Volume 5 / Chapter 166
[TN: The Maestro shows them magic]
Jun Hyuk scratched his head and mulled it over before having a good idea and looking around.
Tara, who had been waiting at the entrance to backstage, quickly came out to stand next to Jun Hyuk.
“Can you get me a pen and paper?”
“Excuse me? Paper? Are you asking for music sheets?”
“No. Just white printer paper.”
Patrick Quinn smiled as he looked on at what was happening on stage.
“Look. It seems he’s going to do something now. I mean something fun.”
Jun Hyuk wrote notes on the paper that Tara brought him. He filled the white sheet with notes and then spoke to the orchestra.
“Oh right. Do you want to take a break? I think it’ll take about 10 minutes.”
When Jun Hyuk spoke, the members got up from their seats and gathered around him.
Jun Hyuk is just writing notes. Since he is writing on a blank sheet of paper, they cannot tell the pitch and there are just mixed lengths of 4 minute notes, 8 minute notes, whole notes, half notes, et cetera. It is boring to watch, so most people scattered to go to the bathroom or get a cup of tea.
Patrick Quinn and Mark Boff could not see what Jun Hyuk is doing, so they could not wait and went up to the stage to take a glance at the paper before going back down to the seats.
Chairman Mark Boff could not even begin to guess what it was that Jun Hyuk is trying to do because it is the first time he is seeing something so strange.
“What is it that Jun Hyuk is doing right now?”
“I don’t know. I can’t guess either because it’s something that I’m seeing for the first time as well.”
Patrick Quinn was also seeing this for the first time. After learning how to work with scores, he had never written notes on regular paper. Notes written on white paper are unfamiliar.
When the break ended and the members returned to their seats, Jun Hyuk handed out 6 sheets full of notes to the violin performers.
“There. I’ll start with the violins. As you can see, you can’t tell the pitch of notes and can only see the lengths. Right?”
The 6 violinists looked at the sheets on their stands in a strange manner.
As they are not on scores, there are no pitches to the notes. He did not separate the measures so they cannot figure out the beat, and there is no rhythm because they do not know where to end it.
“Alright. Now we’ll decide the pitch of the note. The 6 of you just have to choose different notes. Concertmaster? Would you like to go with C?”
Matthew Price had a sour look on his face. He could not see what this has to do with a precise performance, and it seemed like a joke that he is asking them to perform with just notes without pitch.
“So Concertmaster has chosen C. Everyone else needs to choose.”
The 6 violinists each chose a different key.
“Alright. Now, I’ll lead. Follow the beat of my conducting exactly. Alright? Do not pay attention to the sounds of the other performers. There are more notes than it seems, and you must make sure to take each of the half notes. If your attention strays even a little, you will lose the beat as well as where you are in the notes. Then.”
Jun Hyuk signaled the start with the baton, and the 6 violin bows moved in concert.
There was no need to move the left hands pressing down on the violin strings. It is just a sound to make with one hand.
When the 6 sounds combined however, a fast and light melody like a scherzo flowed out and spread over the theater. The orchestra members who were watching could not hide their surprise either, crying out in shock and Patrick Quinn bolted up from his seat.
After the 1 minute performance was over, the violinists held their instruments and could not speak. How is something like this possible? What kind of magic is this?
Jun Hyuk did not pay attention to the surprised orchestra members or people in the seats, and took the 6 sheets back.
“Then shall we change it and try it out?”
The aftertaste of the 6 violins was still lingering, and Jun Hyuk started handing out scores again.
This time, it was for the violin, cello, clarinet, oboe, trumpet, and horn players. He had organized one person each from the main instruments.
“You can change the scores if you’d like. Take any score and choose a key. You can play like the violinists just did.”
The performers’ faces were full of interest as if they were young children who had discovered a new game. What kind of music would come out this time?
The 6 performers focused on Jun Hyuk’s baton. When the baton moved, an entirely different music from what the violinists had just played, flowed. How could this be? When they had only played with one key?
On top of that, different music – pretty great music – comes no matter what key they use, what instrument they select, or how the scores are mixed up!
When the performance ended, everyone gathered to the 6 scores.
There was even someone who was calculating how many songs would come out by combining the 6 scores.
Then, someone grabbed all 6 scores quickly. It was Patrick Quinn.
Patrick Quinn spread the 6 scores out on the floor and sat among them. He moved his finger and combined the notes at random, seeing what kind of melody results from this. As the standing conductor has taken over the stage, everyone had to stand back and watch.
Not a single person thought that it was rude. Everyone wanted to look at the scores and see what kind of music could come out.
Eventually, Matthew Price could not resist any longer and went behind Patrick Quinn to do the same thing. Then many of the orchestra members ran out and gathered around the scores.
Jun Hyuk watched this and wondered if he should include or take this out of the practice time.
“It works! Somehow, this configuration works too.”
“This is nuts. Really. How is this possible?”
“I just tried one with 3 instruments. Goodness… A 2-minute song is possible too!”
The members tried out different configurations with the scores, and started chatting as though going through a treasure hunt.
He had not been trying to show them magic. He needed to show them the difference in performing, but they were showing a completely different reaction. There was only one reason why this unusual reaction did not end and kept going.
Jun Hyuk went to Patrick Quinn, took the scores, and put them in Patrick’s hands.
“Patrick. This is a gift. So go back to your seat and look through them slowly.”
Patrick Quinn finally rose from the floor after he had been staring blankly at the papers.
“Oh… Excuse me. I interfered with rehearsals. I was supposed to just be visiting. I’m really sorry.”
Patrick Quinn could not take his eyes off of the scores even after going back to his seat.
When the chatting and admiration of the members on stage did not stop, Jun Hyuk tapped the music stand with his baton.
“There there. Let’s stop playing now. Anyway, the people who just played will know. They played mechanically, paying attention to just the lengths of sounds and resting notes. Isn’t that right?”
The performers could only nod. After looking at notes on scores, they really did play mechanically while looking at such a boring score. It is an inevitable method of performing since there is no pitch, speed, or intensity.
“Usually, there is no choice but to play a song you are playing for the first time, mechanically. It’s just that before you all play a song, you read the score beforehand and commit it to memory before practice even starts. That’s why a mechanical practice is impossible.”
If they look at the score and get used to the general flow of the song, they are bound to put emotion to it. The feeling, emotion, sentiment in a score will come out once the performance starts.
“Maestro. Then don’t we just need to perform a new song? Why did you use this magical method?”
Concertmaster Matthew Price dug in to the end. When Jun Hyuk saw this side of him, he realized that the concertmaster really does want to perform Inferno.
“That’s because you are all professionals.”
Now, even if Jun Hyuk stopped speaking for a moment, no one spoke. Everyone listened and only looked at Jun Hyuk.
“The moment you all open a score, you speed read the notes on both pages and get an understanding of the flow. That’s why I needed to use this strange method.”
Everyone finally understood and nodded.
“Everyone. This is not magic. They are just notes. You said that it is impossible, but it is possible to play mechanically. It’s because you are full of emotion and you won’t get rid of the thinking that instruments express emotion.”
Matthew Price had been listening quietly when he spoke again,
“Good. That’s good, Maestro. Let’s say that we simply play mechanically. Then does that mean it will be possible to play Inferno?”
“Yes. Instead, someone will feel awkwardness. The people who can listen to Inferno to the 4th part with patience. Of these people, there will be those that say that it is awkward because they can catch the delicate expression.”
“Maestro. If our Boston Philharmonic is the first to play Inferno, half of the audience will be made of conductors and composers. They will be sure to feel the awkwardness.”
“I’m sure you’re saying that we can’t just imitate, no… that you want to perform it perfectly?”
The Concertmaster’s decisiveness showed on his face.
“Alright. Then you’ll have a pretty hard time.”
Jun Hyuk smiled at the Concertmaster. He is middle aged, but he seems to be the orchestra member with the youngest mindset.
“If you all had not looked at the entire score, it would even have been possible to record the album tomorrow. It’s not possible to tell what kind of song it is by looking at each instrument’s parts. If I conduct and we record by part, it would be possible.”
It is too late however. Every member of the orchestra had already seen the whole score. It is as though they had opened Pandora’s box.
“So all of this… Repeatedly enduring it and playing the song the mechanically is the way to forget the whole song. I think that if you all forget the score to a certain extent, you can record the album and then prepare for the performance.”