Great Georgian composer Zakaria Paliashvili
03 August, 2017
Great Georgian composer Zakaria Paliashvili
August 3 marks the birthday of Zakaria Paliashvili, great Georgian composer (1871-1933). Zakaria Paliashvili's contribution to Georgian songs and chants is invaluable. He understood the significance of Georgian hymns and folk songs which are equal to world-class masterpieces. Paliashvili composed "Collection of Georgian Folk Songs" and “8 Georgian Folk Song.” The latter collection is a sample of Paliashvili’s, as a composer’s, high professionalism.

Together with folk songs Paliashvili worked on the development of Georgian church chants. He created the first sample of interesting concert of Georgian liturgical music. It is noteworthy that this important sample has not been performed in Georgia since 1910, and in 2010 was performed in the Presbyterian cathedral in Washington.

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Zakaria Paliashvili was a great musician and composer. Regarded as one of the founders of the Georgian classical music, his work is known for its eclectic fusion of folk songs and stories with 19th century Romantic classical themes. He was the founder of the Georgian Philharmonic Society and later, the head of the Tbilisi State Conservatoire.

The Georgian National Opera and Ballet Theater of Tbilisi was named in his honor in 1937. Notably, Paliashvili's music serves as the basis of the National Anthem of Georgia.

Although Paliashvili has composed works for symphony orchestra (e.g., Georgian Suite on Folk Themes), he is best known for his vocal music, which includes operas Abesalom da Eteri (Abesalom and Eteri) (based on a folk tale "Eteriani"), Daisi (Twilight), and Latavra.

Abesalom da Eteri (Abesalom and Eteri) is an opera by the Georgian composer Zakaria Paliashvili and librettist Petre Mirianashvili. It is based on a medieval Georgian folk poem Eteriani. Composed between 1909 and 1918, the work was partly staged in 1913 and first premiered on 21 February 1919 at the Georgian National Opera Theater in Tbilisi.

The opera is an eclectic fusion of folk songs and traditional 19th century Romantic classical themes. In 2004, several excerpts from this opera were adapted as the National Anthem of Georgia.

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Zakaria Paliashvili with his brother Ivane Paliashvili

The main theme in the overall concept of the opera - love is a great, invincible force that overcomes not only social
inequality, but also death itself. Palliashvili's poem of love and death is performed in the forms of musical tragedy.

Daisi (Twilight) is Zakaria Paliashvili's opera in three acts. Libretto author is Valerian Gunia. The premiere was held in Tbilisi on 23 December 1923. The opera was resumed by Zurab and Jemal Anjaparidze in 1977.

The composer started working on the opera in 1921. Daisi's main character is named after Georgian woman Maro Makashvili, who died heroically during the Georgian annexation by Bolshevik Russia in February 1921. Vano Sarajishvili, the legendary singer and one of the lead characters, greatly contributed to the successful premiere of "Daisi".

Zakaria Paliashvili's immortal opera "Daisi" founded a permanent place in the repertoire of the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theater.

Latavra is a heroic- patriotic opera by Zakaria Paliashvili, composed in 1927. Libretto author is S. Shanshiashvili. The premiere was held on 16 March 1928. The opera is distinguished with its musical value and includes amazing separate solo numbers and choral episodes as well.

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Zakaria Paliashvili portrait by Ucha Japaridze

In 1925, Zakaria Paliashvili received People's Artist honorable award (People's Artist is an honorary title modeled after the title of the People's Artist of the USSR.).

Generations of Georgian singers grew up on Paliashvili's operas. In 1959, the entire second floor of 10 Barnov Street, where Paliashvili lived from 1915 to 1933, was set aside as his Home-Museum, which contains valuable materials relating to the life and work of the composer.

Another permanent exhibition dedicated to the childhood and youth of the composer was opened in Kutaisi, in the house where he was born. There are special exhibits on Paliashvili’s life and work at the M. I. Glinka All-Union Museum of Musical Culture in Moscow.

Related stories:

Famous Georgian dance from “Daisi” opera presented as Armenian

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