Aureole etc.




Nimbus on-line




If it’s the Czech works you’re after, do not hesitate

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett



Some items
to consider

 


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android


Tudor 7188


Vaughan Williams Symphony 3 etc.


Lyrita New Recording


Lyrita Premiere Recordings

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage


Decca Phase 4 - 40CDs


Judith Bailey, George Lloyd


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

 

 

 

Mark Morris’s Guide to Twentieth Century Composers

Front Page

KOREA

───────────────────────────────────────

YUN

───────────────────────────────────────

YUN Isang (Ysang)

born 17th September 1917 at Tongyong

died 3rd November 1995 at Berlin

───────────────────────────────────────

The major Korean composer Isang Yun, the son of a well-known Korean poet, had a prolific compositional life dogged by political oppression and controversy. He was jailed in 1943 by the Japanese authorities in Korea, and left Korea for Paris and then Germany in 1956. In 1967 Yun and his wife Sooja Lee were kidnapped by the South Korean authorities in Berlin on grounds of treason (for failing to return to South Korea), and released in 1969, following international pressure; the South Korean authorities made another failed attempt in 1976. He became a German citizen in 1971.

Some of this experience has been reflected in Yun's music: the Cello Concerto (1975-1976) reflects his imprisonment, the cantata On the Threshold (1975) was based on the poetry of Nazi victim Albrecht Haushofer, and Exemplum in memoriam Kwang ju (1981) for orchestra was a musical reaction to the suppression of a South Korean popular uprising. However, much of his music has been essentially abstract, if permeated by Taoist philosophy, and overall Yun has blended the European avant-garde and orchestral mainstream with influences of Korean music, particularly court music, without the direct quotation of Korean folk-music and only the occasional use of a Korean instrument.

Yun disowned his earlier music, reportedly conservative in style; his earliest acknowledged works, dating from the late 1950s, reflect the avant-garde developments he encountered in Europe. A number of stylistic features emerged that have permeated his output. An overall duality contrasts slow-moving, generally meditative but often tense ideas (whose pace and tone are influenced by Korean court music) against shorter bursts of more intense activity. Harmonically, Yun uses `principal tones' that provide an aural harmonic foundation. A streak of lyricism often surfaces, with inflections of Eastern music (especially flute music). Orchestral textures are usually dense, but with brighter percussive sounds again drawn from the heritage of Eastern musics.

Yun's works in the 1960s concentrated on tone-colours, often used in overlapping swathes, exemplified in the long phrases and overlapping events of Loyang (1962, revised 1964) for chamber orchestra. Gasa (1963) for violin and piano and Garak (1963) for flute and piano illustrate the basic duality, the soloists generally having longer lyrical lines against the nervous restlessness of the piano writing. Réak (1966) for orchestra, which includes a sharp-sounding Korean instrument (the `bak') among the percussion, is perhaps the most effective of the tone-colour works.

In the 1970s Yun produced a number of instrumental concertos and works based on Western texts. At the same time the more avant-garde aspects of his idiom became diluted into a more direct style, the tone-colour emphasis being partially replaced by less dense textures and an emphasis on solo lyricism, which was subsequently further developed in such works as the Chamber Symphony No.1 (1987). The dramatically varied and fervent Flute Concerto (1977) uses a small orchestra, and has a programmatic content based on an old Taoist tale of a young Buddhist neophyte who casts off her training to dance naked in front of the statue of the Buddha before returning to her original state. Much of the writing has the spirit of the dance, from the throbbing rhythm of the opening, unusual in Yun's output for its regularity. The abstract Octuor (1978) for three wind and five strings is one of Yun's most effective works, the two instrumental groups sometimes opposing each other, and coming together for the more solemn and subdued central section. With its colour effects, such as the series of delicate upward string slides, its clear structure, and its sure sense of instrumental emphasis, this octet would make an interesting and appealing modern contrast to those octets (such as Schumann's) written for the same forces.

In the 1980s Yun embarked on a series of five symphonies that draw on the experience of both the tone-colour works and the instrumental concertos. The basic duality between the turbulent and the ruminative remains, but the structure of the `principal tone' has broadened into a harmonic palette closer to traditional harmony, dissonance caused as much by contrasts of orchestral colour as by the clash of harmonies. Compared with Réak, the overall impression is of a reversion to a more conventional idiom, as if Yun had absorbed Mahler and Shostakovich (and, in the third symphony, Strauss) along the way. Although they vary considerably in structure and instrumentation, the general tone and idiom of the symphonies is consistent; the particular virtues of these symphonies are the detailed sound images that Yun invokes, the potency coming from the local focus rather than the overall impression. The dramatic Symphony No.1 (1982-1983) warns against the horrors of nuclear disaster (especially in the first movement), though it works perfectly successfully as abstract music, if marred by a tendency for the strings to produce Hollywood-like figures. The more effective Symphony No.2 (1984) contrasts two oppositional forces, the positive represented by the strings, the destructive by the brass, the woodwind acting as intermediaries, the whole characterized by a restless lyricism and regular shifting around the orchestral blocks. The third of four movements sounds (by complete coincidence) as if it is a development of a passage of Havergal Brian's Gothic Symphony. The Symphony No.3 (1985) is the most inspired and effective of these symphonies, cast in one movement with three sections. Following the Taoist precept of the unity of heaven, earth, and humanity, there are three musical entities: the strings (heavenly purity), the brass and timpani (earth) and the woodwinds (humanity), each of which are assigned different tempi and pulses, while being drawn into an overall cohesion. The effect is of constant shifts of overlapping emotional swathes and areas of orchestral colour, sometimes turbulent, sometimes delicate, sometimes almost triumphant, in a structurally interesting and emotionally beautiful work. The harsher Symphony No.4 `Singing in the Dark' (1986) was accompanied by a programmatic commentary, the first of two movements representing the conflicts of human society, the second a song for and by the oppressed; the first movement is influenced by Korean art song, and the ending has a quiet beauty before a traditional climatic close. The lengthy, five-movement Symphony No.5 (1987) for baritone and orchestra sets poems by Nelly Sachs.

Yun was appointed professor at Seoul University in 1954, and taught in Hanover (1969-1970) and at the Berlin Academy of the Arts (1970-1985).

───────────────────────────────────────

works include:

- 5 symphonies; Chamber Symphony No.1

- cello concerto; clarinet concerto; flute concerto; flute and harp concerto; oboe concerto; violin concerto

- Dimensions, Exemplum in memoriam Kwang ju, Fluctuations and Réak for orch.

- Glissées for cello; Cinq Études for flute; Piri for oboe; Garak for flute and piano; Gasa for violin and piano; clarinet quintet; Octuor for octet and many other chamber works

- Toyaux sonores for organ

- cantata On the Threshold; Om mani padme hum for soloists, chorus and orch.

- operas Butterfly Widow, Geisterliebe, Liu Tung's Dream and Sim Tjong

───────────────────────────────────────

recommended works:

Octuor (1978) for octet

Réak (1966) for orchestra

Symphony No.3 (1985)

───────────────────────────────────────


 
 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools




Return to Front Page

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.