Volume 7 / Chapter 234
Jung Sae Myung began with the introduction, also called Greig’s Sign.
He showed unbelievable dignity and the melody he brought out of the piano was overwhelming. The explosive and steeply descending chord brought out the lyricism of northern European Norway. The solid configuration and thought out tone provided ventilation for Norway’s nature where the great wilderness and fjords breathe.
However, the original song’s pure melody, fresh harmony, and vivid and youthful passion were nowhere to be found. Human’s craving and taboo is shown in the movie <Lolita>, and Greig’s piano concerto comes out during a moment of destruction of the person who breaks that taboo. But, Jung Sae Myung changed it into a scene of love.
In the long time that it took him to go from a young pianist to a conductor, Jung Sae Myung’s piano technique may have gone backwards, but the texture is deeper.
“Is this enough?”
Jung Sae Myung finished playing and turned around to cheering. Jun Hyuk was included in this, but he did not look 100% satisfied.
“Sir, it’s too sharp. It’s frightening. Will the orchestra be able to endure it?”
“Didn’t you say that I need to perform more wildly?”
A single word has different meanings for different people. Jun Hyuk did not say more because it is an interpretation and personal domain. Jung Sae Myung also shut his mouth when he saw Jun Hyuk’s shaking eyes.
He could tell from Jun Hyuk’s eyes that it was not the color that he had wanted. But Jung Sae Myung is not Jun Hyuk and he cannot play piano while copying him. Jun Hyuk will understand that those aspects that cannot be compromised come together to create a musician’s personality.
“I’ll have to go out and practice the piano a bit. I’m starting to get scared because I’m touching a keyboard for the first time in a while.”
Jung Sae Myung said goodbye to the people in the studio and left. He was not joking when he said that he was going to practice the piano.
“See me for a second?”
When Jung Sae Myung was leaving the studio, he called Jun Hyuk out and went to the roof where there were no people.
He took out a cigarette, held it out to Jun Hyuk, and put it in his mouth when Jun Hyuk rejected it. He took a few drags and then spoke carefully,
“Was the wildness you were referring to in terms of a dance song?”
“Yes. I thought you would already know.”
“I know that the sharp and wildness you were talking about in the studio is different from me. I guess it’s right to say that I know but can’t do it. It could be the difference of a sheet of paper to me, but that difference will feel like a gap to you. But, what can we do? It’s a difference in ability.”
“Sir, it’s not to that point. An issue of direction…..” Jung Sae Myung shook his head.
“Not everyone can create the sound they want as freely as you can. That’s reality. I don’t know if you know, but there are a lot of people who don’t look kindly on you. And that includes me.”
Jun Hyuk thought that Jung Sae Myung has an honest personality, but this is too honest.
He laughed bitterly.
“Is that so? I didn’t feel it in the way you look at me… Is it because I’m not connected to the Korean music industry?”
“Is that what you thought? Of course, there will be such narrow-minded fools, but most of those people aren’t performers like us. They’re full of a privileged consciousness for enjoying classical music. People who mistake themselves for nobles in Europe.”
Jun Hyuk has a general idea of the type of people Jung Sae Myung is describing. But the thoughts and attentions of those kinds of people do not have any weight on Jun Hyuk right now.
“That’s not the real reason. You give people like us a taste of despair.”
Jun Hyuk’s bitter smile disappeared and there was surprise in its place.
“Yeah. Music that only someone chosen like you can show us. It’s domain that average people like me yearn to reach for all of our lives but can’t. It’s because you’ve gone into that place so easily.”
Is it because of what he just said, ‘I know but can’t’? The bitter smile went from Jun Hyuk’s face to Jung Sae Myung’s.
“No. I’m not trying to talk about music, so don’t mind it. So there’s one thing I want to say. There’s no way of knowing what shape that despair or jealousy people like us feel will take.
You didn’t feel it from first class European maestros, right?”
“No. It seemed like most people thought of me as interesting.”
“I’m sure. I don’t know if there’s a difference, but they’re in the same bracket as you.”
Jung Sae Myung let out cigarette smoke and the color of his face was not much different.
“Hm… this idle talk went on for too long.”
“Oh, no, it’s okay.”
“This is what I wanted to say. Change the way that people like me look at you. From despair and jealousy to awe. With music that brings such awe that there’s no room for something like jealousy. That’s what I wanted to say to you when I was watching you today.” Jung Sae Myung put his cigarette out.
“Anyway, I have as much expectation as I despair. Choral concerto, Inferno, aria solo song. It felt like I was falling into despair when I heard those songs, but they fall a little short to bring all people to awe. The experimental side is strong. Make sure you create a masterpiece that jumps over all of this.”
Jun Hyuk could not understand Jung Sae Myung, who was confessing his thoughts on him. It could have been what he wanted to say when they met, or his true thoughts of what he felt today.
“There will be a lot of talk regarding our concert. There are a lot of people who like to pick on faults. They won’t come to the concert because there isn’t VIP seating and they’ll curse us out in front of a TV screen. Or will they curse on the inside? There’s no one willing to curse you out with the atmosphere these days. Ha ha.”
Jung Sae Myung pat Jun Hyuk’s shoulder and laughed.
During rehearsals over a week, Kyung Min Ho’s drums became more refined and Jung Sae Myung’s piano sharpened.
When rehearsing the tracks on Jun Hyuk’s 1st album, Alvin Lee did not hold back his praises for the Seoul Symphony. It is thanks to Jun Hyuk’s arrangement, but also, because the orchestra blended perfectly into the band’s music.
Because Jun Hyuk’s 1st album holds a variety of genres, severe change was necessary for each song, but the Seoul Symphony handled that change easily.
A week’s time flew by like an arrow. Mapo was full of noise from early in the morning on the day of the concert.
There were a lot of people who did not hesitate to wait more than 10 hours to find a spot close to the stage. They started entering the venue 3 hours before the concert, and a fierce battle for positions began inside the stadium.
The field inside the stadium was covered with a thick fabric to protect the grass. When they exceeded the maximum limit for people on the field, security guards used all of their strength to control the entrance while they neared show time.
When darkness started to set over, there was an announcement notifying them of the start of the concert and the stadium was just full of the sound of 80,000 people breathing.
The 80,000 people in eager anticipation clapped loudly when the orchestra appeared on the stage. The members had never performed in front of so many people and were both happy and surprised because of 80,000 people clapping, but they also started feeling nervous.
The orchestra members came up on the large screens installed all around the middle of the field.Jun Hyuk, Jung Sae Myung, and Kyung Min Ho entered soon after.
They bowed to the audience and went to their respective positions. People had been expecting Jung Sae Myung to stand at the podium, but he went to the piano, and Jun Hyuk went to the synthesizer. There was momentary gabbling, and then, greater applause exploded. With the audience’s cheering as a signal, the lights on the stage went off.
Jung Sae Myung started Greig’s Sign and numerous lights started coming on from above the stage. The lights above the dark stage felt like shooting stars, and expressed the piano melody as a visual. When Jun Hyuk’s electronic sound and Kyung Min Ho’s drum grew strong, the audience began to scream.
When they had entered the stage, people had expected elegant classical music because of the suits they were wearing. When the strong drum came out, however, they realized that their expectations had been off.
When a crossover version flowed over the stadium instead of traditional classical music, colorful lights shot out to the rhythm of the piano, drums, and electroacoustics. It is a piano concerto that continued into a 3rd part, but the audience thought that they were listening to 3 songs in succession. Not a single person felt like they were listening to a classical music show for 30 minutes.
Jung Sae Myung finished playing and his face looked flushed. People near him thought it was because of the lights, but his face was red without the lights. He had enjoyed an entirely different vehemence through the piano than he had during rehearsals.
This is because of a differently colored performance due to the excitement and cheering of an 80,000 person audience, and Jun Hyuk on the keyboard.
He put in the effort to let the audience enjoy the music through the best performance, and he was rewarded for that result through the clapping.
However, the young people in the stadium are not enjoying the music with their ears and heads. They follow the music with their hearts, and Jung Sae Myung felt a new kind of excitement from such youthful fans who react in real-time.
The orchestra members got up from their seats and bowed to the audience. When they were about to leave the stage and let them know that the first part of the concert was over, there was sudden cheering that felt like it would explode out of the stadium.
Alvin Lee had run out onto stage.
“Maestro, throwing cold water on this passion would be stupid. We need to keep going without taking a break.”
Alvin Lee whispered in Jung Sae Myung’s ear. Jung Sae Myung was also taken aback because of the sudden appearance, but started laughing.
“Drag it out for just 2 minutes. We need time for the orchestra to change their scores.”
Alvin Lee, as the leader of a rock band, knows how to lead the audience. A greeting starting with ‘Good evening, Korea,’ a few light jokes – something like saying that the song might be a mess because he is completely sober, but he never makes a mistake. And he kept checking Jung Sae Myung for a signal.
Alvin Lee held his hand high and counted on his fingers.
“One! Two! Three!”
The violin and Jun Hyuk’s guitar played at the same time, Alvin Lee took the microphone stand and started running around the stage.
Jun Hyuk had not been wrong when he had anticipated most of the 80,000 people in the audience to be Alvin Lee’s fans. When Alvin Lee’s singing came out of the amps stacked like a wall, the same song came out onto the seats and field in Korean.
When the spirited metal music ended and the blues began, the orchestra filled the song’s loose parts and showed the strength of arrangement. The orchestra did not differentiate between genres, and showed perfection of magnificence and weight and the audience was overwhelmed by that scale.
He does not reach the power of his heyday, but the depth of his passion has gotten deeper in his vocals. There was an atmosphere that Jun Hyuk would express as pale, and there was a performance with tempered technique.
The bass solo that came in for moments as a time, were full of complex fingering and flashy technique as though showing Colin’s thoughts on music.
Jun Hyuk’s piano solo was fusion jazz that used stringed instruments, including the violin instead of the guitar. The acoustic guitar and even a ballad with Alvin Lee’s voice.
10 songs finished within moments, and the performance had been like a storm. There are few songs to include in the concert repertoire, so 1 hour 30 minutes just flowed by.
The subjects of the concert, including Jun Hyuk, stood in one place, bowed, and after greeting the audience a few times, left the stage.
However, it was out of the question for the people who had waited for over 10 hours to leave like this. They clapped and stomped, shouting encore to the dark stage. There were those who folded and left the spectator seats, but not a single of the people filling the field leave.
Then, a spotlight came on and a chair and microphone stand appeared on stage. The audience swelled with anticipation. They are imagining Jun Hyuk singing while playing the guitar.
When the person wearing the tuxedo appeared on the large screens however, there was murmuring rather than cheering.
Colin walked out with a cello and sat down without saying anything. He set the microphone up and then started playing the cello.
A song that came out in countless TV advertisements. Bach’s unaccompanied Cello Suites. He played Cello Suites without stopping for over 10 minutes from number 1 Prelude
(Moderato) in G major to Gigue (Vivace)’s 6 songs, cooling the audience’s warmed up hearts.
Without flashy lighting, intense drumming, or a grand orchestra accompaniment, the cello’s beautiful and calm melody filled the huge stadium and ended the first concert in Seoul.