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Korea Chronicles – programme and video of the opening performance

Korea Chronicles New Arirang

Here is a video of the opening performance of the Korea Chronicles residency at the KCC, by Jason Verney of Native Nomad Pictures. The performance was on 12 August 2014.

As Jason comments:

This film features the performances and concert in its entirety, along with added extras – the preparation beforehand, the artwork associated with the KAA’s, rehearsals and more.

Look out for both a certain toddler’s brief screen appearance – Cute – and observe the reactions (even one person does a little dance!) from the passers-by on the street, as the concert occurs.

And here is the programme and my speaking notes for introducing each of the items.

1. Sŏlchanggo (설장구) Performed by Jeung Hyun Choi with two musicians

“Sŏl” means ‘the best’. Hence, “Sŏlchanggo” originally referred to performance that only the best of changgo players can deliver, in order to demonstrate the playing techniques in the kaein nori, an ‘individual play’ movement of an entertainment-based p’ungmul performance, p’an kut. For this concert, Jeung Hyun Choi, Seong-u Kim and Gina Ha-Gorlin will be performing the fastest rhythmic cycle hwimori as a trio.

2. “Azaleas” (진달래꽃), “The letter” (편지) Poem Performed by Hye Kyung Park

Kim So Wol (1902-1934) is most famous for his contributions to early modem Korean poetry. Throughout his life he wrote his beautifully poignant poetry in a style reminiscent of traditional Korean folk songs. “Azaleas” (진달래꽃) is one of his most famous poems. “The letter” is Hye Kyung Park’s poem.

3. Ch’ŏngsonggok (청성곡) Performed by Hye Lim Kim (Taegum)

Ch’ŏngsonggok is a piece for solo Taegum, a large transverse bamboo flute, or tanso, a small notched bamboo vertical flute, in which the performer plays the song T’aepyongga an octave higher with variations on the melody. T’aepyongga is a classical vocal piece that was highly appreciated by the literati of the Korean Chosŏn dynasty (1392〜1897).

4. Geomungo Sanjo (거 문고 산조) performed by Eun Jung Kim (Geomungo)

Geomungo Sanjo is a solo instrumental form of music created in the late 19th century by Kim Ch’angjo (1856- 1919), a master of the gayageum. This genre has been quickly adopted for performance utilising ail major Korean melody instruments.
The title for a given piece of sanjo includes the name of the employed instrument. Therefore a sanjo composition for geomungo is simply called geomungo sanjo. This variation of sanjo was first played by Master Baek Nak Joon (1876-1930). Nowadays, there are three major schools of geomungo sanjo, each named after the musician who initiated them: Han Gap-deuk (1919-1987), Sin Kwae-dong (1919-1987), and Kim Yun-deok (1918-1978). Many sanjo pieces are associated with great players from the past and the majority of pieces are named after a specific musician and his or her school. In Eun-jung’s case, it is the Han Gap-deuk school of sanjo.

5. Chimhyangmu (침향무) Performed by Ji Eun Jung (Kayagum 1) & Dayena Song (Kayagum 2)

The piece Chimhyangmu was composed by Professor Byung-ki Hwang in 1971. Chimhyangmu means “the fragrance of India.” A metaphysical historic world is expressed by creating mysterious sound images using new tunings, tone-cluster effects, and diverse musical devices.

6. ‘Variation 3’,Theme based on Mendelssohn by Sabrina Park Kim & ‘River Flows in You’ by Yiruma Performed by Yoon-Seok Shin (Piano)

The style and techniques reflect 1970 to 1980’s plain and harmonic era of Korea. It could demonstrate colour and character of the period. Composer Sabrina Park Kim inspired by Mendelssohn^ “Song Without words”, the first four bars of Op, No. 3. This variation is experimental also harmonised the traditional romantic style with modem Korean spirit. It replicate neo-romanticism with Korean style and soul. The overall essence is the beauty of modernistic nostalgia of the era.
Yiruma, who is a popular South Korean Semi-Classical pianist and composer, ’River Flowers in you’ is one of Yiruma’s popular and well known pieces where it had an international acclaim.

7. Isang Yun Etude No.5 Performed by Min Hee Cho (Flute)

Yunfs primary musical concern was the development of Korean Music by the means of Western avant-garde music. After experimenting with 12-tone techniques Yun developed his own musical personality in his works of the early 1960s,post-serialistic “sound compositions.
Yun’s music employed techniques associated with traditional Korean music, such as glissandi, pizzicati, portamenti, vibrati, and above all a very rich vocabulary of ornaments.
He composed 5 Etudes for Flute in 1974, this is one of them. Through this piece, you can feel those techniques, which I mentioned before.

8. ‘The land of Happiness’ by Han Dae Soo (행복의 나라로) (한대수) performed by Sung Min Jeon (Guitar & Vocal & Harmonica)

Han Dae-soo is a South Korean folk singer-songwriter born in Pusan in 1948.
He spent most of his teen ages in New York due to his family issue. In 1968, he came back to Korea and began performing. At that time, he was the first and only hippie in Korea, and he opened the golden age of Korean modem folk. He was the first singer-songwriter in Korea, and also the first musician playing guitar and harmonica together. Particularly, his song, “To the land of happiness” became youth anthems.

9. New Arirang performed by Ji Eun Jung (Kayagum), Sung Min Jeon (Guitar), Hye Lim Kim (Taegum), So Hyun Park (Piano)

“Arirang” is the most representative Korean traditional folk song. Arirang is an ancient native Korean word. “Ari” means ‘beautiful’’ and ‘rang’ can mean ‘dear’. Ji Eun Jung arranged Arirang into a modem style.

10. DJ (K-POP from 1980 – 2014) performed by Joon Ki Hong

A retrospective look at Korean pop music from the 1980s to the present day, arranged in a live mash-up by London-based DJ Joonki. Seminal singers from the 80s, including Choi Ho Seop and Kim Min Woo, lead onto hip hop and dance beats from contemporary artists such as Tiger JK and PSY.

11. Dubu (Korean Tofu) Workshop by Hyung Soo Yim

“Korean Duboo (tofu) workshop’ with chef ‘Hyung Soo Yim’ will introduce the history of Korean tofu and he will show how to cook the tofu and then all guests can taste it.


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