Uzumaki (2011)

University of Montana Flute Choir

“Uzumaki” (“Spiral”) performed by the UM Flute Choir under the directorship of Professor Margaret Lund Schuberg.

The Japanese word “uzumaki” can be translated as “swirl,” “spiral,” or “vortex.” This piece, in addition to its spiraling, unstable melody and harmony, swirls together traditions of shakuhachi (Japanese end-blown flute), American jazz, and European concert music. The influence of shakuhachi music can be heard in the both the form of the piece and the solo melody, while the extended “jazz” harmonies of this Western ensemble recontextualize this melody, combining these different traditions together into something new.

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Art, to be fully appreciated, must be true to contemporaneous life. It is not that we should ignore the claims of posterity, but that we should seek to enjoy the present more. It is not that we should disregard the creations of the past, but that we should try to assimilate them into our consciousness.

-Okakura Kakuzo