The Concerto for Flute and Small Orchestra is inspired by poems from the Korean buddhist tradition. Yun remembered not only the poem Ch'ongsan pyolgok ("I should live in the green mountains") which is being handed down since around 1500 and is said to go back to the Koryo-era (918–1392), but also a latter version, the sino-Korean Ch'ongsan-do ("The way into the blue mountain") by the Korean poet Sin Sok'chong (1907–1974). A young girl attending a convent school has a dream: One night, the stone Buddha in the temple yard appears to her in the moonlight in the shape of a handsome young man. She feels attracted to him, dances towards him, embraces him. But frightened by the coldness of the stone, she wakes up. – In the very homogeneous concerto for flute, Yun has expressed this scene – a parable about the transience of all human deeds – into a musical discourse about different states of consciousness. The idea of dance, trance and ecstasy determines the course of the visibly threepartite conception in ever new configurations (using first the alto flute, then the grand flute, finally again the alto flute). The upward tendency, one of Yun's general characteristics, stands for liberation – as a kind of work in the musical space – on one hand, but in this case also for the approximation of the Buddha figure on the other. The Concerto for Flute was written on the suggestion of the flutist Karlheinz Zoeller and commissioned by the "Sommerliche Musiktage" (Summer Music Days) in Hitzacker (West Germany).
Like from nowhere, the concerto starts with dance rhythms by the low strings; for the first time, Yun uses them as an element of musical structure. Rhythmical densification and melodical development produce the vivification which marks the first segment (of the 1st part). Whenever the alto flute is silent, impulses of the temple block resound, reminding of Buddhist ritual music. The Abgesang of the alto flute (from a flat to g) and a brief tutti signaling standstill end this form segment. The 2nd segment first of all presents a melodic evolution within two octaves above a. A characteristic intrusion of the bassoons, the horns and the small drum (m.40/41) cuts this development. Helped by double flageolets of the high strings, the alto flute reaches higher. Finally, a chord by the woodplayers appears as a second "wall" (m.56). The upward energies seem exhausted. The Abgesang takes place in the low register, almost motionless and with a narrow pitch range (from a to a flat). A tutti with stylized cries of the night birds (played by the horns) concludes the 1st part.
The 2nd part – where the composer asks for the grand flute – has an inner threepartite structure. While on the whole Concerto, the sequence is calm – animated – calm, in this particular case it is animated – calm – animated. – With dancing leaps, the flute reaches c sharp4. – The slow middle section appears as a change into a meditative mood. It is determined by a smooth, continuous glide across held tones and central tones. And the intruding voices of the night are no longer able to hinder the ascension of the flute (towards e3). – A cry of the windplayers opens the agitated 3rd segment (of the 2nd part). Here, there is – other than in the meditative middle section – a phase of rather determined proceeding, signaled also by a further gain of pitch. The orchestra – the surrounding nature – answers with a vivid upward-bound sequence. The composition of the flute's imploring gesture is accomplished in appellative octaves. The 2nd phase means ecstasy and aims at the solo cadenza. The wood section chord right after doesn't appear as a "wall" any more, but as support for the solo instrument which surpasses the highest note of the woodplayers – a2 – by exactly one octave.
An agitated tutti, introduced by the forte-blow of the tom-toms, marks the opening of the final part. The beginning returns, in a virtually reversed way. The orchestra accompanies the Abgesang of the alto flute. Glissandi of the high strings, temple blocks, gong and other percussion instruments lead in a 2d phase up to the final phase with dance rhythms of the low strings. Their impulses are gradually reduced until they are almost inaudible.
Walter-Wolfgang Sparrer (1987)