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A story about a couturier's dress and a French composer – what connects them with Turkmenistan

01.07.2023 | 22:10 |
 A story about a couturier's dress and a French composer – what connects them with Turkmenistan

The story happened 15 years ago in Tashkent, where two married couples met by chance – the newlyweds Govher and Romain Gouvernet, who came to the Uzbek capital from Ashgabat for work, and the famous composer Pierre Tilua and his wife Greta Komur, who found themselves in Uzbekistan as part of the Bukhara Violin music project.


The "connection" between them happened almost immediately. The fascinating stories of the Ashgabat couple about the culture and people of Turkmenistan intrigued the famous Pierre Tilua even then. Almost 80% of his time he travels and traveled almost all over the world and at that time began close cooperation with the countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus, creating unique musical projects and collaborations.

However, his desire to visit Turkmenistan was consolidated after the appearance of his wife, a European opera soloist, a delightful dress in the Turkmen ethnic style of silk keteni, which was specially sewn for her by Govher Gouvernet, a talented fashion stylist originally from Turkmenistan.


The magnificent outfit from the Turkmen couturier began to "receive" enthusiastic compliments after each performance of the French soloist in it. Observing such a reaction of the public, Pierre decided to get to know the culture and traditions of a country where clothes can truly be turned into real works of art.

So, two women "sowed" a creative seed in the composer's head – one by creating a magnificent dress, the other by shining in it.


And so, the French composer Pierre Tilua is in Ashgabat. He is the author of operas and numerous symphonies, a concert for soloist with orchestra and quartets, symphonic poems and music for cinema. The winner of a dozen prestigious awards and prizes came to write a work about Turkmenistan. In his opinion, the composition will become a European's view of the Turkmen musical heritage.

Pierre's "immersion" in the original culture of Turkmenistan was, in his opinion, more than "productive". The week was full of meetings and acquaintances with interesting people and famous figures of Turkmen art and every day was scheduled literally by the minute.


― The interlocutors gave me something valuable, something that cannot be seen with the eyes or touched with the hands, but is very important for understanding the character of the people, their traditions and heritage. Now I, like a sponge, "absorb" all the information that will later transform into music that "tells" about Turkmenistan," Pierre Tilua shared the nuances of his project with Orient.

― I'm going to write a Concerto for voice and orchestra. The basis of the work will be lullabies. In the Turkmen language they are called "hüwdi". These melodic compositions are the first musical cognition of a person. After all, every newborn hears an ear-caressing melody performed by his mother, nanny, sister, literally from the first days of birth. I have listened to many variations of Turkmen khyuvdi. I was particularly impressed by the composition of Chary Nurymov's "Poem for the Voice", the French guest continued.


― In the autumn I will return to Ashgabat with a new piece and give a concert. The soloist will be an opera diva from Germany, who will sing accompanied by the State Symphony Orchestra of Turkmenistan. The project was made possible thanks to the French Institute in Ashgabat and the personal participation of the director of the university, Roman Gouvernet.

― I hope that this unique project will contribute to the Turkmen musical culture and history, and I will be remembered as a European composer who managed to "tell" the world about Turkmens and such a beautiful and mysterious country Turkmenistan through music, Tilua said.


Gulya Geldieva

Photo: French Institute in Ashgabat

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