Leblebidji Horhor I

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The reforms introduced by the Ottoman Empire from 1839 to 1876 with the so-called “Tanzimat” reshaped the landscape in various aspects of social reality. More generally, the 19th century was a pivotal point in time for the course of the Empire, during which the Sultan and the administration looked towards Europe and introduced institutional changes. As far as music is concerned, the dissolution of the Janissary military orchestra that took place in 1826, but also the appointment of Giuseppe Donizetti as Istruttore Generale of the Court in 1828, were undoubtedly examples of the determination for change (see also Kokkonis 2017b: 133).

In this context, the Armenian Dikran Tchouhadjian (Tigran Chouhajian, Beyoğlu, Constantinople [Istanbul], 1837 – Smyrna [Izmir], March 11, 1898) was born in Constantinople, who was destined to compose a landmark work for the Ottoman (and more broadly for the “Eastern”) reality. This was the famous three-act musical-theatrical play “Leblebici Horhor Ağa” (Khorkor agha, the vendor of chickpeas), with a libretto in Ottoman Turkish by the also Armenian Takvor Nalyan (Hasköy, Constantinople, 1843 - 1876).

The present recording includes the instrumental version of the song “Biz Köroğlu Yavrusuyuz, Korkmayızi”, which could be translated as “We are descendants of Kioroglu, we are not afraid”.

The popularity of this play, and, of course, its music, was unprecedented, and influenced scholar and popular musicians, both within the Empire and beyond. The play’s music clearly communicates with the dynamic European musical theater traditions which were in constant development. They come from France, Austria, Italy and Germany, from the era of the Baroque and opera seria, up to the modern versions of the operetta. Listening to “Horhor”, one realizes that Tchouhadjian, who studied in Europe, conversed with “Die Entführung aus dem Serail” and “Don Giovanni” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, “Don Pasquale” by Gaetano Donizzeti, but also with the Austrian waltz and the German singspiel. That is perhaps why, in the relevant literature, “Horhor” is sometimes characterized as a musical and an operetta, and sometimes as an opera or an opera buffa. Of course, this aesthetic edifice also includes the, often auto-exotic, easternized motifs, faithfully following the dictates of Europe’s national schools.

The play appears to have been first performed at the French Theater (Le Palais de Cristal) in Constantinople in November 1875 by the Ottoman Opera troupe. However, in the London newspaper The Musical World, in the issue of October 2, 1875, one can read the following: “Another Turkish comic opera, composed by M. Tchohadjian, and entitled, Leblebidji Khorkor, the Vendor of Chick-peas, Khorkor, will be performed during the approaching Ramazan at the Guedik Pasha Theatre in Stamboul”.

In addition, in 1889, “Appletons’ Annual Cyclopaedia and Register of Important Events of the Year 1886” was published in New York. The following is written on page 599, of this book:

“1876-As a curiosity, we must mention the performance of a Turkish operetta, "Leblebidji Horhor Agha," by the Impresario of the Tschohadjian troupe at Constantinople. The music, although built, in part, upon Turkish motives, is shaped entirely after Italian models, the scene being laid in the time of the Janizaries; a luxurious display of costumes was calculated to attract a public more fond of pageantry than fastidious in its musical taste”.

“Leblebidji Horhor Agha”, in its long journey that continues to this day, has enjoyed enormous success and appeal, has been staged in countless cities and countries, among them Cairo, Vienna, Smyrna, London, Paris, Yerevan, Venice, Baku, New York, Pasadena, etc., but also in Bulgaria, Romania, Germany, Russia, etc., and was the most widespread and popular musical work written in Turkish (see the 1975 Istanbul Devlet Opera ve Balesi [Istanbul State Opera and Ballet] TV adaptation of the operetta here).

In the summer of 1883, from July 11 to September 13, the “Armenian Theater Group of the Turkish Operetta”, under the direction of the actor, singer, impresario and troupe leader Séropé Benglian (Serovpe Bengliyan, Beyoğlu, Constantinople, 1835 - Alexandria, 1900), presented the operetta, together with other works by the same composer, at the Faliro theater.

“Leblebidji Horhor Agha” thrilled the Greek audience, was translated into Greek and performed countless times (see here, for example). Its influence on the development of vaudeville and Greek operetta was catalytic, and its melodies and songs also influenced composers of rebetiko. As noted by Giorgos Leotsakos (see Giorgos Leotsakos, “Armenia:  Odoiporiko Diptycho. ΙΙ: aparaititos mousiko!”), it was “an integral part of modern Greek musical history”.

Indicative of its influence were the recordings made by Greek musicians (in Turkish and Greek) in the first decade of the 20th century, but also later. Among them are included:

- “Leblebidji Horhor I a”, Estudiantina Smyrniote [Smyrnaean Estudiantina], Constantinople, 1908 (Odeon xC 1902a - X 58590/1)
- “Leblebidji Horhor II a”, Estudiantina Smyrniote [Smyrnaean Estudiantina], Constantinople, 1908 (Odeon xC 1902b - X 58590/2)
- “Leblebidji Horhor III a”, Estudiantina Smyrniote [Smyrnaean Estudiantina], Constantinople, 1908 (Odeon xC 1902c - X 58590/3)
- “Leblebidji Horhor IV a”, Estudiantina Smyrniote [Smyrnaean Estudiantina], Constantinople, 1908 (Odeon xC 1902d - X 58590/4)
- “Leblebidji”, Estudiantina Smyrniote [Smyrnaean Estudiantina], probably Thessaloniki, 1909 (Odeon XSC 74 - X 54740)
- “Bahar Geldi”, Lefteris Menemenlis, Smyrna, June 7 , 1912 (Favorite 7071-t - 1-55053 & Columbia USA E-6127)
- “S’ agapo”, Giorgos Savaris, Tzon Miliaris, Lousien, Athens, 1927 (Columbia UK 20181 - 8092)
- “Ta palikaria tou Kioroglou”, Giorgos Savaris, Tzon Miliaris, Lousien, Athens, 1928 (Columbia UK 20216 - 8208)
- “Horhor-Agas”, Antonis Ntalgkas, Athens, June 1928 (HMV BF 1848 - AO 259)
- “S' agapo, se potho”, Tetos Dimitriadis, Camden, New Jersey, February 11, 1925 (Victor BVE 33739 - 79076)
- “O Armenis”, Kyriakos Mavreas, Athens, 1929 (Columbia UK W 20465 - 8339)

We should also note the adaptations of some of the most popular musical tunes of the play, such as the case of the recording “O kafes” by Giorgos Savaris, Tzon Miliaris and Loukianos Miliaris, under the direction of the pianist Sosos Ioannidis. The recording took place in Athens, in 1927, and the label of the record reads (the exotic) “tragoudi anatolitiko” [oriental/eastern song] (Columbia 20048 - 8046). This song interacts with the song “Çıtkırıldım”, found in “Horhor Aga”.

Also, some of the tunes of the play seem to be popular on the island of Lesvos, particularly in the village of Agiasos. On the one hand, performances of the play in the city of Mytilini were held at least since 1934, when — as indexed by the “Anagnostirio Agiasou” — the local newspaper To Fos announced on March 12, 1934 that: “Turkish Operetta: It will be staged to the ‘Pantheon’ tonight. The immortal Turkish operetta Leblebidji ‘HOR - HOR AGA’ will be performed. The invited troupe will leave tomorrow for Athens”. On the other hand, in 1989, Nikos Dionysopoulos recorded musicians in Agiasos who performed the song under the title “Hor Hor Agas”, which was included in the publication “Lesvos Aiolis - Tragoudia kai Choroi tis Lesvou” [Lesbos Aiolis - Songs and Dances of Lesbos] (Crete University Press, CUP 9-10, 1997). In this recording, the following music tunes are performed, which come from “Horhor Agha's” songs: “Çıtkırıldım - Biz Köroğlu yavrusuyuz korkmayız or Köroğlu - Çıtkırıldım”.

Regarding the non Greek-speaking recordings, the following should be noted:

According to the database that emerged from Allan Kelly’s research, in 1906, in Constantinople, the Orchestra Gramophone made the recordings “Quadrille Leblebidji, figs 1-2-3” (1642r - 2-10333 2-10598 X-100091) and “Quadrille Leblebidji, figs 4-5“ (1643r - 2-10334 2-10599 X-100092).

In June 1909, in Thessaloniki, the MUSIQUE DE L'ECOLE DES ARTS ET METIERS, SALONIQUE made the recording under the title “Leblebedje Horhor Aga” (Gramophone 13493b - 2-10245).

Around 1911, the Orfeon orchestra recorded excerpts of the operetta in Constantinople (see here and the present recording).

There are also five recordings of songs from the operetta by the Armenian singer Ovanes (Ovannes) Effendi, which were made in 1912, in Smyrna, for the record label Favorite. Among others, they include the songs “Souz souz”, “Bahar Geldi” and “Biz Köroğlu Yavrusuyuz Korkmayız”.

Four undated recordings for Favorite were found, three with Küçük Benliyan Efendi, among which “Köroğlu” (1-55241) is included, and one with Ertuğrul Yatı Orkestrası under the direction of Mr. Lange (Leblebici [Milli Marş], 1-51228).

Certain tunes of the play seem to have passed into the Jewish repertoires of the Eastern Ashkenazi Jews. In 1902, the Hebrew Publishing Company from New York printed a book under the title “The European Jewish wedding” (Di originale yidishe khasene). The book, digitized by the U.S. Library of Congress, contains Herman Shapiro’s transcriptions of traditional wedding tunes from the Yiddish/Klezmer repertoire. Transcription number 2 on page 1 and under the title “Zmiros” can be found in “Horhor”. More specifically, the transcription is the song titled “Çıtkırıldım”, which could be translated as “Fragile” (see here, here, here and here for the appearance of the song in Greek discography as well). The tune is also found in Jewish discography made in America. On May 10, 1923, in New York, the famous Naftule Brandwein and his orchestra recorded a medley under the title “Turkische Yalle Vey Uve-Tanz (Turkish Dance)” (Victor B-27892 - 73895-A). The tune in question can be heard after 1’ 38’’. It is noteworthy that on the other side of the record is the famous song “Heiser Bulgar” (Victor B-27889 - 73895-B), which also appears in Greek discography as “Chasapiko serviko”, later as “Macedon” and finally as the famous song from the movie “Rembetiko” “Tis Amynis ta paidia”.

This tune, “Çıtkırıldım”, can also be found in Serbian discography. In particular, two historical recordings have been found (kindly suggested by Nikola Zekić): The first comes from a catalog from Pathé, probably from 1910, where the soprano Cipora Papić is singing the song titled “Керемеле” (16938). The second recording, titled “Keremejle”, was made by actress and singer Draga Spasić for Homocord, probably in 1928-1929 (Se 4-038, TM31237). The sound of this recording is identical to the musical tune in question, which later continued to be present in the Serbian repertoire, with titles such as “Keremejle, Keremejli, Керемейли, Керемеле” (see for example here and here).

The adaptation of the operetta for the cinema, following a practice established for extremely popular works, is notable: In 1916, on the initiative of Sigmund Weinberg and in collaboration with Fuat Uzkinay, began the shooting of a film under the title “Leblebici Horhor”, which was interrupted due to the death of one of the stars. In 1923, director Muhsin Ertuğrul completed the short silent film “Leblebici Horhor”. In 1934, the same director, with the participation of Nazim Hikmet in the script, shot the film “Leblebici horhor Ağa”, which participated in the 2nd Venice International Film Festival, held in 1934, receiving an honorable distinction.

As regards the film adaptation of the operetta, what Georgia Kondyli (2014) mentions is also of particular interest: “Apart from its theatrical activity, the Papaioannou troupe also showed achievements in cinema: it is reported that in 1911, at the ‘Pathé’ movie theater in Smyrna, the operetta Horhor Agha was adapted as a movie in which the actors of the troupe lent their voices to the various characters (Amaltheia 1911d). Solomonidis (1954:197) confirms that the troupe was offered by the company Pathé to adapt Greek and Turkish plays into movies. Thus, the first play that was selected was Horhor Agha. The filming took place somewhere near Buca".

The above information is also confirmed by the French newspaper La Liberté of Constantinople (13/11/1911, p. 3). According to the relevant publication, the film, with the Papaioannou troupe, was screened in November 1911 at the Amphitheater des Petits Champs in Constantinople.

In 1943, during the period when Armenia was a Soviet Socialist Republic and part of the USSR, an Armenian version of the operetta (see here) was performed at the Gledališče glasbene komedije, Hakob Paronyan (Hakob Paronyan Theater of Musical Comedy) in Yerevan, under the title “Կարինե” (Карине or Karine or Garine) and a new libretto in the Armenian language. The performances were directed by Tatevos Saryan, re-orchestrated and conducted by Anoushavan Ter-Ghevondyan.

From this version of the operetta comes the recording “АРИЯ ЛЕБЛЕБИДЖИ” (Aprelevka Plant 12193 - 12193), which took place in Moscow, in 1944, by ШАРА ТАЛЬЯН (Shara Talyan) and the All-Union Radio Committee Symphonic Orchestra under the direction of А. Грана (Alexander Gran). This is an adaptation with Armenian lyrics of the song “Biz Köroğlu Yavrusuyuz, Korkmayiz”. According to the data available so far, three more recordings of the operetta “Karine” during the Soviet period were found:

- “Романс Каринэ из ком. оп. Каринэ”, А.Даниэлян; орк. п/у А.Шахгельдян, USSR, 1945 (Грампластрест 13047)
- “Мелодия из оп-ты Каринэ”, Орк. п/у Г.Столярова, USSR, 1951 (Грампластрест 20340)
- “Мелодия из оп-ты Каринэ (оконч.)”, Орк. п/у Г.Столярова, USSR, 1951 (Грампластрест 20341)

It was presented at the Yerevan National Opera in 1951 as a comic opera adapted by Artemi Ayvazyan, and, in 1988, in a new adaptation by Tigran Levonian and Ghazaros Sarian.

The Armenian version of the operetta was brought to the cinema through the film “Каринэ” (Karine), which began its screenings in Yerevan cinemas in March 1969 (watch the film here).

On May 11, 2010, 135 years after its first performance in Constantinople, an adaptation of the operetta in French by Gérald Papasian under the title “Gariné” premiered at the Théâtre de Saint-Maur in Paris (see here).

Research and text: Leonardos Kounadis and Nikos Ordoulidis

Author (Composer):
Lyrics by:
Instrumental
Singer(s):
Instrumental
Orchestra-Performers:
Orfeon Orchestra
Recording date:
1911 (?)
Recording location:
Constantinople (Istanbul)
Publisher:
Orfeon
Catalogue number:
No-10424
Matrix number:
617
Duration:
2:58
Item location:
Kounadis Archive Record Library
Physical description:
10 in. (25 cm)
Source:
Kounadis Archive
ID:
Orfeon_10424_LeblebidjiHorhor_I
Licensing:
cc
Reference link:
Kounadis Archive, "Leblebidji Horhor I", 2019, https://vmrebetiko.gr/en/item-en?id=5194

The reforms introduced by the Ottoman Empire from 1839 to 1876 with the so-called “Tanzimat” reshaped the landscape in various aspects of social reality. More generally, the 19th century was a pivotal point in time for the course of the Empire, during which the Sultan and the administration looked towards Europe and introduced institutional changes. As far as music is concerned, the dissolution of the Janissary military orchestra that took place in 1826, but also the appointment of Giuseppe Donizetti as Istruttore Generale of the Court in 1828, were undoubtedly examples of the determination for change (see also Kokkonis 2017b: 133).

In this context, the Armenian Dikran Tchouhadjian (Tigran Chouhajian, Beyoğlu, Constantinople [Istanbul], 1837 – Smyrna [Izmir], March 11, 1898) was born in Constantinople, who was destined to compose a landmark work for the Ottoman (and more broadly for the “Eastern”) reality. This was the famous three-act musical-theatrical play “Leblebici Horhor Ağa” (Khorkor agha, the vendor of chickpeas), with a libretto in Ottoman Turkish by the also Armenian Takvor Nalyan (Hasköy, Constantinople, 1843 - 1876).

The present recording includes the instrumental version of the song “Biz Köroğlu Yavrusuyuz, Korkmayızi”, which could be translated as “We are descendants of Kioroglu, we are not afraid”.

The popularity of this play, and, of course, its music, was unprecedented, and influenced scholar and popular musicians, both within the Empire and beyond. The play’s music clearly communicates with the dynamic European musical theater traditions which were in constant development. They come from France, Austria, Italy and Germany, from the era of the Baroque and opera seria, up to the modern versions of the operetta. Listening to “Horhor”, one realizes that Tchouhadjian, who studied in Europe, conversed with “Die Entführung aus dem Serail” and “Don Giovanni” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, “Don Pasquale” by Gaetano Donizzeti, but also with the Austrian waltz and the German singspiel. That is perhaps why, in the relevant literature, “Horhor” is sometimes characterized as a musical and an operetta, and sometimes as an opera or an opera buffa. Of course, this aesthetic edifice also includes the, often auto-exotic, easternized motifs, faithfully following the dictates of Europe’s national schools.

The play appears to have been first performed at the French Theater (Le Palais de Cristal) in Constantinople in November 1875 by the Ottoman Opera troupe. However, in the London newspaper The Musical World, in the issue of October 2, 1875, one can read the following: “Another Turkish comic opera, composed by M. Tchohadjian, and entitled, Leblebidji Khorkor, the Vendor of Chick-peas, Khorkor, will be performed during the approaching Ramazan at the Guedik Pasha Theatre in Stamboul”.

In addition, in 1889, “Appletons’ Annual Cyclopaedia and Register of Important Events of the Year 1886” was published in New York. The following is written on page 599, of this book:

“1876-As a curiosity, we must mention the performance of a Turkish operetta, "Leblebidji Horhor Agha," by the Impresario of the Tschohadjian troupe at Constantinople. The music, although built, in part, upon Turkish motives, is shaped entirely after Italian models, the scene being laid in the time of the Janizaries; a luxurious display of costumes was calculated to attract a public more fond of pageantry than fastidious in its musical taste”.

“Leblebidji Horhor Agha”, in its long journey that continues to this day, has enjoyed enormous success and appeal, has been staged in countless cities and countries, among them Cairo, Vienna, Smyrna, London, Paris, Yerevan, Venice, Baku, New York, Pasadena, etc., but also in Bulgaria, Romania, Germany, Russia, etc., and was the most widespread and popular musical work written in Turkish (see the 1975 Istanbul Devlet Opera ve Balesi [Istanbul State Opera and Ballet] TV adaptation of the operetta here).

In the summer of 1883, from July 11 to September 13, the “Armenian Theater Group of the Turkish Operetta”, under the direction of the actor, singer, impresario and troupe leader Séropé Benglian (Serovpe Bengliyan, Beyoğlu, Constantinople, 1835 - Alexandria, 1900), presented the operetta, together with other works by the same composer, at the Faliro theater.

“Leblebidji Horhor Agha” thrilled the Greek audience, was translated into Greek and performed countless times (see here, for example). Its influence on the development of vaudeville and Greek operetta was catalytic, and its melodies and songs also influenced composers of rebetiko. As noted by Giorgos Leotsakos (see Giorgos Leotsakos, “Armenia:  Odoiporiko Diptycho. ΙΙ: aparaititos mousiko!”), it was “an integral part of modern Greek musical history”.

Indicative of its influence were the recordings made by Greek musicians (in Turkish and Greek) in the first decade of the 20th century, but also later. Among them are included:

- “Leblebidji Horhor I a”, Estudiantina Smyrniote [Smyrnaean Estudiantina], Constantinople, 1908 (Odeon xC 1902a - X 58590/1)
- “Leblebidji Horhor II a”, Estudiantina Smyrniote [Smyrnaean Estudiantina], Constantinople, 1908 (Odeon xC 1902b - X 58590/2)
- “Leblebidji Horhor III a”, Estudiantina Smyrniote [Smyrnaean Estudiantina], Constantinople, 1908 (Odeon xC 1902c - X 58590/3)
- “Leblebidji Horhor IV a”, Estudiantina Smyrniote [Smyrnaean Estudiantina], Constantinople, 1908 (Odeon xC 1902d - X 58590/4)
- “Leblebidji”, Estudiantina Smyrniote [Smyrnaean Estudiantina], probably Thessaloniki, 1909 (Odeon XSC 74 - X 54740)
- “Bahar Geldi”, Lefteris Menemenlis, Smyrna, June 7 , 1912 (Favorite 7071-t - 1-55053 & Columbia USA E-6127)
- “S’ agapo”, Giorgos Savaris, Tzon Miliaris, Lousien, Athens, 1927 (Columbia UK 20181 - 8092)
- “Ta palikaria tou Kioroglou”, Giorgos Savaris, Tzon Miliaris, Lousien, Athens, 1928 (Columbia UK 20216 - 8208)
- “Horhor-Agas”, Antonis Ntalgkas, Athens, June 1928 (HMV BF 1848 - AO 259)
- “S' agapo, se potho”, Tetos Dimitriadis, Camden, New Jersey, February 11, 1925 (Victor BVE 33739 - 79076)
- “O Armenis”, Kyriakos Mavreas, Athens, 1929 (Columbia UK W 20465 - 8339)

We should also note the adaptations of some of the most popular musical tunes of the play, such as the case of the recording “O kafes” by Giorgos Savaris, Tzon Miliaris and Loukianos Miliaris, under the direction of the pianist Sosos Ioannidis. The recording took place in Athens, in 1927, and the label of the record reads (the exotic) “tragoudi anatolitiko” [oriental/eastern song] (Columbia 20048 - 8046). This song interacts with the song “Çıtkırıldım”, found in “Horhor Aga”.

Also, some of the tunes of the play seem to be popular on the island of Lesvos, particularly in the village of Agiasos. On the one hand, performances of the play in the city of Mytilini were held at least since 1934, when — as indexed by the “Anagnostirio Agiasou” — the local newspaper To Fos announced on March 12, 1934 that: “Turkish Operetta: It will be staged to the ‘Pantheon’ tonight. The immortal Turkish operetta Leblebidji ‘HOR - HOR AGA’ will be performed. The invited troupe will leave tomorrow for Athens”. On the other hand, in 1989, Nikos Dionysopoulos recorded musicians in Agiasos who performed the song under the title “Hor Hor Agas”, which was included in the publication “Lesvos Aiolis - Tragoudia kai Choroi tis Lesvou” [Lesbos Aiolis - Songs and Dances of Lesbos] (Crete University Press, CUP 9-10, 1997). In this recording, the following music tunes are performed, which come from “Horhor Agha's” songs: “Çıtkırıldım - Biz Köroğlu yavrusuyuz korkmayız or Köroğlu - Çıtkırıldım”.

Regarding the non Greek-speaking recordings, the following should be noted:

According to the database that emerged from Allan Kelly’s research, in 1906, in Constantinople, the Orchestra Gramophone made the recordings “Quadrille Leblebidji, figs 1-2-3” (1642r - 2-10333 2-10598 X-100091) and “Quadrille Leblebidji, figs 4-5“ (1643r - 2-10334 2-10599 X-100092).

In June 1909, in Thessaloniki, the MUSIQUE DE L'ECOLE DES ARTS ET METIERS, SALONIQUE made the recording under the title “Leblebedje Horhor Aga” (Gramophone 13493b - 2-10245).

Around 1911, the Orfeon orchestra recorded excerpts of the operetta in Constantinople (see here and the present recording).

There are also five recordings of songs from the operetta by the Armenian singer Ovanes (Ovannes) Effendi, which were made in 1912, in Smyrna, for the record label Favorite. Among others, they include the songs “Souz souz”, “Bahar Geldi” and “Biz Köroğlu Yavrusuyuz Korkmayız”.

Four undated recordings for Favorite were found, three with Küçük Benliyan Efendi, among which “Köroğlu” (1-55241) is included, and one with Ertuğrul Yatı Orkestrası under the direction of Mr. Lange (Leblebici [Milli Marş], 1-51228).

Certain tunes of the play seem to have passed into the Jewish repertoires of the Eastern Ashkenazi Jews. In 1902, the Hebrew Publishing Company from New York printed a book under the title “The European Jewish wedding” (Di originale yidishe khasene). The book, digitized by the U.S. Library of Congress, contains Herman Shapiro’s transcriptions of traditional wedding tunes from the Yiddish/Klezmer repertoire. Transcription number 2 on page 1 and under the title “Zmiros” can be found in “Horhor”. More specifically, the transcription is the song titled “Çıtkırıldım”, which could be translated as “Fragile” (see here, here, here and here for the appearance of the song in Greek discography as well). The tune is also found in Jewish discography made in America. On May 10, 1923, in New York, the famous Naftule Brandwein and his orchestra recorded a medley under the title “Turkische Yalle Vey Uve-Tanz (Turkish Dance)” (Victor B-27892 - 73895-A). The tune in question can be heard after 1’ 38’’. It is noteworthy that on the other side of the record is the famous song “Heiser Bulgar” (Victor B-27889 - 73895-B), which also appears in Greek discography as “Chasapiko serviko”, later as “Macedon” and finally as the famous song from the movie “Rembetiko” “Tis Amynis ta paidia”.

This tune, “Çıtkırıldım”, can also be found in Serbian discography. In particular, two historical recordings have been found (kindly suggested by Nikola Zekić): The first comes from a catalog from Pathé, probably from 1910, where the soprano Cipora Papić is singing the song titled “Керемеле” (16938). The second recording, titled “Keremejle”, was made by actress and singer Draga Spasić for Homocord, probably in 1928-1929 (Se 4-038, TM31237). The sound of this recording is identical to the musical tune in question, which later continued to be present in the Serbian repertoire, with titles such as “Keremejle, Keremejli, Керемейли, Керемеле” (see for example here and here).

The adaptation of the operetta for the cinema, following a practice established for extremely popular works, is notable: In 1916, on the initiative of Sigmund Weinberg and in collaboration with Fuat Uzkinay, began the shooting of a film under the title “Leblebici Horhor”, which was interrupted due to the death of one of the stars. In 1923, director Muhsin Ertuğrul completed the short silent film “Leblebici Horhor”. In 1934, the same director, with the participation of Nazim Hikmet in the script, shot the film “Leblebici horhor Ağa”, which participated in the 2nd Venice International Film Festival, held in 1934, receiving an honorable distinction.

As regards the film adaptation of the operetta, what Georgia Kondyli (2014) mentions is also of particular interest: “Apart from its theatrical activity, the Papaioannou troupe also showed achievements in cinema: it is reported that in 1911, at the ‘Pathé’ movie theater in Smyrna, the operetta Horhor Agha was adapted as a movie in which the actors of the troupe lent their voices to the various characters (Amaltheia 1911d). Solomonidis (1954:197) confirms that the troupe was offered by the company Pathé to adapt Greek and Turkish plays into movies. Thus, the first play that was selected was Horhor Agha. The filming took place somewhere near Buca".

The above information is also confirmed by the French newspaper La Liberté of Constantinople (13/11/1911, p. 3). According to the relevant publication, the film, with the Papaioannou troupe, was screened in November 1911 at the Amphitheater des Petits Champs in Constantinople.

In 1943, during the period when Armenia was a Soviet Socialist Republic and part of the USSR, an Armenian version of the operetta (see here) was performed at the Gledališče glasbene komedije, Hakob Paronyan (Hakob Paronyan Theater of Musical Comedy) in Yerevan, under the title “Կարինե” (Карине or Karine or Garine) and a new libretto in the Armenian language. The performances were directed by Tatevos Saryan, re-orchestrated and conducted by Anoushavan Ter-Ghevondyan.

From this version of the operetta comes the recording “АРИЯ ЛЕБЛЕБИДЖИ” (Aprelevka Plant 12193 - 12193), which took place in Moscow, in 1944, by ШАРА ТАЛЬЯН (Shara Talyan) and the All-Union Radio Committee Symphonic Orchestra under the direction of А. Грана (Alexander Gran). This is an adaptation with Armenian lyrics of the song “Biz Köroğlu Yavrusuyuz, Korkmayiz”. According to the data available so far, three more recordings of the operetta “Karine” during the Soviet period were found:

- “Романс Каринэ из ком. оп. Каринэ”, А.Даниэлян; орк. п/у А.Шахгельдян, USSR, 1945 (Грампластрест 13047)
- “Мелодия из оп-ты Каринэ”, Орк. п/у Г.Столярова, USSR, 1951 (Грампластрест 20340)
- “Мелодия из оп-ты Каринэ (оконч.)”, Орк. п/у Г.Столярова, USSR, 1951 (Грампластрест 20341)

It was presented at the Yerevan National Opera in 1951 as a comic opera adapted by Artemi Ayvazyan, and, in 1988, in a new adaptation by Tigran Levonian and Ghazaros Sarian.

The Armenian version of the operetta was brought to the cinema through the film “Каринэ” (Karine), which began its screenings in Yerevan cinemas in March 1969 (watch the film here).

On May 11, 2010, 135 years after its first performance in Constantinople, an adaptation of the operetta in French by Gérald Papasian under the title “Gariné” premiered at the Théâtre de Saint-Maur in Paris (see here).

Research and text: Leonardos Kounadis and Nikos Ordoulidis

Author (Composer):
Lyrics by:
Instrumental
Singer(s):
Instrumental
Orchestra-Performers:
Orfeon Orchestra
Recording date:
1911 (?)
Recording location:
Constantinople (Istanbul)
Publisher:
Orfeon
Catalogue number:
No-10424
Matrix number:
617
Duration:
2:58
Item location:
Kounadis Archive Record Library
Physical description:
10 in. (25 cm)
Source:
Kounadis Archive
ID:
Orfeon_10424_LeblebidjiHorhor_I
Licensing:
cc
Reference link:
Kounadis Archive, "Leblebidji Horhor I", 2019, https://vmrebetiko.gr/en/item-en?id=5194

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See also