Volume 6 / Chapter 217
Sponsored: James W. & Fletcher P. & Chimemerie
Jun Hyuk and Danny finished getting ready to go to the concert hall. President Stern sat on the sofa and drank a cup of coffee.
“Jun. Your concert is at night, right? Maestro Carras is in the afternoon?”
“Yes. Maestro Carras is at 4. I’m at 8.”
“Tara, take care of him. I’ll go with Mr. Yoon and Amelia in time for the afternoon performance.”
Tara nodded and left the apartment.
“Tara, are we walking today too?”
“No. We can’t do that on the day of the concert. I have a great limousine waiting. Oh, and don’t forget to wave at the fans waiting out front when you’re going out to the limousine.”
The employees left first with the tuxedo and suit, and Danny’s agent also took his violin.
Reporters and dozens of people outside the apartment applauded while Jun Hyuk got into the limousine, and he did not forget to wave as Tara had told him to do.
The limousine arrived at Lincoln Center in under 10 minutes. He had not taken the limousine for convenience, but a service for the reporters who would be taking pictures of him.
Avery Hall was busy with setting up sound equipment. There were tons of cords, microphones, and small cameras hanging to finish the album recording, live broadcasting, and blu-ray package all at one time.
The first thing that Jun Hyuk, Danny, and Maestro Carras needed to do is to stand in each of their positions on stage to set the camera angles to them.
When Maestro Carras stood on the podium, Jun Hyuk at the piano, and Danny on the opposite side, the film crew moved busily to adjust the camera angles while radio in to the director.
The director okayed everything and the film crew disappeared from stage, allowing the orchestra members to enter.
The first rehearsal with sound check under Dimitri Carras’ conducting started.
Even though it was early, a lot of special guests were gathered backstage.
“What is that? So, all of the harsh critics flocked here. I’m sure you’ve all come fully prepared to pour out the criticism?”
“What are you talking about! We don’t care about your conducting at all. We’ve come all the way here to see pianist Jun and maestro Jun.”
Maestros like Berlin Philharmonic’s Simon Lettle and Serril Petrenko, Philadelphia’s Bruno Kazel, and Boston Symphony’s Patrick Quinn shook hands with Dimitri Carras and joked around.
“Jun, is this your first performance as a pianist?”
“Yes. Don’t expect too much. I’m just flowing along with the orchestra.”
“Well? I’m sure we’ll know who’s helping who once the concert is over?”
The maestros kept joking to help today’s anxious performers relax.
After chatting for a while and it was neared time to go into the theater, the maestros left. They went back to the theater entrance to interview and take pictures for reporters.
The audience began to enter with anticipation an hour before the concert. Maybe because Juilliard is inside Lincoln Center and Jun Hyuk is from Clayton, there were a lot of young spectators.
New York press was camped out in front of Avery Hall. Today’s visitors are worth making news. The jazz, blues, and rock musicians participating in New York’s Midsummer Night Festival entered, and maestros took part in interviews.
When Amelia arrived in a splendid dress with President Stern and Yoon Kwang Hun on either arm, reporters gathered around her. She could become the main shot of an article just because she is Jun Hyuk’s girlfriend. Her image also makes a good picture.
“Alright. We have practiced so much that we don’t need to be nervous. What we need to do now is not to give a perfect performance without mistakes, but to show everyone what a great piece the choral concerto is.”
Maestro Carras was relaxed as he spoke his last words to the orchestra.
Maestro Carras tapped Danny’s shoulder as he spoke,
“When today’s concert is over, your agent is going to become really busy.”
Danny had not been able to shake off the anxiety yet and did not realize what Carras was saying right away.
“If you perform as you did in rehearsals, the world is going to go crazy. You’re going to have a flood of requests, since I’m already thinking of the violin concerto for next season’s repertoire.”
“Oh, thank you, Maestro.”
Danny gained confidence from a great maestro’s compliments, and was able to calm himself down.
“Then, our orchestra and chorus need to go on stage. Please prepare.”
The theater staff with headphones told them that it is time to start. The orchestra and chorus went out on stage and began to take position. There were chairs for the chorus because they need to wait until the 3rd part.
When the chorus is small, there are often cases when they enter the stage after the 3rd part, but it is normal for them to enter with the orchestra when it is a large scale performance like today’s. It’s difficult to have more than 100 people enter the stage in between parts, and it could break the attention.
They heard clapping from the audience and when the murmuring decreased, the protagonists of the performance walked out. When the conductor, pianist, violinist, and vocal soloists entered, the audience exploded in applause.
Shouts and whistles spread throughout the theater, showing that young people in their 20s were occupying the seats.
The young are not ones to hide their emotions. They could even boo if the concert does not meet up to their expectations.
They bowed to the audience and went back to their positions. Jun Hyuk went in front of the piano, and Danny sat on a simple chair.
Maestro Carras smiled and lifted the baton high. The audience became swept in darkness within an instant. Once the baton started moving, the darkness became filled with music.
The 1st part opened with the string instruments’ rough, rhythmical, and somehow sharp feeling that emphasizes the bass. Continuing on, the violin part played a faster melody. The flute’s solo, string and woodwinds mixed to increase the music gradually.
The roar of the brass wind instruments was enough to shake the audience. It is only the 1st part, but a strong sound started to dominate the audience without giving them time to catch their breaths.
The trumpet and trombone joined the timpani to create an intense energy, and the string instruments took control of the stage with a resilient rhythm.
The following melodies presented endless new themes to show that they do not follow normal sonata forms and broke all imaginations that the audience had of music.
When the 1st part ended, they could hear the audience panting from exhaustion of the changing music. Danny stood from his chair and Jun Hyuk put his hands on the piano to prepare for the 2nd part.
Maestro Carras did not consider the exhausted audience at all and brandished his baton after meeting eyes with Danny and Jun Hyuk.
Danny did not use intense force. He played with a romantic and peaceful sensation that is a little gloomy, bringing out the feeling that he was thinking of a place full of memories. It was like a breeze blowing in on a beautiful moonlit spring day.
The single flower in a battlefield that Jun Hyuk’s piano had shown in the 1st rehearsal was coming through Danny’s violin melody.
Dimitri Carras found new inspiration when he heard Jun Hyuk’s piano, and tried to put that emotion in Danny’s violin. It was also an appropriate interpretation for Danny, who is better at classic beauty than he is with something aggressive and destructive.
But, being entangled by the orchestra is a challenge that he needs to resolve, and showing sentimentality throughout the performance as young people often do is a homework he needs to complete.
Danny had not yet completely solved that challenge and homework, but it is just partial immaturity and his violin touched the people listening.
The violin’s unique nuance, the melancholy that pushes and pulls the sound that goes into the heart of the person listening with direct romanticism, is Daniel Lapierre’s strength. His music is full of emotional appeal that tugs at people’s hearts.
The audience could not escape from the orchestra’s violent oppression in the 1st part, and it became difficult for them to even breathe because of Jun Hyuk’s piano as another form of pressure.
Jun Hyuk’s piano encompassed the audience in the anxious atmosphere of a world that lost equilibrium. One powerful force showed a frenzied dance in an atmosphere dominated by chaos and the unknown. The piano’s force is threatening.
The music’s energy was so great that it was as if the piano’s hammer were not knocking on the strings, but on the bodies of the people listening. The audience was taken captive by the tingling feeling in their minds and bodies.
Jun Hyuk’s piano was in rhythm, and the subtlety and energy were great. The performance unmatched in terms of strength and technique were bringing the young pianists into despair.
However, the audience was able to take a break from Danny’s violin even if it were for a moment. This type of dramatic composition was showing Maestro Carras’ abilities.
The violin melody full of the atmosphere of gloom, reminiscence, and moonlight was so beautiful that it encompassed even Jun Hyuk.
Jun Hyuk enjoyed the zest of a new interpretation thanks to Maestro Carras, and continued playing.
When the theme ended with the orchestra’s heavy playing and solo violin in a calm and seductive atmosphere, Jun Hyuk’s piano reappeared.
The melodies that seemed as if they would never end continued in turn, surpassed a simple force and made them feel a destructive atmosphere. As they passed the middle, the harp joined with the piano as a background, and that was like standing between life and death… and somewhat dreamy.
The 3rd part progressed in an even faster tempo. The 2nd part’s violin melody and contrastive intensity were intense. The piano’s touch, that was like a piano hammering and lively violin’s double stopping (playing two notes simultaneously on a stringed instrument) showing splendor, came together to declare an equal relationship.
As they passed the 3rd part, the timpani, xylophone, and tambourine’s sudden rhythm released all of the suppressed energy. As they dashed to the end, they became more violent and ended the 3rd part with a sense of urgency.
If the 2nd and 3rd parts that Jun Hyuk conducted at the Queen Elisabeth Competition were resolutions of chaos and death, the performance now is a consistent advance. Danny’s violin was expressing a constant lingering attachment and regret that it kept looking back.
When the 3rd part ended, the audience breathed heavily. It showed that they had been liberated from extreme tension. But that relaxation was only for a moment, and they needed to prepare for the big wave that would come over them soon.
The 4th part started with the woodwinds and brass instruments presenting a confident and resolute atmosphere. The violin’s tragic beauty flowed out in the 2nd motif along with the piano’s appearance to unfold 2 melodies.
The vocal soloist presented Ode to Joy with a classic atmosphere, unlike the unconventional taste shown until now. The timpani, cello, double bass, and horn came together to create a majestic atmosphere.
Wind instruments, including the tuba, showed contrast against the vocals, and the following piano and violin melodies gave feelings of deep sorrow. A violent and ominous melody that showed exhausted and tired expressions at times.
The soprano’s endless treble came together with the violin and piano to create a grotesque sound instead of the beautiful song in Beethoven’s choral symphony, as if it did not exist in the first place.
The orchestra created a dark and heavy melody with the cello and contrabass playing in a bass that kept going lower to increase tension. After the brass wind instrument and timpani suddenly became more passionate, the chorus’ song finally went forward wildly and spread across the theater.
The chorus went for over 10 minutes and kept singing the joy of victory as though putting a stop to a long and rough road. The piano and violin’s splendid technique was at the peak, and 120 instruments and 150 voices filled the theater.
Maestro Carras’ arms intersected and stopped as though they had finally come to a full stop.
A performance reaching a whopping 75 minutes ended, but it seemed like that aftertaste would last for 75 days.
The first people in the audience to shake that aftertaste and shout bravo were the maestros. With their standing ovation, the inside of the theater became full of the sounds of passionate applause and whistling.
Young musicians’ honest expression made that fever greater. There was a curtain call that seemed like it would last forever. They were showing more enthusiasm than they would at the summer festival’s rock concert.