Yesterday morning I was able to attend an early-morning performance at Changgyeong Palace in Seoul. The theme of the event was Pungnyu (풍류): music which is traditionally by and for the aristocracy. The small audience sat in a hall that formerly housed the kings and their families, while performers from the National Gugak Center played a variety of works, from a court dance to vocal music to sanjo. We even were served breakfast. In my short time here in Seoul I’ve already heard a number of concerts and traditional performances, all of them in one of the myriad modern halls this city offers. It was a refreshing change to see and hear this music in a setting for which it was originally meant to be presented. And though we were only a quarter mile from a busy thoroughfare, none of the city’s pervasive noise managed to infiltrate our hour of peace.
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