Rhythm of Earth, Rhythm of Heaven
(대지의 파도, 하늘의 울림)

concerto for geomungo and Korean orchestra
(2022) 18′


The geomungo is an instrument not easily categorized. In some ways it is like the other Korean zithers: silk strings stretched across a wood frame in order to play melodies. In other ways it is a percussion instrument: a wooden plectrum strikes against the body of the instrument much like a drum. Both these facets of the geomungo’s persona are featured in this concerto.

The piece makes frequent reference to the energized rhythms found in Korea’s East Coast Byeolsingut ritual music. The piece is separated into two kinds of music: the music of the earth (i.e. humanity) and the music of the heavens. The geomungo, much like the mudang in a shaman ritual, acts as a bridge between these two worlds, alternating between intense rhythmic playing and transcendent lyricism.

Rhythm of Earth, Rhythm of Heaven was commissioned by the Seoul Metropolitan Traditional Orchestra.

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