The Sonatina was written for the Japanese violinist Akiko Tatsumi and the German violinist Saschko Gawriloff. The technical exactitude of the one-movement piece demonstrates once again the ability of the composer to describe a spontaneous process and, with supreme mastery of compositional technique, "to create by means of intense concentration the impression of something improvised" (Yun).
On the whole an intimate composition, the Sonatina owes a particular debt to the Taoist principles of Yin and Yang. The two violin parts complement rather than oppose each other; they both undergo the same developmental process. Often imitative, each voice provides reciprocal impulses for the other, each interwines with and seeks after the other to illustrate in the four phases of musical development the aspect of unification in Yin and Yang. Following a tranquil but pregnant introduction, the second section sees the violins entering an ever-increasing field of tension, which builds to a peak of agitation at the begining of the third section. A pensive fourth section brings the piece to a close.
Although elements of both Yin and Yang are found in both violins, the second violin embodies more the tranquility of the feminine Yin; the first violin, on the other hand, rather ist the embodiment of the principles of unrest or movement the vital prerequisites of change. Thus the introductory section begins almost preoccupied and meditative in the second violin answered by the first violin in a yearningly ascending line. The first violin already carries the seed that germinates the development of the whole - the tension inherent in an ascending half-step glissando. The agitated second section ends high up on the violin with an aura of extreme anticipation created by augmented octaves. The third section begins lower with an energetically descending fourth in the first violin, while the second violin encircles the moving voice of the first with double-stops. This glaring contrast between the end of the second section and the beginning of the third is characteristic of Isang Yun's most recent compositional style. The Sonatina closes with a delicate epode symbolizing the reconciliation of Yin and Yang.
Walter-Wolfgang Sparrer (translated by Alice Dampman)