Volume 8 / Chapter 268
“Jun, what about JS Center’s opening ceremony.”
“Yes, we decided to hold it earlier. Within a month.”
“Thanks. Isaac will be really happy too.”
“It’s nothing. Of course we should do it.”
When Carras came to the studio, his eyes were puffy and they were tearful. He has walked through life with Isaac Stern. They are lifelong companions and friends. It could be that Dimitri Carras is the saddest person right now.
“I’m sure you’ll need to change the opening performance?”
“Yes. The ballet won’t be possible. We’re thinking about what song we need to do.”
“I actually asked to met because I wanted to talk about that. Will you do me a favor?”
“What? What favor?”
“Do you know what music Isaac loves most?”
He thought it would be a question he could answer easily, but he could not think of the answer.
Isaac Stern is a person who loves music, but the music he loves most? It seems like he has never thought about it or talked about it.
When Jun Hyuk could not respond, Carras smiled slightly.
“Why? Don’t you think it’s your music?”
“I don’t know. Nothing stands out in my mind because of the word ‘most’. But I don’t think it’s my music.”
“Ha ha. Isaac worshipped your music since you appeared at the end of his life.”
Carras paused for a moment and spoke quietly.
“The music that has accompanied Isaac throughout his entire life has been Schubert.”
He had not guessed this. Isaac’s character and behavior are bold and grand, but he loved Schubert most when his music is calm as an admirer of Beethoven?
“He’ll have listened to Schubert’s Symphony No. 8 in B minor, Die Unvollendete every day without fail.”
Schubert followed in Beethoven’s footsteps as a romanticist and developed it more. He is so great particularly in German music that his achievements are unfinished. However, he died at 31, at a younger age than Mozart who died at 35.
His talent showed freely in not only vocal songs but also in symphonies, but the song with the most popularity is “Die Unvollendete”. The beauty of the melody that appears in this symphony is so melodious that it is not an exaggeration to say that it is a heavenly song.
Symphony No. 8 is named “Die Unvollendete” (“The Unfinished”) because classic-romantic symphonies are generally configured in 4 parts, but this song is the only one that ends after just 2.
After Schubert’s death, respect for his music increased and there was increased attention for his works. In 1865, Vienna’s conductor Johann Helberg discovered this unfinished score and held its premiere in December of that year.
In the score that Schubert left, 3 parts are composed in 9 measures and the rest of the parts seemed to be sketched out to some extent on the piano, so he must have been trying to configure it in 4 parts like other symphonies.
But why did he only write until the 2nd part and then throw his pen away? There is no decisive evidence to solve this riddle. There are various theories, and even an absurd claim that says Schubert suffered from extreme forgetfulness and he forgot to compose the rest after writing 2 parts.
Currently, the most probable theory is that Schubert said everything he wanted to in these 2 parts and put his pen down with genius-like intuition.
Since the 20th century, many musicians and scholars hung to this song’s completion. People like Frank Merrick, Gerald Abraham, and Brian Newbould arranged the song with Schubert’s draft as a foundation to complete the normal 4 part system.
But only the 2 parts are performed in most shows. It is because the completion is remarkable.
The famous 1st part’s melody is often used in movies or dramas, and is used in the TV animation ‘Smurf’ whenever Gargamel’s dreary house appears.
Jun Hyuk could tell why Dimitri Carras had rushed here. He is here to ask Jun Hyuk for a favor.
“You haven’t conducted Schubert’s ‘Die Unvollendete yet, right?”
“No. Not yet…..”
“If you who he worships most plays the song he loves most, won’t that become the greatest last gift?”
When Carras said the word ‘last,’ tears began to flow again.
Jun Hyuk embraced him and pat his back.
“Let’s do that. I’ll prepare the best gift. Thank you, Maestro.”
“I’m sure you already know, but the opening ceremony will be earlier. And the program will change.”
None of the orchestra members had a problem with the sudden change. It is a reason that anyone could understand, and everyone thought that it was a definite.
It is just that they hoped that brutal conductor would choose an easy song for the short amount of time they have left.
“We’ll be doing Schubert’s symphony, Die Unvollendete.”
The orchestra members’ faces brightened. It is a piece that they have practiced at least 100 times since they started playing their instruments. They thought it an appropriate choice for the tight schedule that they are on.
“We have 15 days. Please work hard so that we can bring out a perfect performance in that time.”
The orchestra thought that 15 days would be plenty, but thought it strange once they received the scores that Jun Hyuk passed out. The score of a symphony that is only made of 2 parts is a bit thicker.
“It’s not ‘Die Unvollendete’ this time. I composed until the 4th part. It falls short a lot because I wrote it quickly, but don’t curse me too much for ruining the piece.”
He is not just speaking out of modesty. He wrote the song quickly within 2 days, and he himself was not satisfied. But it was a choice he had to make because he does not have time.
“We need to finish the 1st and 2nd part over 3 days. That should be enough, right?”
The orchestra members were already not listening to their conductor. All they wanted to do was look through the 3rd and 4th parts, but they had to push it back because their conductor had already lifted his baton high.
“Get used to the 3rd and 4th parts on your own over 3 days through individual practice.”
The allegro part began with Jun Hyuk’s baton. When it went over to andante within moments, the orchestra members looked at each other.
Why isn’t this picky conductor nagging at them?
He did not say a word during the 1st part, when they are playing it together for the first time.
Schubert’s music runs with a storm-like delightful feeling until that melody goes toward serenity. And only the 1st violin played toward an octave leap inside that stillness without an accompaniment. It is the best part of the 2nd that shatters the listening person’s expectations.
Schubert repeats these 4 with a faint sound and brings the listener to heaven.
“Wait. Pianissimo again for just the violin!”
The violin part gulped. How many times will they hear ‘again’ today?
“So weak we’re not sure if we can hear it or not. But the sound can’t die or drag along slowly. You have to leap the octave so the audience doesn’t feel that it is hard or painful.”
He only gave the okay sign twice. The hand with the bow accepts the conductor’s demands before the head does.
It is a strange practice that the orchestra members cannot understand, but it changed their arms, hands, fingers, and mouths before their minds. Their bodies are reacting with familiarity rather than playing with understanding.
The 80 orchestra members sitting in the recording booth had become the perfect instrument, playing the way Jun Hyuk wants them to.
On the day of JS Center’s opening, Jun Hyuk went to President Stern’s ward.
“Oh, you still look fine. You’re still cool.”
President Stern was in a suit, sitting in a wheelchair and waiting for Jun Hyuk. His robustness however, was gone and all that was left were bones. People age quickly when they accept death and wait.
His energy is already so low that he cannot endure the treatments. It could be that he lasted this long just for this day.
“You said there are going to be a lot of Hollywood actresses at the opening ceremony today, right? Who knows? I might get my 5th wife. Ha ha.”
His loose limbs may be colorless, but there is no change to his lively spirit.
“Stop marrying now. You’re going to waste tons of money on alimony again? Just date.”
“What? You make lots of money for me. I’m not even scared of Angelina Jolie.”
“That woman hasn’t gotten divorced yet.”
Jun Hyuk and Yoon Kwang Hun joked around with President Stern as they left the hospital.
Jun Hyuk arrived at JS Center and pushed President Stern’s wheelchair once they got out of the limousine. A magnificent ancient Greek shrine was in front of them.
“What do you think? Isn’t it awesome?”
“Yeah. It’s much greater than the aerial view.”
President Stern looked at the magnificent hall in admiration. The proof that he lived in this world is in front of him. This magnificent building, the foundation, and Jun Hyuk. All of these are traces of him.
When Jun Hyuk pushed the wheelchair toward the music hall, the hall’s delicate beauty came into clearer view.