Volume 5 / Chapter 174
[He’s a real star]
When the orchestra gathered again and heard that they would only need to record the 2nd part, they felt assured. They are bound to feel that it had been a successful performance because it was rare for them to finish recording with just the rehearsal and 3 performances.
“The reason why we are only recording the 2nd part again is because my expectations for the 3rd part are a bit low. I listened to the recording several times and it wasn’t an issue of technicality but the strings blocked the oboes’ flow. I thought it’d be okay because of the positioning of the mic… but tricks really don’t work in music.”
Jun Hyuk spread out the part of the score that he had not been satisfied with and explained what the problem was multiple times before picking up the baton.
Unlike the day before, he stopped conducting during rehearsal if anything was off to add in a more detailed explanation. They started recording after rehearsing the 2nd part for 2 hours.
After performing, Jun Hyuk checked the recording in the control box and came back onto the stage. Seeing his expression, the orchestra members also became bright.
“We’ll end the recording of Inferno with this. You all worked really hard.”
Jun Hyuk bowed respectfully to the orchestra from the podium. They responded with clapping to show their gratefulness. But the clapping did not last for long.
Normally, the conductor would come down from the podium, shake the hands of each member, and all go to a bar. But Jun Hyuk did not come down from the podium. He still has something left to say.
When the clapping quieted down, Jun Hyuk began to speak,
“Conducting for the Boston Symphony Orchestra has been the best experience. On top of that, it was my song and not Beethoven’s or Tchaikovsky’s. You were all the best players.”
Jun Hyuk bowed his head again. However, the smiles disappeared from the members’ faces. They did not hear this as a simple thanks from Jun Hyuk.
“I don’t know if the day will come when I will get to conduct for you again, but I would like to tell you that today is the last.”
Everyone became startled that it would be the last. Why all of a sudden? Their faces all looked to be full of this question.
“Maestro! What are you talking about? The last day? There is still the concert.”
The concertmaster spoke on behalf of everyone.
“Concertmaster. Are you confident?”
“I’m asking if you have the confidence to perform within 5 months. I don’t.”
“What does that mean? Why are you saying you don’t have the confidence when we’ve even finished recording?”
Jun Hyuk picked up the earphones sitting on the floor.
“Do you have the confidence to perform without these earphones?”
Jun Hyuk’s works are heart breaking. No one can respond.
“The orchestra listens to earphones, playing a piano concerto while the audience listens to an entirely different symphony? That’s comedic.”
The members remembered what they had been forgetting.
The audience makes up the 3rd orchestra members from below the stage.
Performing an entirely different song from the audience members to match is trickery. The young maestro reminded them of this.
They were all silent when Jun Hyuk spoke again,
“I’ve never thought that you are lacking in ability. The fact that performing is difficult is just a characteristic of this song. It’s no different from a strange song that asks for an incredibly fast performance or one that requires help unless the player has extra fingers.”
Jun Hyuk’s words that he had never suspected the Boston Philharmonic’s abilities are sincere.
“If someone can figure out a way to perform my song properly, that is an undeserved honor. I need to wait for that day to come. Inferno’s premiere is beyond ability. My role ends here.”
Even though Jun Hyuk was done speaking, none of the members spoke. The conductor and composer had declared that it is impossible, and they have nothing to refute this. It really does end here.
Jun Hyuk came down from the podium and held his hand out to Concertmaster Matthew Price. The Concertmaster took Jun Hyuk’s hand but instead of shaking it, he pulled Jun Hyuk into an embrace.
He pat Jun Hyuk’s back and whispered,
“Jun, you are forever my maestro.”
“Maestro, you can’t do this. You even succeeded in the recording. Why are you quitting now?”
Tara had been waiting outside the stage and made a fuss. She wanted to run out immediately when Jun Hyuk made his outrageous announcement, but she had been pushing back the instinct.
“Tara, stop. It’s a fact that even the orchestra has accepted. There cannot be the deception of listening to a piano song while performing.”
“There’s still time left. If you work a little harder…”
“If it had been possible, the orchestra would have said it first. Everyone knows that it’s impossible.”
Jun Hyuk urged going to Board Chairman Mark Boff’s office. As Tara followed him, all she thought was that she needs to stop him but she cannot find the words.
When he entered the office, Mark Boff and Patrick Quinn were inside drinking coffee.
“Good. You are both here.”
“Oh Jun. The recording is done already?”
“Yes. It ended early today because it was just the rerecording for the 2nd part.”
“So the Inferno album is finally coming out. You did well, Maestro.”
Mark Boff looked happier than anyone else. He would have never dreamed of bringing Jun Hyuk, who does not have a single aspect of Patrick Quinn’s career, in as visiting conductor. But it is a successful gamble. He had created an album that would easily surpass 1 million in sales. If the performance is put on stage, Boston Philharmonic’s fame will go up a step.
However, Jun Hyuk’s words made all of his expectations come crashing down.
“I’m really sorry to say this so suddenly. I will resign as visiting conductor today.”
“What are you talking about? All of a sudden?”
The two men simultaneously jumped up from their seats. They could not believe that these words were coming from someone who had just completed recording. This is something that they would hear if a recording was a failure.
“I want to tell you that I’m unable to do the performance.”
“What? Jun! What on earth are you talking about? What do you mean you can’t do the performance?”
Patrick Quinn’s face turned bright red.
“I’ll return the money and expenses spent on me. I don’t know the details of the contract, but if there are penalties for not fulfilling it, I will pay those as well.”
His clerical tone of speaking to Mark Boff showed that he has no intention of changing his mind.
“Wa – wait. Jun. It’s… It’s not time to be talking about stuff like that. You just completed recording the album. Wh – why are you being like this all of a sudden?”
Chairman Mark Boff was so surprised that he was even stuttering.
“A performance means feeling a realism that is different from listening to the album. But Inferno’s performance will not come out as well as the album does. And that’s while using weird shortcuts.”
Jun Hyuk carefully explained how he had come to make this decision.
“Even if we practice in this state for a few more months, we won’t be able to perform without the aid of the piano song. And it’s blasphemy if the orchestra performs to the audience with earphones in.”
It is what he already said to the orchestra and it is a bitter truth that they have accepted. What Jun Hyuk is trying to say is that the performance is impossible.
Patrick Quinn had been listening quietly when his face started brightening up and he suddenly laughed.
“Ha ha. Jun. You’re really interesting. Or is it that you’re smart? No, you’re not shrewd enough to calculate all of this. Is it an instinct? A star’s instinct?”
“Excuse me? What do you mean by instinct?”
Mark Boff was bewildered by Patrick Quinn. It would fall short to speak to Jun Hyuk and convince him to come back, but what is this absurdity?
“A real star doesn’t hesitate to act. They just move as their hearts tell them to. They don’t plan according to what they think the public will think. But the public becomes enthusiastic and follows them constantly.”
“Patrick. Say it simply. I don’t know what you’re saying. Didn’t you just say that I’m not shrewd?”
“If you say you won’t perform, I’m pretty sure the passion over Inferno among conductors won’t settle down. Everyone’s going to come running in at the bait of a premiere.”
Mark Boff finally understood what Patrick Quinn was trying to say. It is not over yet. No, it might even fire up.
“Ah, since the album came out…..”
“That’s right, Mark. It means there are 2 references now. The score and album. Each person will look at the score and listen to the album to interpret the composer’s intent.”
As long as it is still a hot topic, the center of that will always be Jun Hyuk and the Boston Philharmonic. Jun Hyuk with the score, the Boston Philharmonic with the album.
“If Jun had done the performance, the drive changes. No matter who performs, they are second. The album came out and the premiere was held. It’ll just become one of many pieces of contemporary music. Even if others perform it, it’ll always be compared to Jun Hyuk’s. This is why the first is so important.”
It is the same as leaving Inferno as a mathematical challenge. If a mathematical challenge is solved, the world stops caring. When it remains as a challenge, the world’s attention never goes away.
“I was the one who wanted to make the first attempt. Honestly when I heard Jun say that he doesn’t want to perform, I became greedy on the thought of making the premiere.”
Mark Boff and Jun Hyuk were thinking something entirely different from what Patrick Quinn was saying. Chairman Mark Boff was thinking of the incredible financial benefits that would come in if the world never stopped caring. Jun Hyuk of the incredible situation that was unfolding without his intent.
However, he decided not to care what other people thought. It is out of his hands anyway.
“Then I’ll tell you what I want to do, so please handle it that way.”
The two men no longer discouraged Jun Hyuk. Bringing up the contract means that he has already made up his mind. Is there another person who does as he pleases as a maestro?
“Then what do you want to do?”
“First, I’m thinking of going back to New York. I’ll have to go back and think about it.”
“When are you going to leave?”
“I leave tomorrow. Staying any longer is strange.”
“What? Why are you in such a rush?”
Patrick Quinn wanted to spend some time with Jun Hyuk freely. This young genius brings him new inspiration just by being together.
“Well, I don’t even have anything to do.”
“We have to throw a farewell party. You can’t just leave like this.”
“I’m not used to things like that.”
He did not back down from resigning, so he would not change his mind from something so small. It is not even an eternal farewell and they would reunite as quickly as possible.
Jun Hyuk would be quick to leave, but Tara played her role until the end. She took care of everything from packing his bags to the hotel checkout, airline ticket, and dropping him off at the airport.
“I would like to work with you again. Goodbye, Jun.”
Tara kissed him lightly on the cheek before he left.