Gyeonggye: Border details

Gyeonggye: Border
for Taegŭm(plus voice; and Japanese Temple bell [high] with suspended internal striker, or F crotales)  (2020)
duration: 7′ 01″
publisher: Australian Music Centre

Hyelim Kim (taegŭm) in action at Creativity Unlimited Music Festival 2017 (photo: Petar Jovanov) and branch in Mulgoa Nature Reserve, Sydney (photo: Bruce Crossman)

score available from

Australian Music Centre

program note

Gyeonggye: Borderwas 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 taegŭmbamboo 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 Gugaksanjostructure. 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 taegŭmbreath-drones and emergent flourishes as if signaling heaven; this double stillness frames a disruptive, accelerating middle section. Here, the taegŭm’sbreath-membrane noise-purity tones gradually accrue colour density juxtaposed with moments of ecstatic inner rhythmic mötand glossolalia speaking-in-tongues chanting, towards a controlled free improvisatory space for the performer. Its timeless space allows the player room to create whooping sweeps of colour and breath-to-tonal bends, towards ripping up the motif structures in a liberamente free-joy. In this sense, the unpredictable improvisatory ripping up of the breath colours as spirit movement in the music, was inspired by Chinese painter Cai Guo-qiang’s gun-powered exploding of calligraphical painting towards spirit, that Hyelim and I had witnessed together in Melbourne last year. The pulsing juxtaposed colours of the taegŭmare 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.

Bruce Crossman, Gyeonggye: Border (taegŭm)

dedication note:

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

first performance:

It will be recorded by Hyelim Kim (taegŭm) in London, United Kingdom, October 2020.

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