“Mu” means dance in Korean. Dance is one of the fundamental elements in traditional Korean music and sometimes considered a means to transcend oneself and reach something spiritual, especially in the Korean shamanistic ritual called “굿(gut).” What fascinated me the most were the colorful and animated rhythms of the music used in gut and the idea of reaching transcendence through movement.
This piece explores different levels of tension and movement that become gradually cumulated and finally reach the point of transcendence. It begins with a soft and airy chorale and canonic passages, gradually raising tension. Through the dance-like section and pentatonic fugato that follow, the rhythmic and harmonic movements become more active and heightened, finally leading up to climax, the point of transcendence.
Mu was written for and premiered by the Cleveland Chamber Symphony as part of their 2018 Young & Emerging Composers Project.