What did Yuri Korev say about

M. I. Quandour's works


Mohydeen Quandour A Renaissance Man of North Caucasian Cultures

By Yuri Korev

(Translated from Russian- “The Almanac”)

  I would like to try to give readers of this article my personal estimation of the phenomenon called Mohydeen Quandour. Yes, certainly a phenomenon – a terminology one meaning of which in old Russian dictionaries of foreign words means Znamenye  (symbol). Then the Question comes up, Znamenya of what ? Or symbol of what in the modern meaning ?

    Furthermore I think, to clarify my point, we must first talk about the renaissance of the new history (already starting from the second part of the 19th Century). We must talk about one of the ancient and sagacious peoples of the North Caucasus; the Cherkess (Circassians) who were divided through dramatic and tragic colonization processes, into various political geographic territories and habitats including in the Diaspora. Despite these upheavals and divisions, most of the North Caucasians, including the Circassians of the Diaspora, continued to preserve their own traditional cultures and identities. The Diaspora Circassians, who were scattered in different countries and continents, were held together by their perseverance in the maintenance of their own culture.

   Naturally, the idea of this renaissance rebirth, which I mentioned earlier, if you express it in European terms, could happen and establish itself only in situations where under mysterious and unpredictable “processes of nature”, (as the great scientist and Academic V.I. Vernadsky wrote), very special and talented “people of a generation” endowed with talent by Mother Nature, bring forth the spiritual power of those who produced him (his people or his nation). They bring their own unique persona and contributions and, in addition and in recognizable terms, their universal contribution to the cultural treasure of modern civilization.

   One exact example of this, I am both certain and convinced (in my honest belief) is, Mohydeen Quandour. This is a person who cannot be torn apart from his people. It does not matter that he is not resident or even born in his Motherland. When you first meet with him, he impresses you as a deep, thoughtful and understanding person (an intelligent person), who has total confidence in himself and who is in total control of his thoughts and actions. This is an individual who seems to stand apart from the crowd, slightly aloof, observing in minute details what and who surrounds him. But he is attentive to whatever ideas you might express, ready to listen and to understand anybody else’s opinions even though these may not agree with his own. However this does not mean that he might waver in his own beliefs or change his own thoughts or positions. He will not simply agree with an idea just to please that person. On the contrary he protects and defends his own ideas zealously. It is noteworthy to say in this matter that I have never seen nor felt any arrogance on his part, or moreover, any hostility or unfriendliness; only positive calmness, a confident knowledge of his own merit and dignity. Even when you first know him, after you have been introduced to his works, you take his last ten years’ productivity and you realise without question that he is a real ‘Renaissance’ man.

   He is a remarkable man who is expert in many spheres. He has exceptional creativity in literature; you only have to read his ten outstanding historical novels to realise that. I read in our mass media about Quandour’s many achievements in the business world. He is an outstanding businessman and Organizer; having organized, built and sold several of his own companies successfully. He is a financial consultant whose services are on demand with the leading international banks and institutions. He was chosen as one of the 500 leading personalities in the business world for the Millenium American publication of Barons “Who is Who”.  

   Furthermore Quandour is an expert in all matters to do with horses and equestrian sports, a member judge of the International Equestrian Federation, who is also a breeder of outstanding Arabian horses (member of WAHO). He is also an astounding musicologist and can discuss all aspects of classical music and he has recently proven himself to be a noteworthy composer and conductor at the prestigious Bolshoi Concert Hall of the Moscow State Conservatory.

   Quandour is also a prominent filmmaker, a producer and director of many documentaries and feature films in Hollywood. I read in our mass media about Quandour’s Hollywood career most of which talks about his success as a film director and producer. Some of his feature films were shown in our movie theatres during the period of the Soviet Union.

   I will return to all these points again but I want to add a thought here: For example, if you take this situation on its merit, it means that what we call ‘national intelligence’ of a people, has begun to emerge and to formulate. This has an affect of the 19th century, when the ideas of ‘national self-consciousness’ and ‘self-identity’ emerged and flourished, not only for individual countries and nations, but for all continents. I can prove this point by giving you an example of the North Caucasus, where Mohydeen Quandour’s people have displayed such talents, although these were to a much lesser degree than what Quandour has exhibited.

   The range of personality of my hero in this article, is unparalleled. I will indulge myself in these thoughts. I had read the last novel(The Legend) of Quandour (translated into Russian), on which I can be a judge. This is a masterpiece of fantasy and imagination. Maybe he uses the imagery of a film-maker’s technique where he produces a picturesque gallery of historical events mixed with fiction to give us a clear, enthralling and enjoyable story. You feel as if you are watching, instead of reading, the events unfold before your own eyes, page after page. This requires an unusual literary talent.

   You might wonder what Quandour might have forgotten to undertake, during the last part of the 20th Century, in his remarkable, successful and wonderful destiny. It seems that he needed a pure expression of lyrical poetry for a new and an unexpected stimulus for another form of creativity. No he did not become a poet but poetry itself opened in his soul a torrid “form of passion” (M. U. Lermontov), of a fiery self-expression in music. In other words his inspiration was founded on deep feelings, maybe unconstrained eruptions of emotional expressions. Here I want to use the very old Russian term, Sympaticheski which unfortunately today is misused. But for this article, the meaning of this word is important; the joining of sounds intuitively, not spontaneously. This is because if you say spontaneously it implies the existence of none outside stimuli. I will explain this concept using Quandour’s own words. So, Why did he search to find this form of self-expression in music?

   He met the Kabardinian Poet, Luba Balagova, now his wife, who at the time of meeting him already had her Moscow education and had obtained her doctorate. And here it seems ‘a miracle of a union’ happened (L.N. Tolstoy) and the two creative souls fused their energy. What was important for me, in my judgment of her translated talented Kabardinian poems, were the intonations of her Adigha poetry. These were once lyrical, mournful and again dramatic, next with tragic coloration and another time with epic depth, portraying traditional folklore, showing at all times how these spring from the people. Such creative expressions demanded from Quandour’s heart the unstoppable, unrelenting inspiration, to answer the lyrics of the words with musical notes. What is good in this is that both these profound expressions came from the national Adigha soul.

   It is possible that all these were expressed so powerfully by Quandour because he stored in his memory from childhood, the musical expressions of his own national songs and instruments, the folk-tunes, the special motifs of songs and dances, the ritual mourning songs; in other words, what any nation or people carefully preserve in its memory as their own unique heritage. It is like the canonization of the spiritual inheritance, especially for those people living away from their own motherland.  

   That is what exactly happened with Mohydeen Quandour. That is my honest opinion, especially after hearing his music. It seems as if he takes from the deepest national memory, the musical unconsciousness, the most effective motifs, looking for the material and choosing them carefully to form his melodic structures; the details that form the specific genre of a tune. These are what makes his music so intimate and so relevant, the mythology and history of his Adigha people, wherefrom Luba Balagova also receives her poetic inspirations.

    I did not mention Luba Balagova’s name accidentally. Balagova’s poetry and Quandour’s music are joined as blood relatives because they have a common emotional source, they spring from the same fountainhead. They have the same secret undertones, which make for real creativity, be it in music or in poetry. What makes these two people the shining and true representatives of their people are those deepest foundations, which are so intimate and so understandable to them both.

   How can you judge a composer without knowing all his works? If I am allowed to speak about those compositions I have heard then I can say the following. He works Passionately (pasionarli) and zealously and he gives himself wholeheartedly to the new work with confidence and belief. The structures of his compositions are unique, although he mostly follows and remains within the bounds of the classical forms. The sounds reproduced have substance and warmth without pretentious cleverness. What this produces in you are feelings of deepest respect and reverence.

   His music‘s character is original in its genre; it has expressed itself so far in sonatas, concertos and quartets. One of his most popular compositions is a Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, dedicated to the memory of King Hussein (of Jordan). What makes this work unusual is the fusion of Arabic and Circassian motifs. As one can observe in this work, the musical memory of the Circassians, accumulated in the Diaspora, created its own mystery by the union of two musical cultures. This is expressed in the musical creativity of this brilliant representative of the Circassian Diaspora whose style has great potential.

   I want to remind you that in the many creative aspects of Mohydeen Quandour, musical composition was the last of his passions, begun in his period of true maturity. I think in the musical culture of the North Caucasus, including the Circassians, Mohydeen Quandour has an important and very special romantic position. A romantic, who feels full-heatedly his people’s joys and sorrows, who feels his peoples tragic destiny, and who considers all friends of the Circassians as his own friends. A romantic, who does not accept stagnation or sluggishness, who bravely gives first place for freedom of self-expression, freedom for creativity, whose musical or literary pen is motivated by great love; this love is for Art, for poetry and for all pure energies that make the highest and sincerest expressions.

Yuri Korev

Secretary of the Union of Russian Composers

Titled Member of Artists of the Russian federation

Director of the Journal “ Musical Academy” 

Moscow Russia