YOUNGHI PAGH-PAAN (b.1945): Ta-Ryong VI for 6 Instruments, Silver Strings for Piano Trio, Dreamsore for 6 Instruments, Silken Thread for Oboe and Ensemble, Ta-Ryong - tsi-shin for Percussion, Io for 9 Instruments.
Catalogue Number: 05W060
Reference: WER 7397 2
Description: Pagh-Paan's works concern themselves with questions of human existence, mortality, and religious experience, and are anchored in the rituals and instrumental traditions of Korean folk music, though without incorporating traditional instruments or thematic material. The philosophical preoccupations of the East are what lends her music its distinctive non-western flavour; for example the pursuit of an ideally expressive single tone in "Silken Thread", with microtonal fluctuations, trills, grace notes, and rhythmic alterations enlivening the long, sustained sounds, which seem unstable, flickering and distorted. These almost subliminal inflections would be faults in western playing; here, they are the whole point of the piece. TA-RYONG III and TA-RYONG VI are based on elaborated percussion rhythms derived from Korean folk music, and have a strong, and appealing, rhythmic pulse and, like the other works here, a powerful sense of dramatic narrative, though in a very formalised, ritualised structure; the sense of storytelling is palpable, and the events depicted of deep import, but you will search in vain for Western Romantic outbursts of emotion or grandiose gesture. The closest she comes to anything like this is in Io and Wundgeträumt, both related to her opera Mondschatten, which relates the radical view of existence in Ancient Greek mythology (which would be considered unthinkably cruel by modern standards) with equally radical expressions of denial of the self in Far Eastern thought, epiomised by the final line of Mondschatten: "Your soul is now nothing but a burden. It will weigh you down until you die. Cut out your soul." E-Mex Ensemble; Christoph Maria Wagner.