Volume 3 / Chapter 113
[TN: And so the student becomes the teacher lol]
The concert ended and the party started. It was just something simple with beer and taco chips.
Bruno Kazel looked around for today’s star while he was surrounded by students. He did not see Jun Hyuk and Amelia.
“Professor, have you seen Jun?”
Bruno Kazel did not have a good expression because he did not see Jun Hyuk, who he had been most concerned about.
“I haven’t seen him either… He’ll probably be in his room.”
“Why? Isn’t he the star today?”
“Jun doesn’t seem to like this kind of noise. There were a few parties thrown by the students, but he never attended.”
Could it be that he did not attend the party because he did not like the performance and not because he did not like noise? He considered this but thought that it would be best to confirm with Jun Hyuk and put his beer down on the table.
“What is Jun’s room number?”
“Why? Are you going to go look for him yourself?”
‘I’ll have to listen to the original composer’s evaluation. For some reason, I feel uneasy.’
Bruno Kazel could not get himself to say these words aloud.
When he stepped out of the elevator into the dorm hall, silence calmed him unlike the noise of the party.
As Bruno Kazel got closer to Jun Hyuk’s room, a violin and guitar ensemble grew louder. Not surprisingly, the sound was coming from Jun Hyuk’s room.
He listened to the sound for a while. It was a violin solo song and the guitar was an accompaniment. After listening for over 10 minutes, he realized two things that made his heart beat faster.
The violinist was great for a student and the song that he was playing is a song that he was hearing for the first time, but it was so outstanding that it was a pity for a student to be performing it.
The music stopped suddenly and two people began discussion, but he could not hear it clearly.
Bruno Kazel eventually knocked on the door and when the door opened, there was a curly-haired boy with a violin in his hand.
“Oh my god. Maestro Kazel!”
Jun Hyuk who had been sitting on the bed with his guitar bolted up.
When he looked around the room, there were two electric guitars on top of the bed and a few scores on a music stand in the center of the room.
“This is the real party.”
Bruno Kazel approached the stand.
“Would it be okay if I took a look at the score?”
“Of course, maestro.”
Danny answered quickly as if it were his own score, but the score was already in the maestro’s hand.
Bruno Kazel tried to read through the music quickly and spoke as he looked at Danny,
“Your name is…..?”
“Daniel Laprielle. I’m a violinist as you can see.”
Danny spoke while lifting up the violin and bow in his hands.
“Okay. Daniel, did you memorize this whole song?”
“Then lend this to me.”
Bruno Kazel took the score and sat in front of the piano.
“Alright, then shall we start the party again?”
Danny thought he was dreaming. To play the violin to the piano of a great!
A short while after Danny started playing the violin, the piano melody started. Bruno Kazel pressed the piano keys and looked at Jun Hyuk.
It was a look telling him to enjoy the party together.
‘Geez. This man is really rash.’
Jun Hyuk smirked and began to pick at the guitar strings.
Jun Hyuk and Bruno Kazel’s improv performance started in sync with Danny’s violin.
On top of a simple piano that held the key precisely, a sad violin melody danced gently and the acoustic guitar was dancing as it held the violin’s hand.
The sound of music spread over the empty dorms for more than 10 minutes.
Even after the performance was over, Danny’s excited expression did not go away. There is no reason for the excitement to go away easily when he had just performed with a great.
Bruno Kazel’s face was red when he got up from the piano. He even looked more excited than Danny did.
“Jun, is this also a song that you wrote?”
“Yes, maestro. Jun arranged this song to train me. It was originally a violin concerto.”
Danny’s answer was faster than Jun Hyuk could say anything.
“Why didn’t you submit this kind of song for the concert? Ah, I’m not saying that the piano concerto was bad. I’m just saying this because this song is much better. I even want to perform this song at the Philadelphia Christmas concert right away. Impressive. Really impressive.”
Danny became more excited because Bruno Kazel showed his admiration and did not hold back on compliments. It was as if he were the composer.
Jun Hyuk on the other hand, was not excited or surprised. He had a more cold expression.
“Because the song’s goal was different.”
“I see. You said the piano concerto for the performance was a practice song?”
“Yes. A song to practice with needs to be faithful to its goal.”
Bruno Kazel looked at the score again and confirmed something.
“It says the opus is 4, so does that mean you have more? The piano practice song was number 7, right? Is that?”
“Yes. There are a good amount, but none of them are quality enough to show others yet.”
Jun Hyuk’s words did not sound like modesty to the two people. His standard is different. His thoughts are different so that he cannot be satisfied with such a great violin concerto.
That was when Bruno changed his evaluation on this Asian youth. He is not a teenager who is copying the old-fashioned classical. This piano song that sounded like Haydn had just been a song to practice with like he said.
Once he realized this, he was scared to bring up the reason why he had come looking for Jun Hyuk. What would be his evaluation? Would he never give him another chance to perform?
Bruno Kazel opened his mouth with a trembling heart,
“What did you think of the performance today? You came right?”
“I was sitting there until the 4th part.”
“Then does that mean you left in the middle of the performance? Why?”
It felt like his heart fell. It only meant one thing that he had not listened to the performance until the end.
“You won’t want to hear it.”
“What? Well… I guess you didn’t like it. Shall we hear the criticism?”
Danny’s mouth dried up as he listened to the two speaking. Jun Hyuk’s English was still not capable of using euphemisms. It was obvious that he would give a straightforward assessment.
‘Well he’s someone who would openly criticize someone even if he was good at English.’
Contrary to Danny’s concerns, Jun Hyuk began to speak slowly and carefully, giving his assessment.
“I wanted a balloon right before it popped. With even the slightest bit of strength, pop. I wanted you to touch that balloon until the 3rd part and pop it in the 4th.”
Jun Hyuk motioned with his hands as though popping a balloon with his two hands.
“But for this performance, it was as though you were so scared of popping the balloon that you just took a lot of air out of it. So much that it would not pop no matter how much you touched it. Then there’s no way it’ll pop in the 4th part… It was a performance that just ripped it apart.”
“Wow. You noticed that? Do you normally have a great ear? Or did you notice it because you’re the composer?”
He had given a precise assessment that could not be any more exact. Jun Hyuk’s English is a bit broken, but Bruno Kazel fully understood what he meant.
“We were just faithful to your original purpose for the song as practice. It’ll take a while before you can hear the pianissimo you want from Amelia. All I did was let her know a small way to approach that pianissimo. Now she’ll steadily grow step by step into a complete pianist. She’ll be able to express the difficult pianissimo with ease.”
However, Jun Hyuk’s expression became colder than when he was giving his criticism.
“Do you think that? Then the method is wrong. It does not help Amelia at all. No, it could do more damage.”
Danny’s legs shook when Jun Hyuk did not stop at criticizing the maestro’s performance, but went on to his teaching methods.
What if this great man became angry and stormed out of the room? If that happens, it would become difficult for Clayton graduates to join the Philadelphia Philharmonic as long as Bruno Kazel remained as the conductor.
“What? It’s wrong? It’ll do damage?”
Bruno Kazel’s patience was not as thin as Danny worried.
“Of course. You are underestimating Amelia as a pianist. She’s not very far from it. She has the potential to change at any moment at once. If Danny here is the type who advances one step at a time, Amelia is the type who struggles for a bit and goes up 10 steps at once.”
Danny could not tell if Jun Hyuk’s evaluation of himself is a compliment or criticism.
“You needed to have her hold a balloon on the verge of popping even if it ruined the performance. If you had done that, the results could have been different.”
Bruno Kazel felt like he had been hit hard over the head with a hammer. He had not thought that he would hear criticism for his performance let alone that he is an incompetent conductor incapable of recognizing talent.
“Why? Why do you think that? What did you see in the girl?”
The tone of his voice went up. It was not because he was angry or because he had run out of patience. He was so curious about what it was that he missed.
Bruno Kazel was looking at Jun Hyuk when Jun Hyuk suddenly got up and sat in front of the piano.
“Listen to this. Amelia will have played like this in the first rehearsal. This is the 2nd part.”
Before a minute of Jun Hyuk’s piano had even passed, Bruno Kazel’s eyes had widened so much he could not open them any more. His jaw dropped.
Jun Hyuk had not appeared once since they made introductions on the first day. How could he perform in the same way Amelia did without hearing it?
The words that came out of Jun Hyuk’s mouth after playing for a few more minutes was more shocking.
“You stopped her here, didn’t you? And you told her about the deflated balloon. Is that right?”
Bruno Kazel could only nod. It was like Sherlock Holmes painting a full picture of a mystery just by looking at the crime scene. He had even picked up on the exact point where he had stopped the piano.
Is this possible? Bruno Kazel even thought that this is not reality.
Jun Hyuk played the piano again as he spoke,
“Alright, if Amelia had performed at the concert in her messy state, how would you have commanded? If it were me, I would have directed the violins for a more powerful performance to hold Amelia who is getting stronger and faster because she is unable to release her strength. Of course it says fortepiano (fp, weakly after playing with power) on the score.”
Bruno Kazel thought of the score at this point and realized that there was no displacement.
His fingertips trembled and he felt weak. To create a song with such exact calculations! Who is this boy who writes a concerto after accurately pinpointing a single pianist and thinking of the point at which the performance would fall apart?
“Then Amelia would have stumbled again. It is repeated exactly 4 times until the 3rd part. You can push Amelia who races like a wild horse.”
Jun Hyuk got up from the piano and kept speaking without paying attention to Bruno Kazel who was shaking,
“Of course it could be a failure. I’m sure it could have completely come apart. But I think that it would have been faster for her if you had pushed her to the limit in a real performance.”
Like Bruno Kazel, Danny was lost in shock.
Danny had already known that his roommate is better. He is an undeniable genius from the performance, song interpretation, and arranging he showed in the quintet. What he showed today though, took him out of that category completely.
The tip of the iceberg. There is no better way to express it than this. Jun Hyuk was at a very high place, looking down on the quintet members and sending one drop at a time down to them. If he had revealed his full capability, they would have all drowned.
Even though Jun Hyuk’s explanation was over, the two could not speak for a while. The sophistication of all of the calculations included in a simple piano practice song. The ability to clearly see what had happened during rehearsal with just the concert results. It was too far beyond common sense for them to understand and accept it.
“Why… Why didn’t you tell me? Why didn’t you tell me about all of the devices hidden in the song?”
Bruno Kazel managed to open his mouth. Jun Hyuk continued to respond frostily,
“Because it’s all in the score. I don’t know what devices you’re talking about, but I did not think that I would need to give a separate explanation when you were going to perform according to the notes anyway.”
It was such a dry explanation that he felt shame. It is all in the score. To think that he could not read even that much. Jun Hyuk’s words might as well have been this kind of reproach.
This is also something that Bruno Kazel constantly says to his orchestra members and students.
‘Look at the score carefully. Everything is in the score. Fight fiercely with the score. Then it’ll all work out.’
He did not know that he himself would hear that reproach. And from a freshman at a conservatory as that.
While they were receiving the roaring applause after the performance, Amelia tried to find Jun Hyuk in the audience but could not see him. It was impossible to find one person among a large audience against blinding lights from the start.
When everyone swarmed to the party, Amelia went back to the dorms to change out of her dress. When she saw the piano sitting in the middle of her room, she was overcome with regret. From the day she had played the piano as a joke at age 3, she had never played as though lying as she had today.
Music she was playing for the ears instead of for expression. There won’t be anyone in today’s applauding audience who will remember her performance.
She sat in front of the piano again. She had already memorized the song, but opened the score. It was hard to even put her hands on the keys. She did not have the confidence to play this song again.
She came out of her room and got on the elevator to attend the party, but she only came down 2 floors. She wanted to see Jun Hyuk. She wanted an honest evaluation, not formal applause. She felt like she needed to hear whatever it was whether it was criticism or condemnation if she wanted to be able to play again.
The corridor was dark because there were only tail lights on, but she saw a line of light. Someone had not closed the door all the way and there was light seeping out of a narrow space between the open doorway. The person she needs to meet is inside that room.
Amelia could not open the door and go into the room. The piano coming from that room was her piano that she had not wanted to think about ever again.
Bruno Kazel’s frenzied voice and Jun Hyuk’s dry speech also came out. After the awkward silence from the room filled the corridor for a while, Amelia went back to her room.
She felt like she could play the practice song again.