Volume 3 / Chapter 108
[TN: Oh JH…you are so amazing swoon]
The deadline to submit the self-composed songs for the winter performance passed and the professors gathered in a spacious conference room to judge the songs.
For a fair evaluation, the professors do not know which students wrote the songs. They have to judge the scores with only the submission numbers written on them and the office as a list of the submission numbers with the names of the corresponding students. Once the judging is over and a song is chosen, they let the professors know who the composer is.
The table in the conference room was covered in envelopes holding scores. The professors open the envelopes and after looking at each score, assign scores. By adding all of the scores, they debate over the song with the most points.
Is it a song that is worthy of having a famous conductor orchestrate it?
If it does not meet that absolute criterion, the system left the repertoire to the conductor.
The professors write affectionate advice on the songs that are not chosen and return them to the students.
Day of judging. There are dozens of scores stacked on the center of the table. However, all of the professors’ hands were reaching for one envelope because of its thickness. It is at least three times as thick as the other envelopes.
As their hands bumped, they all laughed.
“Doesn’t this look to be at least 30 minutes?”
“Seems to be. Most of these are a little over 10 minutes…..”
“Professor Hirani, you should take a look at it first. We’ll look at the thin ones.”
Professor Hirani nodded to the professors, opened the envelope, and started to look through the score.
After about 10 minutes passed, Professor Hirani bolted up from his chair.
“This… You should take a look at this song first…”
“Look at this one first.”
Over 10 professors started passing the score around. A piano concerto configured entirely in 4 parts. The title read Piano Concerto No. 7.
All of the professors looking at the score thought that they were going to go crazy. A song that makes the listener frustrated. The music did not explode refreshingly and was endlessly teasing. The sweet melody did not last until the end, but was continued instead with a gentle flow. This gentle mood did not last either and became cold.
A normal piano concerto has a intense first part, a relaxing lyrical 2nd part, a short tango in the 3rd, and a rondo in the 4th. Rondo is a format where a principal theme with several contrasting themes. The tempo is much faster than the 1st part and the period of the theme is short.
This song on the other hand has an entirely different configuration. It teases them until the 3rd part. When the 3rd part is ending, they are about to get angry. As soon as they enter the 4th part, the melody that had been teasing them starts exploding all at once. As if making up for the 22 minutes they endured the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd parts, the 4th part shows tremendous power for about 11 minutes and lets them feel the greatest catharsis.
The songs that the other students submitted are closer to contemporary music, but this song has a traditional classical feel to it. If someone who did not know listened to it, they would say that they had discovered an unreleased song by Haydn or Brahms.
While the professors repeatedly looked over the score, 2 hours quickly went by.
“There there. Since we can’t end today with the evaluation of just one song, let’s review the other pieces as well.”
They would of course need to look at the other students’ submissions, but the professors looked as though their decisions had already been made.
They finished scoring as it dimmed outside. The judges chose the top three scores and went into a debate over the two songs tied 1st place and a song in 3rd place by a 3 point difference.
The judges began discussing the shortcomings of the 3rd place song with its score in the center of the table.
“Isn’t it a bit lacking for an orchestral arrangement?”
“Yes. It would have been better if they had made it more simple… It’s more fitting for a string quartet.”
“Then let’s select a quartet team and open a separate performance with this. And counsel this person on arranging it to fit a quartet.”
“Then it’s time to choose between these two songs.”
At first, they had thought that the piano concerto would place in 1st with an overwhelming amount of points. But before the impression of this song could disappear, another piece had jumped out at them.
It is a song where three sopranos have to make sounds as if they are three instruments. It did not deliver its message through lyrics. All it demanded was a single ‘ah ah’ sound. An experimental music that uses the soprano as an instrument.
“Isn’t it hard to decide which is superior and which is inferior?”
“I agree. It’s a situation where we need to choose between Haydn and Schoenberg.”
The professors did not looks as if they dreaded the situation of having to choose the better of the two pieces. They were all smiling with joy that two amazing songs could emerge at the same time. They were happy that the students’ workmanship was being upgraded every year.
“What do you think of doing this?”
Professor Hirani was being ambitious because he thought it a waste to choose just one song.
“Let’s leave the two songs as tied in 1st place and ask Maestro Bruno Kazel to perform both. I think he’ll accept it.”
“And what if he says that he’ll only do one due to circumstances?”
“Then we’ll ask him to do the piano concerto since it fully uses the orchestra. We can ask the composer of the other song to command it himself.”
“That is a good idea.”
“Before that, don’t we need to think of the pianist?”
While everyone was in happy contemplation, one professor spoke with a serious expression. That is when everyone else remembered something they had been forgetting.
“This… The pianist… It’ll be a problem.”
“I’ll say. Is there a student who can play the piano like this?”
“This is a big problem. It’ll only be possible for a veteran pianist who has been performing for a long time to have such deterrence… Who among those young students could…..”
“I think there might be someone among the kids that went out for the Long Thibaud Competition.”
However, Professor Hirani shook his head.
“It’ll be hard. The winning student will have to start preparing for a world tour right away, and a losing student… They won’t want to come out in a regular performance.”
They did not know which student had written this song but he or she was throwing a lot of interesting issues at them.
“Well this isn’t the time for this now. Let’s check first.”
One of the professors picked up the conference room phone and made a call out.
“Yes, we have made our decision. It is number 9 and 14.”
When the employee at reception told him who wrote the two songs, the professor holding the receiver widened his eyes and asked again,
“Excuse me? Are you sure? Okay… okay. I see.”
The professor put the phone down and had a strange expression on his face.
“Number 9 is Alexander Dubchek. And they said number 14 is by Jun Hyuk Jang.”
“By Jang, do you mean?”
“Yes. That Jang.”
“Really? I thought that a song like this had been in preparation for at least half a year…..”
“Do you think it could be a song he made before he enrolled?”
Professor Hirani remembered what Jun Hyuk said last week.
“No. Thinking about what Jun Hyuk said, he started preparing this song a week ago.”
He had easily created a 30 minute piano concerto within a week. A concerto including a piano with such maturity. When the professors thought about the scores they had seen in Jun Hyuk’s application, they realized why they had brought him into the school. It had to be because of these kinds of things.
Randall Poster, professor of the piano, snapped his finger and burst out in laughter,
“I see. Then there’s no reason to worry about the pianist anymore. Ha ha.”
“Aha. I guess that’s how it works out.”
Professor Hirani also realized why Professor Poster was laughing.
“There’s no need to choose another pianist. Jun is saying that he’ll play it himself.”
Everyone was relieved at Randall and Hirani’s words. One of their worries had been resolved.
“Then the 2nd song is Alexander Dubchek.”
“Isn’t Alexander Dubchek an oboe major?”
“That’s right. And he’s graduating next year.”
“The youngest freshman and oldest senior… And it feels like their pieces were switched… It’ll be really fun this year.”
“Since this song is dependent on the abilities of the conductor, there’s no need to worry. And it seems there won’t be any issue with the 3 sopranos… I believe the students will be able to handle this much with ease.”
“Then should we meet with the two?”