Volume 7 / Chapter 233
Grieg, representing Norway, is called the ‘Chopin of the North’. Piano Concerto in A minor, his greatest masterpiece, was written when he was 25 years old and is full of gentleness and richness; but, it also has the unique color of the north. This piece, overflowing with grand and dramatic beauty, is also his only piano concerto.
Grieg wrote this piece to show his talent in performing. It allows performers to exert all of their piano techniques, so it is a concerto preferred by soloists.
Harmony of the piano and orchestra.
The pure intention and fresh composition technique of the piano and orchestra beautiful harmony also includes Norway’s national sentiment. If it is a minor, it is common to be sad and depressing, but this song is forged with clean melodies of Norway folk, fresh harmonies along with vivid and youthful passion.
As soon as the song started, Jun Hyuk brought out a piano melody like a waterfall. The performance ability can be evaluated from just the first verse of this song, so Jung Sae Myung and the orchestra members could fully understand that Jun Hyuk’s talent on the piano does not stray from the rumors.
However, the first verse was all of it. After the strong first verse, the piano started to jump around as if dancing alone and there was no harmony with the orchestra to be found. They had expected a cool melody and youthful rhythm of northern Europe, but it exceeded this and felt almost like a dance song.
When the first part was over, Jung Sae Myung put the baton down and the orchestra members were sending sharp criticism with their eyes.
“Maestro Jun, hang on.”
Jung Sae Myung took Jun Hyuk and left the practice room.
“What are you doing right now? You showed us a wonderful introduction. Why are you performing like an amateur?”
“Oh. I thought of something else all of a sudden and tested it out. I’m sorry if it was uncomfortable.”
When Jun Hyuk bowed his head, Jung Sae Myung was incredulous. A sudden experiment? But before he could say anything else, Jun Hyuk said something more ridiculous. “Sir. Let’s end the rehearsal here for today, and you and I should have a meeting. No.
We should have a meeting with everyone.”
Jung Sae Myung was speechless and stare blankly, while Jun Hyuk took out his cellphone.
“Tara, I’m going back to the hotel now. Can you get the car ready? And tell Isaac and the band members… No. Just tell the drummer to come. Also, I need to see the Korean manager for the concert and the music director right away. Call them quickly. I’m going to the parking lot with Maestro Jung.”
Jun Hyuk hung up the phone and bowed to Jung Sae Myung again.
“Sir, just trust me and come with me. And tell the orchestra members that today’s rehearsal is up to here. I’ll tell you the details in the car.”
Jung Sae Myung glowered at Jun Hyuk for a moment and then let out a long sigh.
“Fine. But, you’ll need to show me that you didn’t waste today. If you don’t, I might get really mad.”
“That won’t happen. I’m actually pretty sure you’re going to enjoy it as well. Trust me.”
Jun Hyuk winked and put his hand on his chest. Jung Sae Myung smiled and went back to the practice room.
“Everyone, I’m sorry. There’s a severe disagreement with the pianist regarding the music. I’ll need to tune it a bit with the pianist. Let’s meet again at this time tomorrow. That is all.”
Jun Hyuk took Jung Sae Myung by the arm and ran to the parking lot. As soon as they got in the car, he put his hand out to Tara.
“Tara. Can you give me the score for the drums?”
Tara gave him a score and he started to draw out lines for the drums. Jung Sae Myung was looking at the score and when he realized that it is an allegro molto moderato, he knew that it was Grieg’s piano concerto.
“Are you arranging it right now? And you’re going to put drums in there?”
“Sir, hang on. It’ll be over soon.”
After more than 10 minutes, Jun Hyuk closed the score.
“Are you done?”
“Then, you have to explain what all this fuss is about.”
Jung Sae Myung’s preposterous feeling has calmed down a lot. Jun Hyuk had drawn out the drums that would go into a 30 minute piano concerto in a little over 10 minutes. He has just confirmed the rumors with his eyes and thought that it is worth it to invest a day.
“My thoughts changed a little. I don’t think we need to perform Grieg’s piano concerto by the book for this concert.”
“So you arranged it and added in drums?”
“Yes. What do you think of making it a little more modern so that the 80,000 person audience can enjoy it? Isn’t it a soccer stadium?”
Jung Sae Myung realized Jun Hyuk’s intent and immediately disapproved.
“You want to arrange it now? It’s hard. We need to practice your 1st album with the band for a week. There’s no time to practice the arranged version of the piano concerto.”
“That’s why I just played the piano like a crazy person. Seoul Symphony can perform in the original way. It’s perfect if the piano is a played a little violently and an instrument is added in. We can change the stage effect to be more grand too.”
Jung Sae Myung could tell that Jun Hyuk already heard the completed music in his head.
“Sir, you’re the main. Speaking in terms of a band, it’s like if the first guitarist is also singing.”
“What? I’m the guitar and vocals? What are you…..?”
“You’re playing the piano and conducting. Like Daniel Barenboim.”
Daniel Barenboim is a Jewish pianist and conductor born in Argentina. He was such a piano prodigy that he was able to open a piano recital in Buenos Aires at a young age of 8. In 1967, he debuted as a conductor for London’s orchestra and was concurrently Chicago Symphony’s music director, and Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra’s music director. He is currently Staatskapelle’s conductor for life and is acting as visiting conductor for various symphonies.
When he plays the piano as he conducts, he is reminiscent of composers in the Romantic age.
“What are you going to do if I’m playing the piano and conducting? Are you saying you won’t perform?”
“No. I’m thinking of being on a synthesizer keyboard to foster more excitement.”
First, he said that he wants to add drums into a piano concerto, and now electroacoustics? Jung Sae Myung is more and more curious about the completed song in Jun Hyuk’s head. However, the burden is also great. He finds Jun Hyuk’s sense of music and his having to play piano out of nowhere, burdensome.
“Since you were a pianist before you were a conductor… Didn’t you release albums as well?”
Jun Hyuk’s unconventional behavior and proposal were not entirely welcome to Jung Sae Myung. On top of that, is this not an improvised thought?
“Can I see the drum score first?”
With Jun Hyuk’s score, Jung Sae Myung had Grieg’s piano concerto is his head while he read the drum line with his eyes to combine the two.
He closed the score and met Jun Hyuk’s eyes.
“And the synthesizer?”
“There’s no need to make a separate score for that.”
Jun Hyuk tapped his head with his finger. Jung Sae Myung still looks undecided, so he spoke again,
“It’d be better to hear it for yourself before you make a decision. Tara, get us a studio with drums and a synthesizer… Nevermind. I’ll do it.” Jun Hyuk rushed to call Jo Hyung Joong.
“Teacher. This is Jun Hyuk.”
– Look who it is! Are preparations for the concert going well? We need to meet up before the concert…..
Jo Hyung Joong’s welcoming voice came out of the phone. “Teacher. I’m in a rush, but can I use your studio for a moment?”
– Of course. I’ll empty it out, so use it as much as you want.
“Thank you. We’ll head over right away. I’ll tell you in more detail once we’re there. Can you tell me the address?”
– Sure. I’ll text the address to this number, so go there.
Soon after, the phone rang with a text message.
“Tara. Tell the people you just called to come to this address.”
Seeing Jun Hyuk so distracted out of excitement, Jung Sae Myung spoke to Tara,
“Ms. Butters, it must be hard to work with this friend.”
“No, it’s okay. Whenever there’s an uproar like this, Jun has fun and presents new music. Maestro, you can anticipate that it’ll be something good.”
Tara smiled at Jung Sae Myung and busily got on the phone.
“Me? I’m going to be playing drums for the piano concerto too?”
“Why? You don’t think you can? Your sense of beat is incredible, so you can do it if you just focus on the drums.”
Kyung Min Ho was looking over the score without being able to hide his uneasiness. In the studio, the people in charge of administrating the concert were confused because they didn’t know what was happening, and the only people who could not smile were Kyung Min Ho and Jung Sae Myung.
“First, listen to it. Min Ho, prepare the drums. We’ll replace the piano concerto with a
CD… Just see the overall feeling of it.”
Jo Hyung Joong made a fuss to quickly download Grieg’s piano concerto.
When the concerto came on with Jun Hyuk’s signal, Kyung Min Ho focused on the score and started playing the drums while Jun Hyuk played the keyboard. He did not know that he would use what he had learned during the audition program regarding electric sound, like this.
The newly arranged version of the piano concerto filled the studio and after 30 minutes, it ended with a sharp sound of the drums.
“What do you think? It’s not precise, but it’ll be this kind of feeling.”
Jun Hyuk looked over Jung Sae Myung’s expression. He has no intention of pushing this any further if Jung Sae Myung, the subject of this concert, is not satisfied. “Maestro Jun. Is this the new version you were talking about?”
Jung Sae Myung was the most surprised. He already knew what the drums would be like because he saw the score. He had imagined how grand Jun Hyuk’s keyboard would be, but it was unexpected.
With more electroacoustics, the music becomes something with more and more MSG. People’s bodies move to the new color that the electroacoustics bring, but the music is no longer there. This concert is not for a club.
On the contrary, Jun Hyuk was tempered and only appeared in the moments when a little was needed and only played a role in filling in the empty spaces.
The most important is the piano. It can be seen as a failed arrangement if the piano is overwhelmed. However, the piano melody stays sharp and it is the main of this version.
“Maestro, did you arrange it like this because of what I said? That we need to find an appropriate compromise between money and music?”
“No. The tickets are already sold out and the guarantee is decided, so the money doesn’t change with the arrangement.”
“Then, why? Isn’t this a song for rock maniacs?”
“I wanted to show people that they can easily enjoy classical music like they do pop music. The drums and synthesizer are actually bait. Bait to approach classical music.”
Jung Sae Myung perfectly understood the meaning of bait through music. If they bring out this bait, they can show the real image of classical music. When the concert is over and they hear Grieg’s concerto in the original version, they will not say that ‘classical music is a drag’.
“Don’t you think we can show them that conductors and pianists can look as cool as vocalists in rock bands do?”
Jun Hyuk gained confidence from Jung Sae Myung’s slowly brightening countenance.
“I want to show people that a maestro in a tuxedo is cooler than a rocker wearing flashy clothing.”
Jung Sae Myung burst out laughing when he said cooler than a rocker.
“Well that’s a relief. I was wondering if I would have to wear a leather jacket or something. Ha ha.”
Jung Sae Myung’s laughter indicated his agreement. Jun Hyuk started writing something on paper again. He wrote out what looked like a timetable for a long time.
“This is the piano concerto’s impact timeline sheet. Reference this and think of the stage effect.”
Concert officials took the paper that Jun Hyuk held out to them, and finally realized why they had been called to the studio.
“Alright. Is the music you’re playing with the band changing as well? We already received the score for the orchestra.”
“No, there’s no change to that part.”
The concert officials took the CD that recorded the music they just played, the timesheet Jun Hyuk made up, and left the studio to prepare the stage.
Jo Hyung Joong had rushed to the studio in a state of emergency and finally started greeting the people he was meeting for the first time, now that the noisy show time had passed.
And isn’t Jo Hyung Joong the producer who created Jun Hyuk’s 1st album?
Jung Sae Myung was lost in other thoughts over talking to people. As soon as he saw the piano in the studio, he sat in front and settled in.
When he was young, he swept all of the competitions and was the best pianist in Korea. As soon as he sat in front of the piano, the studio that had been full of laughter and conversations fell into silence.