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O’zbek gulining raqsi (Dance of the Uzbek Flower) : concertino for pianoforte, percussion and symphony orchestra

by Andrián Pertout (2020)

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Work Overview

O'zbek gulining raqsi (Dance of the Uzbek Flower) serves as an exploration of Uzbek Dance (endowed with an incredible complexity consisting of between 15 and 20 thousand movements), and in particular 'Lazgi,' which is part of the Khorezm School of Dance - a dance-type "performed with fire, knives, and even on ropes" featuring a philosophy centred around the personification of nature. According to online flowers encyclopedia 'The Flower Expert' the "love towards nature is very clearly expressed in the national symbols of Uzbekistan. Green colour in the national flag shows the importance of nature while the sate Emblem of Uzbekistan also reflects a blossoming valley and a shining sun with the right side of the valley as a set off with wheat and to the left with a cotton plant garland." The actual dance form "consists of an introduction and main body including folk melodies. Six- or eight-dimensional flowers are portrayed. At the start, slow and simple dance movements are made with the fingers, wrists and shoulders, and then the whole body starts to move. The pace accelerates and becomes increasingly energetic." Following a systematic analysis of 'Lazgi' and its inherent symmetry 'O'zbek gulining raqsi (Dance of the Uzbek Flower)' utilizes this popular 'song' structure within the conceptual framework, incorporating a combinatorial deconstruction of its rhythmic essence in conjunction with a modern adaptation of Uzbek modality and atonal harmony (traditional modal scales infused with modernity). For its pitch material, the work adopts a creative interpretation of Maqam-i Rast - "one of the six maqams, or suites, which constitute the systematically organized repertory of Central Asian classical music known as Shashmaqam (six maqams)" - in conjunction with its secondary mode 'Ushshak' and subsidiary mode 'Sabo', in a readaptation framed by a symmetrical arch form modal structure. "In the Shashmaqam, instrumental pieces, lyrical song, contemplative poetry, and dance are all bound together in a vast yet integrated artistic conception of great refinement and profound beauty," states American ethnomusicologist Theodore Levin. "The roots of Shashmaqam are linked strongly with Samarkand and Bukhara - historically multicultural cities where performers and audiences have included Tajiks, Uzbeks, and Central Asian (Bukharan) Jews."

Work Details

Year: 2020

Instrumentation: Pianoforte, percussion (Uzbek doira frame drum with jingles, Afro-Peruvian cajón and wrist Bells, or tambourine), piccolo, fute, oboe, English Horn., clarinet in B flat, bass clarinet, bassoon, contrabassoon, 4 French horns, 3 trumpets in B flat, 2 trombones, bass trombone, tuba, timpani, 2 percussion, harp, strings (

Duration: 10 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — Professional

Written for: Uzbekistan National Symphony Orchestra, Elnura Mirzakamalova

Commission note: Commissioned with funds provided by City of Melbourne.. Commissioned by the VI International Festival of Symphonic Music

The composer notes the following styles, genres, influences, etc in relation to this work:
Lazgi (Khorezm School of Dance), Shashmaqam (six maqams), Maqam-i Rast Combinatoriality Block designs or combinatorial designs, "Other Harmony: Beyond Tonal and Atonal" (2014) by Tom Johnson Nikolai Borisovich Obukhov (1892-1954), Traité d'harmonie, tonale, atonale et totale (1947)

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