yuki – “the snow” (edo period – late 1700s)

Yuki, “The Snow”, was composed by Koto Minezaki, and is considered one of the most difficult yet also iconic pieces of Jiuta, a traditional Japanese genre performed here by Shufu Abe. In many songs or theatrical pieces in which cold, dark weather is mentioned, the melody of Yuki’s instrumental interlude is employed as a leitmotif.

The character is reflecting on her string of failed love affairs. She decides to retreat from society and become a nun. As she walks towards the monastery, soft snow begins to fall.

INSTRUMENTS:
REIKIN (Steel-Stringed Koto/Lute)
SHAKUHACHI (Bamboo Flute)
HOTEKI (Japanese Flute)

Translation of the words (from HERE):

When I brush away
The flowers, and the snow-
How clear my sleeves become!

Truly it was an affair
Of long, long ago.
The man I waited for
May still be waiting for me.

The cry of the mandarin duck
Calling for his mate
From his freezing nest
Makes me feel sorrowful.
The temple bell at midnight
Wakes me
From my lonely reverie.

It makes me sad to hear
That distant temple bell.
When the patter of hail
Reaches my pillow,
I seem to hear, somehow,
His knocking on my door again.
And less and less am I able
To dam up my tears.
Freezing now
Into icicles.
I no longer care about
This hard, bitter life.
I’m only sorry that
I still can’t think of
My former lover as sinful.
Ah, the discarded sorrows!
The forsaken world of sorrow!

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s