For 20 years, the Gyeonggi Gayageum Ensemble has been one of the most important and arguably, influential performing groups and incubators for contemporary gugak music. The current album, Sanjo Addiction Vol. 4, and its companion (Sanjo Addiction Vol. 5) present ten newly commissioned works each by a roster of some of Korea's top Gugak composers tasked with composing a 21st-century Sanjo. For those not familiar with Korean musical traditions, the "Sanjo" is an extended musical suite, organized around a sequence of rhythmic patterns, drawing upon melodic formulae originating in Pansori epic song.
The five works presented represent a wide range of musical responses running the gamut from Hyungsun Ryu's neo-traditional Compassion for Things Not Remembered, Daeseong Kim's Painful Sanjo which artfully expands upon traditional models with a more modernist edge to the prolific US-based Hyo-shin Na 's Kim Jukpa Sanjo, which artfully charts a course integrating modernist tendencies with episodes celebrating traditional sanjo, Kwanghee Kim's fascinating experiment in treating the rhythmic and melodic components of sanjo to standard western compositional techniques and strategies, and finally, Yong Nan Park's '...Within ?' a thrilling, postminimalist color study for gayageum quartet, and percussion.
The package is rounded out with full introductions, and bios translated into readable, idiomatic English by Jocelyn Clark
(Text by Joshua Cheek)
1. Hyungsun Ryu: Compassion for Things Not Remembered
2.Daeseong Kim: Painful Sanjo in the Seo Gongcheol Sanjo Style
3. Hyoshin Na: Kim Jukpa Sanjo «Akhmatova's Music» 2016
4. Kwanghee Kim: Nori for four Gayageum in the Seong Geumyeon Sanjo Style
5. Yongnan Park: (... Within ?) 2016