Volume 4 / Chapter 132
[TN: Guys….I’m so tired from Vegas but it was so fun. Take me back TT – TT]
With three days before school started again, Amelia came back to school. She opened the door to Jun Hyuk’s room and ran to him.
She did not pay mind to Danny who was also in the room and kissed Jun Hyuk for a long time before looking at Danny.
“Hi Danny. Long time no see.”
“Hi Amelia. How was your tour?”
There was no doubt that she had greeted him indifferently. Amelia did not even answer Danny, and turned her head to Jun Hyuk.
“Jun. Did the album come out? The improv performance with Stanley Clarke?”
“Not yet. I heard it’ll be out around April or May.”
“Stanley Clarke? Improv performance? Album? Jun, what’s this about now?”
When Danny heard about what had happened with LA Sound, he showed happiness as if it were his own problem.
“Jun. A performance album with Stanley Clarke is a steady seller no matter what. His fan base is really big. You said you rented the condo? Just buy one! Is this the birth of a couple that can sell a million albums? Ha ha.”
When Amelia heard about renting an apartment, she snapped her fingers remembering something,
“Jun. You already leased it? I forgot about it.”
“Yeah. It’s close to the school. Riverside Condo. Do you know what it is?”
Amelia shook her head, but Danny knew that Riverside Condo is the most expensive in New Jersey.
“What? Riverside? Isn’t that place really expensive? The cheapest rent for a one bedroom should be over $6,000.”
Danny said it and thought it was funny. This couple is already professional performers. Jun Hyuk who can make an album with Stanley Clarke and Amelia who is such a famous pianist that she cannot rest during her break and needs to tour.
Students like he would need to worry about rent, but it is not an issue at all to these two.
“Jun, let’s hurry up and go. I want to see it.”
Jun Hyuk stood up when Amelia pulled his hand, and Danny pulled on a coat as well.
“Danny. Where are you going?”
Amelia looked up at him.
“I was going to go with you to see…… Ah, no. I’m going to get a coffee at the cafeteria.”
When he saw Amelia’s scary expression, Danny hastily went to the cafeteria.
It is an easy walking distance between Riverside Condo and the school.
“What do you think? Do you like it?”
There was one large bedroom and two small rooms, and the spacious kitchen was great as well. However, it was the living room that caught Amelia’s eye. There were two Steinway grand pianos in the wide living room.
“This is too luxe. But that piano is exactly my taste.”
After Amelia looked at each corner of the apartment, she took Jun Hyuk’s hand and went outside.
“Jun. Let’s hurry up and go to the department store. There’s something more important than the piano that we need to buy.”
“Than the piano? What’s that?”
Professor Randall Poster had never waited for the start of a semester like this one.
He had seen Jun Hyuk amongst the applicants for his course. He had trained a lot of pianists until now, but this is the first time he is meeting a nearly complete pianist.
As soon as he saw Jun Hyuk’s name on the list of applicants, he had requested an interview.
“Jun, you applied for a piano class this semester… Can you tell me why?”
“Ah, there isn’t a special reason. I wanted to do it before, but I just pushed it back because I needed to get adjusted last semester.”
“By chance is there a competition that you’re aiming for?”
“Competition? No. I don’t have any thoughts of going out on competitions.”
“Why not? With your talent, you could be looking at 1st place if you prepare well.”
“I think that competitions are for people who aim to become pianists. I still haven’t dreamt of becoming a pianist yet.”
The greatest pianist festival is the Chopin Competition in 4 years. Professor Poster saw Jang Jun Hyuk’s state in 4 years as that of a top class pianist who would not even need to go out to compete.
He could see hesitation in Jun Hyuk’s face.
“Is there… something else you want to tell me?”
Jun Hyuk found courage in Professor Poster’s gentle voice.
“Professor. May I ask your thoughts on my piano?”
“Your piano? Why ask? You show the best performances.”
“Is that all?”
“Um… Are you being like this because of your similarity to other pianists’ performances?”
“Yes, that’s exactly it. I was wondering if it isn’t just a simple copy.”
Professor Poster looked at Jun Hyuk in disbelief,
“Copy? Achieving a copy to that extent is no longer copying. You’ve made it your own. How many pianists do you think there are who are able to make the music of great pianists of the past their own?”
Jun Hyuk’s concern is unthinkable. Professor Poster wanted to say what Jun Hyuk needs to hear most.
“Jun. Do you know what Igor Stravinsky said?”
When Jun Hyuk shook his head, Professor Poster said,
“Lesser artists borrow, great artists steal. You’re so perfect that it doesn’t even feel like you stole it.”
“Then does that mean you’re satisfied?”
“Didn’t I just tell you? ‘If you prepare well.’ That preparation is referring to creating your color. It’s not even hard for someone like you.”
“Then that’s how it works out in the end.”
“Why? Is there a problem?”
“The thing is…..”
When he saw Jun Hyuk hesitate, he thought of the problems that a few pianists had faced. There are pianists who were able to resolve those problems, and there are those who could not get past it and were left behind.
“Hm… By chance when you perform something that’s entirely your own, do you break rules?”
“Excuse me? What do you mean by rules?”
“A performance that goes beyond the score. Not an issue with song interpretation, but is it that you want to play something outside of the score?”
“No. If I want to stray from the score, all I would have to do is write a new song.”
“Right? That’s entirely possible for someone like you.”
It is a problem that people who feel that something is lacking in the original song experience. Those people however, do not have the ability to make a new song that makes up for the shortcomings. Jun Hyuk is not a pianist who would struggle with this kind of dilemma.
Professor Poster needed to bring up something so difficult that his mouth went dry.
“By chance… is your piano uncomfortable? Do you feel naked?”
“I see. You don’t want to show it to others…..”
What is it like that he does not want to reveal it? Professor Poster did not speak for a while. He needs to give advice that Jun Hyuk would be able to understand. Something that falls short might even do harm.
After thinking for a while, he spoke carefully,
“Jun, do you want to hear a story?”
“Yes, tell me.”
“There was a man. All he had were complexes. Rough looks, dark skin, the son of a poor family. He thought that he did not even have a special talent. On top of that, he spent his childhood abused by his alcoholic father.”
Jun Hyuk could guess who the boy Professor Poster was telling him about.
“When he became an adult, his personality was a mess. He was cocky and so cheap that he recorded his account book everyday. He was prone to firing his housekeeper just because he ate a little too much. Like this, he was never able to date properly. He went around lying, spreading rumors that he had dated someone and that they broke up. Women hated him.”
If Professor Poster’s story was true, men would hate him as well.
“Do you know who this person is?”
“Yeah. None other than the great Beethoven.”
Among Beethoven’s songs, there are those that had explosive popularity and earned him a tremendous amount of money. But no one plays the popular songs now. Those popular songs were written for a special purpose. Music created for nobility. That music just praised them, it did not have Beethoven’s greatness in them.
“Beethoven’s masterpieces are those that capture his core. Everyone criticized his most famous Symphony No. 5 Fate when it premiered, saying that it is uncomfortable. It isn’t music that you can listen to comfortably. Because of its violence and rampancy.”
The symphony Fate was written in 1807 and premiered in Paris, France in 1810. Young Berlioz and his teacher Le Sueur were sitting at this theater.
When the concert ended, Le Sueur, a leader of French music, said “music like that ought not to be written”. An unsophisticated song that does not have a bit of dignity. This is the evaluation of that song at the time.
However, it has become the symbol of western music today. S
“Jun. you also need to look into yourself and love yourself. And that’s what you need to express in your music.”
Professor Poster’s advice ended with him saying that there is no need to be scared.
“Who would like a performance that you can’t pour yourself into? Even if people say they don’t like your piano playing, you have to reveal it. You never know. Everyone might hate it now, but people might go crazy for it in 200 years.”
Jun Hyuk realized that he needs to love himself in order to face his own music.