Sanzo (or Sanjo) is a style of traditional Korean music, involving an instrumental solo accompanied by a single drum – either the Janggu, an hourglass-shaped drum or the Buk, a barrel drum covered in cowhide. Sanjo was first developed around 1890 by Kim ChangJo (1865-1920), for the Gayageum. Thereafter, it was adapted to other traditional Korean instruments, including the Geomungo and Korean flutes. Currently regarded as the apogee of Korean instrumental music, Sanjo draws deeply upon the indigenous musical traditions of pansori, sinawi, and the instrumental performances of Korean shamanism.
JeongHyun Chu has chosen for her recital, the celebrated Chei OkSam ryu Gayageum Sanzo. Composed and performed by Master Chei OkSam during the late 1930s, this important masterwork was nearly lost during the years following the partitioning of the Korean peninsula. Fortunately, Chei OkSam ryu Gayageum Sanzo was rescued from oblivion during the 1970s and since has become one of the most admired and frequently performed Gayageum Sanjos. Ms. Chu’s interpretation is masterful – seamlessly navigating the changing modes and rhythms – from the somber opening Daeseureum to the ecstatic virtuosity of Slow Jajinmor culminating in the sublime apotheosis of Hwimori. Her extraordinary virtuosity is perfectly complimented by the skillful percussion of Buk master HoSe Yoon and the gentle chirping chuimsae (words of encouragement that accompany musical performances) of crickets and tree frogs.
Recorded on site at the exquisite Joseon-era Soswaewon Garden, in Damyang County, South Jeolla Province, using AkdangEban’s patented Pure Recording® technology, this disc provides an intimate glimpse into the magical world of Korea’s rich musical heritage in its natural setting.