Music from Copland House Ensemble premiered "Village Music" on Sunday, June 7, 2015 as part of the Copland House's Cultivate Program.
Village Music presents two musical ideas, or two sound worlds whose musical inspirations are rooted in two different cultures: Korean Traditional Music and Appalachian Fiddle Music. The Korean elements are derived from transcriptions of Shinawi, music with roots in shamanism. Shinawi is often described as improvisatory, free, unrestricted and harmonically dissonant. The idea of conversing with a spirit realm becomes the metaphorical trajectory of the work. The instruments become a symbolic intermediary between two worlds with the music expressing the ritual to connect the two. The instruments emulate the performance practices of traditional Korean instruments, as the Gayageum and Haegeum. The violin, cello and clarinet utilize microtones, scratch tones and wide/intense vibrato to create a “translation” of that sound world.
The work begins with several false starts or introductions that allow each instrument to speak in cadenza, a cultivating conversation with another world. As the work progresses a second sound world emerges, that of the Appalachian Fiddle Music. This is music characterized by motoric rhythm and energy and it becomes the music of the other world. The energies of both sound worlds gradually come together and blossom into a pinnacle of elation that brings the work to climax (m.158). Village Music is about conversing and merging two seeming different sound worlds from different cultures, a musical paradigm of conversing the spirit world expressed with the music of Korea and the Appalachians.