Saturday, December 24, 2011
Isang Yun - Loyang, Gasa, Réak, Tuyaux Sonores (Wergo - WER 60034)
There are certain moments when I face the hard truth that my German is basic and my French is composed of 20 words. As a record collector, these heartbraking moments tend to occur quite a lot. Especially on releases two legendary record labels, Erato and Wergo, this issue becomes a pain in the neck.
The record is question here is a release of the Korean Isang Yun on the German Wergo label. It is the first press from Germany and therefore includes only German notes. A Heliodor release of this record from UK would have been a little more helpful in this case, but hey, who's to complain.
Actually Isang Yun has been a quite silent character generally among the contemporary composers apart from one incident where has was captured in East Berlin by the South Korean agents with his wife, taken back to Seoul and prisoned. He was later tried and sentenced to death when the whole world of composers created an uprising. The names among them were politically strong names like Stravinsky, Karajan, Klemperer, Stockhausen and Ligeti. All these names had substantial force in their respective governments and their pressure/petition was granted after two years of imprisonment. Yun was exiled and banned from reentry from his native country.
Isang Yun is somewhat one of the most accomplished and underrated composers of the 20th Century. Honestly I cannot put this to the mainly more depressive type of compositions he wrote. Many of the composers of his era were already excessively depressive due to witnessing two world shattering events during their lifespans. Some even committed suicide. But I believe the depression in Yun's music comes from the fact that he was extremely far away from his homeland. The culture and the thought process were (And still are) totally different and this caused him to be more pessimistic. Interestingly we saw the opposite in the case of Stravinsky, but there he nourished from the artistic movements of the era in Paris and there was a hard fact that he was not in a culturally opposite culture. A little more liberal maybe, but in essence not too different.
Unfortunately for me, by the time I started listening his music, he had already passed away, better late than never. Isang Yun's music can be classified as emitonally depressive and expressionist contemporary classical music. Moreover, even though experimentation has been a crucial factor in his compositions, these trials do not strike you with the ferocity of Stockhausen or Kagel. His experiments are also within a certain regular scheme where the listener accepts without raising an eyebrow. On the other hand, the continuous depressive mood can be nerve wrecking at various points. The most attractive composition for me on this record has been Gasa and I am truly fascinated by it. He clearly represents a different voice among the contemporary composers and it is a delight to listen to him.
To buy this record: