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Gyeonggye: Border : for solo taegŭm

by Bruce Crossman (2020)

Work Overview

Gyeonggye: Border was sparked in my imagination by the organicism of the zig-zag organisation of a tree branch, observed during my bush walks in Mulgoa Nature Reserve near the foothills of the Blue Mountains, Sydney. Its organic rhythmics, angular and sharp, jarring things with the rhythm of nature inspired the organicism of the music, as a flow of juxtaposed living colours. Here, a living colour thread of taegŭm bamboo colours move from breath sounds to full-blown reed-membrane stridency excitations, with subtle pitch shifting, pure-to-noise notes, chant memories and air-attacks in-between. It is shaped as a cellular acceleration structure inspired by Korean Gugak sanjo structure. It moves from the gentle stillness of the opening's Japanese temple bell resonances, broken by Judeo-Christian glossolalia chanting entwined with the Korean word 'gyeonggye,' and closes with taegŭm breath-drones and emergent flourishes as if signaling heaven; this double stillness frames a disruptive, accelerating middle section. The pulsing juxtaposed colours of the taegŭm are a type of symbolic life pulsing, as spirit crosses from heaven to earth and earth to heaven, as a tribute to my father's border crossing to heaven this year.

Work Details

Year: 2020

Instrumentation: Taegum, voice, Japanese temple bell of F-note crotales.

Duration: 7 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — Complex rhythmic detail and changing colour nuances

Dedication note: Dedicated to Hyelim Kim and Wallace Crossman (Potocki).

The composer notes the following styles, genres, influences, etc in relation to this work:

Matthew Shipp Trio; Korean court music—Aak and contemporary sanjo performance by Hyelim Kim (taegŭm) and Yi Ji-young (gayageum); Judeo-Christian glossolalia; East Coast Australian bush; and Chinese painter Cai Guo-qiang’s gunpowder ‘improvisatory’ spirit.

Gyeonggye: Border was written for Hyelim Kim (taegŭm). It was composed as part of a film collaboration between Korea and Australia, involving Hyelim Kim (taegŭm), Vincent Tay (director/cinematographer) and Bruce Crossman (composer). The music was written in memory of my father, Wallace Crossman (Potocki).

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