Fanfare and Memorial / Distanzen (Distances) / Etudes for Flute Solo

Isang Yun

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Fanfare and Memorial / Distanzen (Distances) / Etudes for Flute Solo Review

by "Blue" Gene Tyranny

Fanfare and Memorial is a highly original work for large orchestra composed in 1979. The composer manages to balance directness and emotional tension with grace and clarity, even in the richer orchestral writing. In this work, the listener can immediately sense the depth of emotional understanding possessed by this often-honored composer whose life has been filled with turmoil. He studied in Japan (during the 35-year occupation of Korea), was arrested and imprisoned by the Japanese for underground activities, escaped to Seoul, was active in Korean culture and studied in Paris and Germany, was kidnapped with his wife from Berlin in 1967 by agents of the South Korean secret service, was imprisoned for life but released after worldwide protests (including a petition from 180 composers, including Stravinsky), and is now a German citizen. In "Distanzen" (1988) for woodwind quintet and string quintet, the performers surround the audience, or in a standard concert hall proscenium sit with strings in front and the woodwinds behind. As in other works by Yun, there is a semi-narrative contrast and intermixing among moments of high dramatic tension, of gentle beauty and compassion, and of a serene transcendence.