Kim HeeJo (AKA Kim HuiJo) (1920-2001) a native of Seoul, was one of the most prominent Korean composers of the twentieth century. He is primarily known for his works that incorporate aspects of traditional Korean music and was among the first choral composers in Korea to compose large scale works for the Korean Christian church. The current disc features four large scale works composed by Kim for Korean traditional orchestra.
All indications are Kim was extremely prolific, composing and arranging for both western and Korean instruments
(there are at least four symphonies for Korean Traditional orchestra...) The current program is, based on the few other works I have heard, is fairly representative of Kim's compositional style - a genre known in Korean as Changjak Gugak (창작국악) - "newly composed" or "creative traditional music."
I am in general, a big fan of these multi-culti mashups... it's intriguing to hear how one musical tradition redefines another. The best essays in this type of encounter are those where the transfer from one tradition to another is not too literal - like transcribing Beethoven for kotos and shakuhachis. Kim's choice of musical material keeps pretty close to the Korean idiom, while achieving an "orchestral" texture. No mean feat, since the very nature of Korean instruments make them particularly resistant to harmony or counterpoint. All in all, a charming program of interesting works from a sadly neglected (at least in the west) Korean composer.
2. Piri Concerto On A Theme of Maena
3. Kayagum Concerto No.1
4. Fantasy On A Theme of Yombul
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