Donít push the truth!

Donít push the truth!

Hyo-shin Na - written for the Korea Times SF - October 12, 2012

Two new pieces of mine Ė a duet for kayageum and koto, and a solo for piri Ė will be played later this month, not in their entirety, but as ďwork-in-progressĒ. The first performance of a work is normally of the entire piece, but I wanted here, partly because these two pieces will be presented at the San Francisco Public Libraryís auditorium along with my own spoken commentary, to take a look with the audience at how the pieces have grown in my imagination and at different ways they might continue and be brought to a conclusion. The first performance of the complete pieces will take place next spring.

Itís interesting, in fact necessary, for me to find a way to write my own music for kayageum (for example) in a way that respects the instrumentís nature. The same for koto, which appears, at first glance, to be so similar to the kayageum, and for piri. As I write the music, this becomes a sort of wandering and searching around until I come upon something that seems right, which can then even seem to have the nature of ďtruthĒ. This is what Iíve been looking for.

Iím happy to write music, arriving hopefully at this moment, and, beyond hearing the music played, have little interest in trying to convince others of it. The title of this short essay, ďDonít push the truth!Ē comes from a poem of Bertolt Brecht:

Donít push the truth
Let the students realize it
Itís not good for it

The Qing Dynasty Chinese poet/scholar Gong Zizhen wrote something similar in one of his poems: ďTry to set your own fashion, but donít be a teacher of itÖĒ