Paliashvily: Absalom and Etery (Abessalom und Eteri) - Opera in 4 Acts, sung in Georgian dialect
KHCD-2013-033-2CDFL (STEREO) - Paliashvily: Absalom and Etery (Abessalom und Eteri) - Opera in 4 Acts, sung in Georgian dialect - Surab Sotkilawa/Zisana Tatischwili/Chorus and Orchestra of Radio USSR/Didim Mirzchulava - Zacharia PetrovichPaliashvily (1871-1933) was a composer from the nation of Georgia. He is regarded as a founder of Georgian classical music. As a young boy, he sang in a choir and learned to play the organ in the St. Mary Catholic Church of Kutaisi. His first tutor was his brother Ivan, who later became a conductor. Paliashvili moved to Tbilisi in 1887 as a chorister in the St. Mary Assumption Catholic Church of Tbilisi, eventually entering the music school there, studying French horn and composition. During 1900-1903, he studied composition under Sergei Taneyev at the Moscow Conservatory. Upon returning to his native land, Paliashvily began to play a strong role in developing national music in Georgia. He collected Georgian folk songs, co-founded the Georgian Philharmonic Society, and became head of the Tbilisi Conservatory. Paliashvili composed works for symphony orchestra (e.g., Georgian Suite on Folk Themes), but is probably best known for his vocal music, which includes choruses and songs.
The opera Absalom and Etery was composed in 1918, and was the first such composition by a Georgian composer of note. The folk epic "Abessalom da Eteri", a tale of magic, was written down anonymously at the beginning of the 19th century. Its subject exists in several different versions, some in verse and some in prose. There are a number of tribal variants, Cachetian, Pshavian, Chevesian, Gurian and Khartlisian. All of them emphasize the lowly orgins of Eteri, a child who has long been wanted by her impoverished parents. Her unique beauty is striking, and when Prince Abessalom sees her he at once desires to marry her. However, the court official Murman also loves the maiden. Murman has sold - according to some versions - his own soul, and according to others the soul of his mother to the devil, and at the instigation of the evil one he has sprinkled millet on Eteri. As a result of this Eteri, who was already promised to Abessalom, is attacked by noxious insects and becomes seriously ill. Abessalom, too, fall mortally sick, asks to see his beloved again, and dies after their last meeting. At that Eteri kills herself with the dagger Abessalom once gave her. Since then there have blossomed on Eteri's grave a violet and a rose, separated by a thorn bush symbolizing Murman.
This well-recorded and beautifully sung performance was originally recorded by Melodiya in 1971, and issued in the West by DGG in 1979; it is the DGG 3-LP set that was used for this transcription. Thanks to Alan Becker for the use of the DGG LP set from his personal collection.