Analysis of Rexho Mulliqi’s work – “Pioneer” of the Artistic music in Kosovo

In order to talk about the activity of initiators of a certain field of art and to gain an objective idea of ​​its value requires a complex analysis and an evaluation of the work through several parameters, whether of them even being at times of a non artistic field. Therefore, one must start from the real aesthetic value of the work, but at the same time the work should be evaluated in relation to the time and circumstances in which it is created, it needs to be evaluated in the historical context of the creativity that belongs to etc. So, looking at the work from several points of view is just as necessary as it is indispensable not to reach the two possible extremes a) depreciating the work (estimate only with absolute aesthetic criteria) or b) overestimating it (only estimating the surrounding phenomena the work and not the evaluation of the aesthetic phenomenon of the work). Needless to say, this implies a subtle professional approach and analysis to maintain the right balance between these two parameters in the rating.

Surely, Rexho Mulliqi’s names figures among creators, whose work requires such treatment, therefore, a complex, thorough review, and above all, requires a careful analysis which will responsibly note the value of the work in all its levels.
We have yet to attain such a multifaceted analysis of the work of Rexho. Some of our authors have written about him with deep respect, but his work has been captured in “distance” (often by a retrospective approach), or it has been reviewed and segregated by reviewing some of the many important issues of his activity.

Rexho Mulliqi and the new trends of contemporary music  

What role do Mulliqi’s creations play in relation to the music created at that time (especially the first period of his creativity). So judging from this perspective, what place does Rexho’s music take, and what features does it hold?Although Rexho, at the time of making the first steps in creation, could not fully be in tune with the musical actualities in the world because of the poor musical life that existed here, from the analysis that can be made to the scores from his opus of that time, we can easily observe that Rexho had, however, knowledge of the activity of contemporary composers, but rather those of the “most restrained front” (Khachaturian, Rahmanjinov, Shostakovich etc.) than those “radicals” such as the Viennese trio (Schoenberg, Berg, Webern). So attained good knowledge of those composers who formed their creative idiom in deep conviction in tonal music (a system developed from the XVII century to the beginning of our century), or for music that includes the directions which represent a kind of restoration of the past (neo-romance, neo-baroque etc.), often with national music connotations. Rexho’s harmonious, melodic, and formal organization of his work lies within the framework of the creativity of these composers, without seriously attempting to make one step further outside the bases of this system. But for what reason did Rexho choose to do so? The reasons are many. I would first point out that the circumstances in which he created did not allow a more intense contact with the most advanced creativity that was created at that time in the world (which would imply a likeness, interest and perhaps influence from it). Rexho felt affection and the great devotions for the musical activity of these previous centuries (especially the romantic ones). It was something that kept him busy most of the time – the music he liked I mean, the music he felt and heard and worshiped. Indeed, from his analysis of his work we will notice that these periods left traces in the constitution of his creative universe; it seems that he had a deep belief in the “eternity” of the tonal system, and 20th-century music that assumed such a system, so every “stroll” out of this system was considered to be a vain in his eyes.

Rexho and the Albanian Folk Song

Why is this report considered as a matter of major importance? There is a reason to it. I would say that this would be inevitable if we were to discuss the stylistic features of his music. He was very fond of Albanian music. He pleasantly listened to it, admired it, and was connected to it on a daily basis due to his work (as a music editor on Radio-Pristina). He was in fact quite active with Albania music. He wrote arrangements, styled the folk song, and finally started making creations in this genre. When can say for certain that Rexho was able to absorb the folk song to such an extent that we cannot cross a single work of his (in the genre of serious music), which is not wrapped up in the cloak of such music. As to what extent and in what way, viewed from an aesthetic point of view, it is a matter for a more thorough examination, as is its discussion of the oriental elements of the Albanian song (!). But undoubtedly, the Albanian folk song directly influences the formation of its expressive language. However, this report is crucial to the breakdown of the style and originality of his music.

The historical aspect of Rexho’s work

It would be a lack of evaluation if we were to regard Rexho’s opus in any way other than the context of the time and space it was created, the circumstances that existed at that time, and the role that his work practiced in the cultural context at the time.Upon his returning from Belgrade, where he studied at the composition branch at the “then” Academy, Rexho was confronted with a very low level of musical lifestyle in our country, especially in the field of artistic music: lacking musical ensembles, lacking orchestras, lacking instrumentalists, lacking in a lively music lifestyle that would stimulate his curiosity for composing the most ambitious works. He was forced to adapt to the pressure of the existing circumstances. Hence, he commences on dealing with “lighter” work, such as writing arrangements for different ensembles, various elaborations, composing simple coral works, “Mass songs” and so on. He also spent some time with pedagogical work (as a teacher of the Music High School in Prizren). These were the usual work that did not take too much into his professional career as a composer. Obviously, such sort of workload served somewhat as vivification to a certain amount of his artistic beliefs which had been formed during his years of studying but which of course were more advanced. On the other hand, he did a humane job of raising the level of musical culture in our country, a work that seriously laid the foundations for our artistic music.
“Forced” by his social circle to engage in a certain kind of music, and on the other hand his creative ambitions, which were still more advanced, make his entire creative life go through the search for an appropriate path, a path that would soften this inconsistency of circumstances, which were unfavorable to him, and his professional curiosity, which was not small. Choosing to carefully listen to the “voice” in the middle, his practical needs, until the end of his creative life, an artistic level of his work.

Though Rexho did not write many works, their value was of tremendous importance. If we look at it in accordance with all that we have said above, we will conclude that Rexho:

 

  1. Created works of great importance for marking the start in some genres (his symphonic, chamber music, vocal-instrumental music etc.);
  2. As our first educated composer he has done an amazing work in the constitution of artistic music in our country, taking care and trying to rise to the level from which he will break the inferiority that this music had in our country at that time in relation to what was created elsewhere;
  3. He was the first among us to have access to our contemporary music streams of contemporary music. Hence, some of his works can be freely inserted into the coordinates of the time in which they were created;
  4. Through his work he contributed significantly to the formation of a certain stage of the identity of artistic music in our country. His music, which always relied on the folklore of this region, indeed, made a big leap forward in creating an autochthonous music.

Rafet Rudi

Copmposer and conductor

 

 

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