The "Jeju International Wind Ensemble Festival" is held annually each August on Jeju Island, Korea. This work was commissioned by the Jeju International Wind Ensemble Festival Organizing Committee, and was composed in 2012 as a required piece for the "U-13 Band Contest" which is a part of the festival.
As the subtitle indicates, the subject is a famous folksong from Jeju called "Yong Chen Geom", which is the name of a legendary sword in China. The folksong took on the sword's name because it is mentioned in the first lyric of the piece, although the music itself is actually a tragic love song. The title "Tears of Red Poppies" was selected by the composer, derived from the lyrics and meaning of the song.
The piece is tenderly expressive with dynamic rhythm interludes, employing a sweet original melody purposefully accessible to even young bands.