Jong Nong Ak Oho Ensemble

Coree: Musique Instrumentale de la Tradition Classique

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This is very refined music, possibly too refined for the non-specialist. It consists of three pieces. The first, "Gomungo San-Jo," is a 13-minute improvisation for six-string zither and hourglass drum. It has a huge dynamic range and goes from very slow at the outset to fairly fast by the conclusion. It sounds like a very thoughtful blues guitar solo. The second piece, "Ryong San Ho-Sang," is a long (53 minutes) work for the whole eight-piece ensemble (zither, flute, drum, and something that sounds suspiciously like a kazoo). The piece consists of a theme and eight variations, and while it is somewhat static in its melody, the pounding of the drum and the sharp plucking of the zither add real drama. The final piece, "Congsonggok," is a four-minute work for solo flute. The Korean flute sounds somewhat like the typical breathy Japanese flute, except that it can produce high, sharp sounds like a clarinet at the top of its range. This album is interesting, but probably for people with background or training in Korean classical music.

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