Volume 5 / Chapter 193
Jun Hyuk did not have rehearsals during the week long finals period because the Belgium National Orchestra and Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra take care of the performance. He was able to watch the competition comfortably.
Jun Hyuk could not miss the performances of the 3 welcome faces he saw in the list of participants. The person he had the most anticipation for was Laura Goldberg.
He hoped that she would win in the best conditions no matter what song she sings. She needs to sing the soprano part of the Choral Concerto. He had written the song while thinking of her voice.
Laura Goldberg’s assigned song was 17th century French composer Charpentier’s Motet. The start and end are difficult in skill, there is a lot of treble while the middle is lyrical, and there is a warm feeling so it is not an easy song in terms of vocals.
If she can handle it perfectly, winning is not a problem. He has a feeling that Laura will win easily.
Jun Hyuk listened to Laura sing and looked puzzled. She is in no way at this level. He even thought that it could be strategy. The strategy of getting through the assigned song with ease and showing as much skill as is desired in the song of choice is obsolete though it always works.
Jun Hyuk broke out a smile as soon as he saw the song she had chosen. Even though it is an obvious strategy, this song is enough to make it work.
The song she chose is so unconventional it made the judges create a fuss. It is contemporary music great Gyorgy Ligeti’s ‘Mysteries of the Macabre’.
It is not a song that can be handled just by being able to sing well. The changes are so severe that even the audience that is sitting still cannot get themselves together.
It has a difficulty that demands the so-called ‘ultrasonic range of dolphins’ and incredible acting.
However, Laura Goldberg overwhelmed them like a fountain shooting water high and then falling low. The only mistake she made was that the key was slightly rough where it was to be graceful. She brought about surprise with nearly perfect treble technique, strong focus, and committed acting.
With the audience’s standing ovation that lasted for over 10 minutes, they could foresee her win.
As soon as her performance ended, Jun Hyuk left the theater. In the 2 years he had not seen her, Laura Goldberg had become a complete soprano. When he thought of the stage he would have with her, his heart beat faster. He regretted not extending the soprano part of Choral Concerto more.
The first winner of the Queen Elisabeth Competition appeared. As predicted, it was Laura Goldberg of the vocal section.
The judges’ evaluations that she has ‘a strong personality and excellent tone with huge potential and clear professionalism’ and reports in the press of her ‘crystal clear voice that crosses between several octaves with ease, excellent expression, solid acting’ let everyone know that a new prima donna had appeared.
The 6 winners including Laura Goldberg found out something new during the competition committee’s feast. That they had been specially requested for the piano and violin final performances.
None of them were willing to turn down the request in such a happy moment. Everyone readily accepted. Their curiosity for the song grew as they wondered what it was that it required vocals.
Jun Hyuk confirmed the finalists and arranged a dinner to congratulate Danny and Han Ye Ji. Including Professor Jeon Hye Jin, the 3 people were shocked at Jun Hyuk’s surprise appearance and looked to be disconcerted, but 2 of them could guess why Jun Hyuk is here. Danny was the only one who continued to look befuddled.
“Jun, why on earth are you here? You even rented out a house.”
“Ye Ji, don’t you think he’s a bit daft? Why else would Jun Hyuk be in Brussels?”
Professor Jeon Hye Jin laughed as she spoke in Korean, and Han Ye Ji spoke,
“Don’t you think the final song is Mr. Jang’s? I haven’t heard once that Mr. Guggenheim’s ‘World of Europe’ is the winning song.”
“Jun, is that true? Your song won?”
Jun Hyuk laughed and nodded. Danny continued to look blank. Professor Jeon only looked at Danny pathetically.
Contrary to his blank expression, Danny had performed incredibly and had become a finalist easily.
‘A performance that provides the experience of pure musical bliss and freedom’
‘A violinist who expressed an abstract feeling as if there are many layers of paint and it is impossible to know what is inside’
‘An impressive performer with excellent fingering virtuosity.’
Danny received high praises like this in the press and is closest to being the winner, but he has now forgotten his happiness and is blank.
“Anyway, congratulations Danny. Ms. Ye Ji, you too. Let’s eat while we talk.”
Danny and Han Ye Ji had spent 9 days locked up to prepare for the competition, so they started salivating when they saw the delicious food that the maid and her friends had made.
“I wanted to let you know beforehand since they’ll be announcing it from the competition’s end tomorrow. So you don’t get surprised for nothing.”
“We really would have been shocked if we found out through the release tomorrow. But how did you think of submitting to the competition?”
Professor Jeon never thought that Jun Hyuk would submit his work to a competition. He is not at a level to compete with other youths, and it certainly does not fit Jun Hyuk’s personality.
Jun Hyuk did not tell them that the start to Choral Concerto was Han Ye Ji’s piano. He thought that it could create unnecessary misunderstandings.
“President Isaac Stern suggested it. He said that competitions are hard to experience unless you are young.”
“But for you, Mr. Jun, to submit to a competition is still… What are normal people like us supposed to do?”
Han Ye Ji swallowed the food in her mouth and smiled. Although they were speaking in Korean, it was evident from Han Ye Ji’s expression that it is not a serious matter, but Danny still had a hard face as he ate. Jun Hyuk looked over Danny’s expression and spoke carefully,
“Danny. Are you mad because I didn’t tell you that I entered the competition before?”
“Huh? Oh, sorry. No. Why would I be? I know what the competition rules are like.”
“Then what’s with your expression? You’re a strong candidate to win.”
Danny put his fork down and looked at Jun Hyuk,
“Jun, I’m not supposed to ask questions like this but tell me one thing.”
“What? It’s fine, what is it?”
“Your song that won. Is it a piece like Inferno? Really hard contemporary music?”
“Honestly, I bought the Inferno album and listened to it… but I couldn’t even listen to 3 minutes and stopped. And that was just once. I couldn’t even think to listen to it again. If the winning song is like that…..”
Danny’s face was full of concern. Professor Jeon and Han Ye Ji were holding their breaths and listening to their conversation. It was not just Danny. Han Ye Ji had not been able to listen to more than a few minutes of Inferno either. Danny’s worrying is not groundless.
“Ha ha. Is that why you’re like that? Don’t worry. It’s completely different. It’s thoroughly in classical style.”
“Really? Whew – What a relief. Okay. That’s all I need to know. No need to say more. I don’t want to create any unnecessary misunderstandings. Ha ha.”
Danny discarded his worries and started eating again with a bright expression. Han Ye Ji’s face had also brightened. If it is a classical song, there is no need to worry beforehand.
“Jun Hyuk. I heard that the finals are going to be conducted in a more complicated way. Is that because of your song?”
“Yes. There is that, but it’ll also be because the committee wants a more exciting competition. But Ms. Ye Ji will have great results. You definitely stood out from the 6 finalists.”
Jun Hyuk briefly told Danny what they were saying. He did not want Danny to have any unnecessary misunderstandings. Danny stopped eating to give Han Ye Ji a thumbs up to acknowledge her piano.
After their small talk about the competition, the 3 people were going back to the hotel when Jun Hyuk let something slip for 2 of them.
“Memorize the score completely.”
They were confused by Jun Hyuk’s sudden words for a moment, but they quickly realized that he was giving them a tip.
Danny hugged Jun Hyuk to express this thanks and Han Ye Ji bowed to him lightly. Now, everything is up to their own efforts.