This recording features the complete works for solo violin by two composers of Korean heritage. Born into a Korean family in Dinuba CA, Earl Kim (1920–1998) studied with one of the most influential composers of the 20th century, Arnold Schoenberg, and later taught at Princeton and Harvard Universities. Isang Yun (1917–1995) was born in Korea and studied composition in Japan, France, and Germany. After permanently relocating to Germany in 1969, Yun taught at the Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien in Hannover and the Universität der Künste in Berlin. In many aspects, these two men were quite similar. They both were prolific and celebrated composers and taught a number of successful students. Moreover, both were shaped by World War II and were quite politically active. Beyond these similarities however, their compositional languages cannot be more different.
Kim’s musical language is quintessentially European, although contemporaneous accounts pigeonholed his music as “oriental” and “Zen.” When Yun relocated to Germany in 1969, it was not by choice. Yun’s exile was in fact a political move by the then-Korean government to divert the national attention to a different scandal in the hopes of keeping the regime in power. Despite his resentment towards the Korean government and South Korea, Yun’s compositional voice is very much grounded in traditional Korean music and Korean culture.
— Chi Young Song