Volume 5 / Chapter 190
“Maestro. Welcome to BOZAR.”
When Jun Hyuk and Tara arrived at the grand theater of BOZAR, an employee escorted them to the competition committee office. Once they exchanged greetings with the committee chairman and members and came out, Tara was laughing.
“Why are you laughing?”
“Because of those people. This is… They look like they’ve hit jackpot.”
“Yeah. It’s hard to maintain a competition without sponsors. Something like Queen Elisabeth has a lot of sponsors, but they’ll be tight on funds. But this time, they have you, the hot topic these days. Europe’s cable channels, internet broadcasting. They’ll have more sponsors coming in. They’ll be free from funding constraints.”
“It’s money wherever you go.”
“The Chicago Ballet Company was dismissed because it couldn’t come up with $200,000. Even though the top ballerina’s salary was $1 million. When that ballet company went under, the top ballerina went to a ballet company in L.A. for a salary of $500,000. Classical music is suffering from the ails of organizations going under while stars become richer.”
Jun Hyuk listened to Tara and hurried to meet the head leading the Belgium National Orchestra.
“Welcome, Maestro Jun.”
“Hello, Maestro Boulez.”
Contrary to Tara’s worries, Pierre Boulez welcomed him with sincerity.
“I regretted not having been able to see you in Salzburg due to conflicting schedules, but it’s an honor to get to meet you like this. Really.”
“No. I’m more…..”
“There are a lot of things I want to ask you, but let’s talk over time. Shouldn’t we put out the urgent fires first?”
It was apparent that he was rushing the day, whether it is due to his personality or because the day really is busy.
“The orchestra has been configured of 112 people. I think this is enough to perform your choral concerto. What do you think?”
Jun Hyuk matched up the Belgium National Orchestra’s performance he heard yesterday with the organization of 112 instruments.
“Thinking about the BOZAR grand hall, don’t you think it’d be better to reduce it? By taking the sound stability into account.”
Pierre Boulez’s eyes sparked. Is it because of his experience with the Boston Philharmonic? It is not easy for a rookie to think all the way to the theater’s scale.
“I think under 100 would be perfect. Aren’t there 2,200 seats in Henry le Boeuf?”
Even the Sejong Center for Performing Arts has over 3,000 seats. Henry le Boeuf however is an old historical building and is ⅔ of the size, though it may have been of a large scale at the time.
“You haven’t seen inside the theater yet. The ceilings are high. It can easily take up to 112 people.”
Jun Hyuk thought of an appropriate tone when he heard the CD yesterday, but he did not nitpick any further. He did not want to argue over subtle differences.
“Ah, I see. Good. I’m sure you know the sound state of the hall.”
“Thanks. The choir is currently looking, but they’re thinking of 150 people? What do you think?”
“I’ll follow your thoughts on that as well.”
Pierre Boulez looked at Jun Hyuk for a moment and smiled.
“You’re exactly as the rumors said.”
“I heard that your ability to bring out the best is outstanding, so you don’t really pay much attention to the details.”
“I’m like that because there’s still a lot that I don’t know, rather than having the ability.”
Even a disproportionate modesty. Pierre Boulez held back his laugh.
“Then can you tell me your view on the choral concerto?”
“Everything is in the score, including my views.”
Pierre Boulez’s face hardened a bit at Jun Hyuk’s unexpected answer.
“Interpretation is up to the performer?”
“Yes. That’s what I think.”
“Even if I take your song apart completely and interpret it in a new way?”
“Isn’t it another happiness of music to see another interpretation from you?”
“What? Ha ha. Well, I’ve taken a hit.”
When he first heard what Jun Hyuk said, he had thought that he might be competing with him. Once he saw that Jun Hyuk just wanted to see his music with different appearances, he saw Jun Hyuk in a new light in the way he thinks like a great.
“Very good. Then I won’t ever look at your rehearsal. Don’t watch mine either. Let’s see how different our interpretations are. Isn’t that part of the fun?”
“Yes. That is the fun. Ha ha.”
Even with the same score, orchestra, and instruments, there are many cases where the music is entirely different just because the conductors, or performers are different.
When Impressionist painter Monet was young, he drew a sunset landscape with 3 colleagues. They were given the condition that they need to draw as realistically as possible and drew the same scene, but the 4 completed paintings were completely different.
Like this, objects are always different with the way different people interpret them. Pierre Boulez’s heart beat when he thought of how the 2 versions of the choral concerto would ring out on the same stage.
“Then shall we meet the orchestra first?”
Pierre Boulez rose from his seat and led Jun Hyuk to the theater.
“Oh right. Don’t be too surprised with the way the orchestra reacts.”
“What? What does that mean?”
“There are quite a few people who hate you. Including me. Ha ha.”
Jun Hyuk followed Pierre Boulez in puzzlement at this statement that was difficult to understand. When they went through the passage for personnel and entered the stage, the orchestra members jumped up from their seats when they saw Jun Hyuk and the maestro.
“We have finally met. This is Maestro Jun, who you have all been waiting for.”
Jun Hyuk bowed to the orchestra and they burst out in passionate applause. It is a hearty welcome, far from the hate that Pierre Boulez mentioned.
“What do you think? You were expecting a fearsome demon, but this handsome young man has appeared. On top of that, he’s worn a Beethoven mask this time. Ha ha.”
The Belgium National Orchestra constantly worked hard to succeed in playing Inferno with Pierre Boulez, a devotee to contemporary music. They had thought that it would be possible to perform since the album came out, but they ended up giving up.
Pierre Boulez had listened to the album and declared that they would be giving up. He admitted that he could not express the dim light of hope, and the orchestra had accepted it as well.
The hate that Pierre Boulez had talked about is their respect for the wall Jun Hyuk had created that they cannot get over.
“Isn’t today just to exchange greetings? You’re on Tuesdays and Thursdays?”
“Yes. Then I’ll go back now so I don’t take anymore of your time.”
“Wait. Are you really just going to go back? I heard that you showed tremendous magic in Boston.”
It was uncertain whether or not he was joking, but the orchestra members’ eyes looked like that of cats who are asking for snacks.
However, snacks are only given in training as rewards. Jun Hyuk laughed as he spoke,
“My powers are at their end right now. I’ll recharge today and show you tomorrow.”
Jun Hyuk left the orchestra behind him and left the theater.
“How was it? Your first meeting?”
“Hm… Even someone who loves Schoenberg can’t dislike Beethoven. They’re very benevolent.”
Arnold Schoenberg is the most influential composer of the first half of the 20th century. He is one of the people who put a stop to the major and minor base, and established the 12 tone technique.
Even those who love Schoenberg’s atonal music will cry from the emotion they feel from listening to Beethoven’s piano sonata.
Tara let out a sigh of relief. She had worried for no reason. They are also musicians who live for Mozart and Beethoven’s music.
The orchestra members were excited for their first rehearsal for Choral Concerto. It had been a while since they had performed on such a large scale, and it had been a while since they had performed a masterpiece that went over 70 minutes. They need to perform alternating between 2 conductors a song that does not have pauses and is so full that just by looking at the score, they can tell that there is not even space for a needle to fit in. They were also anticipating the comparison between the 2 conductors.
The conductor of the first rehearsal is the composer, Jun Hyuk. The members all looked to Jun Hyuk standing on the podium. They were anticipating what his first words would be.
“With the performance ahead of us, just keep 2 things in mind. The first is to completely forget Beethoven’s Choral Symphony. It is a completely different song. If you perform this without being able to shake off the feeling of the Choral Symphony, you won’t even be able to complete the 1st movement.”
He said that they would not be able to do it, but it is the conductor’s meaning that he would not tolerate it. Jun Hyuk needs to embed in them that just as it cannot be said that a hippopotamus and water buffalo are the same animal just because they have the same weight, the songs are not the same because they have the same length and configuration.
“The second is the feeling that you must not forget for a second while you perform.”
Jun Hyuk wanted to explain to the orchestra exactly the feeling he wrote the song with. He thought for a moment because he could not explain it clearly without the words. Then he thought of the moment that any European would understand precisely.
“Think about the FIFA World Cup finals. Germany… no… Belgium and Brazil met in the finals. The winner is the winner of the World Cup.”
Since they are all performers who have gathered on soccer’s continent, Europe, the way they are looking at Jun Hyuk became different. Furthermore, half of them are Belgian. It is a situation that they can understand completely.
“The score is 2:2 until the second half. It is now overtime. Though it doesn’t exist now, let’s say that we are following the golden goal rule. The national players exert their superhuman strength and patience to run the ground. Constant passes, shooting. They are running and running just to score that one goal. The crowd prays earnestly. And 5 minutes later, there’s a goal.”
The orchestra members have already experienced games like this several times, so they could understand it easily.
“The feeling of the crowd that had to watch this anxiously for 5 minutes. I’m sure you understand well? We need to maintain that feeling for 70 minutes. The last verse of the chorus in the 4th movement is the explosive applause that comes from the goal.”
The orchestra murmured. They do not even need to go all the way to the World Cup. How many games of 90 minutes and not 5 minutes had they watched in anxiety?
The orchestra could understand Jun Hyuk’s direction for conducting.
“70 minutes of performing felt like it had gone by in 5 minutes. It is a success if it receives this kind of review.”
Jun Hyuk picked up the baton and the orchestra members looked at their scores, waiting for the signal. The first movement of the baton was the whistle that starts the game. The vehement overtime of the World Cup finals started.