Wednesday, January 18, 2006

the elusive ghost of Ahn Ik-tae

I'm still trying to find that musical piece by Ahn Ik-tae (or Ahn Eaktai, or any number of other romanizations), Korea Fantasy, a.k.a. Hanguk Hwan Sang Gok in Korean. A trip today to what I thought would be the Mecca of sheet music, the Seoul Arts Center (Yaesul-ae Jeon-dang), ended in failure. It was my first-ever visit to the center, though, and I was impressed. The grounds have an enormous Opera House, a Music Hall, and other buildings devoted to fine arts-- sculpture, painting, calligraphy, brush art, etc.

My odyssey started over the weekend when I tried to visit Smoo's library to see about the music. It was closed. I went again on Tuesday. The 'brary was open, so I went up to the second-floor information desk. That desk referred me to the fourth-floor (humanities) desk. Humanities, in turn, referred me to the Smoo College of Music (where I'd suspected I was headed all along), Room 205, where they have their own library.

So I crossed our small campus and went to Eum-ak Dae-hak Gwan, 205-ho. There, I discovered that-- YES-- they had the score. Unfortunately, someone had checked it out for the semester. "Try again next semester," I was told with a regretful, customer-service smile.

Dammit. Or "Piss fuck diddle," as my Kiwi buddy John used to say.

I talked to my coworkers about how best to proceed. One coworker suggested the Yaesul-ae Jeon-dang, the Arts Center, so I trundled across town and discovered that even the mightiest beings in the music storehouse pantheon had no scraps of Ahn Ik Tae left for us desperate seekers. One info desk clerk suggested that I try a specialty music store (eum-ak jeon-mun seo-jeom), which is, I suppose, where I'll go tomorrow.

What's most frustrating about this wild goose chase is that the piece itself is pretty damn famous. The music for the Korean national anthem (Aeguk-ga, literally, "love-nation-song"; aeguk by itself means "patriotism") comes from a portion of Ahn's Korea Fantasy. You'd think this would be easy to track down. You'd be wrong.

If anyone out there has any musical connections and thinks they can produce the sheet music for Korea Fantasy, let me know.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear friend, It is really nice that you are eager to know more about korea Fantasy, it is a wonderful work that expresses the korean spirit.
I wish you the best,
Miguel Eaktai Ahn