Tuesday, March 25, 2008

On Isang Yun

I am researching the life and music of Isang Yun, the revered classical composer (born in Korea, 1917. died in Germany, 1995) who was exiled to Germany upon suspicion of espionage and released years later after worldwide protests led by composer Igor Stravisnky, among others. This research is for a composition course I have created for the Fall 2008 when I return from my sabbatical. It is a themed course on Political Music. Among other highlighted artists and themes the course will examine: Beethoven (in the Napoleonic Era), Nationalistic Music, Anthems and Revolution (touching briefly on all continents), Festivals and their impact, war protest music of the 1960's, punk rock of the 1970's, rap music of the 1990's, and some contemporary artists as well.


Lyle Daggett said...

The information about Isang Yun is fascinating.

And the course on Political Music sounds great. Possibly you're already familiar with it, but in case not, Smithsonian Folkways is a vast treasure house of recorded music -- especially of the United States, though from many other parts of the world as well, and ranging over the 20th century. Not all of it is necessarily political music as such -- a lot of the catalog is made up of field recordings of folk music, performed by people in traditional manner -- though much of it has a strong political character. And of course "political" is a thing often defined by context.

Puka said...

Your course sounds very interesting. Too bad I'm still not in Fresno.

Lee Herrick said...

Puka, thanks. I wish you were here! Hope the little ones are doing well.

Lyle, thanks for the link. It's a great site. I hope to use at least one essay on vital folk artists (maybe you know of one?). One challenge of a survey course is narrowing the reading list, especially with such a potentially wide category as this. I'm also looking into the Russian Dmitri Shostakovich. I also listened again to Jimi Hendrix playing the Star Spangled Banner, one of the most compelling songs I've ever heard. Students will read a lot.

Lyle Daggett said...

Lee, I don't know offhand of any specific essays about folk music or folk musicians. There must be some, though I'm not a scholar in the field -- my interest in the music is for the pleasure of it, and the history and cultural and political value, etc.

My impression is that a lot of the people with serious interest in folk music have tended to gather the songs themselves (recordings, or collections of the lyrics) more than talk about the music.

An interesting, short, essay by Kenneth Rexroth on English and Scottish popular ballads is available online, here. It's from one of his books of "Classics Revisited," made up mostly of short essays he wrote in the late 1960's for a column for Saturday Review of Literature magazine.

Lee Herrick said...

Thanks for the tips, Lyle. I'll check out Rexroth's essay.

Francisco Aragón said...

Hi Lee:

Have been reading (and enjoying) your conversation with Ivy Alvarez. I wanted to alert you, if you aren't already aware, of a book called
PAPER PAVILION, published by White Pine Press by a Jennifer Kwon Dobbs.
Among the descriptions of the book:

"Paper Pavilion captures the theme of transnational adoption and a powerful search for a personal history and identity from Korea to America."

I haven't read the book, mind you, but thought you would be interested.

By the way, my reading in Visalia has been postponed till next year (long story).


Lee Herrick said...


I am glad you're enoying the conversation I had with Ivy, and thank you for mentioning Jennifer Kwon Dobbs' book. In the time since that conversation transpired, I have met Jennifer---and in fact, we read together in New York City earlier this year (we are also reading together, with three other poets---Purvi Shah, Sun Yung Shin, and Jospeh Legaspi)---in Chicago in April). Her book is amazing, so thank you for mentioning it! She's also an incredibly kind person.

Sorry to hear about the Visalia cancellation.

Congratulations, though, on the launch of the Latino Poetry Review. It looks fantastic.

C. Dale said...

I would totally take this class if I could. It sounds awesome.