of instrumental miniature – a bright, dynamic composition with a pronounced melody. It was in the first year that one could indulge in fashionable experiments in the spirit of “modern music” – with the destruction of harmony, splitting of sound and falling into chaos. He only laughs, remembering how he once tried, while still in school, to portray a storm at sea with terrible chromatic scales. In music, whatever its language, beauty must live, there must be light.

A. Moryan’s compositions can be called impressionism, romanticism, ethnomodernism, neoclassicism – it doesn’t matter at all. The main thing is that they are emotional and harmonious, have an inner dramaturgy and excite the listener with the breath of life, voices of love and sadness, sincerity and beauty. “If I had not been born at sea, my music would have been different,” he said. It sparkles like ripples under the sun, rolls over with a steep wave, flickers with a moonlit path … At one time, Hmayak almost every evening went to the cafe of Bulgakov’s house and played the piano there – for himself, for Bulgakov, for visitors, if any happened. “Is it still possible to play like that?” – stunned, they said to the pianist. He played great, but in fact the guests were surprised that it was possible to compose like that. And he himself was surprised. And he thanked God for allowing him to write such music. “I myself don’t know where this music comes from. After all, it is not at all like my life! “

For a long time his life was subject to stormy passions and irresistible circumstances. With all its southern texture, seemingly very earthy and cheerful, Hmayak was made of very thin materials. “Bohemian” vices, which seemed to someone as a game, turned into a real disaster for him. Wandering around different cities, running away from home, drunken fights, crime novels … and for him every glass of wine was like a sledgehammer over the head. “I was lucky,” he said. – I was very lucky. He stayed alive. “

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Devotion to beauty must have saved. He felt the beauty of not only music, but also words, amazed with a wide range of literary interests and delicate taste. Often it was the word that inspired his work. It could be lines read by chance in a newspaper, or the composition of a Batumi fisherman friend, it could be a poem by Pushkin or a Moscow salon poetess – the composer found in his verses a rhythm, intonation, image that was in tune with him, and this became an impulse to write a song. The same happened with the opera – Hmayak read a poem by Elena Isaeva with the subtitle “Probably Opera” and was eager to express in sound the dramatic story of the biblical king David. He was attracted in this plot by the struggle of a noble soul with temptation. The eternal conflict between duty and passion, the guilt and remorse of the wise king, the love and despair of the mother – all this was in the form of a finished libretto, the composer only had to write the music without changing anything in it.

The opera “David and Bathsheba” was ready in a year. Hmayak worked with enthusiasm, even learned how the tenth commandment of the Covenant sounds in Hebrew – the one that David violated. Soon, at his concerts, arias from a freshly written opera sounded – but she herself was never staged.

Following the opera, Amayak mastered the form of a musical – the poet Yuri Yurchenko showed him his play “Mafiosi” and offered to write music to poetry. They met in the cafe of Bulgakov’s house, the poet put sheets of poetry on the piano’s music stand, the composer immediately played melodies, and the singer sang ready-made musical numbers from his voice. The creative process was amazingly funny and joyful! And already Yurchenko himself (he is not only a poet, but also an artist) sings numbers from the musical “Mafiosi” in A. Moryan’s concerts. Several theaters almost staged this performance at once – but it did not happen. Hmayak was used to playing his works himself and did not write them down. And when it was necessary to show the musical material of “Mafiosi” to the directors, it simply was not there. While the author was writing the clavier, the congress of directors of musical theaters ended, and the opportunity was missed.

Every day Hmayak sat down at the piano and played his own music. He sang along to help himself. He had a real hit – “Dance of the Rain”, distinguished by vivid imagery and energy. He rarely played it – difficult. There were the audience’s favorite “Two Beginnings”, built on the contrast of characters, rhythms, intonations – yin and yang, love and enmity, harmony and chaos. He also played his old miniatures, sometimes improvising, changing the drawing. Suddenly some unfamiliar phrase began to sound, repeated, developed into a melody … a new composition was born. Or Hmayak shrugged his shoulders and said: “So, nonsense. I can’t understand yet. ” And he lamented: “I need a libretto, a libretto!”

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Once, leafing through a volume of Pasternak’s poems, I stumbled upon the “Christmas Star” and immediately heard the chant: “One hundred-oh-yala winter. Du-ul ve-ter from ste-pi … ”He was attracted by religious subjects, in them he embodied such a familiar struggle of light with darkness – and the ultimate triumph of light. He wanted young people to listen to Zvezda and composed it in the style of rock. So he called it “Rock Mystery”. I recalled how I went to Christmas carols with my friends in my childhood – I sang “I sow, I blow, I sow, I congratulate you on the New Year! ..” – and tangerines, sweets, and coins flew into the sack. In the finale of the rock mystery, the echoes of these carols, the voice of a curly-haired Batumi boy, a mischievous and sweet tooth sound. Hmayak recorded “Christmas Star” in the studio, with instrumentation, with vocals, and loved listening to this disc. I dreamed of filming a cartoon based on the plot of Christmas with its music. He offered it to different performers. But a twenty-minute complex composition seemed an inconvenient format. And the unfamiliar, “untwisted” author did not attract producers.

Hmayak worked as a pianist in a restaurant. He put on a hat, tie and went to play the “evergreen” jazz classics and popular songs. The guests liked it, the restaurant was expensive, the tip was good.

Occasionally, usually on his birthday, June 6, he would give a concert. It was a troublesome business – renting a hall, ordering a poster, calling friends … wait: if they come, they won’t come, will at least half of the hall fill up? .. Singers were making up behind the scenes, poets were repeating poems, invited musicians tuned instruments, the presenter worried. Hmayak, taking off his hat, bowed to applause, received bouquets, then at home, tired, said: “Nothing happened, right? A normal concert? “

The last time, in his sixty-fifth birthday, he performed alone. Due to the pandemic, it was impossible to find the hall, and he played in the studio of an artist friend in front of friends and acquaintances – about 50 people came. He himself sang the audience’s favorite “Eternal Road”, played the best compositions. The piano was upset, but he could play any instrument.

He died unexpectedly from a heart attack triggered by liver cancer. He did not know about his illness. He was generally going to live 94 years, as the gypsy predicted to him in his youth. But something in his soul, apparently, told him about the imminent departure: he suddenly was going to write down in notes all his miniatures, became especially kind and gentle with loved ones, meek with strangers and admired the beauty of the world – on a summer evening, autumn rain, a blossoming tree – as if he were preparing to leave him soon. And the light remained – its music sounds … “

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