Volume 7 / Chapter 242
“We’ll start with Theme No. 1. This song is dominated by woodwinds. The strings and brass winds need to play short and strong at the precise timing.”
Then they heard Director O’Connell’s voice over the recording booth speakers.
“Maestro. You need to tell us which part of the film No. 1 is, so that we can play the monitor.”
“What? You’re going to turn the movie on?”
“Yes. That way, you’ll be able to match it with the video…”
“We don’t need it. I’ll match the time exactly. It’ll just take attention away from the performers.”
Jun Hyuk looked at the surprised orchestra members. When they had recorded music for movies up until now, the conductor conducted while watching the videos. The music and film do not match up if there is even the smallest mistake, so Jun Hyuk’s intention to conduct without the video sounds absurd. Jun Hyuk felt their apprehension and spoke firmly,
“All you have to do is focus on my baton and the score. Then there will be no problem. Alright then, we are starting.”
When the baton moved, the performers realized that it is not the time to be worrying about the conductor. As soon as the first sound came out, Jun Hyuk tapped the music stand with his baton.
“Oboe! Your breathing was short. Again!”
This signaled the start of a rough day for them.
“Trombone. You know you came in late, right? Is it so hard to match the tempo? Again!”
It took 2 hours to record a 2 minute 45 second song. Jun Hyuk turned around and spoke after the performers had sweat through their clothes.
“Director. Try putting the recording of No.1 Theme we just did on the video. The video starts at 18:24:16.”
Jun Hyuk put the baton down and looked around at the performers.
“Let’s take a short break. I ask that you focus more when performing the next song.”
The recorders bustled to match the video time to the music, while Jun Hyuk left the studio to get fresh air. Tara quickly got a bottle of water and followed him out.
What Tara saw as strange in Jun Hyuk was his nerves. He is bristling like a hedgehog covered in spines, so the studio atmosphere is down. The ruler of the studio right now is the conductor, Jun Hyuk. The energy that his body is giving off is infecting everyone.
“Jun, what’s up? What do you think about calming down a bit? Let’s go a bit slower.”
Jun Hyuk drank the water that Tara gave him, and rinsed his mouth.
“Pops Orchestra? The name is a waste. What orchestra…..”
“Jun. They’re not the New York Philharmonic. You can’t expect that standard from them.”
Tara cautiously coaxed him, but he said something that she was not expecting.
“You think the New York Philharmonic is something amazing? They were just one level higher than those people. They’re just a little better off because they’re older and have more experience. They physically performed more, so of course they’ll be better but they’re really all the same.”
Jun Hyuk threw the water bottle in his hand.
Tara could not understand what Jun Hyuk was saying in Korean, but she could tell from his expression that he is swearing. And she thinks she knows where Jun Hyuk’s current state came from.
Ultimately, it is because of the Inferno that Dimitri Carras performed. He must feel terrible because he was at the scene where his first symphony was ruined. But Tara’s thoughts are half right and half wrong. Inferno is the cause, but it is not because of the New York Philharmonic or Dimitri Carras.
Jun Hyuk is angry because for the first time, his music is not going the way he wants it to. The revision work for Inferno is not coming out like a spider web as a completed melody in his mind. Most composers use methods of configuring notes, fixing, and carving.
This slow progress tested the limits of his patience, and the anger is being directed at the wrong place.
Jun Hyuk went back into the studio and Tara quickly got her phone out.
“Isaac. This is Tara. There’s a bit of a problem.”
Tara told President Stern about Jun Hyuk’s condition, and confessed what she is most concerned about.
“There isn’t much time before the tour with Alvin. I think performing will be impossible with the way Jun is now. I can’t imagine him performing on stage like this.”
She heard President Stern sigh over the phone.
“This is a big problem. The album is 2nd place on Billboard charts right now. It’s obvious that it’ll go up to 1st place next week… A total of 4 songs went up in Top 10 for the singles chart. The 12 songs that aren’t instrumentals are speeding to the top of charts. We can’t cancel the concert tour.”
They stayed on the phone and neither could speak for a while.
After recording 16 theme songs over 3 days, the LA Pops Orchestra gave up completely. The production company eventually had to ask for Jun Hyuk’s understanding.
“Maestro. The major theme songs are done, so we’ll work on the rest on our own for the remainder. It seems you won’t have to conduct the imitative music yourself.”
Jun Hyuk felt a twinge when he saw the people being careful around him. He knows that he has been severe, but he had not been able to control the anger he felt whenever he heard the orchestra playing in the recording studio.
“Alright. Let’s do that then. Oh right. Did you work on what we recorded until now and the music that I played?”
“Yes. It all matched up as though they had been measured with a ruler. We were really surprised.”
Louis O’Connell spoke up when the studio engineers were admiring him.
“I apologize for being doubtful for a moment. I’m just a rookie director, but I can assure you that there is no film music that is more perfect than this. If my movie gets an Oscar, it won’t because of the film work but because of the music.”
Director O’Connell praised Jun Hyuk until he was red in the face. They said their goodbyes and Jun Hyuk left for the airport.
Tara spoke up first on the plane to New York.
“Jun. We need to start the tour in a month. Will you be okay?”
“Of course. Why are you asking that all of a sudden?”
“You’re not asking because you don’t know, are you? You need to start tours with excitement, anxiety, and happy expectations. But there’s nothing like that in you right now.”
Tara looked Jun Hyuk straight in the eye and spoke firmly.
“Forget the success of the tour – I’m saying this because if you start the tour in your current state, your condition might worsen.”
When Jun Hyuk was about to say something, Tara put up her hand to stop him.
“Ask yourself. Are you in perfect condition mentally? If not, act like you are or cancel it. I don’t have the confidence to watch you perform in difficult conditions.”
Jun Hyuk sighed and turned to look out the window.
“Is Jun okay?”
“He says he wants to be alone until the tour. And he told me to tell you not to worry too much. He said he’ll get through the tour schedule without problems.”
“It’s because of the New York Philharmonic’s concert, isn’t it?”
“Yes. I think he’s just not saying much because of Maestro Carras. He doesn’t want to blame him.”
President Stern listened to Tara and remembered what he had been forgetting completely.
There are no artists who do what they do not like to do in order to make money. There is no need to say more with successful artists. Musicians who handle the murderous schedules of tours do so because they love the passion that comes from the audience.
A mistake is inevitable if they are so exhausted and tired that they even come to hate the hot air in the concert hall. The manager is the person who needs to get a grasp of this state and be able to read it. The manager also needs to be able to make the bold decision to cancel a tour schedule for his exhausted musician.
When President Stern realized his mistake, he felt a little sore. How could he make such a mistake? He should have realized when he met Jun Hyuk on Christmas Eve…..
When he thought that he needs to settle it before it is too late, the first person he called was Alvin Lee. When he explained the current situation, Alvin Lee surprisingly started out by laughing.
“Ha ha. Jun really wasn’t a rocker. Isaac. Are classical guys normally that sincere? Do they on go stage and take on tour schedules even when they feel terrible?”
Alvin Lee talked about when he was young. He talked about not showing up for shows, getting into fights with the audience and making scenes.
“Isaac, take Jun out of this tour. I’ll look into a guitarist to take his place. A private audition would be fine too. We can just adjust the schedule.”
Alvin Lee did not worry about Jun Hyuk’s absence at all. Or he was hiding his concern thoroughly.
“You think the fans are going to make a crazy fuss because a member changed all of a sudden, right? Not at all. Everyone claps and fawns over the new member if he does well. It looks like fans love and worships stars, but that’s a mistake. What they love and worship in the end is the music. Of course if the band’s symbol is changed, it’s not a member change but a dissolution.”
If even bands with long histories become intertwined with problems of changing music or money, there are often member changes.
“And isn’t Jun a maestro? He became inspired and is putting all of his time into a new project. He isn’t participating in the concerts in order to create an even better album. No one will be suspicious. People like us only have excuses like going to jail because of drugs or health issues, but Jun has a lot of excuses to give.”
Alvin Lee saved President Stern from his worries.
“Everyone understands if a great artist like Jun acts however he wants to.”
“I get you completely, but as you said, Jun is sincere. He has a strong sense of responsibility. I’m sure he won’t fall out of a tour because of his own issue.”
“Then create a way to justify his falling out. That’s what a manager’s for. Something that will make Jun want to back out of the tour. If he still wants to participate, there’s no reason to worry.”
When President Stern was about to end the call with Alvin Lee, he got an idea.
“Alvin. Get the best guitarist you can think of on board. As a guest.”
President Stern thought of what could be enough justification and something Jun Hyuk would like most. He thought of what Amelia said before. Jun Hyuk is happier when he is creating music than when he is playing it.
When he thought of this as well, he started moving busily. He made calls to dozens of places and even met with a few people in person.
And after 2 days, he made his last call to Jun Hyuk.
“Isaac, what’s up?”
“Jun. I didn’t interfere, did I?”
“No, it’s alright.”
President Stern felt a little better when Jun Hyuk’s voice was brighter than he had been expecting.
“Can you get lunch with me tomorrow? It’s something important.”
“Yes, that’s okay. But what’s so important?”
“I’ll tell you tomorrow when we meet. I’ll go pick you up from the apartment, so wait.”