I have some exciting news that I would like to share with you, I will be flying out to Seoul, South Korea this week to take part in the 15th Seoul International Music Competition 2019. The competition is held annually and alternatively covers three musical disciplines, piano, violin, and voice; meaning that the competition for voice only comes around every third year. There were 235 applicants, from 17 countries considered during the preliminary video submission round and from the applicants 69 singers were selected to progress to the live rounds. I am so honoured and thrilled to be one of the competitors chosen which also includes singers from Iran, Canada, Chile, Estonia, Germany, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Serbia, USA, and the United Kingdom. This is a wonderful opportunity for me to visit a new country, experience their culture, meet new friends, and sample South Korean cuisine. I hope to make the most of my time there and if I am chosen to progress through the competition, I will be given the opportunity to sing a Korean Art song.
I have really enjoyed preparing the piece called Gopunguisang and have been helped here in London by two of my Korean friends Danbi Heo, who is a concert pianist, and MinJee Kim who is a soprano. They have helped me with the pronunciation of the lyrics and also talked about Seoul and invited me to join them for some Korean food so that I would know what to order during my stay. The food was really enjoyable, a little like the Chinese food I have eaten here in the UK but with far more vegetables😊
The song I chose to learn was Gopunguisang by Isang Yun:
한국어 노랫말 / Korean Lyrics
하늘로 날을 듯이 길게 뽑은 부연 끝 풍경이 운다
처마 끝 곱게 느리운 주렴에 반월이 숨어
아른아른 봄밤이 두견이 소리처럼 깊어 가는 밤
곱아라 고와라 진정 아름다운지고
호장 저고리 하얀 동정이 화안히 밝도소이다
열두 폭 긴 치마가 사르르르 물결을 친다
그대는 어느 나라의 고전을 말하는 한 마리 호접
호접인 양 사뿌시 춤추라 아미를 숙이고
나는 이 밤에 옛날에 살아
눈 감고 거문곳줄 골라 보리니
가는 버들인 양 가락에 맞춰
흰 손을 흔들어지다
영문의역/ English Translation
The wind-bell chimes from the tip of a skyward eave.
The half moon hides itself behind a bead screen hung elegantly from the eave-tip.
Glimmering Spring evening, evening deepening like the cuckoo’s call
Fine, elegant, true beauty supreme,
The white collar of a colorfully striped jeogori shines bright.
A twelve pok long skirt glides in waves.
You dance lightly as if a butterfly, a butterfly reciting an ancient tale of some country.
You lower your arched eyebrows
I close my eyes to live as we did long ago.
I’ll pluck the geomungo so
You may wave your white hand to tune,
As if a slender willow.
A jeorgori is a traditional Korean dress. The geomungo is a traditional stringed musical instrument of the zither family with both bridges and frets. I researched the composer whose life story was most interesting and will tell you more about him soon.