Volume 6 / Chapter 218
Sponsored: James W. & Fletcher P. & Chimemerie
Behind the stage, members of the New York Philharmonic Board of Directors could not hide their excitement and happiness while waiting for the performers. They had seen countless reporters, critics, and sponsors clap crazily once the concert was over.
They were sure that, with this kind of fever and response, the New York Times culture pages would have to be covered with today’s concert. It has been a while since they have had such great success.
They had been a bit nervous when Maestro Carras first requested a special performance. The song had won in a competition and it is by a young man who has been discussed along with Beethoven, but it was true that they had first considered what critics would think.
However, today was so successful that there would not have been such a great response even if it had been the real Beethoven’s performance.
On top of that, they had recorded everything, even the sound of breathing. They could expect high revenue from record sales as well. So many people visited the home page that the server went down.
The Board of Directors already decided on Jun Hyuk’s choral concerto as part of next season’s repertoire.
“Oh, Maestro! Bravo! It was the best.”
“Jun, Danny. Our young heroes.”
Jun Hyuk and Danny just smiled awkwardly at the Board of Directors’ intense warm welcome.
“Maestro Carras and the orchestra performers are the true heroes.”
When Danny was being humble, Maestro Carras spoke to the Board,
“Congratulate us once the evening concert is over. Jun will need to prepare for the concert right away.”
“Oh, that’s right. Well… We’ve been a bother. We didn’t think of it because the concert was so great. Jun, oh no. Now, you need to go back to the maestro position. Ha ha.”
“Then, I’ll be going first.”
Jun Hyuk bowed his head to the Board of Directors and looked at the orchestra.
“Let’s gather in the practice room in an hour. That was a great performance, everyone. And don’t forget to eat.”
Jun Hyuk left backstage and walked to his personal waiting room. He did not know when she appeared, but Tara was following behind him like a shadow.
“Is there anything you need?”
“No. It’s okay. Tara, you rest too. No. Let’s just meet after the evening concert.”
Tara looked over Jun Hyuk’s expression and realized that he wants to be alone.
“Alright. Then, relax in the waiting room. I’ll send dinner to you. Is there anything you want to eat in particular?”
“No. Just get me anything.”
“Okay. Then, relax. I’ll tell you in an hour.”
Tara was about to turn around and spoke up cautiously,
“Jun. Was the concert not as good as you were expecting? Your expression isn’t good.”
“Huh? Oh, no. I’m satisfied. It was so good it couldn’t even be compared to rehearsals. I’m just thinking about what we just performed again. Don’t worry.”
From the way Jun Hyuk was smiling, it did not seem like he was lying.
“That’s a relief. Then, rest.”
Jun Hyuk went into the waiting room and threw his body onto the sofa. It was true when he said that the concert was good. It may be because of the audience’s heat and the theater’s air that they did not have during rehearsals, but they had created a performance that was much more dynamic.
The piano, violin, and vocal ensemble that Maestro Carras had created during the performance was especially something that he had not been able to experience during rehearsals.
Jun Hyuk is admiring the skillful conducting that he had experienced while listening to countless performances. His expression does not look good because he is feeling envy for the first time.
Dimitri Carras’ skill is not something to achieve by talent, but through experience. Unlike himself, who conducts through perfect calculation and change in sound, Carras’ ability to move the performers’ hearts during a performance is hard to copy.
A staff member knocked on the door and wheeled a service cart into the room. Jun Hyuk was not hungry yet, but he cleared his plate for the performance.
The orchestra gathered in the practice room and it showed in their eyes that they were more focused on the concert that would start soon rather than the one that ended successfully.
“I guess you might be having more thoughts because of me. Just think about it simply. Our Beethoven would not have regrets or shame. And in a bit, we will show the audience the boldest choral symphony.”
The orchestra relaxed and a few people even giggled because of the conductor who laughed as he spoke.
“I lack conducting experience. Because of this, we might not be able to bring out a performance that is so perfect it is like a CD. But I can tell you one thing confidently.”
The orchestra members were gaining strength from Jun Hyuk’s confident voice.
“I promise that it won’t fall short of on the spot live music or the rough taste of a live performance. Let’s… enjoy our freedom on stage.”
The orchestra encouraged Jun Hyuk with applause. They thought that today’s choral symphony would show a different side of the New York Philharmonic. Even if it is not a successful concert, they are certain that no one can deny the emergence of a young Beethoven.
The orchestra awaited a new experience and walked onto the stage in turn.
The audience is full of people who have not stopped admiring the first concert, people who missed it, and critics who intend to fully compare the 2 concerts. Jun Hyuk bowed to them and turned around.
Tara was nervous because she saw that Jun Hyuk was anxious, but she stopped worrying when she saw the firmness in his back.
When the baton started to move lightly and dissonance started flowing out, the audience began to focus on the stage. The choral concerto they listened to in the afternoon concert is a song that they were listening to for the first time, but the melody coming out now is one that they are so used to.
When A and E notes came out continuously, an insecure and hazy feeling started to wrap the audience. After a mysterious and dreamy introduction with an uneasy feeling, the orchestra burst into the first motif.
The maestros, who know choral symphony precisely, were surprised when the first motif did not have the usual grand and decisive feeling.
They sat up in their chairs to listen to how he would carry on. There was no feeling of determinedness, and there was continued danger and precariousness.
The audience experienced anxiety again when the first motif ended and the second was not the simplicity they had been expecting. They could not figure out where the young conductor on the podium is taking a motif that is supposed to express a person using his own strength to enter paradise.
There was only one person in the audience who was listening comfortably. It was Maestro Carras.
He remembered Jun Hyuk saying that he would not be presenting an interpretation of choral symphony, but Beethoven’s tenacity. The first part had expressed the gloom of Beethoven’s childhood to show how his arrogant and crooked character would develop.
Choral symphony is a song that distorted one of the forms of conventional symphonies. The configuration is typically composed so that the 2nd part is slow and the 3rd part fast, but Beethoven put a fast beat, intense rhythm, and radical change in the 2nd part and changed it so that the 3rd part is slow.
There is the interpretation that he switched the order of the 2nd and 3rd parts in order to create a sublime effect in the 4th part by leading up with a slow 3rd.
The 2nd part began by completely flipping the 1st part’s precarious tightrope walking. The strings suddenly switched the atmosphere while the timpani opened up calmly.
Jun Hyuk looked at the violin players and stabbed with the baton. The violin sounds became finely divided following Jun Hyuk’s baton and started spitting out notes in a flash. The timpani repeatedly responded to the violin in octaves.
Jun Hyuk condensed his energy and opened a strong performance all at once. He expressed Beethoven’s speeding toward his prime days while completely ignored building up the structure of music with elaborate detail.
This is the first time the audience has seen such a fast 2nd part. It is the fastest of the 4 parts in choral symphony, but Jun Hyuk surpassed fast to brandish the baton to the point of breathlessness. The orchestra was surprised that the speed was much faster than it had been during rehearsals, but they felt what he had said before about the rough taste of a live performance with their bodies and moved their hands holding the instruments vigorously.
Jun Hyuk’s 2nd part flowed out relentlessly that it could make record as the fastest 2nd part performed in history.
The 3rd part is a beautiful tapestry created with a heavenly melody that philosopher Hopper praised as ‘sublime, as if flying with wings’.
The violin’s faint feeling and wind instruments’ echo like the beautiful melody of a grand orchestra’s banquet opening became embedded in the audience’s minds with Beethoven self-admiration.
They felt the 3rd part’s melody that showed them a man’s instinct rather than a man’s nobility, and started to see the young conductor’s back and Beethoven start to overlap. That is when they started to realized, little by little, that the song to come soon is not Ode to Joy, but a celebration of success.
They went into the 4th part of a sudden presto.
The strings created a more disturbing sound and as soon as the cello and bass said something, ‘Ode to Joy’ came out.
It expanded gradually with the woodwinds as a start, next was the cello and bass, then all of the strings, and lastly the orchestra quarter to show an arrogant facade.
Finally, the baritone started singing “O freunde…..” with a thick voice in recitativo (singing as though speaking).
120 instruments and 150 voices touched the audience’s hearts and continued for 15 minutes without resting.
Jun Hyuk’s music of 70 minutes ended with, “Joy, the brilliance of beautiful gods!”
After a short silence, there was a storm-like applause and the conductor put the baton down to turn around.
Jun Hyuk saw the audience cheering enthusiastically and flying handkerchiefs in the air.
It is the scene that Beethoven, who could not hear, had seen after he finished the premiere of his choral symphony and someone helped him turn around to the audience.
The handkerchiefs are a visual acclaim for Beethoven who cannot hear their cheering. Jun Hyuk was seeing for himself the highest tribute that could be paid to a performance of choral symphony.