Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Kamil Tchalaev – musicien extraordinaire

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By Dmitry Badiarov, independent contributor to the Diplomat magazine

Meeting Kamil Tchalaev – musicien extraordinaire defying any attempt of classification – on my recent trip to Paris was an out-of-worldly experience from the start filled with music till the end, when Tchalaev drove me across midnight Paris to my hotel in his car filled with church bells – his still unloaded collection –  which rang at every traffic light stunning the occasional pedestrians and the policemen. It was a scene worthy of Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris! badiarov

At first overwhelmed by Tchalaev’s pupil, a violinist-boy of six steadily and from memory holding his part in a J.S.Bach Invention for two voices, the audience was then treated by Tchalaev’s improvised chant. His voice of five registers, unlike the common three for most humans, was accompanied by the musician himself on the piano and the violin. The musical language of the improvisation would be hard to classify. Dare I say, Classical at its very finest? Contemporary by the incredible mix of global influences – from Bach to Paganini and the French impressionists, Mongolian overtone singing – when one voice sings two voices at the same time, to today’s music of the Middle East and of the Tibetan monks inspired by today’s inter-connectedness and inter-dependence of the modern world and by the vast amounts of music assimilated and transformed by the musician himself. Should I think of any other composer creating music on similar basis I cannot help but think of the Malaysian Kee YongChon. Listening to Tchalaev’s transcendental performance I thought of the larger audiences who missed the chance, or at least of the smaller audiences of The Hague certain professionals dealing with the various problems of this vast and complex world. There are clearly solutions in the work of this musician! Simply put, I hope to hear him perform one day in The Hague.

Born into a family of prominent musicians in Moscow (his father Shirvani Tchalaev is the composer of the National Anthem of Dagestan Republic), Kamil Tchalaev is a multifaceted musician: conductor with 25 years of experience, specially as a liturgic conductor at Paris Sinagogue and the Russian Orthodox Church, violinist, cellist, bassist, pianist, singer, composer, musical instrument collector. He worked at Theatre Post Alternatif and the Comédie Française, creating music for the productions of ”Le Bal Masqué” by Lermontov (1992), “Amphitryon” by Molière in 2002 and “Thérèse philosophe” by Boyer d’Argens at the Théâtre de l’Odéon in 2007. In 2000 he produced the Urban Opera “Les Tours Sonnantes” and in 2010 founded the Ecole Sauvage based on his collection of musical instruments and sounding objects. Now this collection contains over 300 pieces. At present moment Tchalaev dedicates most of his time to Ecole Sauvage, violin and church music.

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