Philip Corner; Gong/Ear: ShamanThe Wormhole
WHO 009 CD
Philip Corner (b. 1933) is an American composer, musician and visual artist. A founder member of Fluxus, his teachers include Henry Cowell and Olivier Messiaen, and he has performed with George Maciunas, Yoko Ono and Nam June Paik. While on military duty in Korea in 1960-1961 he studied calligraphy with Ki-sung Kim and many of his works have calligraphic scores. His wide-ranging output includes works for gongs, bells, metal percussion and gamelan orchestra.
Philip Corner writes, "Hiah Park - new age shaman, then living in California. My Korea connection interest led me to a workshop she gave in New York; more sessions continued until the opportunity of really working together at the proposed seminar 'Art and the Invisible Reality' to be held in Bavaria. I revisited my old practice of 'metal meditations' specially reinterpreted to go with performance/dance derived from traditional shamanic practices. Then done in Trento in front of the cathedral where we joked about when they burned witches.
After the two performances in Europe our association came to an end. Sin Cha Hong, a great friend in New York and a fabulous dancer and choreographer with a truly profound and intense body-incorporated physicality serving a spiritual content in no need of official status. Her Korean-American company she called Laughing Stone; she used my anklung (Javanese bamboo rattles) quartet gamelan Adagio onstage for one of her solos... This recording I made alone in the New York loft with my 'familiar' - the large Paiste tam-tam: while holding her in my mind.
The dancer/shamans are, as their names show, from Korea - the country par excellence for this ancient form of religion incarnate. I have had a long a long continuing and most appreciative relationship to that country's culture, from 1960 when shipped as a trombones-man to the American occupying forces there and turned on each afternoon listening to 'National (Kuk Ahk) Music Hour' their theme song 'Su Je Chun' - the most ancient piece from the court repertoire which I have never stopped hearing as the most beautiful music ever made.
That, and the breakthrough composition 'Sang-Teh/Situations' which written and performed in Seoul in 1961, made this meeting and working with a genuine Korean shaman a spectacular amplification of my rapport. It was the beginning of the years-long improvisation-meditation practice shared with many other dancers, including most notably Phoebe Neville, soon to become my wife, and still is."