Volume 5 / Chapter 186
“I’m sure you all know, but these 12 songs are now at the same starting point. The ranking is meaningless now. We didn’t choose the best but just had them pass the baseline. Please keep in mind that they are just boxers who have passed the weight test. Now, we’re only thinking of the best regardless of the ranking from yesterday. We’ll be starting the first vote.”
The 12 judges wrote the song that they think is number 1 and handed it to the committee head.
After checking the titles written on the papers multiple times, she looked surprised. The result is completely different from what she had been expecting.
“Well, this is an interesting result. I thought the result would come out in one try.”
Marion Cotillard put the papers on the conference room table and announced the result.
“6 votes, 5 votes, 1 vote. As none of them have over ⅔ of the votes, or over 8, we need to vote again.”
The winning song needs to have 8 out of 12 votes. They will either debate the songs and vote again until there is a result. If they vote hundreds of times and the committee head believes that they cannot come to a conclusion, the competition rule is to decide on a 2nd and 3rd place without a 1st place winner.
“6 votes were for ‘World of Europe,’ 5 votes are for ‘Choral Concerto’. The last one with 1 vote is ‘Deception’.”
After knowing the results, a few people had looks of disbelief.
“I think we need to discuss at this point.”
In contrast to when they had been choosing the 12th place, someone started speaking immediately after the committee head spoke as though he had been waiting. It was in a high voice.
“Honestly, I don’t understand. I thought there would be votes in opposition, but 5 votes? Isn’t it a blessing that such a large song has been created so perfectly in the 21st century?”
“I assume you’re talking about the choral concerto?”
“Yes. That’s the one I’m talking about.”
“Don’t you think you’re overestimating it? A large song does not equate with a great song.”
“Do you think I’m only saying this because of the length of the song and the number of instruments organized in it? If the choral concerto is not a great song, what is?”
If the interpretation of the work had been different, it would not have been so frustrating. Everyone knew that the cause for opposing the song lay elsewhere.
“Isn’t it a song following Beethoven’s choral?”
“Following? Only the vocal is the same. Isn’t it the Schiller poem that everyone knows? They just used the same song. It’s an entirely different music. On top of that, it’s not in German but in English.”
“It’s not only that. This was created with the purpose of being compared with Beethoven. How could the instrument times be the same by movement? The number of bars is the same as well.”
The reason for opposition eventually came out. It was the rogue intent to drag Beethoven in for attention. Their sincerity, however, did not appear.
“Very well. We admit that the composer’s intention is too obvious. But why are we trying to censor composers’ thoughts as judges? We need to judge based on the music itself.”
“That’s right. The image that Beethoven’s choral symphony has – a large song, vocal, and Schiller’s poem. You’re dragging this through as though it is plagiarism…”
“Who said that it is plagiarism?”
Even the opposing side was defending it against plagiarism.
“Just looking at the 1st movement with a subject that is continued perfectly, it is different from the abilities of other participants. And what about the symphony of the 2nd and 3rd movements? I felt like I was looking at the harmony of soprano duet. There’s nothing more to say about the 4th movement. I felt like my heart was collapsing around that catharsis.”
The other judges were only listening. What they had felt about the song had not been very different. They just differentiate between feeling and evaluation.
“I can’t remember the last time I felt something like this… Did you get this kind of emotion from ‘World of Europe’? Isn’t it a song that combines many European folk songs in order to throw awareness of a problem?”
As the praises for the choral symphony continued, the real reason for not giving it their votes came out.
“Can’t we simply think of it as the composer having some fun? If it hadn’t been for the vocal part with lyrics from Schiller’s ‘Ode to Joy,’ it would have gotten all 12 votes without argument.”
“Are you saying that we should go upstream to the era of classical again?”
“What are you talking about? What era is there to music? If the work is good, that should be everything for the evaluation.”
The role of the music’s value changed with changing times. Music has always changed with the times. The judges’ true thoughts for not giving votes are that they believe the choral concerto to be retrogressive to the era.
It is an evaluation that is hard to say.
“There there. Let’s calm down. Isn’t our selection criteria clear? The song that we want to hear the orchestra play. That is the selection criteria.”
The committee head must have thought that the evaluation of the choral symphony had come out with this, and her intense atmosphere settled a bit.
“I’ll tell you my last thoughts. I’m looking back at today’s intense discussion. Not a single person gave his or her opinion on the song in 1st place, ‘Magic of Europe’. No one said why it is better than the choral concerto or what they felt after seeing it.”
Marion Cotillard’s stern assessment made everyone quiet. The 1st place song did not have a presence in today’s intense debate.
“The sun has already set. We’ll meet again tomorrow to continue the discussion. If the same results come out in the 2nd vote, we might have a ‘not applicable’ in 1st place again for the first time in a while. You all worked hard.”
Though it was not late, Marion Cotillard quickly ended the meeting. She wanted to give them plenty of time to confirm whether their evaluations today were based on music or their individual beliefs.
She came back home and got in the bath to relieve her exhaustion when the phone rang.
“Madame Cotillard. This is Isaac Stern.”
“Oh, Mr. Stern. It’s been a while.”
Marion Cotillard leaned up from her bath. He is someone she cannot ignore as he provides a lot of support to the European music industry. There are a lot of conductors who had been in the Deutsche Symphony Orchestra, which she is currently in, who are related to him.
“I know it’s rude, but I called late because I figured that you would be busy with your judging duties in the daytime.”
“I actually have a lot of interest in this year’s competition.”
“When did you not? You always kept an eye on it to take any promising rookies.”
“Ha ha. I see. Then I should say that I have extra interest.”
She knew that President Stern has a lot of interest in all competitions, but she also knows that he has never personally contacted the committee head. What could it be?
“I’ll get straight to the point. I want to show the 12 final songs to maestros all over the world. I’m going to find out which song it is that they want to play and compare it with the results of the competition.”
Marion Cotillard bolted up from the bath. What does this mean? What is he talking about all of a sudden?
“Mr. Stern. I hear this as you saying that you don’t trust the judges.”
She could not help but sound on edge. Comparing the results with external factors itself means that he is questioning their fairness.
“That’s not what I mean. I just want to know the difference. The difference between the music that conductors want to perform and the music that survives in a competition.”
President Stern’s voice remained calm.
“You put it well, but doesn’t it mean that you’re telling us to do well because you’re watching us?”
“Isn’t that inevitable? How many people out there are watching for the competition results?”
“Of course I’m sure you’ll release those results to the press?”
“I’ll have to if there is a big difference with the competition results. Someone will have to explain those results so the people who are watching can understand.”
It is a complete threat. He does not reveal what he wants though, so it is an ambiguous threat. Marion Cotillard did not want to hear anymore. He is basically insulting her character.
“Mr. Stern, I’m offended. I will hang up now.”
After hanging up, she lowered her body into the bath again. Famous maestros all over the world would inevitably choose the choral concerto. She had also voted for the choral concerto. But she still could not know the end result.
She thought for a while and came out when she could feel the bath get cold, and laid on the bed.
Whatever anyone says, there is only one result. She can only enforce one thing with the judges. It is the committee head’s duty.
The song that they want to hear in performance. That is the winning song.