Elena Akopyan
Doctor, Editor-in-Chief of the Heritage and Progress Foundation
«Make a Wish»
21 day of the 21 year of the 21 century. "Make a wish" – that's what the Internet urged me to do the morning. "In the bluest midnight and don't tell anyone about it," just couldn't stop singing along. Sprinkled with snow, Moscow glowed comfortably in the evening. Drowning in snowdrifts in an endless stream, cars crawled, slowing down for a moment at the entrance to the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory. On the outskirts there were people asking for an extra ticket. Jubilee concert dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Arno Babajanyan.

For me, deprived of musical education, having little to do with classical music, this was just a name I heard on the small radios, transparently inflated screens, in the happy smile of an enamored Soviet presenter, being announced at the end of endless concerts: Music by Arno Babajanyan (and so it began), lyrics by Robert Rozhdestvensky (stronger, stronger), singer Muslim Magomayev (Tornado of applause, ovation). The Great Triumvirate of united talent, beyond borders and time, unique and unattainable.

That evening for me was a discovery, a revelation, a meeting with a new unknown classical composer. I did not know that the symphonist for the "Heroic Ballad" at the age of 30 became a a Stalin Prize winner. Violin and piano concerts, string quartets, sonatas, paintings, capriccio. Every summer he would bring his friends home. Shostakovich, Shchedrin, Plisetskaya, who suggested that a ballet should be written for her, hence the "Ballet Suite". This is her now in black and white. Great hands, a broken torso on his shoulder against the backdrop of Sevan. Cello Concerto dedicated to his friend Rostropovich, performed by him several times. Armenian rhapsody, in which the old (grandmother's) "Ay, bakhmanchi" suddenly made an appearance. I had no idea that at the World Song Festival in Tokyo the jury spearheaded by Frank Sinatra awarded him the highest award of "The Best Composer in the World", and Francis Lay declared himself defeated, winning the second place. He shared with us his life, the sky, the warmth, the mountains, the tunes of the duduk, an open, defenseless soul, like a cracked pomegranate stretched out in the palm of his hand. His music had passion and will, intellect and instinct, the depth of genius and the laughter of a child. He rocked the bell of musical Armenia from Komitas to our days and the music of the great symphonist provided cover and kept us warm with tight elastic waves. It seemed that time had shifted, everyday life was gone, fear disappeared and a new pandemic was triumphant under the arches of the great hall, despite the masks and distances. A pandemic of love, in which an exponent of talent grew from an eternal plateau of memory. Beyond the control of a time vaccine.

You can only remember when you forget. Remember only the departed. And he lives, continues to live today in his amazing coordinate plane, where his native stony, prayed-in land spreads out horizontally, and his music flies along the great heavenly vertical, measuring the first hundred years. Up there, towards the shooting stars, wishes made under the blue midnight, and again, as it once happened on earth, his Tanned angel whispers something to him behind his back.
21 21 21. Make a wish. It is His Day. It's bound to come true...

One last thing. Among the eulogies and odes that fill up the news feeds, I would like to share my secret. It happened a long time ago, when I was little, in the Soviet health resort of Essentuki, in a park, where, by chance, my father and closed off, with an elusive sadness in his eyes, Arno Arutyunovich happened to share the same bench. This was his last day before leaving. The father spoke, and Babajanyan, immediately recognizing the musically gifted interlocutor endowed with a serious mind and tact, answered. They started talking. He opened up, lamented, shared: "I can't write about the Communist Party, about target overachievement. Only about love". When asked which of the composers he singles out, he answered: "Pakhmutova. I don't understand how there is so much music in such a small woman". Of all the singers, I would like for Sofia Rotaru to sing, "but she sings something that only hers"... He smiled, joked (same patronymics), declined an invitation to the restaurant (not allowed). The park was empty, and they kept talking. Then there was a phone number on a piece of paper. If you ever find yourself in Moscow, if you ever come to Baku. This was his last visit. Soon he was gone. And in my memory there was a lonely lantern, surrounded by the blackness of the park's forest, in a cone of light a triangle of a white bench and two people who could not part ways...
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