Volume 5 / Chapter 195
While Jun Hyuk was making the explosive statement in BOZAR theater, Danny and Han Ye Ji were looking over the score and complaining.
There are 2 volumes to the score they received from Chapelle Conservatory. One is a full score with the entire song and the other has each of their parts.
When Danny and Han Ye Ji saw the thickness, they realized that it is a large song. As soon as they went into the practice room assigned to them, they opened the score without speaking.
“Jun, this crazy kid. Beethoven… And a chorus on top of that!”
“Ugh. This is too much. How are we supposed to do this within 10 days?”
After almost 4 hours, they both closed their scores and grumbled. Fortunately, they could not understand each other because Danny spoke in French and Han Ye Ji spoke in Korean.
They had complained without realizing it, but they just looked at each other and smiled awkwardly.
“Hang on. Just call me Danny. Aren’t we partners who will have to perform together? I think we need to be frank at least, so let’s not be so formal.”
“Shall we? Then you can just call me Ashley. It’s my English nickname.”
Danny winked and laughed. When Ashley saw Danny’s pleasant personality, she became a bit more at ease. It is a relief that the partner she will have to spend a long amount of time with is not dreary or single-minded.
“But is this song a challenge to Beethoven’s Choral Symphony? Or is it a tribute song?”
“Of course it’s a challenge. If it’s to the point that Jun is revealing it to the world – and through a competition at that – it means that he’s really satisfied with it… If it were just a simple tribute song, he’s not one to reveal it in a competition.”
There is another reason why Danny is so sure that it is a challenge.
“If it had been a tribute song, he wouldn’t have made it so easy to compare. I’m pretty sure he would’ve made it so there are just traces of Beethoven. But this song has the same performance time by part and the same number of measures. Even with Schiller’s Ode to Joy. It is an explicit challenge.”
“Did you know that in each part, the number of measures for the piano and violin are the same?”
“Yeah. It’s proof that he was targeting the Queen Elisabeth Competition. He’s taken the fact that the winners in both parts need to perform the winning song into consideration. Jun is so good it’s beyond expression.”
“He really is impressive. How could he make a song like this?”
“I’m surprised but it’s not novel. From the surprising things I saw when we were at school together, I knew he would do something great like this someday. Though I am surprised that his first try is Beethoven.”
They cannot just sit in admiration. They need to perform this perfectly within 10 days. There is not enough time.
“Let’s eat first and then start. I’m so hungry I don’t even have the strength to hold up my violin bow.”
They both thought that they would have to reduce the amount of time they spend sleeping from now on, and headed to the cafeteria.
There is a statement that has been most talked about in pop history.
It is in an interview with John Lennon from March 1966 that a female reporter conducted while investigating for an article titled ‘Beatles Mania Phenomenon’.
During this interview, John Lennon said that ‘The Beatles are more popular than Jesus’ and shocked the world.
The statement, “We’re more popular than Jesus now. We don’t know which is going to disappear first, rock and roll or Christianity.” was distorted while discussing the decline of Christianity in England after World War I.
However, the media hid John Lennon’s exact words and released articles. Articles with headlines of ‘The Beatles are Greater than Jesus’ hit America.
Radio stations declared that they would not turn on the Beatles’ music, and several concerts were canceled. There was a protest against the Beatles in Mexico, and Africa and Spain banned their music from radio broadcasts.
The Vatican also got involved and criticized John Lennon’s words. John Lennon’s official apology could not quell the controversy either.
Jun Hyuk’s statement was limited to Beethoven’s symphony and is from someone falling behind who is saying that he is catching up to Beethoven and not that he is better, but the media cited John Lennon’s statement to release the news. They used the same sentence, putting in Jun instead of the Beatles and Beethoven in place of Jesus. The headline that he is better than Beethoven covered the internet.
The competition committee quickly suspended the chaotic press conference and opened up an emergency meeting. In case of the worst situation, they need to make sure that the theater is not empty on the day of the competition.
“Couldn’t it be that we’re taking it too seriously? How could we think that it’s so absurd for a young musician to want to surpass Beethoven? Isn’t that everyone’s dream?”
“It wasn’t such a common meaning. ‘I’m in the scope to catch Beethoven!’ He said that he and Beethoven are at the same level. Really… It is a statement that people could definitely be averse to.”
“Aren’t we funny for having a meeting about such a thing? It’s a personal statement. Why does our committee need to make a big deal?”
The noisy meeting continued for a long time, but they decided not to give any comment or response.
As soon as the press conference was over, Tara reported Jun Hyuk’s statement to President Isaac Stern. He laughed when he heard this and only told her to wait because he would personally get involved if a response was necessary.
President Stern was reassured that his eye had been precise. Each unintentional word surprises people, and he engraves himself in others.
President Stern was going to make an official statement that it was a misunderstanding created by the nuances between Korean and English, but he decided against it. Is there a need to make such a pathetic excuse with poor language? Jun Hyuk has already showed them enough that he can catch up to Beethoven.
He should not have to hide behind words but take responsibility. President Stern believed that Jun Hyuk would take responsibility for the things he said.
“Jun, that was a bit much. You underestimated Beethoven…..”
“What are you talking about? Underestimated? Is that how you took it too?”
“I’m sure that’s how anyone would have taken it.”
Tara still had a darkened face in worry.
“Ha ha. I really have both my hands and feet up. What? Beethoven is in a category that you can catch up to? You said something so fearsome without hesitation.”
Unlike Tara, Pierre Boulez no longer had the shock from the press conference and was enjoying the situation.
“But why are you taking out everything I said before that? I said that I could never catch up to the piano sonata.”
“That’s already been erased from memory. The words that came after were too strong. But is that really what you think?”
“Maestro, what do you think? Since you’re already conducting my song, tell me honestly.”
Pierre Boulez spoke without even the slightest pause,
“It’s plenty. When Beethoven wrote the choral symphony, he was over 50 years old. 20 year old Beethoven was just a punk who trailed behind Haydn. But you’re 20 and already competing with a song that Beethoven created in his later years. You lack nothing to catch up to Beethoven.”
Jun Hyuk blushed because he did not know he would hear such high praises said to his face, but Pierre Boulez did not show regard for this and asked about the first statement that Jun Hyuk made.
“But why do you think that you wouldn’t be able to surpass his piano sonata?”
“What surprised me most about his piano sonata was his ability to create a song with a simple motive. That technique of using one motive constantly, repeating and using it to form a dramatic nature. I can’t copy that no matter what I do.”
“Really? Even though there are a lot of pieces that were written with Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas as subjects in various ways?”
“I can make songs at any time with different subjects. My personal view is that it is the essence of Beethoven to make a sonata with one motive.”
Tara however, did not hear the conversation because she was still encompassed in worry.
“Jun. I still think it was a mistake. The effect is going to be too far-reaching.”
Pierre Boulez did not stop smiling, and turned to Tara.
“Don’t worry too much. Once the finals start, it’ll be deployed with a completely different video.”
“Excuse me? What does that mean?”
“Once Jun’s choral concerto spreads, his statement is going to be suppressed. There will be lots of different opinions. The choral concerto is another Beethoven. No. Though it’s great, it’s just a subtype of Beethoven. He can’t surpass Beethoven no matter what. Mentioning Beethoven in the end means that they admit to Jun’s statement. It’ll become noisy like this.”
“Oh, I see.”
Tara quickly understood why Pierre Boulez was telling her not to worry. As large as the scandal is, there are more people who pay attention. While Jun Hyuk slips out in this situation, all that is left is the clashing of opinions.
Another criticism could become a more shocking opinion than Jun Hyuk’s statement. There is nothing for Tara to do but wait for that moment.