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[2008] Bản giao hưởng định mệnh - Beethoven Virus - Kim Myung-min, E. Ji-ah, Jang Keun-suk - 2008 Baeksang Best Actor (Kim Myung Min), MBC Drama Awards - Grand Prize, Korean Drama Awards - Grand Prize

Vi-rút Bét-tô-ven (Beethoven Virus)

2009-09-21

Vi-rút Bét-tô-ven (Beethoven Virus)

Tên tiếng Hàn : 베토벤 바이러스
Thể loại : Phim truyền hình dài tập
Diễn viên : Kim Myung-min, E. Ji-ah, Jang Keun-suk 
Đạo diễn : Lee Jae-kyu 
Kịch bản : Hong Jin-a, Hong Ja-ram 
Phát sóng lần đầu tiên tại Hàn Quốc : 10/09/2008 ~ 12/11/2008
Số tập : 18
Thời lượng mỗi tập : 70'

Tóm tắt nội dung
Tốt nghiệp trường nhạc sau mười năm miệt mài đèn sách nhưng Du Ru-mi (E. Ji-ah) chỉ tìm được một công việc xoàng xĩnh và trái chuyên môn: soát lỗi và phô-tô văn bản tại trụ sở Hội đồng thành phố. Một ngày, cô chợt nảy ra ý định đề nghị thành phố tổ chức hòa nhạc nhân một sự kiện văn hóa sắp tới và xin được phụ trách khâu tài chính, tìm dàn nhạc và địa điểm biểu diễn. Ru-mi những tưởng rằng cuộc sống của cô từ đây sẽ thay đổi… nhưng người nhạc trưởng đã ẵm toàn bộ số tiền thù lao cho dàn nhạc và xa chạy cao bay. 

Tuyệt vọng, Ru-mi tìm mọi cách nói dối Thị trưởng và tự đi tìm một dàn nhạc với thù lao thấp hơn. Cuối cùng, cô đã lắp ghép được một dàn nhạc gồm nhiều thành phần và trình độ khác nhau, chỉ còn thiếu người chơi kèn trumpet. Tình cờ nghe người hàng xóm chơi kèn khá hay, Ru-mi vội tìm đến và gặp Kang Gun-woo (Jang Keun-suk), một cảnh sát vừa bị sa thải và ghét cay ghét đắng nhạc cổ điển sau trải nghiệm cay đắng với một nhạc trưởng hồi còn trẻ. Trình diễn nhạc giao hưởng là điều bần cùng bất đắc dĩ với Gun Woo nhưng thông cảm với nỗi tuyệt vọng của Ru-mi, anh đã nhận lời. Nhiệm vụ cuối cùng là tìm nhạc trưởng và Ru-mi đã tìm ra lời giải khi mời được nhạc trưởng tầm cỡ thế giới vừa tái xuất Kang Gun-woo (Kim Myung Min), người còn được biết đến với cái tên Kang Mae. 

Thế nhưng, cô không biết nhạc trưởng Kang không chỉ chính là người đã khiến Gun-woo ghét nhạc cổ điển mà còn có tính cách hết sức cầu toàn và không được lòng các nhạc công. Khi Kang phát hiện ra rằng cậu bé mà anh đã loại bỏ ngày nào chính là một thiên tài âm nhạc, cuộc chiến tay đôi đã nổ ra giữa hai người và Ru-mi bị kẹt giữa tình thế tay ba về cả âm nhạc lẫn tình cảm.

 
Beethoven Virus
Tập tin:BeethovenVirus Poster.jpg
Promotional poster for Beethoven Virus
Thể loại
Kịch bản
  • Hong Jin-ah
  • Hong Ja-ram
Đạo diễn Lee Jae-kyoo
Diễn viên
Quốc gia South Korea
Ngôn ngữ Korean
Số tập 18
 
Sản xuất
Giám đốc sản xuất Oh Kyung-hoon
Nhà sản xuất Park Chang-shik
Địa điểm Korea
Kỹ thuật quay phim
  • Song In-hyuk
  • Hong Sung-wook
Công ty sản xuất Kim Jong-hak Productions
Trình chiếu
Kênh trình chiếu Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation
Phát sóng 11 tháng 9, 2008 – 12 tháng 11, 2008

Beethoven Virus (Hangul: 베토벤 바이러스; RR: Betoben Baireoseu) là một bộ phim truyền hình Hàn Quốc năm 2008 với Kim Myung Min, Lee Ji Ah và Jang Geun Suk[1]. Chương trình đã thu hút sự chú ý là bộ phim truyền hình đầu tiên của Hàn Quốc mô tả cuộc sống của các nhạc sĩ cổ điển, dàn nhạc và những người bình thường ước mơ trở thành nhạc sĩ.[2][3] Nó được phát sóng trên MBC từ 10 tháng 9 đến 12 tháng 11 năm 2008 vào thứ Tư và thứ Năm lúc 21:55 với tổng số 18 tập.
Kang Gun-woo (hoặc Kang Mae) là một nhạc trưởng dàn nhạc nổi tiếng thế giới, người là một người cầu toàn trong công việc của mình. Anh ấy không phải là một người dễ tính và làm tất cả các nhạc công khiếp sợ. Một sự ngẫu nhiên đã khiến anh gặp lại Du Ru-mi, một nghệ sĩ violin, và một cảnh sát trẻ, người có cùng tên với anh và phát hiện ra rằng ngay cả khi không được học hành chính thức, Kang trẻ là một thiên tài âm nhạc. Ba người nhanh chóng bị mắc kẹt trong một tình yêu tay ba khi Kang Mae cố gắng cứu vớt một dàn nhạc địa phương.

Rating trung bình: 17.8%

Diễn viên: Kim Myung Min, Lee Ji Ah, Jang Geun Seuk.

Những bộ phim Kdrama 10 năm tuổi khiến bạn giật mình thời gian trôi quá nhanh

Beethoven Virus chính là bộ phim dành cho những tín đồ của nhạc cổ điển. Bộ phim xoay quanh cuộc sống của các nghệ sĩ trong dàn nhạc giao hưởng, mỗi người đều có tính cách riêng nhưng cùng chung một niềm đam mê khát vọng nghệ thuật là âm nhạc. Với đề tài tưởng chừng như khô khan, Beethoven Virus lại bất ngờ "gây bão" màn ảnh nhỏ và đoạt hàng loạt giải thưởng lớn cuối năm 2008. Bộ phim đã góp phần giúp dàn diễn viên trong phim được nhiều khán giả yêu thích. Kim Kyung Min sau bộ phim tập trung ở mảng điện ảnh với hàng loạt phim ấn tượng như Thám tử KNgày luân hồi, Lục long tranh bá, Ký sinh trùng,…

Những bộ phim Kdrama 10 năm tuổi khiến bạn giật mình thời gian trôi quá nhanh

Nữ chính Lee Ji Ah sau thành công của bộ phim đã xuất hiện trong hai bộ phim hot khác là Style và Athena: Goddess of War (2010). Tuy nhiên, sau đó nữ diễn viên vướng phải scandal kết hôn với  huyền thoại âm nhạc Seo Taiji và kể từ đó khán giả cũng quay lưng với cô. Jang Geun Suk chỉ một năm sau đã có vai chính đầy ấn tượng trong You’re Beautiful tuy nhiên đó cũng là bộ phim hot nhất của anh từ đó về sau. Không nổi bật ở mảng phim ảnh, nhưng anh chàng cũng đã kịp ghi dấu ấn trong vai trò host của show truyền hình quốc dân Produce 101.

Cast

Main characters

Kang Gun-woo is an orchestra conductor who is a single forty-year-old man that lives with a dog named Toven (named after Beethoven). He is very talented and famous for his excellent skills in music. Conductor Kang feels that classical music is for the nobility and to play the noble classics, the talent of players should be brilliant. Because he believes in this, he insults many musicians who do not match his perfection. However, he has shown jealousy and hatred in the past for those who are naturally talented, or those who are prodigies in music, such as Maestro Jung. He also has shown that he hated the trumpet player Kang Gun-woo for being a genius in the beginning of the drama.
Kang Mae is notorious for his aggressiveness and sharp tongue. His nickname is "orchestra killer." His personality is mostly written in his face when he encounters trouble and he smirks to show he isn't weak. The reason that he has spent most of his time overseas is because he had once refused to perform in front of a large audience, which included the president.
Du Ru-mi is the concert mistress of the project orchestra. Despite her delicate appearance, she is actually hot-tempered, moody, and optimistic about everything. Her headaches and tinnitus are the symptoms of a tumor that is impinging on her cochlear nerve, an acoustic neuroma, perhaps, which will eventually cause complete hearing loss. Now, she has a resolute goal to continue to play the violin and continue to perform on stage until she loses her hearing completely.
Kang Gun-woo is a traffic officer with a strong sense of justice. To help a pregnant woman get to the hospital, he moves a car by crashing it into another car, which causes him to be suspended from his position. Even though he cannot read music, he has a natural talent for playing the trumpet and for music itself. The project orchestra that he joins through Ru-mi’s recommendation gives him an opportunity to open his eyes and ears to music and conducting.

Supporting characters

  • Lee Soon-jae as Kim Gab-yong (Oboe)
  • Juni as Ha Yi-deun (Flute)
  • Song Ok-sook as Jung Hee-yeon (Cello)
  • Park Chul-min as Bae Yong-gi (Trumpet)
  • Jung Suk-yong as Park Hyuk-kwon (Double Bass)
  • Lee Bong-gyu as Park Jin-man
  • Kim Young-min as Jung Myung-hwan
  • Jo Se-eun as Kim Joo-yeon
  • Park Eun-joo as Kim Joo-hee
  • Lee Han-wi as Kang Chun-bae
  • Park Kil-soo as Kim Kye-jang
  • Hwang Young-hee as Hyuk-kwon's wife
  • Baek Jae-jin as refugees' leader (ep 10)
  • Kim Ik as doctor (ep 10)

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Recipient Result
2008
45th Baeksang Arts Awards
Best Drama Beethoven Virus Nominated
Best Actor (TV) Kim Myung-min Won
Best Director (TV) Lee Jae-kyoo Nominated
Best Screenplay (TV) Hong Jin-ah and Hong Ja-ram Nominated
21st Grimae Awards
Special Award, Drama category Song In-hyuk and Hong Sung-wook Won
The National Assembly Society of Popular Culture & Media Awards
Most Popular Drama in 2008 Beethoven Virus Won
9th Broadcaster Awards
Best Performance in Broadcasting Kim Myung-min Won
2nd Korea Drama Awards[7]
Grand Prize (Daesang) Kim Myung-min Won
Top Excellence Award, Actor Kim Myung-min Nominated
Excellence Award, Actor Jang Keun-suk Nominated
21st Korean Producers and Directors' Awards
Best Drama Beethoven Virus Won
MBC Drama Awards
Grand Prize (Daesang)[8] Kim Myung-min Won
Top Excellence Award, Actor Kim Myung-min Nominated
Excellence Award, Actress Lee Ji-ah Nominated
Golden Acting Award, Supporting Actor Park Chul-min Won
Golden Acting Award, Veteran Actress Song Ok-sook Won
PD Award Lee Soon-jae Won
Best New Actor Jang Keun-suk Won
Best New Actress Juni Nominated
Writer(s) of the Year Hong Jin-ah and Hong Ja-ram Won
Special Award, PD category Lee Jae-kyoo Won
Viewer's Favorite Drama of the Year Beethoven Virus Won
2009
36th Korean Broadcasting Association Awards
Best Actor Kim Myung-min Won
4th Seoul International Drama Awards[9]
Runner-up, Best Miniseries Beethoven Virus Won
Best Actor Kim Myung-min Nominated
3rd International Drama Festival in Tokyo[10]
Special Award for Foreign Programs Beethoven Virus Won

Lee Ji Ah gây sốt cho giới trẻ Hàn Quốc

Phong cách thời trang của người đẹp 27 tuổi trong bộ phim truyền hình Beethoven Virus đã thực sự tạo nên cơn sốt cho giới trẻ đất nước kim chi.

Bắt đầu nổi lên từ năm 2007 sau khi được chọn làm người tình trên màn ảnh của Bae Yong Joon trong Thái vương tứ thần ký, Lee Ji Ah đã được báo giới xứ Hàn đặt cho biệt danh Ngôi sao vụt sáng sau một đêm. Tiếp nối thành công đó, Lee Ji Ah tiếp tục thử sức với vai diễn nhạc công violon Durumi trong bộ phim truyền hình Beethoven Virus và tạo nên cả một trào lưu thời trang được giới trẻ Hàn Quốc ưa chuộng.

Có tới 80% trang phục trên phim là do Lee Ji Ah lựa chọn theo màu đen và trắng, hai gam màu mà Lee Ji Ah thích nhất. Những tưởng màu sắc đó sẽ tạo nên sự đơn điệu, lạnh lẽo nhưng chính những điểm nhấn như chiếc ruy-băng buộc tay lại tạo nên vẻ trẻ trung, lạ mắt cho những trang phục mà Lee Ji Ah mặc trên phim. Không những vậy, Lee Ji Ah đã thổi làn gió mới cho trào lưu đi boot cao cổ với váy ngắn và được các cô gái trẻ học theo rất nhiều.

Beethoven Virus: Episode 1

by Sevenses

I expected it to be slightly more ominous and serious, but it’s really quite full of slapstick – mainly due to Lee Jia’s rather comic portrayals. It’s certainly dramatic, just not quite in the direction I was expecting…

Also, many thanks to Luv for allowing me to mooch off her screencaps. Again. As you can see, JGS’s Kang Gun Woo is very much the messy bachelor. 😀

SONG OF THE DAY

Eco Bridge – “Poor Love” [ Download ]

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Episode 1

In 1998:

We begin with KANG GUN WOO the super tough conductor, played by Kim Myung Min, refusing to conduct in a full house. His reason is that the orchestra has not practiced enough and that nothing would make him go in front of that crowd.

The manager dude looks like his face is going to screw off, he’s grimacing so hard. He begs, threatens, but Kang Gun Woo refuses to be moved. He tells the manager that the concerto was written by Brahms, and that he hopes to see the composer when he goes to heaven – therefore he cannot conduct an orchestra that is not fully prepared.

Lol. That’s supposing he gets to heaven in the first place – which the manager brings up. Kang Gun Woo leaves.

However much of an asshat he seems, conductor Kang is quite the genius and is the foremost conductor in the world. (Atm, anyway.)

Then we switch to a shot of the other KANG GUN WOO, the policeman, played by the currently scruffy Jang Geun Suk. He’s asleep in the patrol car, having covered for various buddies for three days in a row. It must not be his week, because his patrol leader tells him to head over to a traffic accident before he can go home. (Um, wiping sweat with gloves is not generally considered the … cleanest thing.)

 

The two drivers argue endlessly, neither wanting to claim responsibility for the damages – then an enraged expectant father demands that officer Kang clear the roads – his wife is in labour (and the other direction of the road just happens to be blocked by a delivery van.)

Poor officer Kang gathers up what energy that remains to him and tries to persuade the two men (now locking horns) to stop arguing and move their cars… and the noise in the little alleyway reaches a crescendo.

Officer Kang looks heavenwise and arranges the noises around him into something that harmonizes with something much more pleasing – an orchestral piece. Adding to the mix is a modern element.

Back to the real world… His patience with the arguing men wears thin as both decide to wait it out. He gets into the second car and drives both cars into parallel position, clearing the street as well as incurring some secondary damage. Go officer Kang!

He meekly apologizes to the two asshats and urges the expectant father to go to the hospital.

(Captions read: Future conductor, Kang Gun Woo.)

 

Oh wow! DU RU MI, played by the lovely Lee Jia, manages to knock down the leaning tower of soju just by knocking her forehead on the table. She leaves the work party early to go to orchestra, and is heckled into playing one piece. She has a really hard head, if she can just break glass with it and not… sustain cuts.

The saga of Du Ru Mi (aka rough resume of her life thus far): ten years of musical background, graduated from music school, but couldn’t find a job so she spends all day proofreading and photocopying at her day job (city council) so she can support her violin-playing, which has been delegated to hobby status. (I think if my English teacher read that she’d kill me.)

She’s still terribly passionate. During her rant, I keep getting flashes of Sujini on caffeine.

All her colleagues start clapping for her, and she thinks to herself, ‘If I don’t play, I’ll probably get fired… right?‘ Her violin case has personality. I like. Anyway, she plays something short and energetic for her colleagues.

 

(It says in captions that in 63 days she will become the leader of an orchestra.)

The next day she brings in a veritable mountainload of paper for her boss, who suddenly likes classical music. He comments on a schoolmate of her’s, who seems to have many concerts and is considered Korea’s ‘Tchaikovsky’. She comments that her friend pays for the concert herself, and gets full houses using her relatives.

She’s actually just covering up for her own sore pride, and listens to the girl play on her work computer. Du Ru Mi grudgingly admits that the other girl isn’t so bad.

Then she gets the idea to suggest a concert for the city’s upcoming cultural festival.

Later she’s accompanying an older schoolmate to the nascent music hall. She helps out in setting up and playfully picks at the piano strings. The music hall even comes with an attached office, with plush furniture, but more importantly, books.

 

Du Ru Mi leaps around like a kid who just discovered Christmas and flips through various scores happily. Ahh, she’s super glad to be in charge of a city-funded orchestra.

Aww. Everyone gets ready for practicing, but Du Ru Mi looks unexpectedly down. As it happens, the conductor they trusted with all their funds has embezzled the money, and thus none of the instrumentalists will get paid.

 

Du Ru Mi gets down on her knees and tells everyone a touching story of how she learned violin after falling in love with Beethoven’s Romanza. However, the members of the orchestra are packing up and going. She continues on with how music helps her through her daily drudgery as an office worker. Alas, everyone still leaves.

The mayor doesn’t know. Yet.

Ooooh. Cliff! Rushing water! Dramatic music!

 

In despair, Du Ru Mi jumps off the cliff. As she travels through the water, she thinks to herself that escaping via death won’t help the money troubles.

Interesting use of background music here.

And… a cellphone rings, showing us that Du Ru Mi is actually doing this in her bathtub (not less deadly, just less dramatic).

 

It’s from the mayor. She reassures him that he has no need to come see the orchestra at work. The mayor has a happy nature. He blithely praises her and anticipates the selling value of the newly found orchestra. She promises him that the orchestra will be able to play at the concert with no problems. She gets tenser with every reassurance.

However, Du Ru Mi isn’t a quitter, and posts up notices asking for musicians to donate a bit of their time. Later, a cranky high school student comes to take off all the notices on the walls and posts. She jeers at the fact that someone would even think to look for volunteers. At home, the cranky student bugs her mother into looking for her school skirt, whereupon the mother sees Du Ru Mi’s notice requesting volunteer orchestra members.

Anyway, Du Ru Mi has almost finished assembling her orchestra, but she’s missing a trumpeter. She screams in rage at a neighbour playing the trumpet – and rather skillfully. Then she realizes that it’s a trumpeter! So she runs all the way to the next district in hopes of finding the person in question.

 

Wow, Kang Gun Woo lives in a pretty large house for a policeman – it actually belongs to someone who’s gone to San Francisco, and he’s just house-sitting. (Wow, he just lives at the beck and call of his friends.) He’s also her landlady’s nephew (the landlady being the mother of that cranky high schooler).

Officer Kang no longer has a job, as he probably got a complaint. He’s kind of down right now, so it’s hard to say if he’ll accept to play, and in addition, he doesn’t like playing in front of people. His aunt tells Du Ru Mi to ask nicely, since he’s got a soft heart under that stubborn exterior of his.

And thus, Su Ru Mi stalks ex-officer Kang on the metro, and plays something particularly sad while handing out little slips of paper with a neatly arranged sob story, including the original embezzling, and some fiction about her losing her hearing and so this would be her last concert. As if to drive the point home, she underlines “Trumpeter urgently needed” on the sheet of paper.

 

However, attempt #1 fails. She curses him, then flops dramatically down on her violin case. Lol. When she discovers that he got off, she chases him up the stairs, only to discover that she’s lost him in the crowd of people.

So cute.

This time she screams in frustration. Then Kang surprises her from behind. He tells her that he’s willing to play if it’s just the once, and if she doesn’t mind that he’s self-learned. She requests to listen to him play, which rather pokes holes in her excuse that she’s deaf, but Du Ru Mi rallies with the idea that she can tell if it’s right just by the vibrations in the trumpet horn.

And violinists becoming deaf is unfortunately an actual phenomenon.

 

He plays a short line for her in the metro, and is surprisingly good. Kang’s all nervous in public, and stops immediately when people show up. Then she gets a call from the mayor and the whole thing falls apart because he sees through her deception. (Just as well that he doesn’t continue to be a policeman, dude, he phails at spotting lies.)

Huh. Kang gets angry, and uses his policeman powerz of dispersion on her. (First time I’ve seen JGS shout. Impressive. But he’s really a softie. I think.) And since the mayor wants to see the orchestra in practice next week, she has to hurry up and get a trumpeter, gradually lowering her standards to anyone who can play. Poor thing.

The new crew she’s gotten is an amateur group – they’re nervous about performing in public but are quite happy at the same time. Meanwhile, Project Get Kang Gun Woo Onboard continues.

 

Once Du Ru Mi has something in sight, dudes, she just never lets go. She discovers, through diligent stalking and bothering of Kang Gun Woo, that he’s being honest when he says that he didn’t receive any training for the trumpet. In fact, he doesn’t even know what pieces he was playing (rather like me in that respect, I’m afraid) and ‘hates’ classical music.

Kang totally dislikes anything to do with classical music. Let the courtship begin!

Erm. Back at city hall, things are getting heated with a group of protesters. It’s so serious that it requires a team of crack riot police and a wall of suit-clad bureaucrats. The protests are about the presence of certain businessmen, considered to be traitorous.

Ru Mi’s elder schoolmate, PARK HYUK KWON, is one of the ‘suits’. His wife finds him with egg in his hair, as she’s delivering his lunch with their daughter, who is scared at the ruckus. He decides to join Ru Mi in her venture and gather orchestra members. Yay! They have a contra bass (also called double bass) now.

Needless to say, Du Ru Mi is ecstatic.

However, the interviews for the new members start off on an interesting foot (if by interesting you mean callused and covered in hair). The landlady herself, JUN HEE YUN, shows up, shyly admitting that she does play cello in her spare time. However, she doesn’t have an instrument, and goes home dejected when they tell her they don’t have one to spare.

 

The trumpeter they have is short-winded and confused. Thankfully, the oboeist, KIM GAB YONG, is quite skilled. The flautist, HA YI DEUN, is rather confrontational about her wages but does want to play. The best performance of the day so far comes from two sisters, KIM JOO YEON and KIM JOO HEE, who play the electric violin, and with such energy – it’s almost like a choreographed dance. Plus, they wear sparkly short costumes that leave very little to the imagination. Recognize!

At night, Ru Mi’s landlady talks to the portrait of her mother-in-law,  trying to persuade her to allow the purchase of a cello. The portrait’s animated at moments, which brings in the cute factor. A distant motorcycle honks its horns and Jun Hee Yun takes this as agreement.

That night, Jun Hee Yun sneaks into the practice hall happily. (Omg, three/four cellos in one section?)

The trumpeter is going to be temporary, a) because we know Kang Gun Woo will come at some point to claim the spot, b) because he’s being an irritating ass who has managed to turn the universally loved onomatopoeic ‘hmph’ into a weird kind of grunt and c) because there’s no way the conductor Kang dude is going to be able to work with him.

Lol. Flautist Yi Deun is glaring at Mr. Kim (oboe), as a while ago he kept her from her job by rambling about how he cannot drink strawberry milk. She holds the grudge, he doesn’t remember.

The practice starts off well enough, but the trumpet dude plays louder than everyone else, and he’s off rhythm too. (I mean, no ear training here, but such is his suckitude.) His attitude gets him in trouble with Mr. Park, who, despite being all the way in the back with his double bass, is still the second-in-command.

Crisis of the week: finding a first/second trumpet who won’t enrage the rest of the orchestra.

 

Oy vey. Ru Mi breaks in to (well, she asks Kang’s aunt for the passcode) the house and pesters Kang about joining the orchestra. After wresting his cellphone out of his hands, she demands the secret of his abhorrence for classical music. (Please don’t let it be a childhood trauma. So. Overused.)

Lol. He doesn’t like the ‘penguin suits’ and the excessive use of ‘English’ (I think he means Italian). Kang’s logic: Why be so fancy?

OH. THE DARK SECRET:

When he was younger, he asked Kang Gun Woo (the other one) for help with his music homework (however improbably this is) while the conductor was off being high and mighty about not conducting inferior orchestras. Basically the older man humiliated him about not knowing enough and being dense into the bargain. (Um, that’s why he’s a student, you know, and not the Lord God Ruler of the Universe.)

 

When he left that night, he had a deep and abiding hatred for all things classical.

Back to the present, Ru Mi muses that there really can’t be people like that. Kang refuses to tell her the name of the guy (he’s probably not too happy at sharing a name with Mr. Ultimate A-hat). To Kang, however, Du Ru Mi is the same type of person, being totally preoccupied with herself and bothering people so she can get the things she wants.

He must get a lot of practice scolding people as a policeman, as he’s good enough to reduce the verbose and bouncy Ru Mi to remorseful apology.

Ru Mi looks downcast and leaves after saying sorry. Aww. She can’t even open the door.

Before she leaves, there’s more of the sob story about just wanting to perform in public, if only once – and this time it’s not just her, it’s the rest of the orchestra too, who really want this.

 

(This shot of the teary Ru Mi had me screaming ‘Sujini’ in all caps. Oops.)

Aww! She just wanted him to have the experience of playing in front of a receptive audience.

The only other trumpeter available is taking advantage of her situation and asking for the sky in return for performing.

But, oh! Miracle of miracles, Kang Gun Woo shows up the next practice. Hmm, there appears to be a dearth of trumpeters of good personality in this show. One harrumphs like he has a never-ending Everest of phlegm, the other charges a ton only to cellphone his way through practice – and let’s not talk about the third…

YAY! Kang Gun Woo maintains a poker face as he picks up for the first trumpet (who stomps off with everyone ignoring him). Ru Mi happily sits down in her place as first violin. 😀

And he’s put the violin-shaped patch on his somewhat scratched trumpet case. They exchange smiles.

 

The mayor is muchos gratified and happy to see the progress. When Ru Mi reassures the mayor that she’s invited maestro Kang Gun Woo to conduct, trumpeter Kang looks unhappy, and the elderly oboeist, Mr. Kim, does the same.

Later, at an orchestra party, Mr. Kim tells the enthralled (and somewhat horrified) members that Kang is also known as an ‘orchestra killer’. Trumpeter Kang looks like he’s having indigestion, he’s so angry.

It’s the same concert that the younger Kang got shot down at – in front of four presidents (past and present) and an astonished audience, the conductor stops the orchestra and proclaims that the music sounds truly awful, and recommends that they all get refunds on their tickets. In fact, getting a CD of Brahm’s works would be better than listening to this ‘trash’.

Harsh.

 

And now Ru Mi sinks even lower in her seat when Gun Woo tells her that the man who ripped him apart for asking ‘What is classical music?’ is the very same conductor. Oooooh.

Damn, it’s the first time Kang’s been back in Korea. So he’s going to be even more uptight. And he arrives, with a cute collie dog in tow. (Does he think that people are going to like him better with a dog attached, or did he go blind?)

 

Still the same old arrogant dude.

End episode.

Commentary/Rambling:

– Lee Jia suffers a bit from being too act-y, but that’s probably how the character is written. JGS will hopefully break out of his sullen teen shell, or this series could become very boring very quickly. They still need a bit of work on the cause-and-effect train, because I had a bit of trouble following the rapid shifts. They don’t have to make it all transitions, but throw one to the hungry masses, yeah? My brain’s been used up by neuropsych already.

– In the future, I will refer to JGS’s character as Gun Woo and Kim Myung Min’s character as Kang, or conductor Kang. Hopefully that clears up confusion and repetition.

– I love the arrangement in the beginning when the classical music overlays the noise people are making. Interesting use of soundtrack, certainly. By the way, my musical education is very minimal, so if I don’t get the name of a particular piece, do forgive me and let me know. 😀

Beethoven Virus: Episode 2

by Sevenses

Omg so tired. At what point does a midterm stop being a midterm? (And how is it a midterm if I have 3 in one term??)

I know that what they’re doing onscreen isn’t what it actually looks like, and many times it’s even off sync, but I think you might want to cut them some slack – a) this is a comedy, and b) remember IljimaeHong Gil Dong? They were even worse for realism. If you really can’t stand it, close your eyes when they play. That’s what I do.

Caption: *gasp* Why you so mean?

SONG OF THE DAY

Vistee – “Bling Bling Sky” [ Download ]

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Episode 2

The orchestra killer comes to town. Wow, he’s so arrogant I’m not sure if he’s caricaturing on purpose or… the alternative is just an overblown sense of insecurity, and that’s probably worse.

 

Kang quickly grills Ru Mi about the state of the car (dusty), the quality of the restaurant they’re going to (not friendly to dogs), and the qualifications of the trumpeter (graduated from ‘music for idiots academy’: Julliard.). This guy is hard to handle. He wants a large house with an attached yard, two bathrooms, one for him, one for his dog, nicknamed ‘Toven (I’ll let you guess his real name).

The dog has allergies to plastic and so needs to use a real bathtub. Oh my god. Ru Mi senses that she’s going to have her hands full and asks, half-jokingly, if ordinary accommodations are okay. Then he gets picky about the way she talks.

Well, the house isn’t half bad.

 

On the drive there, she gets a message from Gun Woo that he’s reconsidering being a part of the orchestra if Kang is the one directing it. Unfortunately for him, Ru Mi brings Kang to the house Gun Woo house-sits. Hm. He manages to decipher the changed passcode (11119, as opposed to the original 12345) and enters, only to wrinkle his nose at the very, very bachelor-esque mess in the living room.

He itemizes a list of demands to Ru Mi like he expects her to do all of it – even bringing in his luggage.

I can’t decide if Kang is an asshat on purpose, or if, you know, if he’s just socially awkward from being so smart (a common syndrome in the fictional world).

 

Anyway, poor Gun Woo returns home from his nice jog to find himself locked out of the house, and what’s worse, hears barking from the inside. When Kang comes out of the house, all prepared to walk Beethoven, Gun Woo grabs him in a classic ‘under arrest’ hold against the front door (which looks like a part of the wall).

Then he recognizes the man. Gun Woo remarks that Kang hasn’t changed in ten years, and tells him that he thinks classical music is dog excrement.

This obviously gets Kang really angry, and Ru Mi watches the two face off, transfixed for a moment by the train-wreck potential of the confrontation and then rushes forward to do some damage control. End result: Kang kicks Gun Woo out of his own house.

 

(Um, lol, now Ru Mi is in trouble with both of them.)

When Ru Mi comes to tell Gun Woo that he can move into the second floor, Gun Woo just throws fits. Downstairs, Kang reads the score for the performance while poking the ceiling to tell Gun Woo to quiet down once in a while. Gun Woo can’t take it anymore, and calls his buddies over at the police station.

Ru Mi’s just making a habit of this taking-cellphone-away-from-Gun-Woo thing, isn’t she?

 

To add insult to injury, she fakes being humble, then locks him out. I know kdramas like for their couples to start off on a rocky footing, but this might be taking it too far.

(You know, I keep getting flashes of angry Chang Hui and hyper Sujini. Brain, pls to be stopping the torture.)

In the end, Gun Woo gives Ru Mi three days to both find Kang a new house and another trumpeter. The poor boy moves things around on the top floor, trying to not make any noise, but unfortunately Kang’s many conductor skillz include the superpower of good hearing.

Lol. In order to annoy Kang (after not being able to stand his nitpicky ways), he turns up the volume on his stereo and throws things around. Even Beethoven gets annoyed at the loud rock music.

The next day, orchestra members wait for Kang to make his appearance. The only ones not shaking in fear are Mr. Kim the oboist (who looks resigned) and, of course, Gun Woo (who sneers at the arrogance of the man). (Thus Spake Zarathustra plays, which makes it funnier because I keep thinking of that annoying Rogers commercial when this song comes on.)

 

He tells them to practice on their own for a while (cacophony reigns) and immediately picks out faults with the members. He correctly identifies Ru Mi’s landlady, Jun Hee Yun, as someone who hasn’t played for 20 years. He picks out one of the Kim sisters as playing her fa (F) too loud, and guesses that she must be an electrical instrumentalist. The list goes on.

Kang storms off in a rage, or in disappointment.

Ru Mi chases after Kang, who is … strangely kind. He reassures her that at the age of 40, he is no longer the type of person to dramatically flounce off and kill orchestras. Aww. He ushers her onto a nearby bench and asks her to tell the truth.

Gun Woo watches this and becomes irritated, all the while telling her not to listen to Kang.

 

OMGWTFBBQ. Kang was holding her hand?! (Dudes, tell that’s not normal behaviour for people who’ve just met. Or maybe it is and I’ve had my nose in books for too long.)

He urges Ru Mi to tell the truth. She does so. (Gun Woo looks like he’s about to die of exasperation. Eyerolling ftw!) Kang is all sympathetic about the embezzling, but then does an abrupt volte-face and tells her to order his return ticket for tomorrow. With his usual dramatic flair, Kang leaves, but not before insulting Gun Woo’s trumpet-playing skills.

After practice, Park calls all of his conducting contacts, but none are available at the moment, or at least not for free. The only free ones are away on Jeju. He yells at Ru Mi for not being able to do anything properly. Gun Woo looks on as she thinks through her probable confession to the mayor, and her dramatic side reasserts itself as she thinks of the possibility of being jailed.

Gun Woo tells her not to worry about being jailed, but Ru Mi’s mind’s already on the money problems she’ll have to take care of. In order to raise enough money to pay for all the costs so far, Ru Mi decides to sell her violin.

 

She talks to her violin, promising to make the ‘pretty lady’ nice and shiny for a good owner who will let ‘her’ perform in front of an audience for a change. (Aw, so cute!) Gun Woo sits beside her on the swings and feels bad.

He stands up, decision made, and promises to help her with the orchestra – first stop, earn some money.

The next day finds them in a shopping centre, busking for money to a very appreciative crowd. It turns into something of a one-upping contest. Then they begin to harmonize with one another. Yay for having fun!

  

The background music segues into Kang enjoying Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’. (I just noticed from watching this again – the selection is from the concerts he’s directed. How egocentric can you get?) He puts eye-covers on and takes a pill (with his eyes covered?) and puts the bottle back on the nightstand, but it falls on the floor. Beethoven, being a curious doggie, eats the pills. Bad dog! He’s going to be sick even if it’s just a few vitamins.

Sujini Rumi returns from a day’s hard work with Gun Woo, swearing to avenge herself against the pompous bastard, since he’s going back to the States anyway. Her plan: to play violin for an entire night.

 

Kang wakes up in the middle of the night and changes the song selection, only to notice his dog lying unconscious on the floor, having consumed an entire bottle of sleeping pills. He performs frantic CPR, but a whole bottle of sleeping pills, dude!

Kang phones emergency services, not realizing that… he needs to call a vet instead. He sits down and relives angsty moments in his life – getting into a fight with his girlfriend and breaking up. Ooh. Rain. Emo. Unhappiness. Then he met Beethoven. It was love at first sight.

Gun Woo and Ru Mi come home to hear him howling in pain – and they ring the doorbell cautiously, only to be roped into rescuing Beethoven. Well, it’s not like there’s much they can do, at this hour of the night, except finding a vet clinic that’s open. Ru Mi runs around helping Kang, while Gun Woo stands aloof. (Minus points for Gun Woo for showing no sympathy for furry cute animals in distress. It can’t help its master, and from all available evidence Kang loves the dog.)

 

Kang frantically tells ‘Toven not to sleep, and carries him into the car’s backseat. Gun Woo tells Ru Mi to take the collie to the neighbourhood vet, who happens to be the flautist’s family. She leaves Kang behind, rather strategically, in case they refuse to treat Beethoven because of him.

Oi. More minus points for Gun Woo, who uses Beethoven to force Kang into agreeing. Both Ru Mi and the vet just ignore Gun Woo’s calls. Cue heroic music as Kang rushes into the vet’s clinic. Aww!

If you’re not touched by Kang’s reunion with his dog, you’re not human.

Back home, Kang refuses to honour his agreement. This mainly comes from anger at having been manipulated by his dog’s condition, and he agrees to stay in a roundabout way after Ru Mi’s admission that they weren’t really going to use Beethoven like that.

As Kang demands a chauffeur, a housesitter, a caretaker for Beethoven and a cleaner, Ru Mi’s face glows with happiness and agrees to all his conditions (there’s about 10, I didn’t count). Gun Woo the younger looks like he’s been forced to swallow a lemon taped to a brick.

Gun Woo gets up to feed Beethoven, who’s had his stomach pumped. Kang makes snarky comments about the ‘young couple’ and warns them not to explore their relationship in this house. (Did he just make a joke? :D)

Uh. They get into a confrontation and Kang demands that Gun Woo complete all the tasks, without Ru Mi’s help. He agrees. Interesting.

 

Task 1: use a mini-scythe to cut the grass, in the glaring sun.

Gun Woo’s wearing a towel on his head in the manner of field workers everywhere, while Ru Mi washes and dries dishes and the such. She gets all coy about why he’s helping her and generally assuming more than there is (or maybe not, given what happens later). It’s like Ru Mi’s on her own planet as she leaps around the yard and then ends up tripping backwards into a tub full of clothing that’s being washed.

Laughing with her, Gun Woo gets a towel for her to dry off with. When he helps her out, the two end up accidentally hugging. Sparks fly, clouds part, angels sing, bla bla bla. They discover feelings for each other. (Isn’t it a bit early?) I do love the attention to detail in that Ru Mi is still dripping used laundry water. Hehe.

 

Awkwardness ensues when Kang comes out to walk Beethoven, and overturns all the laundry Ru Mi did. This time, he specifies that Gun Woo has to do it alone.

The grandpa oboist tries to talk to Yi Deun the flautist, who brandishes her flute at him, warning him to stay away. He explains that he’s been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and was losing his memory all along. Wow, he gives her money, and all of a sudden, she’s nicer to him – and promises not to tell the rest of the orchestra.

Ru Mi tells everyone that no matter what conductor Kang does, they’re to smile and be nice to him.

 

Omg, his smile is scarier than his frown. He starts the practice with an unusually nice intro and a semi-apology for his behaviour on the previous night. He sits down, reads the newspaper, and tells the orchestra to continue practicing. He walks his dog, grooms him, reads, and, on one notable occasion, falls asleep.

It’s irritating because he behaves like he’s humouring them the way one does with children…

Cellist Hee Yun (and not ajumma!) gets up to leave early so she can cook for her husband, and the others balk at having to stay late. All sorts of fracas happen (if the trumpet dude gets dumber he’s going to be made of wood), and Kang wakes up in time to belittle them.

Kang walks off with Beethoven. It’s like a good cop-bad cop routine, as Ru Mi tries to persuade Kang to stay while Gun Woo does his damnedest to anger Kang. This time he tells Ru Mi that the orchestra doesn’t really need Kang except as a prop during the actual concert.

Oh, children.

Well, good on Gun Woo for holding the orchestra together. He nominates Mr. Kim the oboist as the orchestra liaison and starts everyone off on practice again (yay for experience as traffic director, lol).

 

However, as everyone joins in with gusto, Gun Woo senses something off. He stops everyone and asks if they hear something off, but no one gets it.

Outside, Kang tells Ru Mi that he doesn’t want anything to do with an orchestra that can’t even tune itself. Ru Mi points out that everyone is trying really hard, and asks him to give them a chance. Kang is just earning all the harsh points here – he dismisses the members as people who have no skill yet still want to perform. If they want to make fools of themselves, he suggests, then let them, but he doesn’t want to be involved.

Kang: Classical music has always been performed for the nobility. Do you think that just because times have moved on that this will change?

 

Ru Mi stands and takes all this, with a smile, even, and answers her phone – I think it’s a telemarketer. Anyhoo, she lets loose on the poor guy on the other end of the receiver.

Ru Mi: Who the heck do you think you are, giving me advice?? Shut up! I can decide right and wrong for myself, you know. So what if we don’t have time, money or ability? Do we deserve to die, then? We can’t get involved in the arts just because we’re ordinary people? Is there such a law? People, nobility – yo, how long have we had human rights, are you still living in the Choseon era?
Kang: Er, he’s already hung up.
Ru Mi: So what if he hung up? 
(Still talking into her phone.) According to you we’re supposed to just work and die. If you were conductor during that time many talents would have been stifled. Salieri!

It’s clear that Kang understands this outburst is for him. He goes back in, but not before imparting insightful info about himself: He hates Mozart? Because he was a genius? Whaa?

The orchestra goes back to tuning itself, as Kang admits to Beethoven in the safety of the study that he doesn’t know which instrument is off either – just that the overall effect is the aural equivalent of running your nails down a chalkboard.

Oh god, it does sound awful, but then it gradually changes to okay-sounding. Kang walks out, intent on finding out why the sound is back to normal – as it turns out, Gun Woo opened the air conditioner and set it to 1/8 of a degree lower. (He doesn’t know why either, just that it felt right after the heated room made the instruments all sharper.)

Kang goes back into his room, thrown into another flashback.

 

We see a fellow schoolmate’s casual and happy attitude towards music, but Kang has coloured the memory into a show of arrogant skill. Then the memory switches to a contest in which he and the schoolmate both play the same piece. The other man is like Ru Mi (and later Gun Woo) in that he takes great joy in the music, and it shows when he plays.

Kang ends up winning the contest, but his victory is shadowed when they announce that his friend, Jung Myung Hwan, has also won. Jung is so surprised at winning and is the complete opposite of the studied, reserved Kang – he even trips on the way up to the podium.

The next day, Kang wakes to find that Jung is given the honours of conducting the graduating class, which had been his spot before, I believe. He storms into the director’s office – but the dean told him that he was only a point lower – and if only he’d talked to his professors, or did community service, or something to show the others that he was capable of being a normal human being, basically.

End flashback.

At home, Kang is again reminded of his illustrious classmate when he turns on the TV to see a news flash announcing the return of the famous Korean conductor. (To show Jung’s individuality, they decided to give him an afro. Riiight.) Kang goes to Gun Woo’s room purely to bother him and to vent his own frustrations, but the other man’s a bit too sleepy to register anything.

 

The mayor, Kang Chun Bae, is all bows and smiles when Kang comes to his office (never mind that he’s the one who called Kang there in the first place). He gives a list of the attendees to Kang and hints (with an anvil) that the success of the city’s application to be a cultural centre hinges on the concert. And then the mayor drops the bomb: Jung Myung Hwan is coming to the concert too.

Jung’s in charge of the Seoul Philharmonic Concert, btw.

Well, at least he electrifies the practice with his anger and otherwise arresting personality. Unfortunately, he ends up demoralizing everyone (and picking the oboist apart) – the problem (or I should say the biggest problem) is that Kang doesn’t tell anyone what they’re doing wrong. Gun Woo brings this up but is shot down.

 

Kang picks on Jung Hee Yun for even daring to aspire to play in an orchestra, calls her all sorts of names, and then expects her to repeat them back to him. Gun Woo gets up in anger to defend his aunt, but is restrained – the rest of the orchestra is either petrified or angry.

After practice, Ru Mi confronts Kang about his sudden increase in bitchitude. He’s just like, I’m built that way, you got a problem?

Ru Mi: If the practice is happy, that’s already half the work done.
Kang: Who do you take me for, performing in front of him? Leading this group of incompetents, being dragged here like this, it’s all your fault!

Ru Mi looks furious, not intimidated.

End episode.

Commentary/Rambling:

– Dudes, I love KMM. He puts the ‘a’ in awesome. And since this is obviously meant to be a comedy, it’s okay-ish if people overact. I think we’re meant to feel sorry for his glaring social inadequacies. At the moment, he has the ‘freakishly nice personality who immediately segues into a facepalm-worthy arrogant yet sekritly insecure man’ going pretty well. (And if they ever decide to film Harry Potter with Korean people, he’d make an excellent Prof. Snape.)

– Speaking of social inadequacies, I’m glad Prince Chang Hui has added a few more expressions to his repertoire (previously including smile-like-you’re-a-kid-and-make-the-fangirls-faint, do-your-angst-thang, and wtf-do-you-think-you’re-doing-to-my-kingdom?). We now warmly welcome emotion-what-emotion, look-Ma-I’m-playing-trumpet!, and that-all-purpose-concerned-look-no-I’m-not-constipated.

– I get that to make Gun Woo supah speshul, the directors have him doing some pretty freaky stuff, like magically divining that the room temperature needs to be lowered by 1/8 of a degree. (Is your air conditioner that precise?) However, the whole going-to-Juilliard thing just doesn’t fit – he even says in ep1 that he learned trumpet all by himself – and that he had no musical training. How do you have no musical training if you went to Juilliard? Unless, of course, JGS breaks out the ballet slippers or does Lady Macbeth’s ‘Out, damned spot’ speech. Then I might understand (ha, JGS in a tutu).

– Wow. If we get a love triangle, the vast age different is kind of squicky. And I hope they won’t toss Jung into the mix. That would just make it… weird.

Sevenses


18 September 18, 2008January 24, 2016

Beethoven Virus: Episode 3

by Sevenses

Was asked by random stranger for places to purchase cosmetics. Realized that I actually don’t know. Sevenses = PHAIL at being a girl.

Bae Yong Gi, of cabaret trumpet fame. 😀

SONG OF THE DAY

Persona – “Ending” [ Download ]

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Episode 3

Ru Mi gets angry tears when Kang calls the orchestra members ‘trash’. He doesn’t care and gives her a week to arrange practices for the playing to improve. If by that time there is no change, then he will go to the mayor with the truth.

A few others are clumped outside, comforting Hee Yun. Ru Mi tries to convince her to stay, but the housewife and mother of two tearfully explains that she’d joined to relax and have fun, not to be yelled at someone with a forest up where the sun doesn’t shine (err, paraphrase is mine, meaning is hers). She hates being stressed out like this.

The next night, conductor Kang takes Ru Mi to task instead, ordering her to start practicing the violin all over again – from the Do Re Mis (oho i c whut u did thar). He complains along the general lines of “Oh I’m so mighty and fine, why am I stuck with dumb plebes like you, etc etc.”

Gun Woo calls him on using the members of the orchestra to relieve his inner anger.

Gun Woo: Are you feeling better now? Crushing us one by one, does that energize you?
Kang: No. If there was an actual change, it would be different. It’s a waste of energy.
Gun Woo: Then I feel the same way. If you don’t tell us what we’re doing wrong, then it’s also a waste of time.
Kang: Do you also ask your trumpet for permission before playing it? How are your piston movements? Are the tubes blocked anywhere? Do you ask as you play?
Gun Woo: If you would please clarify…
Kang: You are my instruments! I am the one playing upon all these instruments. You are merely accessories to help me play. The old instrument, the young instrument, the cabaret instrument, the drunk instrument, the instrument that likes to talk back –
Gun Woo: I’m a human.
Kang: You are NOT! You are dogs, and I am the master! So shut up and do as I say!

Everyone sits in stunned silence. What an ego. (Also a not so subtle reminder of just why conductor Kang is a crappy human being.) The flautist jumps up happily to leave, having been listening to her mp3 the entire time. Gun Woo takes the opportunity in this break in momentum.

Gun Woo: Are we dogs? Have you ever been bitten by one?
Kang: Never. There was one that tried, and I kicked it aside.

Never let it be said that the man does not have comeback skills. Both the oboist and Gun Woo agree that having everyone tiptoe around the conductor in fear should not continue.

When Kang goes back into his office, presumably to sulk, the cabaret trumpeter walks up to the podium and makes people laugh by imitating the conductor. Gun Woo shamelessly urges him on, and the next night the man gathers enough courage to ask conductor Kang for advice, instead of scolding.

To everyone’s surprise, Kang allows him, and then levels his Phearsome Eyebrow of Disdain at Bae Yong Gi (the cabaret trumpeter). Attempt failed.

After practice, Gun Woo gathers everyone around and asks them to listen to each other, as well as their own part in the piece. Then the security guard gets annoyed at having to stay until midnight – so the entire group relocates to a nearby bay area, which is much nicer anyway. (Btw, this is the scene we saw in the trailers with JGS conducting a group outside.)

There’s a moment of overall harmony, but then Ru Mi starts laughing at Gun Woo’s stiff-armed posture (he’s doing pretty well for a first time conductor with no training), inherited from all those years of directing traffic. The members tease him for his tense expression and jerky movements, and nearly everyone volunteers some sort of comment.

(Ah, team dynamics.)

That night (of course, coming off a midnight practice isn’t enough – night owls, all of them), Gun Woo sneaks to the bookshelves and takes a book on conducting. When caught by Kang, the other fakes insomnia and offers to share his porn, then runs off into his own room.

At home, the old man is doing memory exercises with his impressive CD collection. The flautist comes to the Kim for advice. I have a feeling she’s recounting a sob story to get money from him. (I mean, look at the cellphone, the mp3, the attitude.)

Well, he may have Alzheimer’s, but he’s not dumb. He refuses, and they have a rather ugly fight.

The night practices are paying off, but a difference in opinion on the proper speed of a piece (um, that’s what the number at the beginning of the piece is for). The violins followed the conductor while Gun Woo and Bae Yong Gi play really fast. I wonder which orchestra they tortured to record all this.

Kang raps his stand with the baton, obviously displeased that His Words are being disobeyed. At this point, however, the orchestra is not his anymore, and everyone listens to Gun Woo’s discreet cue to play to a slower beat.

Mr. Kim the oboist cautions Gun Woo to stick to Kang’s beat in the future, even with Ru Mi grumbling that Kang actually hasn’t done anything concrete to make them get better (well, except for the motivating factor of utter terror).

Kim: A maestro is a maestro and has his pride. Conducting is a special talent of men, and is an important position. So we cannot let Kang discover anything.

(Yah. I object. Women can so totally conduct too. Thank you for that piece of sexism. It’s sadly true that gender equality has a long way to go in classical music, but what a way to hit people over the head with it.)

Gun Woo scuffs the floor with his sneaker, and agrees with the old man, even if it means being humbler than he wants to be.

Just as everything is going okayish and the orchestra looks like it has a fighting chance, flautist Ha Yi Deun’s father bursts into the music hall. Ha is angry that his daughter quit school, and even more enraged for all his hard work, she is on her way to becoming a bit of a hoodlum.

Apparently someone called him. Well, the only possible candidate at the moment would be Kim, and that bit about blackmailing senior citizens fits. On the other hand, it just doesn’t seem to be the old man’s style.

Anyway, Ha yells at Kang, misunderstanding the situation, he demands that Kang tell him why he forced Yi Deun to quit music school. Kang, on the other hand, is at his worst and insults the old man – that they are both lazy shirkers. He also sneers at the father’s inadequate education of his daughter, leading to such a shocking lack of manners, etc.

Hmm. Yi Deun follows her parents out (it’s a case of having too much pride that makes her so confrontational). She refuses to go to school even if she does have talent, because she knows her father doesn’t have the means to support her.

The parents, on the other hand, share a mentality that I will vouch for, having seen it with many (Asian) parents here – they’re willing to do anything, as long as Yi Deun will be successful in the future. However, Yi Deun tells them the full amount of school fees, which they know they cannot afford. The father limps away, back turned on his daughter. (I’m guessing they don’t live together, or the dad would have realized beforehand.)

Ru Mi and Kim watch the scene, and Kim maintains that he didn’t reveal any of this, that he only made a phone call. (Um, yeah, explain that one to Yi Deun.)

Now, at least Kim knows Yi Deun wasn’t lying. Unfortunately, she’s also super mad at him. She walks back to demand money from Ru Mi, but as someone who’s responsible for managing the entire orchestra, Ru Mi can’t pay her – she’s always the last one to arrive and the first to leave, she texts during the practice, doesn’t bring the partitions, and is generally insincere.

Yi Deun blames the both of them – as apparently the old man had taken the registration money from her (but unless I’m forgetting something, he didn’t). She had intended to borrow some from Ru Mi and some from Kim to pay for the school fees, but was unable to make ends meet. She flounces away, promising to ruin them all.

Kang comes early to the concert hall and sees the Kim sisters as well as Bae Yong Gi consulting Gun Woo. Jealousy rears its ugly head – Kang picks on Gun Woo during the practice, with unusual results. The young man is forced to admit that he cannot actually read music, and had been playing by ear all along.

Well, Gun Woo shows himself completely able to memorize pieces of music just from one repetition, gathering awed noises from everyone in the room (except for Park, who just likes being contrary). Kang sits thunderstruck, though he also looks capable of generating some flashes of lightning himself.

Kang concedes this battle, though he does tell Gun Woo to go and learn how to read music.

At home, Kang confronts Gun Woo about not knowing how lucky he is to be so gifted (apparently he’s able to memorize entire orchestral movements, not just his own part). Well, he’s also jealous that he himself doesn’t possess such talent, but he’s hardly going to say that to someone who ‘is only worth a stinkbug’.

Anyhoo, Gun Woo leaves for late-night practice, complete with junk-food takeout, while Kang remains at home to mope.

All this is probably not good for Kang’s inferiority complex.

Bae Yong Gi seems to be flirting with Joo Hee (one of the violin playing sisters) and the general atmosphere is super light and happy as everyone cheers each others’ talents on.

Kang followed Gun Woo to the music hall, and arrives just in time to hear Bae Yong Gi’s insanely large mouth heap praise on Gun Woo while criticizing Kang. The conductor pretends to be all jovial, but calls Ru Mi outside.

Gun Woo’s a decent and considerate kid at heart, and agrees to do whatever Kang says to rectify the situation. The conductor tells him to leave, and Gun Woo acquiesces. Ru Mi is appalled but Gun Woo takes responsibility. He tells her that the orchestra cannot do without its conductor and also promises to find another trumpeter for her.

(You know, Kang isn’t using his leadership skills at all – it’s a common saying that you should never give orders that won’t be obeyed, and his order came pretty close.)

Ru Mi, however, sees it from a different light. Gathering up the instrumentalists, helping everyone practice and generally lighting up the mood, Gun Woo has actually become indispensable for the orchestra. In a choice between Kang and Gun Woo (as Ru Mi is forced to consider now), she knows everyone would rather choose Gun Woo.

Both men are shocked. Gun Woo tries to stop Ru Mi – and when have you ever known that to work?

Ru Mi: We’ll be able to cover up the change in conductors. He’s learning to conduct already, and the performance should be fine.
Kang: Is this a circus? Do you only care about covering up?
Ru Mi: Yeah, I can’t plan ahead, I don’t care about the quality of the performance as long as we can play. I’m not dumb. It’s more dangerous for us to have you anyway. You humiliate us, look down on us, and we can take that. But…
Kang: But what? You can’t take it anymore?
Ru Mi: I can endure it, because I started everything, and even if you step on me and spit on me, I won’t say a word against you. But I can’t watch you do that to the others. We need someone who will encourage us and cheer us on the most. We need a conductor like that. And it’s Gun Woo, not you.

OWWWWWWW.

Kang leaves, truly hurt.

Somewhere else, Hee Yun apologizes to her family for being so absent of late, while her (caricature) family stomp all over her feelings by being callous and uncaring. While shopping, she is nudged aside for another customer, which causes her to break down in tears.

You know, her feeling of being neglected probably mirrors Kang’s.

Ru Mi and Gun Woo make a late entrance to midnight practice only to see Kang standing there. Tonight’s session will be his last, and he shows off his classical education (and proves his own quality) by first giving them a history on the background of the piece (‘Gabriel’s Oboe’, from The Mission), and then going into the various nuances necessary for the piece.

His actions scream for a comparison between the two conductors the orchestra’s had, but it’s a pity it takes so long to get him civil.

He asks them to listen to the piece with their eyes closed, and to feel the mood of the piece. The members find themselves transported to a beautifully pastoral outdoor scene. (For ze awesome magic of ze conductor!)

This is, appropriately, one of the better sounding renditions. (Also, do not watch them playing.) Ru Mi and Gun Woo are both watching Kang, and not their own partitions – I’m guessing they like what they see.

(See, this is what happens when you conduct properly, his attitude says.)

Kang demands a first-class ticket and announces his intention to leave the orchestra. Gun Woo understands that they’re both in deep trouble. The rest of the orchestra mills about, disturbed that Kang is leaving just as he shows the true depth of his skill.

At home, Kang is already packed up and ready to go.

Gun Woo: You’ve always annoyed me.
Kang: As a farewell, that one has particular impact. But you didn’t need to come all this way to say it. I think everyone already knows that.
Gun Woo: Using sarcasm to put people down, praising yourself until everyone else is uncomfortable, if even slightly offended, you strike back with almost savage intensity – that’s too lowly of you. All that, and your personality annoy me a lot.

Kang counters that at least he is not pretending to befriend while aiming to hurt, and the general idea is that they should be kissing the ground in thanks that he is not another bloodsucker. (Um. Sure.) Well, Kang closes the door on his career in Korea. But wait! Gun Woo speaks!

Gun Woo: But I admit to your skill. You are truly the best. This kind of thing is embarrassing, but it’s the first time since I was little that music has felt so wonderful. Maybe you don’t believe me, but I’m telling the truth.
Kang: What’s wrong with you? Did you forget that you’re the one waving a baton like a maniac on my podium? Such a change, you shock me.
Gun Woo: Please stay as our conductor. And I want to learn from you.

(All this through a closed door. Symbolism!)

Kang snarks back that he hopes Gun Woo isn’t expecting a ‘yes’ under the circumstances. (The inner fangirl, she jumps and whoops and does cartwheels.) Gun Woo continues to make humble, while Kang takes this chance to tear him apart as much as he can.

Awww. Gun Woo is really sincere about having recognized his own deficiency – and this touches Kang – however, Kang is determined to punish the orchestra members for not knowing what was in front of their eyes.

Kang stays up all night thinking about what Ru Mi said to him on the subject of his not being good enough. He’s really actually holding out for an apology, from which vantage point he can graciously forgive Ru Mi and return to conducting for their orchestra. (It’s cute that his ringtone is the title theme.) Alas, that Ru Mi has gone and taken him seriously. She has bought his return ticket.

Meanwhile, Yi Deun risks certain death to flag down the mayor’s car and to tell him the truth about what’s happening over at the orchestra.

Ru Mi hands the envelope with tickets inside – and severely annoys him with her refusal to back down and apologize. Well, she does apologize, but she thinks that she isn’t able to keep him here, which is TOTES NOT THE CASE, RU MI, WAKE UP.

Lol, both Ru Mi and Kang get a phone call at the same time – Ru Mi from the mayor’s assistant, and Kang, presumably from the mayor himself. The mayor’s found out about the truth.

End episode.

Commentary/Rambling:

– Come on, hands up, who admits to liking Kang Gun Woo the elder despite his asshattery (esp after the preview of ep4, zomg)? There were many moments of squee. 😀 😀 😀 If I flail or fangirl too much, let me know. I tend to get carried away.

– It occurs to me that if JGS’s or KMM’s character had been a girl, doing this whole living in a house, working in the same orchestra thing, plus all this tension over musical talents and what not would have led in a strictly romantic direction. Nonetheless, I look forward to what they’re going to do.

– I hate to say this, but LJA seems to be the weak link in this acting triumvirate.

Sevenses

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23 September 20, 2008January 24, 2016

Beethoven Virus: Episode 4

by Sevenses

GRR. Did you know that some companies in China are adding fertilizer to their baby formula? I mean, I am not a nutritionist, but I’m pretty fucking sure that infants (or normal adults) are not meant to withstand pure nitrogen/phosphorus/potassium salts. It’s one thing when big companies knowingly coerce third world governments into distributing baby formula to the detriment of mothers who have no sources of clean water, but it’s another thing to coldheartedly put poison into food for babies – and then price them cheaply so more people will purchase your product.

If you live in China – check the packaging! Am off contemplating ways of tearing their throats out.

Anyway, ahem. PSA/rant over – the recap continueth.

For once, JGS acts his age.

SONG OF THE DAY

Soulzean – “이번 한번만” (Just this one time) [ Download ]

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Episode 4

The mayor is suffering from the side-effects of drinking too much – he’s throwing up in the office, though it probably doesn’t help that he’s under tons of stress from the surprise revelations.

Ru Mi is sitting in his office – and the secretary gestures to her that they will both be lucky to keep their jobs. Kang arrives and frankly outlines what has been going on to the mayor – the loss of 3 billion (Korean, not USD) to the swindler as well as the blackmail attempt that took advantage of Beethoven’s sickness. Kang really isn’t very king to the mayor, though – he can’t abide idiots, I guess.

Kang enjoys seeing Ru Mi squirm under the mayor’s admonitions.

Just as Kang is about to leave, the mayor gets a call from Jung Myung Hwan, Kang’s erstwhile schoolmate and bitter rival (only in Kang’s head). The mayor looks like a child caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Incensed that his rival is being called to as a substitute, Kang demands that they find another replacement (the idea being that this orchestra needs a conductor who will continue in much the same style).

However, the mayor has statistics on his side. (Oh, stats! How thou art deceitful.) Kang is acknowledged to be the perfect conductor by all his colleagues, but he’s never stayed with one orchestra for more than 6 months – his attitude and reputation  of being an ‘orchestra killer’ also strike fear into the hearts of many an orchestra member. (Even if they are all highly qualified professionals.)

Ooh, and then the mayor tells him that the choice of conductor rests with them.

Ru Mi interjects that maybe this conductor Jung is the same type (lol, big mouth syndrome strikes again).  But the mayor doesn’t care – in any case, it can’t get worse than the present situation.

Kang continues to be annoyed at being ranked inferior to Jung in the art of conducting. He eyes a teabag in an abandoned cup and picks it up, comparing Jung to the used teabag. Then he chews on it a while, commenting that there is still a certain fragrance to it. (Lol, the mayor’s eyes bug out to there.)

The conductor stands up and declares his intent to continue on as the maestro of this particular orchestra, and leaves. The mayor has already settled matters with Jung, however, and feels particularly annoyed that his universe is not running smoothly.

Ru Mi does things haphazardly, but she’s been around Kang long enough to recognize the style, and runs off to Kang – who is poking at the elevator buttons trying to make a dramatic exit. She leads him to the one that’s working, off behind a potted plant. He asks her to postpone the concert as much as possible (current timetable gives them 2 weeks).

Wow, Kang shuts Ru Mi out of the elevator and makes her run downstairs as well as contact all the members of the at the same time.

Once they’re all there, he gives them the most interesting pep talk I’ve heard in a while: You are all too kind, no, not kind, you have been stupid and slow. For your parents, your children, you have sacrificed yourselves! Well, now is the time to become selfish again.

Basically he wants them to give their all to the orchestra – but man, what a weird way to do it – talking the members down instead of making them feel loved and welcome. Kang gives people the choice of opting out. Park tentatively wants to go home, but Kang reveals that he’s locked the door and the only way any of them can exit is by climbing down the building.

Well.

He begins a period of intensive practice and it’s like boot camp schedule practicing for all them. During the first piece, the double bass, oboe and flute all have problems, which he identifies and corrects with one sentence. Behold their awe. (Yeah, I want to know why he didn’t bother before the threat of having Jung take his place.)

Kang has awesome powers of conduction, but the members of the orchestra are super intimidated by his fierce attitude and very very exacting standards. He leaves them off to practice for an hour, and seeks quiet in the side room, when Jung comes in, dreadlocked hair flying every way from Sunday.

Jung’s very childlike. He actually doesn’t want this post, because leading adults is very different from leading children (apparently on Sicily he created a ‘miraculous’ orchestra of children). For one thing, all of them have their own minds. And as Jung says, Kang sees his own way too firmly to be able to understand and empathize with the instrumentalists in his orchestra.

Back in the music hall, everyone’s practicing (my heart goes out to those poor instruments, esp the strings, the poor things). Gun Woo still hasn’t lost his ESP-like knowledge about how to improve the sound, though he refuses (to the distress of all the other members) to act as stand-in for the conductor anymore.

The two violin sisters flirt with him about their sounds – which annoys Ru Mi, because she’s trying to organize a run through the complete piece (no ulterior motive in breaking that one up. Nope. None at all.)

Jung is still talking on and on about how Kang’s conducting style creates very high levels of stress for the instrumentalists, and that amateurs don’t play well under pressure. Kang thinks he can do it, even if it kills the rest of the orchestra.

Under the threat of an impending Kang temper fit, Jung escapes.

Kang walks outside, listening to the orchestra practice – they sound super good, compared to earlier. Once again, Kang gives in to the urge to peek inside, and sees the orchestra practicing by itself. Ru Mi gets up to stop everyone in an awkward place, while Gun Woo talks them around the concept and atmosphere of the piece (yay research) – then everyone kids around about the proper sound made by a sheep.

The members are happy and kidding around with each other, they’re not stressed and definitely feel motivated to try to make it better, which is what Jung was trying to tell Kang earlier, “Make them happy, and you will get better results.” He realizes also that his own particular style just won’t cut it and walks away a thoughtful man.

HEE. I ♥ Kang.

When Gun Woo comes to get Kang – to see if they’ve improved or not, Kang is wearing an arm brace/sling. It looks like he broke his arm, but we know better. Gun Woo is all distressed and envisioning WW3 in his head, but when Kang tells him to conduct, he just looks panicked.

Kang tells him to nurture the orchestra as if he was a mother, to teach when needed and to encourage at other times.

In any case, his arm will ‘get better’ in two weeks, which is exactly in time for the concert, and everything should be fine. He just needs a substitute for these two weeks of practice. (Awww. Kang is such a stubborn snark.)

Gun Woo is over the moon (and worried at the same time) at being asked, and so his training (under the guise of being a puppet for Kang) begins.

Instead of picking apart the way the instrumentalists play, Kang delegates the sweet-talking and disciplining to Gun Woo, preferring to stay off to the side in his chair of comfort and giving heated directions to the younger man. He can tell Gun Woo has natural talent, but his posture totally goes to pieces when he gets into whatever that’s being played.

Still, the orchestra makes leaps and bounds.

The mayor wants to get rid of all the notices and stop the concert – but first his secretary resists, and then he bumps into a rival for the mayorship, who definitely puts a rest to his notions of canceling the concert. Yay for underhanded info-leaking by the secretary.

Lol, taking overreaction to a new realm, the mayor bursts into the music hall and demands that they continue with the concert no matter what. Luckily Kang is the one on the podium. To add insult to injury the mayor decides to sit in on their practice, much to everyone’s annoyance, and tries to make people listen to him. (Now we know that Kang’s top pet peeve, besides name-dropping Jung Myung Hwan, is trying to control ‘his’ orchestra.)

Wow. Kang uses the facts to his advantage and takes the mayor to task for daring to say that his orchestra members are not professional – nay – unqualified! He names Schubert, William Tell, Chopin, Schumann, Vivaldi and other well-known composers as an example of people who never achieved fame in their lifetimes because of the prejudice against inexperience.

To further embarrass the mayor for being a narrow-minded elitist (and doing a rapid 180 to his previous rants and spiels) – he narrates his own story of being impoverished – he had no money in high school so he snuck to his school at night to practice. In order to join a competition, he sold his bicycle and books but still ended up being disqualified. (He chokes up, so either he’s telling the truth or a heck of an actor.)

Ru Mi can’t stand the mayor condescending to Kang anymore, and stands up for him, but this only aggravates the mayor into firing her. Then Kang surprises everyone by telling her to sit back down – and forbids the mayor to interfere with his orchestra members. In a contest of wills between Kang and the mayor, dudes, the mayor is as jelly in the hands of a grubby five year old.

Funnily enough, according to the conductor, the right to look down on the musicians belongs to Kang alone, and no one else is allowed to be mean to them. (Such authority.)

The mayor refuses to apologize for intruding on the practice session and gives dictation to his secretary to the effects of making the conductor responsible for the success (or failure) of the concert. Ooh. Why don’t they break out the gauntlets and be done with it?

Well, not one to be outdone, Kang sallies with a question about whether the mayor has had a foot massage or not. Everyone is nonplussed until Kang makes the promise that he had a part-time job during grad school along these lines, and if the concert is not well-received, then he will spend the rest of his life giving the mayor foot massages.

In short: GTFO.

Everyone, and I mean everyone, is dazzled by the awesomeness. (Dazzled!)

At night, Ru Mi is going over practice groups and events with Kang, who isn’t exactly softened, but at least nicer. One of the violinists sends a cute card full of internet speak to Kang, who is slightly miffed (and mystified) at the lack of honorifics – however, the card sincerely thanks him for being so awesome (her words, not mine) and he’s appeased.

Ru Mi asks Kang, all shy-like, if he really meant it when he said that the orchestra was his – because this means he recognizes them – and he confirms that indeed, the conductor and instrumentalists should be of the same mind. He also adds that in case the concert goes badly, she will be the one to give the mayor foot massages. (ROFLMAO, spoken in true Kang fashion.)

There is a Moment, and then Kang gets back to business. He accidentally reveals that his right hand is actually fine while flipping through the orchestra planner. Ru Mi grins.

She slyly compliments him, but then Kang totally objects to putting Gun Woo on the second solo. Speak of the devil! Gun Woo arrives, all agog that the date has been postponed for a week – it’s the day he starts work again. And because he was disciplined, not on vacation, pushing the date back is really difficult (well, if it were easy we’d have no plot).

The conductor gets up to face Gun Woo – to him, the choice is simple. Quit his job and play in the orchestra.

Ooh, Kang is disappointed in Gun Woo for his indecision, and tells Ru Mi to put Gun Woo as the first solo in the second part after all. He’s basically making it harder for Gun Woo to stop playing, since he knows the other guy has a thing about not letting others down.

Kang shouts at Gun Woo for a bit, and the younger one walks away, defeated. Ru Mi chases after him with a few words of encouragement, but Gun Woo’s not in the mood, I guess, and continues to walk.

Well, his boss is short of people, the (fictional) APEC summit being really near. The only way Gun Woo can be free that day is if he quits. His colleagues are having trouble believing the honest and helpful Gun Woo is the man standing in front of them…

*Sigh* Choices, choices.

Ru Mi is interviewing trumpeters again, and the snotty one from before is all smiles and pleading when he sees that the conductor is Kang Gun Woo. (Wow, such an attitude change! Well, at least it’s saving money.) Unfortunately, none of them can measure up to Gun Woo – plus, this guy is like the soul of the orchestra.

Kang is angry enough to tear his hair out at having trusted Gun Woo to carry the orchestra. Ru Mi apologizes some more, like a true shoujo heroine, taking all the blame on her own shoulders. She promises that if they do have a bad concert, then she will be the one to massage the mayor’s feet – for as long as he lives (in which case I think a few people can be inspired to assassinate him).

However, herr Kang assures her that as the person holding the baton, the performance will go smashingly. He also encourages her to hold her head up, using the rather amusing analogy that a rooster that is down cannot win its fight. (Reference to cockfighting.)

Another Moment.

Kim tracks Yi Deun down – she’s working at a grocery store. He’s willing to pay her (and tells her that she’s better than the current flautist), but she’s playing hard to get and demanding that he apologize. (Um, when they find out she leaked the swindling – plot device aside – they’re going to be v. angry.)

He leaves the envelope on the counter – and Yi Deun opens it gleefully only to find a ticket for the concert inside. 😀 Wily.

Gun Woo is still trying to find his supervisor (the big honcho and not the sergeant), who seems to be using all his policing skillz to avoid him. Gun Woo really wants to play at the concert, and he seems to have made up his mind already – he just needs someone to nudge him along.

While making phone calls to potential trumpeters (ah, Ru Mi, your cellphone provider loves you), she hears Hee Yun being yelled at by her overbearing husband. He’s just being unreasonable, which would be okay if he thought she was cheating, but no, it’s just his control freak tendancies and misogyny rearing their heads at the same time. Also, he’s probably jealous that she has a full life outside of the family while he’s stuck with a bald pate.

Ru Mi confirms Mrs. Jung’s activities, which doesn’t calm the husband down, for reasons stated above. Well, everyone has a limit, you know, and Hee Yun screams right back at her husband. (Who’s a bit of a stereotype, but whatever rolls.)

It’s just not his month. Kang is quietly making notations on the sheet music when Hee Yun staggers in drunkenly, looking for Gun Woo (who has been MIA for the better part of two days now). Kang puts on his stern face, but the truth is he doesn’t know what to do, the poor socially maladjusted man.

Ru Mi runs around while Kang tries to handle Hee Yun hitting rock bottom. She calls Gun Woo, who refuses to answer, being hot on the stationary trail of his boss. A superior scolds him for treating his girlfriend so callously. LOL. If only he knew.

Hmm. Gun Woo’s pretty popular with his gruff and down-to-earth colleagues, who, one way or another, try to look out for him.

Meanwhile, Kang is having no success reaching the police to chase Hee Yun off. Trying to appease her, he tells her that calling her playing ‘dog crap’ was because her bowing, fingering and technique were all off – and yet if her sound wasn’t so stifled and melancholy, he would have stood for that. This sets her off on another tangent – the Saga of the Sadly Neglected Jung Hee Yun, Wife of An Overbearing Ogre, Mother of Ungrateful Children, and Dutiful Daughter-in-law.

And, of course, Callously Wronged by Her Conductor. Poor Kang. He looks like his head is going to explode into delightfully sharp pieces. He suggests that they talk this over when she’s sober, and beats a rapid retreat.

Ru Mi comes to Gun Woo’s house, only to find a much-tormented Kang who requests that she clean up the mess inside. (You can see the question marks pop into existence around Ru Mi’s head.)

Hee Yun is asleep on the floor, hugging her cello. She’s still not completely sober and this shows when Ru Mi unwisely calls Hee Yun’s rather worried husband, who’s totally willing to chalk this down to momentary insanity. Alas for him.

That night at practice, Gun Woo walks in and announces that he absolutely cannot play at the concert – Kang the elder is equally unwilling to back down and announces that if he ruins the concert by not being there, then he will have wasted everyone’s efforts for the past two months.

Gun Woo looks so miserable.

End episode.

Commentary/Rambling:

– You know, not a recap doesn’t go by that I accidentally type Sujini instead of Ru Mi. What is wrong with me?!?!?!

– Kang is the sort of man who expects a lot of other musicians because he himself has give so damn much to it. Cool points = +10^854897478238479231 for this episode, because I can.

– Hmm, so much action, and only the fourth episode. I hope they don’t end up triangulating their love in the last four episodes. That would be a serious let-down. ETA: after the preview, I’m rather afraid they’re going to do too much. Um, like, way to dump all the problems down at once. (Um, Hee Yun being dragged off by an irate husband, Kim’s Alzheimer’s finally manifesting, Yi Deun using her flute to play baseball with a metal post, Gun Woo not showing up and then sort of showing up, and uh, Ru Mi losing her hearing? All this before the concert, of course. Dude, let the plot breathe.)

– Many thanks to Luv, who continues to provide the wonderful screencaps.

Sevenses

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34 September 25, 2008January 24, 2016

Beethoven Virus: Episode 5

by Sevenses

Have tried to make the recap more coherent instead of jumping from scene to scene, as is my wont. 😀

Screencaps credit to Luv.

KMM, the consummate conductor.

SONG OF THE DAY

Beethoven Virus OST – “들리나요” (Do you hear it) by Tae Yeon [ Download ]

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Episode 5

We start off from last’s week’s shocker revelation: Gun Woo will not be playing in the concert because his superiors absolutely refuse to allow him a day off for the concert.

However, an entire solo has been allotted to him, and it’s no use moving it to someone else after two months of intense practice. Kang refuses to allow Gun Woo to back out, but the younger man goes home anyway.

After practice, Ru Mi visits Gun Woo with the reassurance that there are 5 candidates for the trumpet positions. What’s worrying her is Gun Woo’s general lackluster mood, as well as his abrupt abandonment of his conducting ambitions. Instead of giving a direct answer, Gun Woo steals a brochette from Ru Mi and munches on it.

He comments that it needs marinating in soju, which then segues into a monologue about how he had actually tried many different things when he was young and just out of the army. It wasn’t that he didn’t like being carefree and doing things on his own schedule, but rather that money always remained an issue.

To Gun Woo, things like the performance are not necessary. He does have a passion for conducting, but he would prefer to live an ordinary, quiet life (with a wife and 2.4 kids – middle-ageism is catching). It’s really a fear of trying and then failing, because Gun Woo thinks that afterwards, he won’t have anything to fall on.

A rather melancholy trumpet plays in the background as Gun Woo makes fun of himself for being so useless, even if ordinary life is already hard enough. Ru Mi is, as we all know, a very sympathetic kind of person, and immediately rushes to make him feel better. He hands the brochette back to her, and tells Ru Mi to leave.

Once inside his room, we see that Gun Woo is less decided than he says he is – the trumpet and police uniform are laid out side by side on his bed.

Another night, another practice, and of course, another obstacle to a good concert – Ru Mi’s fellow alumnae and senior is moving away with his company. It’s just a few days before the performance and Ru Mi’s headache just gets worse.

Park meets up with Gun Woo at a roadside eatery and tries to convince himself that moving away and withdrawing from the orchestra is the right thing to do. He fails, but alcohol does the job.

Meanwhile, the city’s music hall buzzes with the arrangements for the upcoming concert. Posters of Kang are placed everywhere, there is excitement in the air (and a general impression of doom, too, for the people who saw the preview).

Racking up points on the Drama Improbability Scale, Ru Mi bumps into Gun Woo in the street. He’s dressed (very sharply) in his official police uniform, while she’s got her performance clothes in a plastic cover. They stand at quite a distance from each other, and converse cordially. (JGS has gone back to the Angsty Silent Hero Standard.)

During the conversation, Ru Mi lies rather badly about having found another trumpeter, and moves the topic to him – is he sure he won’t regret not participating in the performance? Gun Woo looks pained but only mentions that her shoes don’t match.

We get a glimpse at all the orchestra members’ preparations for the concert.

Of particular note is Park’s distinct unhappiness at having to go with his company. He even yells at his well-meaning (and pregnant) wife for spending money unnecessarily on a new tux for the performance. (Dude, never unreasonably yell at a pregnant woman. She will cry, and then slap you to death.)

Hee Yun’s husband catches news from the corner veggie store about his wife’s whereabouts and runs off in fury. (And the trouble begins…)

At the performance centre, the two sisters complain that the entire audience seems to be composed of elementary school kids. Well, they have a right to, I mean, the mayor cut corners on the advertising with the intention to sabotage and now they can only rely on the schools to pull off a full house. (Which isn’t too smart of the mayor – his political future is rather dependent on the success of this performance, you’d think he would try to make everything work – though maybe he thinks people will forget about it, the way people often do.)

The other trumpeter, Bae Yong Gi, is having fun entertaining the kids down in the lobby. Ahh, little kids. How cute, and yet how fearsome in packs. Bae and the violin sisters wonder where both their ‘Kang maestros’ are…

Well, Gun Woo is back in traffic police uniform, and a very calm Kang approaches him, risking his life in the process of crossing the street with no regard for moving cars. (The man does not dodge or weave, he is confident that no car would dare to hit him. He may be right.)

Calm or not, the older man intends to put the fear of God/music into Gun Woo. He snarks about Gun Woo wasting his conducting lessons on directing traffic, and reminds him that the performance is at 6, and he is still expected to play the solo. I love KMM’s expression when he asks Gun Woo whether or not he is happy in his job – it’s the right mix of anticipation, disdain and fond exasperation.

When Gun Woo turns away to direct traffic, Kang questions his insistence on viewing conducting as an unattainable dream. If Gun Woo isn’t trying, then it only means that he doesn’t want it enough. You know, Kang really sounds like a father upbraiding his son for not having enough courage to go after what he wants in life. 😀

Kang goes above and beyond the usual duty of a conductor to convince Gun Woo to pursue conducting (really, it’s no skin off his nose if GW doesn’t) – he knows that Gun Woo will probably regret it for the rest of his life. With that, Kang leaves to see to the performance.

At the music hall, the mayor greets an assortment of distinguished guests and sits down. On the other side of the stage, Kang finds his inner peace and takes up his conductor’s baton with a reverent look. He hears the strains of cello from nearby and peeks into a practice room to see Hee Yun putting herself through a few bars that have been giving her trouble – and leaves her to practice.

Outside on the street, Gun Woo is dealing with his existential angst. Well, the traffic is going ignored – and predictably, minor disaster ensues.

The orchestra members gather in a small hall the minutes before the performance. Poor Ru Mi is going through migraines again and swallows what looks like her fourth bottle of painkillers as Bae notes that Hee Yun isn’t here.

Hee Yun is in a bathroom stall, trying to compose herself. When she realizes what time it is, she rushes out of the bathroom, only to come face to face with the hubby. Well, he drags her away in a fit of fury, while Bae unsuccessfully tries to free her.

He runs back to Ru Mi in the entryway of the music hall, who decides to let everyone enter anyway. Just then a sharp peal rings (I’m not sure if it’s the door or Ru Mi’s ears) and Ru Mi falls to the ground in the type of pain that usually induces the lead female to faint. (But she’s made of sterner stuff than that, even if her acting pales in comparison to KMM.)

On the stage, Ru Mi’s world dissolves in a monotone ringing, and then all sound gets muffled. Kang shakes hands with her, a traditional gesture of courtesy between the first violin and the conductor for all the hard work the other has put in. Kang notices something wrong, and Ru Mi tells him that she can’t hear anymore – he only nods, and resumes his place at the podium.

The beginning of the piece goes really well, but then Ru Mi begins to notice the others looking at her strangely. There’s a moment of being lost, and then she looks back at Kang, who draws her in and anchors her into the piece, guiding her through the playing. In a rather clever bit of sound-editing, we exchange perspectives from Ru Mi’s to Kang’s – first we feel her panic at being in a sea of silence, and then we have Kang’s voiceover cutting in with his typical common-sense instruction to follow his gestures.

(How do they communicate? I shall put it down to the holy union between a good conductor and his instrumentalist.)

It just goes to show how good Kang is, that he can make Ru Mi understand what to do in a situation like this. Ru Mi doesn’t really hear silence, as it is, it’s more of a really low note that thrums threateningly.

Other than that, the piece really is quite nice.

Far away, Gun Woo is in the middle of a chaotic mess of enraged drivers and one heck of a congested intersection. The beeping of the cars slowly morph into a rather tinny version of the piece the orchestra is playing – and he feels himself transported to a beautiful river. Gun Woo understands what this means, and drops his traffic baton. (Run, Forrest, run!)

Stress levels have gone down after the successful run through their first piece, and Ru Mi regains her hearing during Kang’s personal mike test (consists of calling her all sorts of names, hee).

The second piece begins, and Gun Woo is still running (goodbye, hat). Kang is in his element, directing a flawless-sounding orchestra.

During the interlude, everyone walks off for a small bout of refreshing and retuning. Gun Woo, to Kang’s annoyance, still hasn’t made an appearance. As he’s making a tour of the changing rooms, he notices Hee Yun’s abandoned cello case and remembers her rant of unhappiness. Kang asks for Ru Mi’s cellphone and calls Hee Yun.

We switch scenes to see a tearful Hee Yun being driven home by her wrathful husband. When she picks up the phone, Kang tells Hee Yun that she is to play the solo (um, which will involve a good amount of shuffling and alteration on the partition, or is this solo thing negotiable?) Anyhoo, due to a fortuitous distraction, Hee Yun is able to get off the car and start running back.

In order to wait for the soloist, Kang has shuffled the order of the pieces. The mayor is confuzzled, until Jung Myung Hwan explains the obvious – there’s a problem with the soloist.

Park, sitting in an army of cardboard boxes at his office, is glued to the internet broadcast of the concert. He notes also that the order has been shifted – just as his wife walks in and drags him off to the concert. (She knows that he is just itching to be there.) They make it in time for the end of the third piece.

Thing are going well on the orchestra side, but the little kids in the audience are getting restive, and finally erupt into noisy shrieking. Kang looks like he’s just on this side of restraining himself from killing the children.

(Before… and after…)

Well, the mess in the audience does play into Kang’s need to wait for his soloist(s). He plays ‘Ah vous dirai-je, Maman’ (aka ‘Twinkle twinkle, little star’) on the piano, and proceeds to entertain the children while subtly reminding them of the rules of behaviour in the music hall. (Well, as subtle as you can get with kids.)

Jung Myung Hwan laughs himself to death in the audience (the mayor is only bemused) – well, Jung probably has a right to be amused when the Kang he knows is usually so dour.

Hee Yun rushes up in time to get her cello and settle on the soloist position. Various members of the audience register their astonishment, because Hee Yun really isn’t the best of their orchestra. Yi Deun opines that Kang has gone crazy at last.

Her husband runs in after her and stands right under the stage threateningly. Hee Yun thinks of all the things she’s suffered and steels herself through the solo. Gun Woo runs in from the audience’s entrance, way too winded to be of any use even if he did arrive in time.

Yay! Hee Yun pulls the solo off flawlessly and receives a standing ovation.

(Sevenses takes a moment to soak up the happy.)

Gun Woo changes with the speed of light and makes his way to the stage after the second interlude. Kang makes a salutary speech as to why they chose to end with William Tell (only parts of the overture, not the entire thing :D). The instrumentalists are all pumped and ready, and what’s more, they know he has faith in them. They start off on the piece.

At the pivotal moment of silence before the final crescendo, everyone takes a moment to remind themselves to do well – this is where they always make a mistake. However, tonight it’s a success!

Another standing ovation, and even if Kang has his poker face on, he’s totally happy. Happy members of the orchestra are taking pictures in every available corner, with their family, friends etc. Gun Woo looks for his supervisor, but Ru Mi manages to nab him for a photo in the changing rooms.

During the exceptionally long posing, Gun Woo answers Ru Mi’s whispered query – he’s now completely without a job. He jokingly tells her that she’s responsible for him now, and holds onto her hand. (Sneaky.) Then he mentions that standing together like this makes them look like a married couple. (Headdesking ensues. Subtlety, thy name is not Kang Gun Woo.)

Ru Mi likes it, for all she pretends to be amused.

Kim Gab Yong, the elderly oboist, packs up his oboe and leaves without anyone noticing him. Hee Yun smiles sadly at the her fellow instrumentalists, surrounded by exclaiming friends and family, and goes out in the hallway to call her husband (he’s probably breathing fire by now).

But oh! Surprise! He’s waiting for her and cuts her apology short with a speech of his own. It seems that in the days she’s been gone, he has begun to finally appreciate what she has been doing for the family, and is willing to let this continue if she does her share of the housework.

Awww. They take a photo together in the empty hallway.

Outside, Park leaves with the rest of the audience, answering his daughter’s questions and absolutely refusing to go in and congratulate his erstwhile orchestra. He’s a rather unsubtle reminder of what Gun Woo could become (wife, kids, job 2.0) if he doesn’t follow what he loves: torn between two things and unable to enjoy either one.

Ru Mi is collecting partitions from the stands when she sits down and remembers Kang guiding her through the piece.

Tae Yeon’s ‘I’m a Fool‘ plays:

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Kang is standing at the entrance to the stage, demanding his partitions. He changes his mind and asks her to mail them to New York. He’s planning to leave right away. Ru Mi gets all teary and asks if he can’t possibly stay for a while longer.

Meanwhile, the mayor’s secretary (he who is slyly supportive) grabs Gun Woo and asks him for Kang’s location, because there is Big News. Gun Woo himself is also looking for Kang, but for a different reason.

On the stage, Ru Mi does her puppy dog eyes, but Kang is obstinate and insists on knowing why he should stay longer in Korea. He demands twelve reasons and Ru Mi gives them to him – they’re all the same – in order to understand him better.

Even better for dramatic tension, Gun Woo walks in and relays the message from the mayor for a meeting. Kang callously asks Gun Woo to translate Ru Mi’s cryptic speech, which confuses Gun Woo. When they’re alone, Ru Mi changes the subject super fast and runs off to the celebration banquet.

The mayor is doing major damage control here, as the performance has impressed enough important people that he now wants to establish it as a permanent institution. He needs to be in the conductor’s good books for that to happen. Kang refuses. (What I want to know is, why is Jung there?) He cites a very busy schedule.

In the changing rooms, the orchestra breathlessly asks one question after another to the secretary, but it all hinges on whether or not Kang is willing to lead them.

Ru Mi calls Kang, knowing that he’d refuse, however, he turns the phone off without even answering. The mayor leaves, having to butter up to other people (the ones who give him money for this project, I bet).

Aha! Jung is there to talk Kang around to the idea. He mentions that the conditions for acceptance are very enticing: this orchestra comes with a lifetime contract, which means it would belong to Kang and Kang only.

It’s what Kang has wanted his entire life. Jung leaves, but Kang is still undecided. (It’s obvious that he really wants it.)

At the celebratory dinner, everyone is simmering with speculation over what Kang will decide. When Kang gets to the restaurant, everyone stands up and salutes him – and breaks into applause when he announces the intent to stay with the city’s orchestra.

The catch is, he intends to do it with professional instrumentalists. (Kang, when will you learn the power of the proletariat?)

End episode.

Commentary/Rambling:

– Well, that’s it, the Ru Mi – Gun Woo relationship is doomed. Kang gets both shmoopy love songs from the soundtrack, which means, well, you know what it means. Admittedly the second one is only the instrumental version (Hwan Hee) but still. That counts for a lot.

– Mr. Convenient plot device, hello and goodbye. I hope Ru Mi goes for a check-up anyway, because tinnitus followed by temporary deafness usually spells something worse lurking around. Or she doesn’t, you know, and this boomerangs back 10 episodes later to distress everyone.

– The beginning was really quite depressing. At one point I wanted to bash Gun Woo with the Rock of Awareness because it’s obvious he won’t be happy with policing after working with the orchestra, but he has to go all stubborn on us and create plot troubles.

Sevenses

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20 September 27, 2008January 24, 2016

Beethoven Virus: Episode 6

by Sevenses

BV tends to err on the side of the predictable, but it’s an enjoyable watch, nonetheless.

Que l’amour est beau!

As always, many thanks to Luv for lending her screencaps.

SONG OF THE DAY

Loptimist – “Ghostwrite” [ Download ]

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Episode 6

Well, everyone’s joy at hearing the orchestra formally established vanishes like dust up a vacuum when Kang explains that he’s decided to only hire professionals to play for his new orchestra. Not only that, but he also belittles the members’ contributions to the success, and literally takes all the credit for the city council’s decision to have an orchestra in the first place. He leaves behind a group of very angry people.

Ru Mi is more disappointed than angry, however, and asks him to at least let them audition. Kang tells her that this team is really just not strong enough for his tastes. There is also a long monologue about how he is the honest one, as opposed to Jung Myung Hwan, who will coat the news in sugar but drop them nonetheless. I think he’s trying to rationalize his decision as the general gist of his speech to Ru Mi points out that an honest bastard is better than a lying nice guy. (Maybe, but it’s still not the done thing.)

In addition, Kang marks her out as the worst of the lot, having gone deaf and all that. He’s hiding his concern for people under a tough coat again, as he suggests snottily that she should go see a doctor. Ru Mi is in the valley of Denial, so he sends her to an ear expert who’s a friend of his for a checkup. (He has friends?!)

The next day, she goes through a few scans, and though we aren’t told the diagnosis just yet, her reaction (crouching in the middle of the street and covering her ears) seems to indicate that it isn’t good.

That night, at a roadside eatery, Bae, Hee Yun, Kim and Ru Mi sit together and drink their share of alcohol. Gun Woo ducks in out of nowhere, and tells everyone he went to the police station to tender his resignation. Upon hearing this, Ru Mi, already three sheets to the wind, pats Gun Woo on both cheeks and calls him a pitiful boy.

Gun Woo, on the other hand, seems to be completely at peace (besides being a little disturbed at Ru Mi’s current mental state). The others grumble about not hearing a single thing from Kang about auditions, and down more alcohol. This being Gun Woo’s night to shock people, he tells them that Park, the double bass player (double bassist, double bass-er?) got a phone call from Kang and has an audition.

This is the last straw for Bae, but he stops shouting when he hears that Kim has also received a call – however, the old man knows he has Alzheimer’s and has told Kang that he will consider it. Everyone surreptitiously checks their cellphones, making sure that Kang hasn’t called them – and then Gun Woo’s phone rings.

It’s from Kang – who tells him that this call does not mean, in any way, shape or form, that Gun Woo will be guaranteed a spot. It’s just that his bravery in resigning and deciding to pursue music has touched Kang – and he’s throwing out a pity line for Gun Woo. (Yeah, right, pull the other leg, Kang, we no longer believe in your cold-blooded asshattery.)

Gun Woo is rendered very speechless and can only repeat Kang’s instructions mechanically. Also, Kang makes Gun Woo promise not to tell Ru Mi the location and time of the auditions. (Thus guaranteeing Gun Woo certain death at her hands, lol.)

The chummy atmosphere disappears and congeals into general gloom as Bae keeps going on and going about how hard he worked as a member of the orchestra Gun Woo abandoned – Gun Woo is guilty enough to think of not going to the auditions. Thankfully, Kim talks him out of that insane idea.

Bae leaves in a cloud of alcoholic fumes, and Ru Mi chases after him. They both know that it’s a great chance for Gun Woo – who caves and texts them the date of the audition (next Wednesday). He doesn’t know where either. Everyone will get a text message on where the audition is Wednesday morning.

Ru Mi decides to get the location out of Kang. Instead of asking him face to face – he would totally refuse – she texts him with various friendly messages asking to see him. The man is still in the office, being a workaholic of the nth degree, but he texts her back, saying that he’s at dinner with some instrumentalists.

Then Kang hears a bit of a disturbance in the offices next to his room. It’s Ru Mi, flipping through the trash and folders with a flashlight in hand. He moves to call security, but only as a ploy to get her to admit the real reason she’s trying so hard to join the new orchestra. To Ru Mi, this is a chance to do what she wants, and she doesn’t want to miss it like she did with other chances in the past. Her desperation strikes a chord in Kang.

He remarks cryptically that if she does pursue it this time she may lose everything, but he writes down the audition date and location on her had anyway.

Ru Mi looks down at her hand like it’s been turned to gold. 😀

Rapid change of scene to Park’s house, where there’s a celebration going on, with people from work. It’s for a younger colleague of Park’s, who has just been promoted to section chief. Kang texts Park with the location of the audition, but Park is talking to his colleague in his daughter’s bedroom, so his wife brings the phone to him.

Unfortunately, Park’s colleague is really drunk and he makes a few passes at Park. (Either that or my brain is due for its annual bath of soap.) It’s more about humiliating Park than actual affection, since the colleague was promoted at Park’s expense. His wife watches as the colleague-turned-boss insists on putting his dirty socks on the clean coverlet of their daughter’s bed.

Later, she brings up the topic of joining the orchestra with Park, very tentatively – he loves the job, why not go to the audition? However, the salary is half of what Park makes now, and he’s quite undecided. He yells at his wife, who’s been taking a lot lately (along with being pregnant), and tells he that he refuses to go.

Hmm. At an internet cafe, Yi Deun is basically prostituting herself – her friend tells her that it’s a fast way to make money. (Well I’d tell the friend to stick her head in water and never talk to me again.) She meets with an exceptional ‘buyer’ online, but it turns out to be Kim using an alias ID. He drags her away (if an old man can drag her away then she’s really skipping out on the food) to the grocery store – one of the many places Yi Deun is part-timing at.

Kim sits her down at a table outside and gives her the money he promised. However, she’s not getting away with it until she gives Kim a satisfactory answer for her recent downward spiral. As it happens, Yi Deun is deluding herself about dreams of riches and setting up a scholarship fund for music students in need. Kim tries to make her realize that it’s a pipe dream by asking her to sell her flute to him, and then asks her if it’s alright if he destroys it.

What he doesn’t anticipate is Yi Deun one-upping him by taking her flute and slamming it against a nearby pole. Not done being dramatic, she flops down on the ground and starts crying.

Kim takes a pamphlet out of his pocket and crouches down next to the girl, explaining that there is an annual musical contest for talented music students who, for whatever reason, are not able to support themselves. If Yi Deun is willing to take three months off and focus on her music, Kim believes that her skill will let her take the scholarship. And he’s not just saying this to make her feel hope – he’s actually judged at these kinds of competitions and knows what it takes.

Aww. He tells her not to give up so easily, and the two stay crouched beneath a lamp-post.

Wednesday morning, audition time!

Park goes in, and passes without a hitch – Kang tells him that should he be chosen for the orchestra, he is expected to quit his current job and put all his energy into playing the double bass. The conductor doesn’t want him running off two days before a concert again.

Out in the hall, all the instrumentalists sit in hushed little huddles, except for the concert members, some of whom are here to cheer their fellow members on.

Gun Woo arrives at last, apparently everyone’s been waiting for him. Anyhoo, the last batch of instrumentalists are called in with him. The actual playing isn’t a problem (the auditions seem almost perfunctory, like Kang has already made up his mind). However, Kang does ask Gun Woo about what he thinks classical music is. (Thus bringing the events of the past full circle.)

Being put on the spot, Gun Woo answers that he doesn’t know much about classical music, but he does know that their orchestra was happy together. Kang deadpans that this answer is too broad and stupid, then tells him to drop by the office later to pick up the practice schedule. (Omm, that was fast.)

The old orchestra members watch as a succession of really talented instrumentalists audition in front of Kang. At least half of them leave in the face of the newcomers’ talent. Ru Mi stays, as does Bae. (Hee Yun is outside having vapours. Ouch.)

At the end of the day, Kang reads out their scores to them – the average of the newcomers is 7.2, while the rest of the old orchestra average about 2 points.

To make herself feel better, Ru Mi stuffs herself at dinner, and I hope it’s Gun Woo who pays, because she’s eating a lot more than her civil servant salary can probably pay for. It’s epically cute that Gun Woo actually takes noodles and food from his own bowl to give to her.

The restaurant seems to be empty (also rather improbable, but whatever), which is probably why Ru Mi is eating the way she is.

Gun Woo tries to encourage her by telling her to look for other classical ensembles. Ru Mi dismisses one by saying that the annual audition date is too far away, which mystifies Gun Woo. He demands an explanation, and Ru Mi gives it to him.

In four months, she may lose her hearing permanently.

Gun Woo is so appalled I doubt he would look worse if someone killed a baby in front of him. Ru Mi seems pretty resigned to her fate, and mentions that her frequent headaches are the result of a tumour in her brain. Cue panic and concern on his part – he wants to drag her to a hospital right away, though she insists on finishing their meal first.

The two find a seat on a nearby fountain. The operation on the tumour will result in her losing her hearing, so she wants to do the most she can with her ears before operating. Gun Woo is nonplussed at her acceptance (well, she can’t do anything about it either, dude, stop stressing yourself out).

Ru Mi tells him that she tried to be sad, but it didn’t work out. (Yay alcohol.) She compares her reaction to being poked with something sharp – one doesn’t feel it at first, and the pain becomes obvious only when blood starts flowing.

Gun Woo doesn’t know what to do with an attitude like that, and settles for hand-holding. She’s glad that he’s worried about her, then swears him to secrecy.

(Dammit, this returns JGS right back to Angsty Prince Chang Hui territory.)

Well, he’s still sharing a house with Kang (ahh, it must be convenient having a friend who’s at a never-ending conference in San Francisco), so the first thing Gun Woo does after coming home is to request that Kang allow Ru Mi on the orchestra as a substitute, since the older man is definitely unwilling to have her as an official violinist.

(He also tells a huge lie about the tests coming back normal for Ru Mi, but why dwell on plot details that will destroy Kang a few episodes later?)

However, Kang’s idea of a substitute is someone who stands while the orchestra practices all year round – and who doesn’t get paid. (- Insert eyeroll – I can just see people flocking to the job already.) Gun Woo’s not too happy with that, but Kang cuts him off and exits the room.

Gun Woo seems to be the liaison for the old orchestra and the new, as they all meet for dinner again. Everyone grumbles except for Ru Mi, who is happy to be near music for the four months she has left.

At his workplace, Park is again being picked on by his boss, who is a lot younger than he is and seems to be holding this against Park. He ends up at having to stay really late at work. When his boss comes back, his temper reaches breaking point and he lets loose with what he’s been wanting to say for weeks. Now that he’s made up his mind to join the orchestra, Park feel free to disparage the pompous, lazy man for what he is.

Gun Woo is outside waiting for the bus when Bae follows him to give him a muffler for his trumpet. Aww. He did this because Gun Woo doesn’t have one and sort of needs it if he wants to practice without waking every dog, cat, parrot and human in his neighbourhood.

The young man is extremely touched and flashes back to his times with the old orchestra. (Cue MV.)

The next day, Kang begins the first practice of the new city orchestra. He notes that Gun Woo isn’t here – and his expression here is more of surprise than anger when the old orchestra members come walking through the door.

They’re so cheerful and happy to be here, while Kang looks like he just tasted something particularly unpleasant. He remembers his offhand comment to Gun Woo, and orders the young man to take his seat. However, to everyone’s surprise, Gun Woo stands with the substitutes.

His explanation: I belong here with them.

End episode.

Commentary/Rambling:

– THEY USED THE BRAIN TUMOUR PLOT? WHUT? DO NOT BE STICKING WITH THE PASTICHES, PLSKTHXBAI. I know they want to link Ru Mi with the title, given that Beethoven also suffered from tinnitus before losing his ability to appreciate music, but gosh, could they have gone with something less hackneyed and overused? (I have had enough of cancer/tumour shows, thank you.) I suppose the rest of the show will be about Ru Mi’s struggle to stay active in music without being able to hear it. Fighting Ru Mi! (I think I may be hallucinating, but I do believe Kang also calls her Ludwig von Ru Mi? Subtle is the way to go, writers.)

– You know what, I give up trying to figure him out – Kang is a softie with a granite shell two feet thick – and I will leave it at that. He’s got a nasty mouth on him, but he sends Ru Mi to a checkup when she would totally not have gone, and he gives Gun Woo a chance in a formal city orchestra even if he doesn’t have classical training (contrary to popular belief, talent isn’t everything). At least Gun Woo and Ru Mi actually push his limits in return for his kindness.

– On the love triangle front: Gun Woo seems to be moving into the rather worrying position of Mr. Nice Guy, the one who listens to the girl about her problems and then doesn’t end up with her. Very well documented phenomenon, mainly due to the guy not speaking up (or doing it too late) or not telling her in very concrete ways. With the hand-holding, however, there seems to be hope.

– Have I mentioned that I love it when people’s cellphones ring in this show, because they’re all classical mixes? ROFL. Also, Kang Mae’s nickname for Ru Mi is ‘Fighting Rooster’, which out-cutes the very subtle love triangle they have going on. (Nothing dramatic, thank you, Drama Gods.)

Sevenses

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25 October 2, 2008January 24, 2016

Beethoven Virus: Episode 7

by Sevenses

In which many things of a dramatic nature happen, yea, and there shall be much heartbreak. Screencap credit to Luv!

Because everyone needs eyecandy. 😀

SONG OF THE DAY

Seo Taiji – “Moai” [ Download ]

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Episode 7

First day of practice, and Gun Woo’s already in trouble. His show of defiance in staying with the original orchestra members by the door makes Kang angry. The conductor goes back on his words (not that he meant them in the first place) about substitutes and orders all of them out of the door. Gun Woo goes with them, though he is under orders from Kang to stay after practice.

In the hallway, everyone’s tentative hope disappears into generally gloomy thoughts. Bae is unsettled that Gun Woo is taking an opposing stand to Kang this early in the game, though his stated purpose of  avenging all the cast-off members makes Bae laugh.

Kim gets out a set of partitions for everyone, urging them to practice. Hee Yun gets her hopes up, but Kim compares them to the class idiot – if they focus all their energies on one thing, then maybe they’d break the top 10. Not so encouraging as Hee Yun, but more realistic.

The new practice hall is in this absolutely adorable hamlet of white buildings. They really went all-out for Kang and his orchestra.

Anyhoo, Ru Mi sends a text to Gun Woo and meets him in front of one of the buildings. She seems quite angry as she falsely accuses him of being afraid of playing with the professionals. The boy’s hurt. (Omg, he learned to emote! Someone break out the champagne. I’ll bring fireworks.)

Meanwhile, the substitutes are discussing their practice options. Kang walks out of the room and stalks after Gun Woo. Needless to say, everyone’s worried that he’ll get the axe. (Possibly literally, given Kang’s mood.)

Gun Woo tells Ru Mi quite sincerely that he is here because Kang told him to pursue what made him happy, which is to say, the feeling of playing with them. When Ru Mi still doesn’t let it go, Gun Woo tells her (and possibly the entire neighbourhood, at his volume) that what he really wants to do is to go to music school and learn how to conduct. Plus, he wants play with them.

Naturally, Kang gets here in time to hear all this. I love how oblivious drama leads are. It allows for all sorts of handy revelations.

To Ru Mi, Gun Woo’s move today tells her that he lacks a desire to achieve, and she’s disappointed and angry at him for being so complacent. He, on the other hand, doesn’t think that fame and recognition equate achievement. Mutual impasse, there is much glaring and head-shaking.

Kang chooses this moment to interrupt the lover’s spat, and announces that, surprisingly, this time he agrees with Ru Mi. Then he sends her off to the other substitutes while he yells at Gun Woo for a while. He’d wanted to include Gun Woo so he could see the others’ skill and be inspired to higher heights, not so Gun Woo could run away.

In addition, Kang also reprimands Gun Woo for thinking that achievement meant glory and status. He pokes Gun Woo several times in the stomach with his baton as an illustration – the desire to go as far as one can for the sake of music should, by all means, propel him forward, but instead Gun Woo is standing still.

Gun Woo voices that eternal angsty teenager plea: U dun understand meeeeee! and vows to show conductor Kang the level of his dedication. Intense, but he’s been officially dismissed from the orchestra.

In the practice room, Bae clumsily knocks a valuable violin to the ground, which gets everyone in trouble. An ‘official’ instrumentalist (Mr. French Horn) uses the mess as an excuse to make the temporary members leave (even though the violin is unharmed). Ru Mi is miffed at his condescending way of talking, though Kim smooths things over quickly.

Luckily for Mr. French Horn, Ru Mi’s impending hissy fit is cast to the winds when she receives a text from Gun Woo telling her about his dismissal. She storms to Kang’s office to confront him about Gun Woo but ends up lying about her diagnosis to Kang. The conductor, unsatisfied with her insistence that everything is fine, calls up his friend (once again, shock at him actually having friends).

The good doctor, not having heard of patient confidentiality protocol, proceeds to tell Kang all about the hopelessness of Ru Mi’s condition.

Ru Mi stands across from Kang’s desk, all apprehensive about the outcome of the phone call, but she needn’t have worried – Kang manufactures a random excuse to shout at her, and sends Ru Mi off. The girl skips off happily, while Kang is left to angst and feel bad about Ru Mi’s natural ebullience.

It takes Ru Mi several moments to recall that she actually went in to talk to Kang about Gun Woo, and as she meets Kang coming up the path, he sneers at her ‘strength’, preferring to call it stupidity.

Interestingly, Yi Deun marches resolutely into the practice room, smile all prepared (but with butterflies inside). She manages to enrage the snippy French Horn within two sentences, and the shouting match would have gone badly (it’s kind of obvious that the first violin/concert master has no control over his French Horn) but of course Kang comes in fresh from being annoyed at Ru Mi.

Kang kicks them all out, and Ru Mi returns from her saunter outside to find the subs in a disgruntled circle. Bae grumbles (very loudly) that this is when Gun Woo should show up and awe the formal instrumentalists with his talent so they don’t get picked on. Well, he’s not Tinkerbell, and I doubt he could just wave a baton and make everyone sound really good.

Speaking of Gun Woo, he’s gone to look for Jung Myung Hwan, he-who-is-notoriously-spacey-but-very-brilliant. And here is where the obligatory kdrama toilet joke also happens, as Jung is waiting out his constipation in the toilet stall.

As it happens, Gun Woo prepared a really nice speech but abandons it in disgust because it really isn’t his usual style to run around begging people in bathrooms. Jung stops him from leaving and agrees to see what he can do. In the safety of a hotel room, Gun Woo plays a high speed trumpet piece that impresses Jung, because as it stands, only five people can successfully play it, and they’re all professionals. (Le genius, it is not to be le underestimated.)

Well, Jung does agree to take Gun Woo under his wing, so the only thing to do now is to look for Kang and ask for his blessing. (These things have their rules, it seems.) Kang is less than pleased, let’s say it that way, and the atmosphere only gets worse when Gun Woo openly states that if Kang doesn’t want him, then there’s no reason for him to stay. Zut alors.

See, Jung’s not really malicious or thoughtless that way (being a conductor, one does need to know how people think), so he’s quite dismayed, because he wanted to reconcile this errant student with Kang. (Plus he’s an old schoolmate of Kang’s and it would just be awkward, not to mention mannerless.)

Kang yells for Junior to get out, and Jung manages to convince Gun Woo to go out for a bit.

Drama logic dictates that Ru Mi will pop up everywhere Gun Woo is, so while Gun Woo is wasting time in the woods, she meets him. She offers to look into a music school position for him, which makes Gun Woo angry because (hold your drinks, people) she doesn’t see him as a man, rather as a son. (Been a while since I’ve seen that one. Writers, original thoughts won’t kill you. I urge you to try them. Though the subtle Oedipal hint is appreciated.)

Ru Mi gets angry and tells him that her friendly concern has nothing on what a real mother would do, and adds that Hee Yun has been going frantic, calling people for his sake. What leaks through her angry speech is that she envies his ability, and the fact that he will still have his hearing in four months’ time. She storms off.

Inside the house, Jung is slowly trying to talk Kang around to the notion of taking Gun Woo as he is, playful spirit and all. Jung mentions rather bitterly that as a student, he was always afraid of being overtaken by Kang, that as a conductor he’d had to hide traces of being exhausted just to maintain his status as a genius. All this so Kang would give up pursuing him and then surpassing him. Kang sneers that Jung must be trying to comfort him, and lets it go with an ironic toast.

Manly confessions aside, Jung remarks that the two Kang Gun Woos are more alike than each realizes (being too honest all the time, and stubborn to the point of bloody-mindedness) and tells Kang straight out that he won’t hesitate to take Gun Woo as a student if he requests it in a week’s time. Junior grows on people, and Jung quite likes him. Kang knows he has only the week while Jung is out of the country to decide and reconcile with Gun Woo.

The next morning, Junior voluntarily acts like an all-round valet, and fully admits to Kang that he’d prefer to stay and be Kang’s student. The conductor is pleased, but he has his pride to think of, which means he doesn’t give anything resembling an answer.

Another day of practice, another day of hanging about uselessly at the music village. Ahh. Well, right after Ru Mi hangs up on her mother, Kang texts her with an order to see him in his office.

He has music on in his office, and so Ru Mi doesn’t quite realize that he’s mouthing words at her instead of speaking them. (Oooh, training!) He’s trying to get her to start reading people’s lips (sometimes an oblivious lead is a good thing).

Ru Mi’s new at this, so she can’t quite make out what he was asking for, but he’s treating her like a secretary – getting espresso and newspapers. Then he warns her not to fall in love with him, bringing in the Electra complex, which is just lol-worthy. (Sorry but the dramatic irony is going to come around and smack him sometime.)

Kang then hands her a box of candy under the guise of having teased her too much about going deaf. But the candy’s been expired for two years. 😀

Ru Mi tosses the candy in the trash on her way out, but reconsiders and fishes them out of the trash. Then, using those same hands, she puts one in her mouth. (Woman, hygiene.) To her annoyance, it’s common marketplace bubblegum, and she texts Kang to that effect. Kang replies that if she waits a thousand years, maybe it’ll melt in her mouth and her hearing will get better.

People who make Kang smile: 1.

Awwww. He’s actually reading up on auditory canals and tumours.

That night, Junior is off fulfilling impossible grocery-related tasks. Kang seems determined to torment him until he gives up. Then, as Kang searches for something in Gun Woo’s room, he discovers that Junior’s been trying to transcribe Miserere mei, Deus (by Gregorio Allegri, a super secret Catholic mass), much like Mozart did. Gun Woo doesn’t quite succeed, but it’s close enough to be remarkable.

Kang plays intervals on the piano, expecting Gun Woo to identify them. Well, he does identify the notes used, but not the interval. When Kang strikes the keys in anger, Gun Woo can tell all the notes that he’s pressing on. Junior is feeling inferior because he doesn’t know the proper names for things and has no training, while Kang is feeling conflicted, and goes off into his room to think.

Once safely inside, he angrily mutters that Gun Woo has wasted all this talent for so long.

The doorbell rings, and it’s Jung, who was ordered to be here by Kang. The two conductors hold a meeting inside while Gun Woo tiptoes around trying to overhear them. As it turns out, Kang has agreed to let Jung take Gun Woo as a student. (Junior doesn’t look happy at all. In fact, the only happy person in the house is arguably Beethoven.)

Gun Woo calls Ru Mi (chewing on gum with gusto) from a pay phone, and the two joke around, calling each other ‘mother’ and ‘son’. He apologizes for their last fight, and tells her that he’s leaving. They meet up to chat instead.

Aww, they walk around in the night holding hands. 😀

As Gun Woo discusses his plans for the future, he realizes just how long it’s going to take and sits down besides the curb. Ru Mi confesses that while she was furious that he didn’t join the formal orchestra, this time she really doesn’t want him to leave. He’s being sweet, and so he leans in to kiss her but the mood is totally ruined by her nervous babbling.

Ru Mi agrees to try again (LOL now the library people think I’m insane) and it gets interrupted again, this time by Kang and Beethoven. Oooh speak of awkward. At least the conductor has enough decency to leave them to it.

Ru Mi seems disturbed at being caught by Kang, though Gun Woo thinks it’s funny. Worryingly enough for their future relationship, Ru Mi seems to think more lightly of their ‘whatever’ than Gun Woo.

Junior packs and leaves, but he’s worried about Kang, and tells him to take care (much like a family member would) of himself. On the other side of the door (second instance of door symbolism, hmm) Kang is furiously flipping through a book and trying to ignore him. When Beethoven barks at the door, Kang is angry (for being sad that Gun Woo is leaving) enough to through things at the poor dog.

Aww. Gun Woo hears Beethoven barking after him, and stares longingly at the door. Ru Mi’s left a care package for Gun Woo, so he doesn’t get hungry on the way to Pusan.

The next morning Kang wakes up to find his shirts folded, everything in order. He gets a call from his friend the ear specialist, and whatever news he gets, it isn’t good.

Ru Mi gets a call from Kang to pick him and Beethoven up at the park, with the excuse being that his legs hurt.

The park is quite large, and Kang just happens to be at the edge of a large lake. Ru Mi gets all nervous about seeing him (and tells herself that it’s just Kang Mae, not a man). She calls out to him, but Kang doesn’t move.

A few hundred miles away, Gun Woo meets with Jung, who lets it slip that Kang said very interesting things the night before. Gun Woo goes all impish and demands to know what Kang actually said. Cue flashback.

Kang is known for hating geniuses, but he recognizes Gun Woo as one, and what’s more, compares him to a reincarnation of Mozart. He mentions that Gun Woo is very empathetic and would never disappoint the people working with him. He also finds Gun Woo’s present talent to be only a fraction of what he’s truly capable of doing, and gets all choked up.

Of course, at this point in the conversation, Jung asks, and rightfully, why Kang would be giving such a gem to him, if there wasn’t a fatal flaw anywhere.

It comes as a shock to Jung when Kang tells him that the fatal flaw rests with himself. He doesn’t possess the connections nor the people skills that Gun Woo requires as a student (especially one whom he wants to succeed). He adds that he’s been recently doubting his own path, and leaves us all shellshocked like that.

Kang tells Jung that he can’t afford to let Gun Woo become a second Kang Mae, and asks Jung to take him under his wing. (Jung is astonished because this is probably the first time Kang has asked anything of anyone.)

Well, that’s it, Junior will never follow Jung now.

Far away, Ru Mi runs up to Kang, concerned that he isn’t doing anything to respond.

In the airport, Gun Woo makes up his mind and tells Jung that he’s going back to Kang, a decision welcomed by Jung (since not heading back would have marked Gun Woo as a cold-hearted bastard). I bet Jung didn’t even buy a ticket for Gun Woo. Anyhoo, Gun Woo runs to the returning trip bus.

Switch back to the lakeside, Kang is super annoyed at Ru Mi for lacking a reaction at losing her hearing, and yells at her. She is angry that he would judge her for being such an unfeeling idiot, while he tells her that the best way of reacting would be to jump into the lake behind them. He’s quite cruel to her, and says that she only knows how to brag.

Unfortunately for Kang, who watches in horrified slow motion, Ru Mi actually jumps into the lake.

End episode.

Commentary/Rambling:

– Not thinking about the relationship drama. However, is it just me or does JGS never get the girl? (Except for Doremi, but that was filmed three years ago, and only proves the point.)

– Jung calls Gun Woo ‘Junior’. So cute! (May start doing that too. Hmm.) Lol at Jung’s bodyguards – very mafia henchmen-esque.

Sevenses

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19 October 4, 2008January 24, 2016

Beethoven Virus: Episode 8

by Sevenses

Was blown around by the wind today. Side-effect of being short and little, I guess. There were so many excellent screencaps for this episode I was hard put to choose. A round of applause for Luv, please.

He works so hard, our Kang mae. (Feel v. stalker-y, but could not resist this picture.)

SONG OF THE DAY

Gregorio Allegri – “Miserere mei, Deus,” or “Have mercy on me, O God,” played in the previous episode. The song was historically restricted for use in services in the Sistine Chapel, and was prohibited from being taken beyond the Vatican by punishment of excommunication. [ Download ]

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Episode 8

So… Ru Mi jumps into the lake. Kang didn’t actually mean for her to do that, but anyhoo, she can’t swim and sinks into the water. (I think the scene is meant to be artsy and pretty, but it doesn’t say anything to me, beyond ‘omg second water shot, pwetty’.) Kang is panicking onshore and uses a long-poled net to poke at the water while yelling for help.

A random stranger runs over and jumps into the lake. Unaware of all the ruckus she’s causing, Ru Mi floats prettily underwater. She also has a near death experience and all she can think of is music, as evidenced by the underwater string quartet she sees…

Of course the girl wakes up in the back of Kang’s car, rescued and not even all that wet. Kang is angry at her, but his anger melts into pity when she talks about how silent it was underwater and how lonely it felt.

Gun Woo, back in town once more, goes to check out the red wine as a peace offering. Unfortunately for him, the bottles are all outrageously expensive (but good wine, says the shop owner). Gun Woo ends up choosing a bottle that he has to pay for in 12 month installments. (*headdesk*)

At Kang’s house, Ru Mi is happily eating hand-made porridge, courtesy of the grand maestro himself. Kang is annoyed at her nonchalance, while Ru Mi runs off on very very silly tangents on purpose to make him emote. When he does show sincere concern Ru Mi ends up all flustered and gets packed off into the shower. (Omg, are we going to have the obligatory shower misunderstanding? Note from the future: Darn. We are.)

Methinks the gentleman grumps too much! 😀

Aww, when Ru Mi comes out of her shower, Kang has thoughtfully left dry clothes for her. They’re a bit big, but better than nothing.

Of course, Gun Woo chooses this moment to enter, gift bag in hand. He doesn’t really go into the deep end of misinterpretation but is certainly rather puzzled to find his girlfriend in Kang’s clothes. Ru Mi’s rambling explanations do nothing to clear up what’s going on – and finally Kang has to step in with the completely made-up-on-the-spot story of Ru Mi being in a car crash. (Bet you that lie’s going to come back and bite painfully.)

Naturally Gun Woo freaks out about Ru Mi having been in a car accident because she lost her hearing halfway through driving. (I would too, but why do that to the sweet concerned boy?) Lol, and then supposedly a truck rear-ended another car, which sent Ru Mi flying into the nearby lake. Kang’s making this up to absolve himself of all responsibility for Ru Mi’s leap of despair.

Aww, I’d forgotten how adorable JGS’s smile can be.

Junior sets down the wine (Ru Mi having conveniently vanished) in Kang’s room and declares his unending devotion to this particular, prickly maestro – he won’t have any other teacher, and when he becomes famous, he will tell the world that the best conductor in the world was his teacher.

Well, what can you say to a speech like that? Kang is pleased, but masks that in a layer of grouchiness well-known and beloved by all. Gun Woo will continue being a member of the substitute/temporary group.

At the music hall, Kang is putting his orchestra through their pieces one more time before the official concert. Ru Mi, Bae and Gun Woo watch in awe as Kang yells at a professional violinist (who has much more impressive credentials than the three of them combined). Bae despairs of ever accomplishing anything in the new orchestra.

Junior goes off in search of their beloved oboist, who was granted permission to participate in this concert. Unfortunately, he finds Kim wandering the halls, having a temporary memory lapse. Kim recovers quickly and tries to hide his advancing dementia, but Gun Woo is worried for him.

This concert is small and for the private enjoyment of important city officials. During the middle of the piece, Kim has another episode. Yi Deun came especially, just to see him perform, and is very worried when she sees his dementia manifesting.

After the concert, Kang meets with the mayor, who really wants the concert to open with Beethoven’s 9th symphony. However, Kang knows that this piece is too difficult, especially as they’re proposing a voice and orchestra combination. The mayor takes the opportunity to press Kang to use the substitute group to fill in the missing members.

All the substitutes are called together. Kang agrees to a test of aptitude using the 9th symphony – and since everyone’s practiced this piece, the playing goes well. Even though he can tell they’ve obviously practiced this piece before, Kang decides to let them play in the upcoming concert when he looks over at Ru Mi.

Sadly, the only person not allowed to come back is the elderly Kim. Kang feels badly, but he can’t rely on Kim to perform well anymore, and dismisses the old man. Yi Deun, Ru Mi and Gun Woo, listening outside the door, hear Kim fervently protesting against the fact that he has dementia – his pride will not allow himself to accept his own decline.

Oh gosh, Kang actually has tears in his eyes, but he knows that reality can’t be changed. Ru Mi sympathises after seeing Kim leave, as her condition is somewhat similar in the inevitability department. Walking in the streets, she and Gun Woo look up to see Yi Deun running circles around the elderly oboist.

In order to prove himself, Kim has taken up the mantle of a street performer.

Ru Mi happily runs back to Kang with this news, but stumbles in upon him sleeping. (The poor man hasn’t slept well for two days.) She is astonished at his peaceful and kind face, but wakes him up anyway. Then she proceeds to break through his Icy Exterior (TM) and analyses his tortured psyche to bits. (In short, she discovers that Kang really is one of those people whose barks are much much worse than their bites.)

Um. I think they’re flirting. I’m not an expert, so am open to correction, but yeah, definitely flirting. At least Lee Jia excels at being cute.

Anyway, Ru Mi manages to convince Kang to re-accept Kim if he manages to hold out for 10 hours in the street.

Awww. The violin sisters, Yi Deun, Hee Yun and Bae have come to accompany Kim in his performance in the streets. Their audience is very appreciative of this new kind of busking. However, when the members hear that Gun Woo is bringing the conductor here, they all flee. (Yi Deun is dragged away by the straps of her backpack.)

LOL Gun Woo is carrying a man purse! Under false pretense of taking Kang out to lunch, he brings the conductor to where Kim is performing. They sit at a nearby cafe and listen to Kim all afternoon. Gun Woo has begun to study for his exams, to judge by the books he’s carrying around, while Kang is notating partitions.

During the course of the day, Kim is chased away from in front of a restaurant. Near the end of the 10 hours, the owner of a nightclub rudely kicks at Kim’s things and orders him to go away, even when the old man asks politely for 30 more minutes. Both Kangs watch the man and his employees pick on Kim with anger and concern.

When they attempt to drag Kim away, Kang stands up and confronts the club owner. (Beautiful.) The club owner proves stubborn until Gun Woo comes up from behind and channels his inner policeman. All three bullies run back to the safety of their club. (Ha.)

Lol, Kang pretends to be in a mood, but he allows Kim to return to the orchestra.

The next day, the full orchestra begins practice. The full timers get scolded for inaccuracies (in four different languages, impressive, Kang).

That night, Gun Woo and Ru Mi arrange a date for the next afternoon at five. This annoys Kang when he hears about it, because he’d wanted Ru Mi to help with partitions at the same time. Ru Mi compromises and goes over to Kang’s house right after his call.

While she’s taping the partitions together, Ru Mi surreptitiously watches Kang conduct in his head. To the maestro’s surprise, she can figure out what piece he was practicing just by looking at his hand gestures. Ru Mi coyly suggests that they share a soulful connection (there goes my tea, sry, com screen).

Lol. Ru Mi ends up accidentally comparing Kang to a lost puppy that one pities but feels the need to hug. (Of course you’re talking about the piece, Ru Mi dearest.)

The next day, Manpurse!Gun Woo walks around with Ru Mi after their date, but their happiness is shadowed. Ru Mi’s tinnitus strikes again, and due to a sickeningly comic series of missteps, Gun Woo isn’t there when she freezes in the middle of a crowded street. (But wait, if her cellphone no longer worked then what was she calling Gun Woo with earlier?)

Meanwhile, the concerned boyfriend rushes home and frets. Junior admits to Kang that he is really head over heels in love with Ru Mi, which I’m sure Kang would have lived without knowing. (Actually Kang looks kind of sick at the revelation.)

At the same time, Ru Mi is being escorted by a driver – it turns out she’d fainted in the middle of the street before even being hit. Gun Woo is driving around looking for her, without any success, with a worried Kang shouting suggestions on the phone.

When Gun Woo finds Ru Mi near a phone booth, he leaps out of the car and grabs her in a hug. (Um, dude, Kang is still on the phone with you.) Gun Woo whispers in Ru Mi’s ear that he thought he was going to die, his heart was going to stop, etc., and Ru Mi pats him on the back with some words of comfort and apology.

Anyway, their touching reunion is overheard by Kang, who for reasons unknown to himself gets super angry and severely abuses his orchestra as a result. The older members are used to it, but the newbie professionals are already under a lot of strain (particularly Mr. French Horn and the concert master).

The orchestra shows signs of cracking. Oh dear god. The concert master takes offense to Kang’s constant abrasive attitude and leaves, taking at least half the new instrumentalists with him.

End episode.

Commentary/Rambling:

– Halfway done! And also no resolution in sight, but that’s how we like it. Preview is worrying, as Kang’s hand seems to be seizing up, and oh god, must everyone walk away from this show a cripple?

– So… I’ve been thinking (:D see, it does happen) people are disgruntled that girls always go for the jerks. Well, as has been said very eloquently elsewhere, the Jerk Syndrome is motivated by that happy bubbly feeling of knowing that only you can make this repressed, unemotional guy open up. It’s a powerful thing, knowing that you can turn the beast back into the handsome princeling he is – and only you can do it. (See: Prince Lee Shin of Goong and possibly Hannibal Lector.) Unfortunately, girls, this is NOT recommended in real life. Most likely the guy will go back to being a jerk and then you’ll end up in a never-ending spiral of low self-esteem and being treated badly. When in doubt, choose he who loves you most – also not to be mistaken with the Nice Guy, who is definitely one to avoid – and not to be confused with the real nice guys – though our radars are pretty good at weeding those out. (PSA over.)

– Of course, this is a kdrama, so go ahead and enjoy – besides, Kang isn’t a real jerk. He’s just a bit rough around the edges. (Kdrama convention does generally give the girl to either Death or the first male lead. Unless there’s a second girl around, I guess.)

Sevenses

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30 October 9, 2008January 24, 2016

Beethoven Virus: Episode 9

by Sevenses

Oh, Twilight trailer at 1:55, you have got to be kidding me. On to official business! If I have not mentioned it before, let it be known to all now: Kim Myung Min is made of awesome.

Screencaps belong to Luv.

I miss my Kang Gun Woo interaction. D:

SONG OF THE DAY

Beethoven Virus OST – “내 사람” (My Person) by Hwanhee [ Download ]

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Episode 9

We start off the episode with the united rebelling of disgruntled instrumentalists. (It’s funny that the French Horn dude plays the same role as Bae did in the old orchestra yet the two totally hate each other.) A few of the newer members remain, but most have gone with the concert master.

Gun Woo and Ru Mi aren’t there when this happens, though both hear of this from Hee Yun. (Mainly because Gun Woo falls asleep at the wheel, and Ru Mi wants to be in one piece when she arrives at the music hall so she let him sleep. But she’s not acting like a doting girlfriend.)

The next day, the concert master and French Horn meet with various members of the temporary group. It’s a very unsubtle attempt to subvert his support. There are better ways of fomenting rebellion, though that’s just me. It does work with Hee Yun, Bae and Yi Deun, though the three get scolded roundly by Kim.

Then, Ru Mi comes in, armed with papers and ready to convince the members to give Kang a second chance. In the middle of assigning people, she receives a call from the mayor’s secretary, who informs her that the choir has also dropped out. Oh-oh. Kang isn’t answering his phone either.

At the same time, Kang is holding a meeting with the choir. Kang is being his direct self, which only irritates the choir members. They ask for a substitute conductor, and they get… Gun Woo. They try to argue, but lose, because a) if they mind about his credentials, well, Kang has lots of those, and b) if they argue on the basis of personality, Gun Woo is so much pleasanter (err, more pleasant). In fact, the conductor knows the choir wants someone they can control, and warns them not to try his already fraying patience.

The choirmaster, however, blames Kang for the current progression of events.

The mayor calls Kang over for a meeting and has kittens (several times), though the conductor tells him that everything is under control. The mayor still wants him to apologize. He doesn’t expect to meet with Kang’s stubborn pride, which does not recognize anything he needs to apologize for.

Kang arranges for auditions, though the rebelling crew has already done their work and the instrumentalists are completely unwilling to help out. If the pieces are changed, there’s still hope that their skeleton crew can manage it, though Kang refuses, because the temp crew will probably die trying to play the new pieces (awww… he’s thinking of the old orchestra members).

At the office, Park stops trying to recruit possible substitutes and goes home.

Ru Mi brings in coffee for the conductor and forces him to listen to an article written about him. Typically, however, she has not thought the thing through, and the articles ends up criticising Kang. Oops. I mean, Kang’s already feeling pretty rotten.

Cheering attempt #1: FAIL.

When Ru Mi mentions that she’s been trying to get the unwilling instrumentalists to cooperate, Kang tells her to lay off because she’s not the concert master anymore – and because she’s not a particular friend of his. Ouch. Confronted with hurt puppy eyes, Kang furthermore outlines their relationship, which he wants to be strictly professional – especially taking into account that she’s his student’s girlfriend. (Well, you can be friends too, geez, what’s got you so hot and bothered, Kang mae?)

Ru Mi apologizes and runs off, and proceeds to give herself a good talking-to in the rain. (:D It’s sunny out, hello, fake rain.)

Wow. It’s like union talks or something. (Which reminds me, don’t they have unions in Korea?) Ru Mi catches Yi Deun outside doing guilty things while a delegation consisting of the concert master, the French Horn, Hee Yun, Bae and an unnamed violinist come to Kang’s office to lay out their conditions.

(Hee Yun, Bae, you idiots.)

Ze poor Kang mae, he looks like he’s going to explode of a mixture of anger and misery.

Well, this arouses a level of intense anger that we’ve never seen in Ru Mi (especially, may I remind you, for her boyfriend) – she literally hauls Yi Deun’s delinquent self onto a sofa and talks at her. To Ru Mi, however acerbic Kang’s speeches are, he’s always looked out for them, and for Hee Yun and Bae to participate in this is tantamount to the worst kind of betrayal possible. (Yay to Lee Jia for developing some range!)

In the office, Kang is deeply hurt. He asks for a few moments alone with Hee Yun and Bae, and proceeds to be his usual sarcastic self. I think Bae’s (hotheaded) comments about Kang being socially maladjusted and only fit to live with his dog do strike home, though it’s a pity Bae can’t read the emotions written on Kang mae’s face. (So in love with Kim Myung Min. SO IN LOVE, PEOPLE.)

(Really, Bae, you think he doesn’t know love? Friendship? I smack you with the Rock of Awareness.)

Hee Yun just pours salt in the wound, dudes, and goes on to tell him that with his attitude and personality, he should not be talking about Bae’s unfitness for fatherhood, but instead worry about his own way of treating people as an example for hypothetical children.

SOMEONE GIVE HIM A PUPPY. NOW. (Gosh, even a kitten would do.)

Junior comes to pick Kang up and drive him home – and Kang asks him three questions. First, whether he is a sociopath or not. (Err, I wouldn’t use sociopath, per se.) Poor man also wants to know whether or not he really is a bastard, and if he’s not worth the trouble of association.

It’s so awkward in the car, what with all that gloom and self-pity floating around. Gun Woo decides to do something when Kang tells him to conduct the first piece in the concert as he’s decided to retire (!). Junior does not approve of wallowing. (Neither do I. So I say, go forth and conquer!)

In fact, Gun Woo pulls over right away and tells Kang to get out of the car, so he can properly answer the conductor’s question. He compares Kang to a valuable vintage car, and tells him not to give up. Finally, a smile.

Hee. Kang is serious both about sending Gun Woo to conduct the choir and the first piece – and he buys a tux for Junior too. It’s not an easy task, though, making the choir work with the orchestra, so it’s a way of proving his ability. (He also sneaks in a question about Junior’s relationship status – get Facebook, Kang mae!)

The next day, Ru Mi issues a counterchallenge to Kang. She’s still practicing what she would say to him, and doesn’t notice Kang mae strolling up from behind. Then she takes a stack of seven (7!) biscuits and proceeds to bite through all of them. Kang watches in disgusted fascination.

As she’s stuffing them into her mouth, Kang bursts out in very frank laughter. (Well, he tries to cover it up…)

Ru Mi’s surprised that he would be lurking in a secluded spot like this. Kang then compares himself to an injured animal, thus gathering more pity points. (Though he’s probably just covering up for stalking Ru Mi.) Ahh, the symbolism in that bit of fence that still separates them.

Kang has decided that he will apologize to the orchestra. Um, Ru Mi is about to burst into tears, and Kang is still going on about his apology? Righto.

At that night’s practice, everyone waits in suspenseful silence as Kang reads out his apology. (Keep forgetting that he is 40 years old and has reading glasses.) Kang starts off on a humble and apologetic note, though he can’t say the words themselves. The subs are all teary and understanding, and you know what? Kang looks at Ru Mi hiding behind the doors, and gives up apologizing. (Someone chokes out of shock.)

Lol, he dismisses the instrumentalists’ demands with a few well-placed ‘bla bla bla’s, and asks them to truly think about what they’re asking for vs what he is demanding from them. He has never wasted their time, nor has he attacked them for reasons other than incompetence. As for speaking nicely, well, he was born this way.

(Inner fangirl: Two, four, six, eight, who do we appreciate? Kang Mae!!! etc)

Kang the Conductor, not Kang the Nice Guy, lays out his principles on music one by one, and totally captures his audience. They’re with him all the way, oh yeah.

Outside the door, Ru Mi walks away, smiling at Kang’s speech. She is stopped, however, by Kang, who tells her to be happy and stop crying. 😀

This incident isn’t without consequence, however, and the concert master resigns out of both a sense of responsibility and as a result of a personal decision. Gun Woo is rather dismayed, but it’s not something he can change.

Practice goes on, all is well, Ode to Joy is played, rather appropriately. Well, until the next disaster strikes, anyway. Kang is also a lot nicer at the end of this particular practice.

The orchestra members complain at having to add two hours of practice daily, but accept it anyway. Then, as he’s leaving, they play ‘Happy Birthday’ – because, it’s his birthday! Gun Woo gives him a present. Various people stack on the flowers and cake too. Kang has a face of thunder as he puts the gifts on the ground and tells his orchestra that his birthday is actually on a lunar calendar, which means they’re late. (Not that he’d expected it to be celebrated.)

Various members blame Ru Mi for not checking carefully, though she quickly points to Gun Woo as the organizer. (Aha, we believe you. Uh-huh.)

As the group cluster around him and make him blow out the candles, Ru Mi leaves quietly. They joke around, and are generally more chummy than before – though Kang’s happiness is shadowed by Ru Mi’s absence. (And Gun Woo totally fails to notice. UM?)

Bae goes for the traditional cake-in-face set-up, though Kang dodges nimbly and the cake lands on one of the violin sisters instead. Hee. Total chaos ensues.

Their antics amuse Kang.

Later, Ru Mi is practicing violin, and ignores all of Gun Woo’s calls. Her concentration’s killed, though, and she goes on to think about the conductor in repeat loop.

Hmm. All the rain has created several flood zones, with refugees coming in from around the stricken counties. They are being settled in the music hall, and the mayor asks Kang to postpone his concert – he doesn’t. The group meets with all sorts of difficulties (well, it’s not like the mayor is having it easy).

When everyone is assembled in the practice room, Ru Mi is given the rather difficult task of asking Kang to sign some documents, and only she can do it, since he snarls at anyone from the mayor’s office.

Kang enters, but he’s determined to ignore her (or the papers), in return for her avoidance. (He doesn’t show it, but he’s hurt.) Interestingly, he keeps pushing her towards Gun Woo.

Then Ru Mi tells Kang that she really might have fallen for Gun Woo. When Kang reassures her that ‘Gun Woo really likes you, I know it’, Ru Mi tells him that he must be thinking of the wrong one. (OH.) (MY.)

Well, that changes a few things.

In the practice room, everyone’s gathered together and creating merry chaos. Gun Woo wants to know where Kang is, and goes to his office. He looks in to see Ru Mi talking to the conductor, though he only hears the tail end of the confession.

Inside, both people look up as Gun Woo tries the door. Then Kang flings the door open, dragging Junior inside and asking Ru Mi to say, in front of Gun Woo, who she really likes.

End episode.

Commentary/Rambling:

– Err, was kept awake by energetic cats and the suchlike last night, do pardon any inanities.

– Ahh, the triangular romance begins. 😀 I’m afraid that as far as things go, I’m completely on Kang’s side. Not because I think it’s tru wuv or anything (yet), but I just have this intense desire to see him happy, and this seems to be ‘spending time with Ru Mi’ at the moment. Was just struck by the lightning stroke of foreshadowing – with all the children talk, are they going to do an ending with kids? Oh dear god.

– Aaaaaaand… more trouble + chaos promised for episode 10.

Sevenses

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20 October 11, 2008January 24, 2016

Beethoven Virus: Episode 10

by Sevenses

Finally, ze weekend is here! I’d like to just take a moment to say to all you eligible Canucks out there – take some time this weekend to inform yourselves, then vote on the 14th. (That’s Tuesday, btw.) Go, because it’s important that democratic rights should be exercised, or else why bother? At the current participation rates we could just let Michaëlle Jean dictate foreign policy and no one would CARE.

Do it for yourself, even if democracy often doesn’t work out to be that great, it’s still better than the alternatives.

Also, happy Thanksgiving, folks. Try not to eat too much turkey. (ETA: The Canadian Thanksgiving. Sorry for the confusion. :P)

On to the recap!!

For he is an awesome conductor, though we need to work on the communication skills a bit.

SONG OF THE DAY

Beethoven Virus OST – “한 사람 때문에” (because of one person) by Jin Sung [ Download ]

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Episode 10

So we have that three way stand-off of awkwardness after Ru Mi’s confession. Kang makes an abrupt declaration that Ru Mi has switched her affection, though Gun Woo isn’t really taking it in. There are other things to worry about at the moment, for example, the fact that the choir is no longer able to come.

Outside in the rain somewhere, the mayor is going for photo-ops in the guise of doing flood relief (filling sand bags). Both he and his political rival are rather cynically portrayed as arranging an entire set for their own publicity purposes – and both leave off right away as soon as the photographers are done.

When leaving, the mayor happens to see that his rival has been gathering personal information on different members of the orchestra.

Gun Woo and Kang try to contact the choir leader, but his phone is off. (Something about his pride being hurt?)

RIght outside the music hall, flood refugees are blocking the unloading of instruments. They’re all very angry, as their own homes are being flooded while the city is still organizing concerts and the such. On the other hand, the musicians are worried for their precious instruments, and the argument gets a little out of hand.

Hoi. Ru Mi waits outside of the men’s changing rooms for Gun Woo. Kang calls just as Junior comes out of the room – he tells her to control herself and direct all of her affection towards Gun Woo, also, he doesn’t like her. (I’d tell him emotions don’t work like that, but I think he knows).

The mayor hurries towards the music hall, all ready to listen to classical music, but the music hall is practically empty. (Also, little kids run around. I think I see a theme here. Probably they’ll end up inviting the flood refugees in for the concert and all will be peachy. Sort of.) Anyhoo, it turns out that the mayor’s rival used his company heading to buy almost all the tickets and is probably sitting at home cackling right now.

Basically, problems all over the place, and no one is in top form.

A panicked worker calls Kang over to stop the growing fight over the instruments. Errr, but Kang’s nasty mouth doesn’t really make things better, and his sarcastic offer for free seats in the concert hall doesn’t go over very well with the leader of the refugees, who punches the poor conductor. (But seriously, the man needs to learn when his cutting wit is not needed.)

Under the threat of being sued and thrown in jail, the leader backs down and lets the musicians unload their instruments. (Hope they’re not soaked.)

Inside, Gun Woo is still trying to contact the choir, while Ru Mi stands listlessly nearby, thinking of Kang’s words to her. (Also, symbolic that they’re facing different directions and standing like, 5 meters apart?) Gun Woo asks her about what’s making her so gloomy, and she makes up something about being scolded by Kang – Junior doesn’t buy this, and even asks her if she’s lying. (Um, because she will tell you if she’s trying to lie to you, dear boy.)

Back at the conductor’s resting room, Kang looks at the screen showing a more than half-empty hall, and feels insulted on Beethoven’s behalf. Halfway through his rant, he notices a flash of movement in the bathroom. It’s one of the refugee kids, who is munching on Kang’s sandwich.

The kid’s got some serious grievances with the people participating in the concert. When Kang gets the father (he who punches people), surprisingly, the father yells at his son for having no pride and stealing bread. Poor Kang tries to calm him down, to absolutely no avail.

(It’s like they’re living in different worlds, though the gruff daddy seems to share Kang’s stubborn pride. Oi.)

Kang offers, once again, to have everyone who’s currently huddling in the halls to come and watch the performance, but the leader of the refugees absolutely refuses. The conductor chides him for his excessive pride and points out its detrimental effect on his son, though the other refuses to take advice from a man who’s never done a hard day’s work in his life. Well, he’s wrong. As it happens, Kang came from a rather impoverished background, and lost his house while he was still a student.

Before we see the two men bond, however, we switch to the changing rooms, where everyone is commiserating with Park for the state of his poor bass (soaked, or at least damp enough to sound off). Yi Deun darkly drags Gun Woo into a corner, where she shows him a relapsed Kim. He doesn’t recognize either of them.

Gun Woo gives Kim a very touching speech about being strong, and walks off, finally decided about something.

Kang comes out of a meeting with the mayor, mere minutes before the concert is due to start, with no Gun Woo, no choir, and only a little bit of an audience. On the plus side, Bae is now wearing Gun Woo’s tux. (I think I may die of laughing at his pose.)

Junior has gone off in the car, ignoring all incoming calls.

In the changing room, Ru Mi notices that Kang’s arm is swollen (probably injured from that punch earlier) and he winces every time he moves it or touches it. However, the conductor orders her out, in the face of very obvious evidence that he shouldn’t be conducting. She pretends to exit, and hears Kang groaning in pain.

Nearby, Yi Deun closely watches Kim’s every move, despite all of his reassurances. She notices him hobbling and wrenches his shoe off, to discover that he’s given himself wounds on his heel to keep himself ‘awake’. (Um. Hygiene issues, but I admire his fortitude, indeed.) Aww. Yi Deun forces him to lean on her.

The mayor enters, with his rival at his side, and a respected musical reporter too (who has been reporting unfavourably about Kang for a while now).

Before entering, Kang drops his baton, and there’s a moment of chagrin as he realizes just how badly his arm is faring. As they get ready, Ru Mi can tell that Kang’s struggling with his arm. He tries to smile, but it’s more a grimace of pain than anything else.

Throughout the piece, Ru Mi shoots him concerned looks.

Somewhere far away, Gun Woo arrives to beg the choirmaster to reconsider (since there’s still an hour before the second movement, which is when the choir is supposed to join in). Junior actually gets down on his knees and begs the choirmaster to cooperate just this once (very touching speech about how Kang yanked him away from indifference and how he can’t afford to let his teacher’s concert not do well because of his own incompetence). However, all the members of the choir have already gone.

In the audience, the reporter keeps making untoward comments about the performance.

During the interlude, Kang almost staggers to his room, physically drained at keeping up appearances. (This is, without fail, his worst concert ever.) Fresh from the rain, Gun Woo comes in defeatedly. He apologizes for failing Kang.

Having no choir during a piece designed for a choir is just… It’s horrible, to say the least. However, Kang rallies his orchestra, and tells them to do well in the face of all this difficulty anyway. Gun Woo grabs him right before they go onstage, and forces bandages on the man. (Bandages courtesy of emergency effort by Ru Mi.)

The flood refugees are watching from another part of the building. The leader effectively lets them go to watch if they wanted to. He remembers Kang’s words to him, about his own childhood living in the tents with his sick mother, and also trying to be proud despite all that. He blamed his mother for bringing him to earth, and wanted to die with her – and it was shockingly easy, because she was paralyzed and needed constant caretaking. All he had to do was withhold care.

As his mother was choking to death, he heard music from next door, and walked out to see a concert in full progress. It gave him enough strength to go on and become a conductor.

Happily for everyone, the choir makes a surprise appearance in the nick of time. (Political rival is disconcerted – take that, you schemer!) Their arrival energizes Kang, who mouths the words along with the choir and directs the musicians extra well, despite his arm. Aww, Yi Deun’s parents are here in the audience too, clutching at each other in obvious pride.

The piece finishes, and pretty much everyone is super glad. Ru Mi is sobbing and Gun Woo grins nonstop. There is a standing ovation in the works. 😀 The little kid from earlier sits in the back and refuses to clap, trying to follow his dad’s example – his awed gaze is so cute.

Kang makes his way back to the rest room, and lays his head back on the couch. He loses consciousness, and doesn’t get to see the critic’s full approval and the mayor’s jubilance.

When Gun Woo is given the task of getting the conductor, he finds the man laid out on the couch, dead to the world.

Our beloved conductor wakes up in hospital, with the choirmaster offering his apologies and commending him on a very valuable student. (Who is currently sleeping on the couch, having had carried his teacher all the way to the hospital piggyback style.) Kang walks out of his room and sees Ru Mi pestering the nurse in charge about medication – she’s worried about his 36 hour long nap.

Kang no longer remembers the last parts of the concert, having been blocking pain for most of that time. Ru Mi hands him the newspaper articles written on the concert, and leaves quietly.

At a late night party, everyone’s celebrating their successful concert and glories in the favourable news report (for once). Gun Woo and Ru Mi joke around, outside appearance of happy couple restored, though Ru Mi’s still a bit too obsessed about Kang for my taste.

Hee Yun calls Gun Woo over for a clandestine meeting with the two violin sisters, who proceed to give the exceedingly shocked Gun Woo tips about how to keep Ru Mi happy. He refuses to do whatever it is they’re suggesting (from the hints I’m guessing a kiss in public). Hee. He caves when he hears that the girls really like it.

Meanwhile, Kang is being his reclusive self inside, and gives a call to the reporter. It’s not out of thanks or anything, and the other man brings up the many iffy issues that surround his orchestra members (Kim’s dementia, Bae’s other job, etc). The most serious of all is Ru Mi’s loss of 300 million (Korean currency). The reporter insinuates that people may assume she took the money, and other Very Bad Things. Kang doesn’t care, but it could prove ruinous for Ru Mi should the rival dude get it into his head to investigate.

(Also, the political rival is determined to get at the mayor through his pet project.)

Ironically, the reporter suggests firing whoever it is, though we all know Ru Mi’s operating on a time limit anyway. Kang decides that it’s for the best (for her and also for himself, but mostly for her) and sends her off, with very ugly accusations of being a shameless flirt.

The girl goes outside and wallows. (Inner fortitude, woman.) Kang tortures himself and watches Ru Mi crying outside. Hee Yun invites the conductor outside, with hints of merry happenings between Junior and Ru Mi. Kang refuses.

Bae lures the crying Ru Mi back to the party while others drag a protesting Gun Woo forward. Romantic music? Check. Fireworks? Sort of check. Boy in love? Definitely check.

(Lol, Kim grumbles about his dementia being used as an excuse to bring Ru Mi here.)

Poor Gun Woo is so awkward at this – especially in front of an audience. He tries so hard, and apologizes for forgetting their 100 day anniversary. There is a rose involved. Ru Mi tries to be touched, but she’s crying, and Gun Woo can so tell that it’s not out of happiness.

Junior looks up at Kang, who just arrived, with some hint of knowing what is making her cry.

End episode.

Commentary/Rambling:

– The first half is just so dire. I caught myself wishing all through this episode that Lee Jia would be a stronger actress, because, seriously, having her act with Kim Myung Min shows up a lot of deficiencies. (In addition, she has the same problem Jang Geun Suk had in HGD – the palpable lack of nuance in her expressions. I suppose I should be nicer and wait for her to get better.)

– Also, matricide issues? Not touching that one with a ten foot pole until I know what’s going on.

– Oooh political intrigue! Not very subtle, but still better than the other kind of plot device. 😀

– Also, due to a soccer match next Wednesday, only one episode will be aired. (Which nicely rounds out the 19 episode timeline.)

Sevenses

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34 October 18, 2008January 24, 2016

Beethoven Virus: Episode 11

by Sevenses

Only the one episode this week, due to a soccer game on Wednesday. The good news is that the ratings broke 20%. 😀

Alas, that this shiny, happy couple is no more. (On the other hand, this does break the trend of having Kang Mae here and weakening some people’s resolve. :P)

SONG OF THE DAY

Rie Fu – “Negaigoto”[ Download ]

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Episode 11

Oooh, the angst, it hits like a bullet train. Kang stops Gun Woo from going after Ru Mi, which rings all sorts of bells in Junior’s head – finally, someone puts the pieces together.

Away from the party, Hee Yun and the violins sisters are comforting Ru Mi. Gun Woo arrives, fresh from his revelation just from looking at Kang, and has a private talk with his soon-to-be ex. He’s actually quite decent about it and apologizes for obstinately holding onto Ru Mi when her heart was with someone else. (There should be a complex named for nice guys who are cast aside for outwardly cold but charismatic dudes – the Prince Yul Complex?)

Gun Woo doesn’t get angry – he feels stupid, and way out of his league. He doesn’t even blame her and walks away. (Ru Mi, I’m blaming this on you. No, seriously, you have no right to play with someone else’s affections when you know you like a different person.)

At least she’s decent enough to want to try to make it up to Junior, who’d much rather she just stop talking. (But his gentle personality will guarantee more sacrifice for her in the future, just watch.)

Kang waits at home deep into the night for Gun Woo to celebrate the concert with him. His already gloomy mood takes a dive when Junior texts to tell him that he needs to meet up with someone from the choir. (Lies, all lies!)

Early morning meetings with the mayor totally spell indigestion, especially when he’s trying to scapegoat Ru Mi to save his own behind. Kang is understandably annoyed and does not allow the mayor to interfere with his orchestra members, but it’s not like the other man has stayed as mayor by sheer effort of stupidity. The mayor will sue Ru Mi first no matter what (or else his opponent will get the advantage).

Relations between Junior and Kang are a little bit awkward, not strained as I feared. At the hospital, they sit one chair apart and rationally discuss the situation. (Wow, I am amazed.) Kang is quite considerate towards Gun Woo, who is also careful not to say anything too extreme.

During his check-up, Kang looks outside to Gun Woo’s dejected figure, and tells the nurse that his arm still hurts a lot. (Transference, much?)

Err, Ru Mi jogs around a park trying not to think about Kang – thus succeeding in replaying all of his insults to her in her mind. (Btw, she runs like it’s all in the flailing of limbs.) She lies down on the grass and indulges in a bit of moping. (I just love how actresses can work out, sleep, or cry and still have perfect makeup.)

While walking Beethoven, Kang sees Ru Mi striding purposefully forward with her bike in hand. Having just gotten another call from the mayor’s secretary urging him to agree to the drastic measures, Kang is slightly more conciliatory than usual. Ru Mi, on the other hand, lashes out at him for being such an asshat to her, and tells him that she’s moving away. Also, she’s already sent out her resignation.

As she cycles away, Kang goes all kicked-puppy face at Beethoven, though he tries to hide it. (I love this man!)

To force Kang’s hand, the mayor is going for some rather underhanded ways. To wit, he is laying off the members of Kang’s old orchestra, one by one, to threaten the conductor. Park is the first to go, and because he doesn’t understand what’s going on, he blames it all on Kang.

Practice is cut short, for obvious reasons. At home, Kang despairs about the plan to sue Ru Mi. He feels that she will definitely get sent to jail and lose her hearing there. Gun Woo only listens, because he doesn’t really know what to do either.

(Hmm, maybe Gun Woo should have stayed on as a policeman.)

Junior goes to his room and angsts there, while Kang plays on the piano and tries to exorcise his worries through music. (An excerpt of one of Chopin’s Fantaisies, I believe.) It doesn’t work.

Through a night of introspection, Kang has decided to go for extreme confrontation. He books both the mayor and his dastardly opponent for a friendly meal at a Japanese restaurant, and then delivers his smackdown: the mayor’s rival happened to have embezzled 4,200 million from a school he was in charge of. (Which is 14 times more than the amount Ru Mi was swindled out of.)

The rival claims not to know anything about this, and snarls that Kang won’t get away with hiring a team of incompetents on the citizen’s dime either. Kang smiles (a bit evilly, I think) and tells him that the problem has already been solved.

Which brings us back to the orchestra – Yi Deun gives grandpa Kim a notebook for his memory exercises, and writes his medical condition, address and her cell phone number on the back. The moment of aww is interrupted when the secretary uncomfortably tells the ‘temporary’ members that they are fired. The room explodes in speculative whispers and dismay, while Gun Woo chases after the secretary.(So that’s what the conductor meant when he asked Junior if he trusted himself.)

The secretary tells Gun Woo that Kang has commanded him to coach the members to give a good performance at a music festival in two month’s time. If they receive recognition, then they can come back.

Back at the restaurant, the mayor is trying to make sure he’s on Kang’s good side too. Now he’s willing to let the matter of the embezzled money go, though he muses that their images will take a hit when the so-called incompetents do well at the music festival. Kang doesn’t care, and even offers cuts on his own salary to accommodate the members when they become permanent members.

Kang is working so hard to keep them because they’re his in a way that other orchestra members were not in the past. (Cue mass fangirl reaction of ‘aww’ here.)

The newly fired temporary instrumentalists all mope at a nearby cafe. They’re still split in two groups, Kim willing to let Kang have the benefit of the doubt, while the rest mope. (Though it’s cute how Yi Deun is totally willing to help once she sees grandpa isolated.)

Their lack of faith is highlighted when Kang visits practice halls all across the city, trying to find the perfect one for his protegés. He’s not satisfied with even the best the city. His actions are mirrored by Gun Woo, who asks at the church they used to practice in but is refused.

Angsty MV of Gun Woo missing Ru Mi follows as he looks around.

What Kang doesn’t really realize is that Gun Woo is also quite set in his own ways. That night, in his office, Junior tells Kang to trust him with conducting, since he’s left it in his hands. It’s not that he won’t consult the conductor, rather, Junior wants to prove himself.

Kang’s not quite sure how to handle this newly independent Gun Woo. (And he misses Ru Mi, but he won’t say.)

When he gets home, Kim, Hee Yun and Bae are waiting for him. Despite Kim and Hee Yun’s sugarcoating efforts, Bae blurts out that they’ve decided against participating in the festival. (Why do I have the feeling we’ve seen this before? Why? Recycling is good, but not this way, writers.)

Once again, Kang wounds them with his harsh speech. (All this time, and it was just anger management issues.) Kim goes back in, because he’s convinced that there’s something else bothering their conductor.

Kang’s not exactly welcoming, so Kim sits down and talks to Kang through Beethoven.

Kim: Your master seems to be in a bad mood today. I think he’s afraid. You see, the human heart is a tricky thing – it changes from liking to disappointment to expectation quickly. Sometimes it scares you, the way it’s so unpredictable. That’s why your master only deals with dead people, like Mozart, or Beethoven – he only has to face the finished music scores. But he’s wrong. They were all written when those men were alive, and the emotion in them is very obvious. If you’re afraid of emotion, how can you understand the music? Your master is only imitating the music. In life, you must be truthful, not only to us, but also with himself. Your master doesn’t even want to face his own feelings…

Beethoven barks his approval. This rather long monologue stays with Kang, and, just in the nick of time, he gets a call from Ru Mi. True to his word, he doesn’t pick up.

The next day, Bae is still licking his wounds and refuses to go to dinner with Kang (the conductor’s invited everyone else too). Park also refuses, staying at home to do stretches with his very pregnant wife, who still doesn’t know that he’s been fired. Meanwhile, Hee Yun drives her husband to distraction with her endless conversations on the phone.

End result: Kang sits all alone at the restaurant, and no one shows up.

He goes to the lake and thinks about Ru Mi, who was the most supportive person he’d ever met, even while he was being a class-A jerk. (And she probably would have whipped all the members into coming, for that matter).

To torture himself, Kang listens to all the voicemails from Ru Mi. They’re lighthearted and cheery, which makes him miss her that much more.

The first one talks about how she’s biked for hours but is still in Seoul; the second talks about how beautiful the scenery is, and wishes he was there with her; the thrid complains about a blister on her foot – but she’s still more worried about silence from his side of things; the next one lets him know that she’s almost at the park Kang suggested, and promises that she will always remember everything about him (yep, even the attitude).

At the end of all the voicemails, Kang begins to smile.

She tells him that she’s listening to Liszt’s Liebestraum (no. 3), and so he puts it on and listens, as if he really was there with her.

Kang remembers Kim’s advice about facing his own emotions. Upstairs, Gun Woo is remembering happier times with Ru Mi, when she was coaching him in English (wherein they both show us that it’s possible to not have Engrish). Ahh, happier times.

In the morning, Ru Mi walks her bike up one hill after another, finally reaching the one from which one can watch the sun. Then she receives a phone call from the ‘nice Gun Woo’ – not being one to shirk from unpleasant things, she picks up the phone. Imagine her surprise when Gun Woo tells her straight out that Kang actually really likes her, and didn’t say anything because he’d wanted to make Junior happy.

Gun Woo tears up as he tells Ru Mi about how tired Kang is, and tells her to take good care of her – thereby giving her permission to go ahead. (Can you die from having the Prince Yul syndrome? Poor baby.) Note the contrast of light and dark.

On top of the mountain, Ru Mi stands shocked for a few moments, and then bikes through hell and high water to get back. (Well, she’s actually biking downhill, but for this humble viewer, who has a fear of heights, it might as well as be hell.)

Junior gives himself a pep-talk and goes off to practice with the people he’s in charge of. They complain at practicing in a smelly warehouse/barn, but Gun Woo gives his radiant smile and begins practice.

Biking through very pretty pastoral hills (which seem to need a bit of water, just saying), Ru Mi suddenly drops her bike and decides to call Kang first to let him know she’s coming. She’s interrupted mid-call by the conductor himself, who sounds more than a bit annoyed (but it’s the worry talking) that she still hasn’t reached the mountain yet.

Ru Mi turns and runs uphill, to see Kang outlined on the top of the hill, searching for her. Awww. Ru Mi leaps to him, crying with happiness. (She’s abandoned her bike, but I’m worried about her violin.) He scolds her for being late, but she just runs up and hugs him, effectively silencing him.

Kang hesitantly reaches up to hug her back.

Team Kangmi: + 10^1829380247 points.

End episode.

Commentary/Rambling:

– Screencap credit to Luv, as usual. ♥

– Preview indicates that this change in relationship status does not sit well with the others, especially Hee Yun, who is Gun Woo’s aunt. And Gun Woo doesn’t look that happy either. In short: MOAR ANGST.

– Superficiality, but it’s been bothering me: what on earth is happening to Jang Geun Suk’s face? I miss the flawless skin of yore (say, early HGD or Hwang Jini).

– I know a lot of people are fed up with the show – and there are a plethora of things to get annoyed at (bad syncing of music with visual, bad acting from one of the leads, overuse of love triangle etc), but it’s actually a decent show. The plot moves, the side characters have their own lives, and the cinematography is thoughtful.

Also, Kim Myung Min! I had no idea who he was before this show, but seriously, where the heck was I?? Here’s an actor who has the ability to carry the entire series on his shoulders. It really does help that I didn’t expect much from the actors I knew about (JGS and LJA) when I started the show, and was pleasantly surprised to find that Jang Geun Suk was able to reach out from his Chang Hui-ness.

On the topic of Lee Jia, I think we should step back from the auto-gag reflex when she pulls her I’m-so-cute-don’t-you-love-me faces, and remember that this is only her second drama. (As compared with JGS, who has been in 7; 3 had acting-intensive roles.) She is improving, even if her emote level is stuck at 1/6.

It’s not going to be everybody’s cup of tea, that’s fine – just don’t let it give you headaches either. 😀

Sevenses

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14 October 29, 2008January 24, 2016

Beethoven Virus: Episode 12

by Sevenses

First time we hit 0 Celsius this winter, and it has to be with strong wind and snow. Shame that trick-or-treating tends to involve kids in full-blown snow suit intervention. Speaking of which, what are you planning to do for Halloween? 😀

I will start referring to the first orchestra (Hee Yun, Yi Deun, Kim, Bae etc) as ‘Kang’s Irregulars’, because they really are.

He cooks, cleans, is relentlessly nice and has innate musical talent. If this was craigslist, Gun Woo would be so taken.

SONG OF THE DAY

David Usher – “St. Lawrence River” [ Download ]

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Episode 12

There is hugging on the hill, though far away there is also the sound of Junior’s heart breaking.

Ru Mi and Kang make their way down, with the conductor in front. Now that the emotional high is over, Kang goes back to being his cranky self. He hurries her to the train station without lunch because he wants to get her back with the now-fired musicians and practice for the music festival.

The sunset at their backs is quite beautiful, but neither notices. Ru Mi feels super guilty for landing everyone in this mess in the first place. The conductor gruffly tells her to start practicing her violin instead – and promptly finds a multitude of faults in her playing.

The other Gun Woo had dinner all prepared and laid out for his teacher, curiously flipping through the partitions spread all over Kang’s table. He spots Ru Mi’s scribbled ‘The Best’ on the cover of one of them, and quickly drops the books back in place again.

On the train, Ru Mi droops off into sleep (her head literally dangles like a big sunflower), bumping against Kang’s shoulder accidentally. She apologizes and shifts to sleep on the window, but Kang orders her to sleep on his shoulder, because it’s better than cold glass. (Kang Mae, I am sleepy too! Lend me your shoulder!)

Concerned by his long absence, Gun Woo calls Kang and interrupts the moment. Assured that his beloved teacher isn’t lying dead in some gutter, he goes up to his own room and practices conducting, assembling toy trucks and the like as his pretend orchestra.

Kang arrives home to find Gun Woo in his epileptic expression of conducting (seriously, his conducting is even worse than LJA’s violin mimicry, though this time it’s intentional).The conductor orders him to the living room to do standard arm movements while he makes himself a cup of coffee. While sipping at the cup (it seriously looks more like… say, Coke or very concentrated tea), Kang slips in the fact that he went out to meet Ru Mi, and that she’ll be joining the Irregulars.

Gun Woo takes this news calmly, and tells Kang that his teacher (ahem – Kang) is more important than Ru Mi. (All the slashers who perked up, raise your hands, lol.) Kang looks at Junior with an unfathomable expression in his eyes, especially when he remembers the elaborate supper spread junior’s prepared for him.

Aww, the boy is so sweet. I want to be like him when I grow up! (Except I would have totally made a leap at Kang Mae by now, so maybe it wouldn’t have worked out.)

Of course, the cheerful front is just that, a front.

The new practice location isn’t the best, but the Irregulars make do with the best they have. Ru Mi comes, and receives a warm welcome from everyone except the newbies and Hee Yun. Things are awkward, as neither the nephew nor the aunt will talk to her like they used to.

In the midst of all this awkwardness, Park runs in with the news that they are not qualified to register in the festival. They petition the registration office in person, but are turned out because the rest of the competitors are of such high caliber it would be pointless to pitch a beginner orchestra against them.

After some strenous begging, the newly founded ‘Mouse Orchestra’ is given a chance to come up with a demo that will impress the selection committee. Junior goes home and tells Kang about the virtual impossibility of it, though Kang’s rather unsympathetic and tells them to rely on their strength.

Kang is being his usual abrasive self, vetoing all of Junior’s piece selections, but Gun Woo takes this harder than he should. (And Kang Mae’s comments are constructive, if you dig through the five feet of insults first.) Gun Woo agrees to the piece that Kang suggests – Beethoven’s 5th piano concerto, commonly known as the Emperor Concerto (the last one Beethoven wrote, and has the advantage of not needing a huge amount of backup outside of the string and piano solo sections).

When Kang tells Junior that he’s annotated the partitions, Gun Woo looks like he just swallowed the cherry of cruelty from the sundae of misery. (JGS is getting really good at angsting silently. This is apparently a useful skill in kdrama.) When he flips through the partitions, all he sees are signs that Kang doesn’t think he’s capable enough. I go for the glass-half-full approach and want to point out how much time and care Kang went through for them, to find the piece best suited to their limited members, and then notating all the necessary nuances.

Both Gun Woos are in the same house, but they call each other via cellphone instead of talking.

The auditions for a piano soloist goes badly until the last moment, when a middle-aged woman on crutches walks in. Her warm-up consists of poking at the keys, but then she astounds everyone with her skill. (She actually is a famous Korean pianist in real life.)

Well! As it happens, Kang was the one who asked her to go and help junior. She praises his sharp ear and unerring sense for classical music while Kang goes all smiley at hearing his student being complimented. Still, he swears the pianist to secrecy.

Things at the orchestra are looking up, though Ru Mi and Gun Woo still aren’t talking to each other. In typical Irregular fashion, the violin sisters organize a roster of people to work at odd jobs so Gun Woo doesn’t have to field the rental fees by himself. (In secret, because they know how proud he is.)

As if she’s done something wrong, Ru Mi sneaks off after practice to meet with Kang Mae, whose idea of a date is… to sit in a library and read about western music. (This is coming from a girl who practically lives at the bookshop, but um, that’s a really boring date.) Ru Mi tentatively brings up the suggestion of activities that are more ‘fun’, and is immediately shouted down by Kang, who wants to cultivate a love for reading in her.

Well, he’s not doing a really good job of it himself, as he hasn’t flipped a page in all the time he’s been there. Ru Mi drags him outside for a walk – it’s a beautifully sunny day. Kang just can’t bring himself to admit that he’s enjoying being outside, and ends up following Ru Mi around the park just like a puppy.

The Irregulars play at a restaurant, a business arrangement courtesy of Bae. Unfortunately for them, Kang just happens to have Ru Mi drive him there (he’d heard from the mayor’s undersecretary that it was a good restaurant). A flaming row ensues. People not in on the know wonder why Ru Mi is with Kang, but the bigger crisis is Kang’s blooming temper.

As expected, he is seriously displeased that they would betray their music this way (yo, we don’t all survive on nobility), Ru Mi stalks off (speak up, girl, you’re possibly the only person who can rival him in a shouting match) to sulk somewhere, and everyone else acts awkward. Just to make things worse, Kang throws money at them all.

This effectively ruins both the new job and everyone’s moods. They go back to the warehouse, where the girls annoy Hee Yun by excessive gossiping and Park takes Gun Woo to task for not accepting money. Don’t kick the boy when he’s already down from seeing Ru Mi and Kang together, dude.

On the other side of the city, Ru Mi confronts Kang in his office for being way too harsh, and tells him that Gun Woo did this all for him. Kang says that this must mean Gun Woo is crazy but he looks like he’s reconsidering what he did.

Just to add to the big pile of drama already floating around, at practice, Ru Mi is openly asked by both Yi Deun (who is curious) and Hee Yun (who is hostile) about what’s going on with Kang Mae. Well, put on the spot like that, especially after some rather stinging comments from Hee Yun, Ru Mi strikes back and says some harsh things about Gun Woo’s inferiority. (Ouch. That’s one thing I didn’t want her to learn from Kang Mae.)

Practice starts, and you can practically cut the tension with a knife.

The formal orchestra ends practice early, and an annoyed Kang Mae finds Kim Gab Yong wandering around. Unfortunately, he’s completely lost in the past, and when Kang brings him to the Irregulars, he doesn’t recognize any of them. The others all agree to humour Kim as long as they can, with Yi Deun fighting all the way.

Here, Kang shows his nicer side as he spins a story for Kim, and reassures the old man over and over that he is where he should be. (And this is the guy who told Gun Woo to learn how to be cruel.) Bae, Yi Deun and the undersecretary drive Kim home.

Of course, Bae doesn’t realize that by doing this, they’re effectively leaving Kang with the orchestra.

At Kim’s house, while looking for ways to contact the oboist’s family, Bae and Yi Deun find a portrait of the real Young Joo, who happens to be Kim’s daughter. She refuses to be forgotten and tries to remind Kim that she isn’t Young Joo.

At the warehouse, Kang promptly undermines all of Gun Woo’s authority by stopping the orchestra at a place where he thinks they’ve missed a crescendo. He demands to see the score, and throws a fit when he reads ‘sempre piano’ in place of ‘crescendo’.

I can has wall to bang head against?

Kang goes on to rant about Gun Woo’s arrogance to presume that he can conduct after a few months of raw learning. When he looks around at the angry (or scared) musicians, Kang Mae also realizes that this is probably not the best place to say what he wants and calls Junior outside. He demands that Junior clear his brain and conduct according to Senior’s written directions. (You know, in negotiations, the first rule is to never demand something that’s impossible.)

True to form, Gun Woo refuses. He cites a difference of style between himself and Kang. The conductor takes this opening to bring up the issue of him playing cool with Ru Mi, and pours salt over his wounds by calling him uselessly proud, competitive, and an ignorant babe. Kang wants Junior to conduct with his feelings out in the open.

Gun Woo agrees, and quietly asks Kang to not interfere from now on. He asserts to a chagrined Kang Mae that this is his own orchestra, and he will conduct as he sees fit. (Sing it, Gun Woo.)

End episode.

Commentary/Rambling:

– Does anyone else find the Kangmi dynamic very much tipped in Kang Mae’s favour? And does anyone think this is disturbing, or at least annoying? She just scurries around without saying anything, it’s like all of a sudden we have a Ru Mi clone who forgot how to stand up for what she believes in. It shouldn’t continue, not if they’re to have a healthy relationship.

– I’ve been watching Bad Family, which is a really good show (both Thundie and Javabeans agree, btw, don’t just take my word for it), and Kim Myung Min’s love interest there is also called a ‘fighting rooster’ by their housemates. Coincidence? I think not. Though, imho, Nam Sang Mi’s character fits the epithet much better.

– Screencaps credit to Luv and sayroo. 😀

Sevenses

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28 October 30, 2008January 24, 2016

Beethoven Virus: Episode 13

by Sevenses

Today in class we were asked to vote for Obama… I wonder if the student speaker realizes we’re in Canada? 😀

Screencap credit to Luv and sayroo.

Isn’t she cute?

SONG OF THE DAY

牛奶@咖啡 / Milk@Coffee – “蝶恋花” (The Flower that Loves a Butterfly), by a Chinese indie group. Someone recently reminded me of the song (discussing the repeat butterfly motif in Painter) and I thought it would be nice to put it up. [ Download ]

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Episode 13

We begin with that confrontation from last episode, with Junior asserting his own independence.

Gun Woo goes back inside, and this is one of the differences right here – instead of just ploughing ahead, he actually tells the orchestra what he intends to do, making them part of the decision-making process. He also changes the piece to Tchaikovsky’s 1st piano concerto. Kang listens in from the outside, conflicting emotions apparent just from the frozen way he stands. (In case you missed it the first ten times, I love KMM.)

Then again, this is Kang Mae we’re talking about, so he walks stiffly away in anger.

The next day, Ru Mi is late to practice.

She wakes up in bed, blissfully happy, and then realizes that she’s missed her alarm clock by several hours. As she dashes from her answering machine to her stereo system, Ru Mi realizes what we’ve known from the moment she’s picked up the clock – she’s lost her hearing.

It’s a bad day for almost everyone, as Kang torments his orchestra simply by being in a bad mood. During a break, Ru Mi requests to see him, but he’s busy. When Kang looks outside for her, she’s gone already.

Not wanting to use his own cell, Gun Woo asks Park to text (the very late) Ru Mi. She replies that she’s gone to see her mother, which Gun Woo realizes is false, as her mother went on a trip last week. The man has his own problems, as his daughter calls him, assuming that her father is at work.

At the clinic, Ru Mi receives a call from Gun Woo, though she doesn’t hear the ringtone and fumbles through the conversation. He knows something’s up just through her voice, but as the conductor, he has to start practice.

The check up reveals that the loss of hearing will become permanent in a while, even with the use of medication (anti-inflammatory, and thus only holds off the deafness temporarily). She wanders around and finds the children’s choir singing, and her hearing comes back for the moment. Ru Mi crumbles to the floor in relief, though there’s a fair bit of sadness mixed in there too.

When she gets home, Gun Woo is waiting outside her house, and tests her by making her repeat what he said. She reveals that the meds are doing their work at the moment, then lies about having told Kang Mae.

Comforted if not exactly reassured, Gun Woo comes home and does various chores for Kang, who intersperses terse criticisms about his conducting between barked demands for various things. As if he hasn’t heard anything, Junior asks Kang Mae to take good care of Ru Mi.

The next day, Gun Woo hands in the sample of Tchaikovsky’s 1st piano concerto.

This episode seems to be one for hospitals, as Yi Deun brings in grandpa Kim for a checkup. It’s ostensibly for his ongoing cold, but in fact the doctor is checking for dementia. Kim becomes angry when he realizes this, though Yi Deun chases after him and explains that this is the first time he’s been lucid in a week’s time.

We learn that his daughter Young Joo died in a traffic accident when she was Yi Deun’s age, and that she also played the flute. In fact, he’d forced her to play and register for the contest. Young Joo refused to participate and died after running away from home. Upon finding out that she’s very similar to his long-dead daughter, Yi Deun demands that he remember her name, a simple concession after so many months spent together.

They go back inside to continue the checkup.

A week later, every other member of the orchestra take turns calling at the office, and the registration personnel is always ‘out for coffee’. (Ru Mi is getting a hearing aid here.) The undersecretary, now Kang’s chauffeur, tells Kang that the selection committee probably doesn’t take the newbie Mouse Orchestra seriously. This is totally proven true when Kang visits and sees the demo CD in the trash bin as the cleaning lady rolls by.

Kang’s so cute! He’s at the music centre to see the reporter and a member of the selection committee, who’s also compiling pieces played by the city orchestra. When asked if he has a recording of any pieces, since Kang Mae is infamous for hating studios, he ‘accidentally’ gives the Mouse Orchestra CD instead. Both the listeners remark that the style is a refreshing departure of the traditional style Kang Mae favours.

The maestro asks to change the CD, but the member of the selection committee is impressed at the skill of the unknown orchestra. The reporter knowingly asks, off to the side, whether this is the same group of people he was warning Kang Mae about, and receives a tirade on how useless and annoying they are. (But we see through you, Kang Mae, we totally do.)

Even when they know about the particular ‘faults’ of the musicians, both men still love the rough, unpolished sound for its energy and life. Kang’s face changes from peeved to satisfied during the course of their conversation, which shows that he still cares if people criticize his Irregulars.

Kang keeps insisting that the Irregular orchestra is useless, though the men think otherwise, especially after they hear that the conductor didn’t even go to music school. (The reporter dude looks suspicious, but he’s amused.)

During practice, everyone stares at Gun Woo’s phone. During their second run through a slow piece, Ru Mi stops playing and points at the phone. We can afford to sit back and relax when they’re so tense because we know that they’re in – Gun Woo pretends to be unhappy but then tells them that their orchestra qualified.

Celebrations all around, and the group goes for drinks after practice. Hee Yun is still annoyed at Ru Mi, but Gun Woo is friendly and gains the admiration of the others, who universally consider him a cool guy. Ru Mi sneaks out and texts Kang Mae, encouraging a reconciliation as well as telling him that they qualified. (Her mom is just being used as an excuse for all sorts of things, like sneaking out.)

After the celebration, which must have run pretty late, Gun Woo returns home, where Senior is doing a really bad job of trying to get him to talk. Fortunately, Gun Woo takes the first step and asks for a game of poker, for rather higher stakes than the two should. Oh well, they can take it.

In between adding more money and flipping the cards, they have a conversation. Kang doesn’t remember meeting Gun Woo ten years ago at all, though he does keep harping Junior about seeking perfection. Then he bets his conductor’s baton.

Gun Woo wins. (Being a poker n00b, I have no idea how a king, queen and a nine wins two aces and a four, but okay.) He also admits that he’s listened to and remembered every single word Kang’s said. Kang probably lost on purpose so he could give the conductor’s baton to Gun Woo (it’s the one he started out with, which makes it more significant).

Before going to bed, Gun Woo stops and asks the same question Ru Mi did earlier in the day – Did Kang help them out?

The next day everyone’s busy setting up the outdoor venue. Both Hee Yun and Park have trouble at home, with Hee Yun’s daughter angry at being neglected and Park’s wife not knowing he’s been laid off.

Park rushes to the concert hall, to at least appear to be part of the orchestra. Outside, during a squabble between Park’s daughter and another girl, the truth comes out. Kang appears at the last minute and apologizes for the situation, and tells Park’s dismayed wife that her husband’s performing with the city orchestra tonight. (That was nice of him.)

Of course, Park isn’t off the hook. She’s more angry about the not telling than the actual fact of his being laid off.

Up in the safety of his office, the mayor is freaking out about Mouse Orchestra’s qualification. He isn’t completely powerless to sabotage them, however, and sends construction workers to the area where Mouse is performing.

Right before the concert, Kim goes through another episode, and this time Yi Deun goes through with the charade of being his daughter, and smoothes things over. Things just don’t seem destined to go well, however, as the organizer of the music festival calls Gun Woo aside to joke about how supportive Kang Mae is.

None of the news sits well with Gun Woo, who goes to see Kang right before both of their concerts. Junior is disappointed, because he always thought that Kang Mae had their best interests at heart (he does, but Gun Woo’s just not hearing it). As Kang Mae goes on to say how useless they all are, Gun Woo asks him if he said this to Ru Mi too, if he was this harsh when Ru Mi lost her hearing.

Now it’s Kang’s turn to be puzzled and shocked. Gun Woo announces that he dislikes Ru Mi for choosing to like Kang, and decides to fight against Kang Mae for real this time. He also gives back the baton and walks away.

End episode.

Commentary/Rambling:

– LJA did well in this episode, especially during the scene when she realizes that she’s deaf. And I was all worried. 😀

– I get the feeling that i’ve seen this plot device before. It really seems like they’re manufacturing conflict, because to me, Kang helping them out wasn’t such a huge deal – they were going to be binned, okay? Also, wishing for a bit of subtlety, though all this shouting does have its upsides.

– People have wanted to know what Kang Mae’s ringtone was – it’s a violin version of the 3rd movement of Beethoven’s Sonata No. 8, the Pathétique (thanks, Evange!). Gun Woo’s is a more modern version of the Winter motif from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.

Sevenses

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16 November 9, 2008January 24, 2016

Beethoven Virus: Episode 14

by Sevenses

Hai guyz! I’ve had my butt pretty thoroughly kicked by school this past week, and you have no idea how glad I am to write to all of you. If any of you suffered permanent damage from the suspense of waiting, err, I do apologize. *bows*

I totally take back what I said about there being children involved in the future. Kang is so totally inept with them. 😀

SONG OF THE DAY

Jang Geun-seok – “들리나요 Part 2” (Do You Hear It) [This is the second version of the song originally recorded by Tae Yeon (here), which was recently released as a digital single. Jang Geun-seok sounds much, much better in this song than he has previously, doesn’t he? —javabeans] [ Download ]

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Episode 14

We open with essentially a summary of all that’s happened so far.

As Gun Woo puts down the baton Kang’s given him, he thanks the older man for his guidance, and walks away. Kang is devastated, but it’s right before the concert, so he goes in to conduct as usual. Afterwards, both Hee Yun and Bae remark that he looked really pale, and his conducting was unusually sombre (even for him). When Junior hears this, he looks a bit guilty, but now it’s his turn to conduct.

Kang Mae is accosted by a swarm of journalists, but he only tells them to go and listen to the outdoor concert. However, they’re all a step behind the main reporter dude, who’s already there, taking notes as Mouse Orchestra warms up. The organizer walks up, having lost Kang Mae somewhere along the way, but we can see that the conductor’s standing all alone on the other side of the wall.

Down on the raised platform, Hee Yun pokes everyone and tells them that their maestro is watching. People look up to see Kang rearranging his features into a displeased face. As the members assemble, the reporter remarks that it’s really quite lucky for Mouse that they’ve got such a capable piano soloist on their side – and the organizer replies that Kang was the one who asked her to play with them.

Onstage, Gun Woo steadfastly avoids looking up at Kang as he tells the anecdote associated with Tchaikovsky’s piano concerto No.1: The composer had wanted his good friend and accomplished pianist Nikolai Rubenstein to perform it, but his friend had dismissed it as trash after listening to it. Rubenstein also said that if Tchaikovsky did not revise it to his liking, then he would not perform it. However, Tchaikovsky did not revise it, kept the piece the way it was and achieved great success with it.

The underlying parallels are clear. Just as Gun Woo feel disdained and dismissed by Kang’s treatment, Kang is also hurt by Gun Woo’s rejection of what he considers perfectly good advice.

The performance erred on the dramatic side, but it was well executed. I quite loved the glimpses of the audience interspersed with everyone’s faces as they were performing. Now the suits in the audience get to put on their musical exposition hats and explain just why they feel Gun Woo’s conducting to be superior to Kang Mae. Ironically for Kang, who listens on the other side of the wall, they praise Junior’s complete honesty and straightforwardness. The student has managed to do what the master hasn’t. (There is even the suggestion that Junior is much better than Kang, which raises interesting issues.)

In the midst of the piece, construction workers come in, clanging and crashing, and chase most of the spectators away. Oho. Both Kang and the event organizer are annoyed, and the maestro phones the mayor right away. Kang orders the mayor to stop, though the damage is done.

In the mayor’s office, Kang gives Mr. Mayor the I-think-I’m-going-to-throw-up-on-you look throughout the entire discussion. The scumbag lies through his teeth about not knowing that there was a concert where he ordered construction, and spreads his hands in that universal gesture of regret at not being able to reabsorb the Irregulars into the city orchestra.

Unfortunately for the mayor, Kang Mae is good and angry now, so he only mentions that in fact, he is now planning to write an article on how the mayor attempted to sabotage the concert. And if the mayor’s not happy, he’ll even add his own name to the list of people responsible.

Meanwhile, Gun Woo is trying to get rid of his demons by tossing a tennis ball at a water tower. The Irregulars, in the nearby warehouse, are similarly downcast. Park opens the big, ugly can of wriggling worms and grumbles that if they had Kang Mae, the concert would have been a success. Of course, drama causality dictates that Gun Woo come to the warehouse at the same moment, and he listens to Park rant at length about how experience and connections can’t be obtain in just one day. (The inner bitch wants to say, “And you, with your experience and years, where are your connections? How were you able to help?”)

As the argument goes back and forth, Junior slumps against the door outside. But all is not lost, or at least it doesn’t seem that way, as a company phones Gun Woo to tell him about their intention to invest in Mouse Orchestra (after recommendations by the reporter dude). They have to participate in another music festival in a month’s time and this time the participants have to undergo an audition process.

When they hear the news, everyone is cheerful and optimistic, except for Park, eternal pessimist, and Gun Woo himself, who is very subdued still. Park calls for a vote, to see if they want to change conductors (he doesn’t want to either, he’s just trying to cheer Gun Woo up), and indeed, when Junior looks up to see everyone’s hands in the air, he manages a smile. (Bae has two hands up.)

It’s just so cute, to see them all trying really hard to make Gun Woo happy. And then he ends up crying and smiling too.

Damage control time! The undersecretary is sent specially to Kang Mae to beg him to be nice during the election time next week. Which means, basically, that he isn’t going to be allowed to start up a second orchestra (composed of – I’ll give you three guesses, and the first two tries don’t count).

At home, Gun Woo politely but firmly tells him that they have other plans. Kang has been sampling the deep end of the wine, and um, is not in the most stable mood when he persists in believing that Gun Woo is refusing because Senior is the one offering. In fact, Kang is angry enough to fling a wineglass at the wall and demand the truth.

Well, he asked for it. Gun Woo feels like he’s Kang Mae’s puppet. He almost feels that Kang Mae is blocking him somehow, which he immediately realizes is the wrong way of vocalizing it, because Kang goes off the deep end and announces that he is indeed trying to clip Junior’s wings. He also goes on to say that Junior is no longer his student – he’s letting Gun Woo go. (Me: You’ll regret it in the morning! Just like that bottle of wine you had!)

This is the most disheveled and uneven I’ve seen of Kang, ever. He’s usually very well coiffed, and ramrod straight with pride, but I think we’ve just seen him hit rock bottom. (Quick, someone bring in Beethoven! Or Ru Mi!)

Gun Woo follows Kang down the hallway, apologizing and insisting that he didn’t mean to say it. However, Kang’s really, deeply hurt, and renounces their mentor-student relationship with a smile, which totally hurts more than shouting. (Wait, so now we have two brooding males on set? Also, when Junior followed Kang, I totally expected a hug from behind. Oh well…)

Junior doesn’t know what to do either. Thus the night passes in agony and angst, while Sevenses tries different ways of tearing out her hair.

In the middle of her class on composing, Ru Mi gets a text from Kang Mae, requesting that she come see him. She replies with a, “I’m busy”, very much like the way he did last episode, incurring lots of shock on the other side. Fortunately she follows up with a jokey explanation. Ru Mi apologizes and tells Kang Mae that she’s picking up a new project, which means she won’t be able to see him until very late. He gets angry and tells her to not come at all.

During practice, Gun Woo stops the orchestra and puzzles over a piece that doesn’t feel right. Luckily for him, Ru Mi’s been working on the same thing, applying knowledge from her composition class, and fixes the problem by extending the main melody in Yi Deun’s part. And what do you know? It works.

I’m glad they settled in the last loose bit of their post break-up relationship. All is well on this front.

Coming home from what was presumably another bad day, Kang Mae is greeted at the door by Park’s wife and their daughter Bora. The little girl abuses every rule being a of good guest, but fortunately for her misbehaving ways, Mrs. Park goes into labour early.

Kang Mae tries to reach Park, but the latter is having a spat with Bae at the warehouse. Park is in a supremely bad mood, so he insults Bae for working at a cabaret, and things get very ugly (as in physical) from there. In the end, Kang resorts to calling Ru Mi and having her relay the message. Park runs off, abandoning his double bass and some very shocked musicians.

In the hospital, the conductor is carefully standing aloof, trying not to interfere because he doesn’t know what to do. The nurses wheel a screaming Mrs. Park into the operating room, while a crying Bora tugs on Kang’s suit. (Me: So. Socially. Inept.)

By the time Park gets to the hospital, the kid’s already been delivered. The room is much nicer than the standard hospital room, which Park obsesses about, until his wife drags him off to see the baby. The other people at the orchestra come, bearing gifts and playing the lullaby.

While they’re cooing over the newborn, Kang makes his way down the stairs, Bora still tugging at his jacket. He pre-emptorily tells Park to come back to work, and leaves.

While leaving, he catches Ru Mi at the elevator. He calls out, but she doesn’t hear him. Kang Mae doesn’t freak out right away, however, and asks her to explain what’s going on. At least now he knows, officially, that she needs a hearing aid to get things done.

It’s nice that they’re able to listen to each other without having started shouting first. He belittles her for assuming to think she can compose after losing her hearing, while Ru Mi is determined not to let music go. In that roundabout way, he gives her tips on what classes to take. (Ahh, have succumbed to the cute that is LJA.)

Just to add to the angst Kang Mae’s feeling, Ru Mi tells him that she’d like to play in an orchestra he conducts one more time before she loses her hearing. Kang looks stunned, and even more so when she asks him to confirm that she must have some special talent, something that sets her apart from the rest of the people in the world. But he manages a nod. (Must resist urge to snark…)

The next day is a big day for Yi Deun, as she (and the others) have to pass their audition for the company. However, grandpa Kim is really out of it, and can’t even manage to lift his head as he sits.

Junior is also up, and has a conversation with Kang’s door while his ex-teacher listens in the living room. Gun Woo is apologizing for saying unreasonable things, which makes Kang Mae madder, for some reason. (And he was in such a good mood after calling about treatments for Ru Mi…)

Everyone gathers at the audition hall, mostly excited and nervous. Hee Yun dashes to the bank, remembering that she has yet to pay the bills, and bumps into two neighbours. They assume she’d been just coming from a lunch out with her husband, but that’s obviously not the case – Hee Yun’s been cloistered in practice all day. (They actually knew it wasn’t her but said it the other way on purpose. I knew there was a reason I despised high school.)

Naturally, this upsets Hee Yun, who then proceeds to call her husband until right before the audition, but he never picks up. The others, who would have usually noticed, are all freaking out because the auditioners coming out of the music hall grumble in a united voice about how insanely harsh one of their judges is. (What’s to bet that the insanely harsh judge is Kang Mae?)

At least Gun Woo manages to cheer them up with a nicely placed pep talk, and they enter the music hall.

Well, it is Kang Mae. The other two judges are the reporter dude and a director of the company. The dismay of the orchestra, it blooms like frost on my window.

End episode.

Commentary/Rambling:

– There’s only so much misunderstanding people make before it becomes ridiculous – and I wonder that the Irregulars don’t realize how Kang is trying so hard to help them, because hello, obvious as the nose on your face. (Or in some cases, I suppose, obvious as the nose job on their faces.) I hate manufactured conflict.

– Yunno, Kang Mae’s a bit like a father to the Irregulars in general (except not Ru Mi, because that would just be… yeah, not going there). He makes mistakes, they make mistakes, they argue and throw things at each other. But in the end he tries his damnedest to give them what he thinks they need. Gun Woo needs to rethink his adolescent rebellion thing, and … I really wish they’d stop angsting, it is killing my buzz.

Sevenses

21 November 9, 2008January 24, 2016

Beethoven Virus: Episode 15

by Sevenses

I know, Kang Mae, the manufactured conflict gives me heartburn too.

Holladang – “안보이나요” (Don’t you see) [ Download ]

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Episode 15

Following from last episode, everyone files into the concert hall, only to find that one of their judges is Kang Mae. [Insert drumroll.] The pressure is on.

The judges all receive a copy of the music score – Mouse is playing a Pavane by Fauré. The changed piece is much faster than the original work, which doesn’t go unnoticed, but the playing is great, so no complaints from the other two judges. However, Kang Mae tells Gun Woo that pavanes were used in European courts as a solemn, stately processional kind of dance, and thus their changes to it pretty much erases the purpose of the piece.

Just to make things even worse, he steps up to the platform and demands that Junior hand over the conductor’s baton so he can show Gun Woo what it’s supposed to be like. (This is one heck of a way of fulfilling Ru Mi’s request, btw.)  One of the judges remarks that it should be interesting, watching the teacher give tips to the student – and Kang Mae cuts in and announces that he never took a student in his life, and doesn’t intend to.

Kang Mae goes on to say that if ‘this idiot’ can’t understand the score nor the music itself, then he’ll just have to show how it’s properly done. Poor Gun Woo walks off to the side, all dejected. Wow, okay, Kang Mae isn’t fulfilling Ru Mi’s request after all, because he sends her away for not being able to hear. It’s like they’re in kindergarten and he’s sent them into the corner for misbehaving or something.

(The inner WooMi shipper thinks they look good standing together, but Ru Mi and Gun Woo are both super zoomed in on Kang.)

Once again, the actual tone and pace of the piece comes down to a difference in stylistic interpretation, which the reporter dude rationally points out. However, Kang excoriates Gun Woo for presuming to think he has enough talent and knowledge to just change classical pieces in the blink of an eye. (Well, to be honest, your girlfriend helped too…) Then the man strides offstage, shouting something along the lines of ‘Never shall this orchestra see the light of day!”

Junior pursues his ex-teacher, and while his tone is purely conciliatory, Kang is still at the biting stage. Beyond the basic debate on whether or not it’s okay to completely change a piece based solely on gut feeling, there’s something deeper that’s perhaps poisoning the communication between the two Kang Gun Woos. It used to be that Kang would say ‘Jump’, and Gun Woo would follow up with ‘WTH? How high?’, but now they don’t even understand each other, and it hurts to see such a good relationship fall apart like this.

Despite Kang’s strident objections, since he isn’t an official panelist judge, Mouse Orchestra passes the auditions. When the orchestra hears of this, they’re all puzzled as to why Kang Mae would come and expend all this effort to ruin them.

The maestro under discussion returns to his workplace, where he is greeted by the sight of the mayor-elect telling the city orchestra to help him out. It’s demeaning, because he’s just demanding that they play fanfares and stuff when he makes his speeches. When Kang Mae storms in and tells the man to go the heck away, the mayor tells him that if his opponent Jung wins, their collective geese are cooked. To Kang, it’s all whatever.

Even when he isn’t with them in spirit, Park still thinks about Mouse Orchestra, and sends over snacks. In between the boxes of cookies and crackers (probably stolen from his daughter, lol), Bae discovers an envelope full of money, as well as the contact info for someone who’s looking for an orchestra to record with. Aww.

However, not everyone is doing very well, as Bae has run out of savings and is working overtime to make ends meet. At home, Ru Mi finds Hee Yun sitting listlessly in the living room, worrying over her husband’s probable infidelity. While they’re both there, Hee Yun also tries to talk Ru Mi out of being with such an obvious asshat like Kang Mae. She doesn’t want Ru Mi to make the same mistake she did and sacrifice herself for a man who doesn’t even appreciate what she does.

At the studio, everyone suffers during the new accompaniment job – it’s for a singer who doesn’t have the vocal power to carry over an entire orchestra, but whose mother insists on having a concert anyway. The poor musicians are stretched to the limit and try to play as low as possible. Mass annoyance ensues.

Back in the safety of their warehouse, Mouse orchestra preps for their own practice. Gun Woo hands Ru Mi another piece to adjust (this time it’s a song). She teases him about his favourite conductor and tells him that even such a great conductor as his idol gathers up other people’s partitions and studies them before making his own interpretations of the piece. (In other words, dude, don’t be a stubborn asshat.)

However, the good mood is shattered when everyone hears from a cellphone broadcast (the wonders of technology) that the new mayor is Jung Whatshisface. Ru Mi and Gun Woo look at each other, because they know what this may mean for Kang Mae.

At the same time, Kang Mae and Jung Evilface meet on the steps of the musical village. The conductor is abominably rude, which the undersecretary tries to overwrite, but yeah. The tension, you can cut it into bouillon cubes and make stew.

Jung wants the orchestra to play the national anthem at the ceremony during which he officially becomes the mayor. Kang, however, refuses, especially because Jung Evilface is too controlling. The very public confrontation and subsequent humiliation isn’t doing much to endear Kang to the new mayor, especially as the dominant one (this time) is very much our dear maestro.

He enters his office while fuming, and opens a music file from Ru Mi. She accurately predicts his moods and reactions, and plays a short excerpt of the Liebestraum for him. Yay, Kang has calmed down a bit.

Then the undersecretary runs in, all winded from running around, and he looks like he needs a few bottles of Advil to help him deal with these two figures of power. I think the poor man has given up reconciling Jung Evilface and Kang Mae. Anyhoo, Kang asks him to send flowers to an address he indicates, and goes off to start practice.

Just to recover a bit, Kang takes a nap and dreams of listening to Gun Woo conduct the Liebestraum, but halfway through the piece things stop synching and it’s one giant mess of cacophony – and Kang wakes up in a cold sweat.

Oh dear. It appears that life imitates dream, as Kang loses his grasp on how to conduct a piece, and directly contradicts what he said the day earlier. When he asks the undersecretary about the practice this afternoon, the other man remarks that his conducting has taken a gentle turn. Kang’s sense of unease grows, as they’re talking about Beethoven’s 5th symphony here.

Kang Mae throws a bit of a fit and takes the cab directly to Ru Mi – speaking of whom, is enjoying her flowers. She looks up to see Kang arrive in a cab, and is about to smile at him when he comes and directly begins stomping on the basket. (Oh, those poor flowers, what did they ever do to you, Kang Mae?)

Predictably, Ru Mi is both shocked and distressed. He shouts that his music has changed sounds and become muddy (for lack of a better adjective), and while he tells her that it’s not her fault, his temporary lapse into rage is unsettling.

Away from all this drama, Yi Deun gets ready for school and reluctantly leaves grandpa Kim sitting dully at his chair. She opens the door for Kang Mae and tells him to remind grandpa Kim to eat later.

In fact, Kim had called him earlier in the day and Kang mae probably also came to seek advice. Unfortunately grandpa Kim is no longer able to give any sort of response at all, and Kang asks, sadly, if the place he’s at is nicer than reality.

As the monologue goes on,  it’s clear that Kang Mae also blames grandpa Kim for urging him to be true to his own feelings, as musical confusion is directly related to his real-life one. During the middle of his speech, grandpa Kim regains his usual sharp wisdom and asks what Kang expects him to do.

When Kang is faced with actually talking to someone who ‘matters’, he gets up and attempts to deny everything. Kim cottons on (correctly) that Kang is reluctant to date Ru Mi because a) she’s so much younger and b) she’s somehow lesser than he is. Kang also has hang-ups from his painful breakup, on the day he adopted Beethoven.

In short, he’s afraid. (Which would explain the stomping on of flowers, though I’d been hoping that Gun Woo was starting to influence him musically, because, hello, more interesting.) It’s nice that Kang’s able to be frank with someone, at least.

Kim’s revelation that he had an affair with a harpist at the Seoul Philharmonic during his marriage also parallels Hee Yun’s current dilemma, and the grandpa adds to Kang that it takes considerable courage to love someone all the way till the end, and that cautious people (like themselves) are usually not capable of that kind of passion.

Consequently, Kang texts Ru Mi and tells her to meet him at his house. He throws her a CD recording of Smetana’s String Quartet No.1 (also called From My Life) and tells her to listen to the violin solo in the fourth movement. And then he breaks up with her.

WAY TO BE CALLOUS, KANG MAE.

(Also, this happens to be the best way of opening up an entire can of angry worms from Gun Woo.)

Hmm. Ru Mi gets told that she doesn’t matter to Kang, and then right after, he tells her that he can’t afford to let anything affect his music. Which, in my head, contradicts each other, because if she doesn’t matter then she can’t affect his music, um… During the conversation her hearing goes on and off, but she hears enough to understand the gist of it.

In the end, Ru Mi does agree to break it off, if only for his request to preserve his music. She does say that becoming deaf has allowed her to understand him better and leaves.

Kang Mae looks at the closed door with something close to panic, and pats himself in the general heart/stomach area. He goes to work, but he can’t concentrate, so he comes back home.

Meanwhile, Ru Mi practices the Smetana solo and cries on her violin.

When Kang Mae comes in, Gun Woo asks him for permission to look through his partitions, because he wants to know the traditional interpretations of the pieces he’s working on. We know that Kang Mae isn’t stable right now, so the stuff he says isn’t reliable, though Junior doesn’t. (The writers say, MOAR ANGST.)

Kang tells Gun Woo to stick to his more modern interpretations and then completely lies about not calling the former mayor to stop the construction work. Hearing that Kang was jealous enough to attempt to sabotage him, Junior doesn’t take the compliment from the statement, and instead cries out of a sense of betrayal.

Junior walks away and cries in his room (like an emo teenager, sorry, I do have sympathy, just not for overdramatization). Kang’s trying to cut ties with everyone he cares about, though in this case it’s more like he doesn’t want Gun Woo to be negatively influenced by his own fall from grace.

To help himself fall asleep after a very difficult day, Kang takes a few sedatives and literally crawls into bed. (I think you know what’s going to happen.)

The next day Kang Mae is late enough to practice that they send Park off to look for him at the house. Gun Woo is off being emo, and no one answers Park’s repeated calls. Beethoven, however, is barking in distress at his master, who is feverish and unconscious.

Park calls in the members of the Irregulars, who set up rotations to take care of the maestro, though Gun Woo still refuses to see his former teacher. Junior stays alone overnight at the warehouse, notating his new partitions.

(Um, is he trying to get sick too?? Baka.)

The next day, Kang seems completely recovered and goes back to his normal self. It really helps that he knows the Irregulars took care of him last night. 😀

Mouse Orchestra is still being tortured by the rich mother and the daughter who cannot sing. Finally the mother comments one too many times about the orchestra’s inferiority, and Gun Woo snaps. He frankly tells her to push her daughter off a cliff a few times to enhance the strength of her voice, and that their experience is more valid than the type that has to be bought.

Despite all that, Gun Woo is still in a crap mood.

And while Kang seems to have recovered from that bout of doubt, the mayor has decided to fire him in favour of someone more malleable.

End episode.

Commentary/Rambling:

– Writers, please, do not hammer the points in, the viewers are capable of reading in between the lines. If they keep telling me (and not showing) about stylistic differences I may throw something at my com screen. Atm Ru Mi’s worldview seriously aligns better with Junior’s. I wonder how they’re going to play that out.

– Btw, for those of you who are worrying about how on earth they’re planning to finish the series in one episode, don’t – there’s been a two-episode extension handed out, and BV will end with 18 episodes. Which sort of reminds me of my 2 episode backlog… *headdesk*

Sevenses

22 November 16, 2008January 24, 2016

Beethoven Virus: Episode 16

by Sevenses

Awfully sorry for the delay, folks. Will try and finish as soon as I can.

For a certain Thundie, who really likes her Kim Myung Min. 😀

SONG OF THE DAY

As One – “To Heart” [ Download ]

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Episode 16

So the new mayor, Jung Evilface, is moving to fire Kang as the official city orchestra conductor. Kang doesn’t really care and takes this news in stride and continues with his usual activities. I suppose he’s still confident that the city council won’t pass the measure.

The old mayor is there too. Kang figures that he doesn’t want to stay anymore (escaping from Gun Woo and Ru Mi) and intends to hand in his resignation. He also insults Evilface while he’s at it, which is hilarious, because he says something along the lines of ‘I only converse with humans’.

When Park hears this, he is disappointed that Kang is thinking only of himself (again), since the city orchestra will no doubt dissolve without its conductor.

Meanwhile, Hee Yun spends an entire morning following her husband around, but she manages to lose him and goes off to practice. She buys a bit of bread for lunch, but is caught embarrassingly short by a stranger, who pays for her. Hee Yun helps the other woman carry her groceries in return, since she has a pronounced limp and the stuff is heavy.

They have a friendly chat, but it just so happens that that woman’s ‘husband’ is Hee Yun’s. Ooh.

During practice with Mouse, Hee Yun is out of sorts and plays badly. It appears that Gun Woo has adopted Kang’s bad temper, and he chews her out for being absentminded during practice (he also scolds a number of other people). It’s no use divorcing yourself from Kang if you’re going to turn into him, yo.

Gun Woo’s harsh tone provokes a fight with Bae, though before this one starts, Hee Yun bursts into tears at her husband’s confirmed infidelity. (Third time Bae’s almost gotten into a fight, isn’t it?) Ru Mi comforts Hee Yun.

Before leaving for school, Ru Mi talks to Gun Woo about his increasing tendency to imitate Kang while conducting. It’s not a bad thing in itself, but she’s disturbed at his own loss of identity. It’s like his exorcism of Kang’s influence is doing the opposite, and now it’s taking over – he used to be patient and used his musical gift to help everyone. (This was why people flock to him as opposed to Kang. I say was, because it looks like Mouse Orchestra has reached their endurance limit.)

At least he’s willing to listen to her. To Gun Woo, this performance is too important to do badly on. And he’s still following Kang’s advice to be decisive.

Fittingly, in composition class, the prof is expounding away at countermelodies, which is different from the the main melody but complements it at the same time. The class listens to an excerpt from Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier and try to find a good countermelody for it.

Ru Mi gets called up first, because she is the oldest (in the class). Improv countermelody formulation ensues. Ru Mi thinks of the time she looked back to find Kang Mae following her, and does a pretty good job. The prof jokes about how the tone of her countermelody has such a masculine stubbornness to it. Hee.

Then Ru Mi hears from Park that Kang is planning to resign and dissolve the orchestra. She goes to his office and confronts him for being selfish. He tells her that the new mayor doesn’t care about arts or culture – and Ru Mi calls him on this self-indulgent excuse. She is perfectly okay with his leaving her for the sake of his music, but she doesn’t want to see him lying to himself in order to escape.

The thing is, she doesn’t want to see him oppose the new mayor and get humiliated as a consequence, but she thinks running away isn’t a solution either. Ru Mi echoes Kim’s request from earlier episodes for Kang Mae to face himself honestly in the mirror.

The next morning, Kang Mae goes to see the mayor, who offers monetary incentives – the musician’s delayed salary – for the orchestra to perform at his reception as mayor. Of course, this means that in the future, Kang would have to listen to everything the mayor demands. (The other one was just incompetent, I think, whereas we get a very solid vibe of Machiavelli from this guy.)

Kang’s face screams ‘Do Not Want’, but he agrees to Jung Evilface’s request. (That second screencap has such good wacky captioning potential.) When Kang announces this to the city orchestra, everyone thinks the fever from a few days ago must have damaged Kang’s brain.

Worried, Park chases after Kang Mae, who announces that the only way to keep everyone together is if he continues his job – which means that they have to play three pieces at Evilface’s reception. *sigh* Kang Mae also adds with his usual bitterness that this time he’s going to fight dirty, and continue until every last bone in his body is exhausted. (Paraphrasing, but you get the gist.)

When this news travels to Mouse Orchestra (via the eternal Park grapevine), everyone is uber shocked. Gun Woo, still on the outs with Bae, listens while he notates partitions. Junior shows his disappointment by ranting (again) about Kang’s asshat ways. (I swear, it’s like one of those bitter tabloid breakups.)

Not satisfied with just hearing bits and pieces, Gun Woo calls Park to get the whole story. We know that Kang Mae is only trying to get the delayed salaries for the musicians, but Junior waxes outraged that his ex-mentor would do such an abrupt volte-face.

And so he goes to pick up Kang from the restaurant. I think the translator’s trying to mess with my brain, because the lines are so shippy (wah, brain, stop):

It’s okay for you to hate me, and goodness knows I was annoying as a student. I had decided to just watch you from afar, but how much disappointment do you want me to feel? I can’t bring myself to see you continue this way – are you sure you can conduct without regretting your decisions this time?

Kang surprises him with a negative, and when Junior digs deeper Kang tells him that Ru Mi was the one who forced him to do it. Gun Woo tells Kang to stop it, since he doesn’t like what he’s doing, but Kang calls him a child and walks away.

(And here Gun Woo finally realizes that he and Ru Mi no longer see eye-to-eye on a lot of issues. But they’re both right to some degree.)

Mouse Orchestra gets some flyers about the concert – which is enough to provoke Bae into planning something stupid, from the sounds of it. Both Ru Mi and Gun Woo, due to their proximity to Kang (imagined at this point, but okay), are excluded from the whispering session.

Interesting. 30 minutes to the beginning of the concert, Evilface is greeting his guests, but no one has received any partitions. (My inner saboteur lols.) Kang Mae also receives an express package from Mouse Orchestra – it’s a bulletin board full of humourous post-its that encourage him not to bow down to Evilface. Kang smiles, and gives the partitions to the various musicians.

OMG THEY’RE PLAYING 4’33”. HEE. I ♥ KANG MAE. (4’33” is a rather famous performance piece written by John Cage, and it’s a piece that consists of sounds taken entirely from the audience. Which means the orchestra doesn’t play for 4 minutes and 33 seconds, the usual length of the piece. Seriously, it’s awesome, and such a departure for the traditionalist Kang.)

All over the city, various members of the Irregulars sit down and watch the performance. Gun Woo actually takes the trouble to go to the concert hall and watch. The really awesome thing is that the program has already been handed to the mayor, who doesn’t recognize the title of 4’33” (but the undersecretary does, and makes a constipated face).

This piece comes before both the national anthem and ‘My Way’, a piece selected by the mayor.

As anticipated, very few people in the audience actually understand what’s going on. The undersecretary looks like he’s going to die of stress, the poor man. Kang Mae is still concentratedly ‘conducting’, eyes closed, when Evilface walks up to the stage, fully intending to confront Kang.

Evilface is incensed, but Kang talks right over him, and announces to everyone to enjoy the music around them. He then asks what Jung Evilface felt during those 4 minutes and 33 seconds, because that is the heart’s music. Evidently Jung’s rage is demonstrative of his true personality – which Kang exposes, at a certain detriment to himself.

Ru Mi watches and cries, because she knows she’s asked Kang to fight for something he can’t win.

Pensive and a little petulant, Gun Woo is late to his own orchestra practice. Ru Mi meets him at the door, where they have their regular, episode discussion of ‘What’s Kang Mae Doing To Mess With Your Head’. Basically Gun Woo’s hurt that Kang Mae never tells him anything, while he’s completely open to him. (Again, reading too much into this will cause headaches of the shipping kind.)

Ru Mi laughingly tells Junior that he really is a child, though when he states his desire to become old, she says he’s in the process of growing up too.

Good news for Mouse Orchestra, Gun Woo has gone back to his normal, friendly self. Lol, but he’s not completely declawed, as he now has Ru Mi cooperating with him to manipulate everyone into practicing more. Sneaky.

Yay for being a happy unit again. I had no idea of how much I missed seeing the boy smile until now.

In the morning, Hee Yun confronts her husband about his infidelity, starting out calm (which is good) but then quickly descends into tears. It turns out that her husband has stopped seeing the other ajumma, but that’s not the root of the problem, is it? Both of them have massive communication problems, to say the least. They do reach a tentative understanding.

Bae and Yi Deun go to check on grandpa Kim, but he left his house in fury after being unable to play the oboe. Yi Deun resolves not to go to the performance until she finds the wayward grandpa. (It’s obvious she knows him much better than his son and daughter-in-law, since they’ve been gone for so long.)

Obviously this makes them late. Gun Woo is about to pop a vein, and I say – all this has to happen right before the audition/performance… dudes, melodrama much?

At the performance hall, Kang resignedly awaits his fate from the city council, which has once again been convinced by Evilface to let him go. The maestro is more worried about Mouse Orchestra’s absence, there being only 40 minutes left until their turn onstage.

Hee Yun remembers in time (or not so in time) that she still has a performance to go to, and her husband drives her. At the performance hall, Kang has arranged things so that Mouse goes last, and also to supplement their missing members. Mouse has to leave right away, though, if they want to show up on time.

I wonder if Gun Woo has any idea how much Kang is helping them – and this time he does accept the help. Ironically, the entire conversation takes place between Park and Ru Mi, and not the people who really need to talk.

The problem is that people who don’t show up at the audition/performance won’t be included in the orchestra – but if they stay and are late, everyone’s doomed. Gun Woo is the one to make the final decision.

Ru Mi watches Gun Woo give the okay for departure, knowing that this can’t possibly easy for him.

Yi Deun is successful in locating grandpa Kim at last, playing his oboe in an underground corridor. (35 minutes until the performance!) She and Bae catch up with the group, with 15 minutes to spare. Unfortunately (say it with me, folks) there’s a traffic jam.

Park is frustrated at why they would sacrifice the whole for just three people, but Kang remarks, a little enviously, that this is who Gun Woo is. It’s his weakness and strength at the same time.

Everyone gets off the bus and runs to the performance hall. Gun Woo, shouldering his aunt’s cello, runs behind the entire group, making sure that each and every one of them stays with the group.

End episode.

Commentary/Rambling:

– Gun Woo, Ru Mi and Kang form this unholy triumvirate of really confused signals, I’m just saying as someone who reads too much into things, okay? (*gets stoned*)

– If this turns out to be about how much Kang Mae sacrifices himself for the two people he loves, I … I may throw a fit. *facepalm*

– Aaaaaaaand Ru Mi assumes a mothering role to everyone in the drama. It kind of suits her.

Sevenses


28 February 8, 2009January 24, 2016

Beethoven Virus: Episode 17

by Sevenses

Mea culpa, guys. For a multitude of reasons, I couldn’t bring myself to finish the series – and when I’d decide to finally get on with the recaps, something would inevitably come up. Many, many apologies to the people who expected this sooner.

So, er, in case you don’t remember what happened previously, click for episode 16.

SONG OF THE DAY

Alison Krauss – “If I Didn’t Know Any Better” [ Download ]

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Episode 17

Unfortunately, the orchestra get to the performance hall too late. As Kang drives out, the Irregulars stop to thank him for his help anyway. A chagrined Gun Woo is unable to convince their sponsor to give them one more chance.

However, everyone puts their game faces on, and sets up a stage to perform for free in public. Gun Woo feels guilty for making everyone wait and thus miss their chance, but everyone approves of the way he handled the day’s events.

Mouse’s street performance gathers lots of attention. It’s nice to see Hee Yun smiling all the way through, since her husband is finally here.

Gun Woo comes home and finds Beethoven exiled to the yard. He reads into things and decides that Kang is annoyed at him, and apologizes. He promises to continue trying with the orchestra. Though Kang’s tongue is as sharp as ever in reprimanding Gun Woo, he falters when he tells Junior that he will be leaving for good in a week, or whenever Jung Evilface finishes the paperwork.

Junior walks away all sad while Kang looks (with what could possibly be some regret) at his retreating figure.

Grandpa Kim is being sent away to a nursing home on the day of Yi Deun’s scholarship contest. She runs the risk of being late just so he can leave in comfort, with all the things he likes (and how much time she must have spent taking care of him, and noticing little details, to be able to know every one of his preferences).

It’s no use, because Yi Deun has to leave, and she does so in tears.

The undersecretary visits Kang with the news that instead of being an official conductor, he is now a ‘consultant’. This has the nifty advantage of using Kang’s fame while humiliating him with no control over the orchestra at all. Methinks Evilface has been reading his Machiavelli.

The new conductor probably got here by virtue of being good friends with Evilface, though no one’s saying anything. He’s very thickskinned too. HIs CV is full of jobs heading committee stuff for Evilface, and only one instance of actual conducting – and it was for an amateur choir.

It seems that the city orchestra has formed a bond with Kang Mae also, and are doing their level best to drive the newcomer away. They switched partitions around and um, sadly, the new conductor, Lee, didn’t even notice. After practice, Kang meet with the four main instigators – he doesn’t agree with their methods, but does agree to stay on as an observer for their sake.

At the competition, Yi Deun is so depressed she can hardly eat the lunch Hee Yun cooked for her. Her turn
onstage comes, and everyone cheers her on.

Even if she’s a bit subdued, the orchestra members all agree that Yi Deun did a great job.

Yi Deun’s playing continues on as we switch scenes to Grandpa Kim’s house, where he is getting ready to leave.

He looks back at the house from his the doorway, seeming to sense something missing. Yi Deun dashes out of the changing room, bypassing her shocked fellow orchestra members.

Ru Mi drives her to the bus station, where we see grandpa Kim’s son and daughter-in-law escorting him onto a bus. Even on the bus, grandpa Kim is worried and keeps looking around, but when Yi Deun catches up, he doesn’t look outside. (Classic kdrama missing-each-other-at-the-bus/train-station scenario, but it’s touching nonetheless.)

Yi Deun stands outside in the bus station as the coach drives away, crying. Ru Mi runs up with the news that she placed second, which entitles her to a scholarship, but Yi Deun can’t enjoy this small victory at the moment.

The city orchestra is playing merry shenanigans with the new conductor (by locking him out, lol), which enrages him to new heights of fury, and I feel ever so sorry for the door he’s pounding on. Well, in the end the power is in his hands, and announcements for another round of auditions go out – which means that the current musicians could be out of a job. (Outright sabotage is apparently the thing in this episode.)

Kang Mae calls Evilface over for dinner with a challenge. If he can name five emotions from a classical piece of Kang’s choice, the maestro will do anything Jung demands. Not very surprisingly, Evilface fails (he barely names two: good, polished and haha, does it matter, he’s obviously musically challenged – and in BV apparently that means without a soul).

Without skipping a beat, Kang Mae goes ahead and describes five scenarios (not just feelings) that the music gives, with accompanying storylines. He finishes with a politely worded request to not let other people with the potential for feeling the music let their talents die like the mayor has done. As intended, Kang manages to provoke a very strong reaction in Evilface, for good or ill, I don’t know. Yet. I’m sure they’ll show me very soon, and probably in technicolour fireworks too.

Good lord, they’ve spawned an entire underground movement. The thought of classical music and underground culture in one sentence boggles, but there it is. Kang looks up at the defiant protest posters his orchestra’s made, and sighs.

Despite not having talked to each other since the Night of the Almost Couple-y Spat, Kang is very much concerned with Gun Woo’s efforts, and quizzes Park on their status. It’s not a very good one, I’m afraid, what with Gun Woo and co struggling for funding every which way and not finding it.

Kang Mae tells Park to play the messenger and send along his firm disapproval. Park refuses, because he knows that the two Kang Gun Woos need to communicate too.

At the warehouse, Ru Mi and Gun Woo are holding the orchestra together with ramen and shoelaces and very little else. Seriously, to quote Gun Woo, “When people hear the ‘f’ of ‘funding’, they run away.” Yi Deun, as a soon-to-be full-time music student, has no time to spare for future performances and practices, though she stubbornly refuses to miss the Dream of the Swan performance. (Well, she’s the soloist, it might be a bit hard without her, even if Ru Mi is morphing into super composer girl…)

At least Ru Mi’s composition classes are going well.

Gun Woo, as usual, returns home after dark, only to find a note from Kang on the couch, giving him the directions to a fancy restaurant. Upon arrival, the poor guy is totally out of his element. Kang is just warming up with his life-is-futile rant when he finds out that ‘Dreams of a Swan’ is actually adapted from a folk song. He totally loses it, though Junior talks him into keeping his temper under control – by mentioning that Ru Mi is the person who adapted it.

True to form, Kang Mae flounces off and snidely tells Gun Woo to finish the leftovers. Ouch.

The next day, musicians in the city orchestra meet up in their practice hall and paint insults to Evilface on banners meant for public display. Mr. Long-Suffering undersecretary relays the astonishing (to the orchestra members anyway) news that Evilface has decided to abolish the city orchestra altogether.

At the moment, the situation isn’t too dire, since many city councillors disagree.

Since Park is at the music hall all day, he doesn’t know that his family is being asked to move out of their apartment complex. His wife is finally fed up, and vents her frustrations on him. He agrees quietly to leave and find a job to support his family.

Surprisingly, Kang Mae lets Park resign the next day without a fuss, because he understands the needs of daily life. (Now, he would have never done that in the beginning, so yay character development!) Kang Mae looks down at the notice for him to move his office elsewhere, and goes to the meeting that will decide the fate of the city orchestra.

Ru Mi still apparently has contacts within the mayor’s office, and rushes off right away to see Kang Mae when she hears that even the official orchestra is being disbanded.

The meeting is a bit awkward, but the emotions are still there, and pretty raw too. Ru Mi wants Kang Mae to give up fighting the mayor, since even she can see that this is like butting into a brick wall.

KANGMI MOMENT. AHHHHH. But they pull away and Kang Mae leaves.

The city council meeting goes pretty much like student union meetings – far too many people talking at the same time about issues that aren’t really related. Table banging and incoherency also feature. (Surprising, the amount of noise seven men can make, no?) And Evilface enjoys this sort of thing.

Kang goes to a corner of the room and puts on some earphones to enjoy music, imagining an outdoor lunch with the members of Mouse orchestra. Everyone chatted and teased each other, with a general air of goodwill. Dream Ru Mi walks up to Kang Mae, who is looking out toward the sea, and comments that a day like this may never come.

He tells her that it’s time for them (I think he means the orchestra, and not just Ru Mi) to part ways, even as the music fades off.

Switch abruptly to Kang, writing out and signing his letter of resignation at night.

At the same time, Mouse is also falling apart, reluctantly perhaps, but falling apart nonetheless. Gun Woo sees the slow demoralization, and tells everyone that the official breakup of their orchestra will occur after their last performance.

Okay, as if this isn’t bad enough – apparently the people who agreed to fund Mouse’s concert were under the impression that the elder Kang Gun Woo is the conductor of the orchestra, and are now reneging on their offer.

Kang Mae finds out at the last moment, and contacts the person in charge, agreeing to conduct for an exorbitant sum. (Ha, someone just got served.)

He’s being awfully difficult on purpose, demanding all possible information on the company’s superiors in order to delay the paperwork enough for Mouse to be able to still perform. Then Kang Mae throws down his phone and mutters about the audacity of some people, daring to pick on his student.

Later that evening, Kang awaits Gun Woo with badly concealed impatience. As it happens, Gun Woo is moping outside the house, full of misery and self-pity. Kang decides that he’s not going to wait, and meets Gun Woo on his way in.

Junior drags his feet and tells Kang Mae what happened with the performance, crying all the while. Aww. Gun Woo feels like a failure of a student, but Kang tells him (what he’s always thought), that Gun Woo did an excellent job.

Kang Mae hugs Gun Woo and pats his back to comfort him.

End episode.

Commentary/Rambling:

– I think this would have been much more effective as an ending/climax effect if, oh, it hasn’t happened like five times already.

– The best part of this episode (and arguably this show) centres around the people of the orchestra, their lives, and the bonds they’ve built up with each other. What a shame that the show instead chooses to focus on the melodramatic breaking up process.

Sevenses


63 June 2, 2009January 24, 2016

Beethoven Virus: Episode 18, Finale

by Sevenses

This is how I want to remember Kang mae, I think – working diligently behind the scenes, with his happy dog for company.

I was looking at the dramawiki for Beethoven Virus, and it’s got all these awards. Kind of boggling, but I guess quality is in the eye of the beholder.

In case you don’t remember what’s going on with this series (I don’t blame you, it’s been a long time), here are the previous recaps.

Alright then. Let’s get this finished.

SONG OF THE DAY

Beethoven Virus OST – “사랑은 선율을 타고” (Day by Day) by Girls Generation. [ Download ]

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Episode 18, finale

Maestro Kang recovers from his bout of sickness and wakes up in time to receive an express package containing the documents for his contract with the Munich Orchestra. It is the same orchestra that Kang’s idol, the famous Celbidache, had also led. Gun-woo, sensing that the maestro is inordinately pleased at receiving a flattering offer from the Munich Orchestra, realizes that his teacher is probably leaving for good this time.

It seems like they’ve both reached an unspoken agreement about their respective paths in life. While Kang relentlessly asserts that they do not see eye-to-eye when it comes to music interpretation, he does agree to acknowledge and teach Gun-woo. However, he has a set of very strict academic conditions (it’s almost like applying for the exclusive Maestro Kang scholarship, except it’s not open to anyone else).

It’s another instance of his bark being much, much worse than his bite. Gun-woo knows this, and jokingly asks for Jung’s number just to lighten the atmosphere.

Later in the day, Kang is reading quietly at home when Beethoven begins to bark and whine at the door. Ru Mi is on the other side, hesitating over whether to ring the doorbell or not. Thanks to his high-tech security system, Kang sees every hesitant move Ru-mi makes. As Beethoven continues to bark, Ru-mi flinches from the door and walks away. Furious, Kang glares at Beethoven. (But he doesn’t run after her. Interesting.)

At night, Hee-yun comes with several boxfuls of Korean food staples and begins packing them away to send via express to Kang’s new address. He’s prickly as ever, but when he sees that she intends to stop playing cello, he tells her about Paul Potts, who was a humble shop clerk before he rose to fame. Though she understands the value of perseverance, Hee-yun also knows that she doesn’t have the skills to excel, and thanks Kang for his kind words.

When Kang comes to drop off some books, ostensibly because has no more use for them, Gun-woo is already asleep. On the bedside table, Gun-woo’s personal calendar notes the cancellation of Mouse’s last performance. Kang sees this and comes to a decision.

He gathers all the orchestra members together and tells them (commands, actually) that they prepare for a concert in two hours, with the same pieces as the canceled one.

Gun-woo arrives and tries to talk Kang out of conducting for them – he’s already done too much for their group. However, the two have come full circle as Kang uses Gun-woo’s words from earlier against him.

Kang: It is when you say things like, “Oh, we are not good enough, it’s no use”, that you are forcing it to become true. I was like you once, I had nothing when I started out. And yet I am famous now. This piece, I, all of you, anything can become famous and gain recognition.

He goes on to compliment the adaptation in a backhanded way, pointing out faults. Kang’s only condition is for no photos to be taken, because officially, the great Maestro Kang does not conduct popular ballads. 😛

During the piece, Gun-woo (well, everyone) stare at his beloved mentor and thinks back on all the happy times.

This gradually segues into everyone’s good-bye to their life as a member of the orchestra: Park sells his bass, Ru-mi packs her violin away, Yi-deun breaks down in the middle of cleaning up the warehouse and Bae refuses to leave altogether.

Kang is saying his farewells too, and sits down for a lavish private dinner with the former mayor. The mayor’s bootlicking habits are as strong as ever, and he reads the complimentary portions of Munich orchestra’s invitation for Kang. The words, however, do seem to find a chord within the maestro: his conducting before always had a sense of frustration, but now he is allowing the emotional nuances of the piece show themselves. Kang recognizes that he has the Mouse orchestra to thank for this, but the mayor goes further, comparing his initial attitude towards them (‘You are my instruments’) to now (‘These people are mine’).

It’s an agreeable change, but Kang is embarrassed and snatches the papers out of the mayor’s hands.

The next day, Kang goes to the music complex, where the particularly diehard members are still at their protest tent. Their send-off is much less expensive, but more sincere and well-received. Kang allows himself a few moments to look back at them and the buildings behind them, probably for the last time.

Ru-mi’s professor for her composition classes offers her a chance to continue at a higher level. What cheers her more, though, is a text from Kang: ‘Beethoven wants to see you.’ (Kang mae, you are too cute.)

She takes the chance to sneak up on him with her cameraphone. He gets angry at her, which gives Ru-mi an opportunity to use her puppy face – she won’t have any proof that Kang was really here without even a picture.

Kang gives her the ring he always wears on his pinky, which is gratifying, but Ru-mi thinks it’s not very appropriate since it came from another woman. Using his most potent I’m-with-idiot face, Kang explains that no, he got the ring from Beethoven’s hometown. He’d bought the ring in defiance of the fact that conductors were not allowed to wear jewelry, but now he’s giving it to Ru-mi for her to build up her own strength. (Kangmi shippers may swoon now.)

Not to be outdone, Ru-mi leads Kang to a music studio where she shows him that she’s been emulating Evelyn Glennie and trying to feel the music with her body instead of listening. She offers to repeat back what he says to her using her new technique, though it’s more of an opportunity for the writers to show the progression in their relationship. Kang gives out stinging barbs and is generally his usual grouchy self, but Ru-mi translates his words into praise.

He admits, after a longish pause, that he walked away from Ru-mi because he found himself changing because of her, and adds that he knows escape isn’t the answer. She’s content with that, at least for now. So they both settle for the distant promise of ‘someday’.

Meanwhile, Bae Yong-gi of the snorty laugh and questionable trumpet skills is annoying the life out of Park, who has settled for working as a florist. Somewhere in the interim, the Park family lost their apartment, and now both parents are working to provide for Bora and the new baby girl. Park feels the humiliation at working in a job that was provided by his wife’s family, and doesn’t answer well to Bae’s prodding for a reunion.

Bae, on the other hand, goes on to urge Gun-woo into visiting the city symphony members who are still protesting. There aren’t a lot of them left, and Gun-woo can’t spare a lot of his time as he just got into university. After hanging up on Gun-woo, Bae visits Hee-yun to urge her to join in one last performance.

Hee-yun’s resignation at the state of affairs is echoed by the former city orchestra leader. The musicians have mostly gone their own ways, and the ones who are left are very discouraged. Gun-woo’s sneaky, though, and he rouses them while casually hinting that his group would have to give up on their performance because they lack people. Naturally the city orchestra is all ears, and the two groups agree to cooperate.

At home, Gun-woo enumerates the benefits of the concert to his mentor, but Kang mae ignores all mentions of beneficial publicity and tears into Gun-woo for being stupidly optimistic. Despite pleading and puppy eyes, Kang mae refuses to conduct for them.

The next day, Gun-woo looks like he’d rather have taken Kang mae’s advice and given up when the two groups clash over a simple thing like precedence in the concert title. Everyone holds tightly to pride and refuses to cooperate. The bigger problem, however, is in getting the right amount of instruments in each section.

At the same time, Ru-mi is helping Yi-deun pack up Grandpa Kim’s things. Kang gives a terse call, informing her that Grandpa Kim left a letter to Yi-deun in his CD cabinet. The letter is short but sincere – he wanted to see he become a successful musician, but he’s afraid Alzheimer’s may not let him. However, he wants Yi-deun to know that he knows she’s capable, and to keep on trying at all times. (He’s also leaving half of his property to her, but that doesn’t have the same emotional ring to it.)

The advantage of living with Kang mae is that Gun-woo is free to poke him and hint at him with all the patience in the world. This way Kang mae finds out all the details of the next day’s concert without having to lift a finger, though he’s still pretty grumpy. The performance is certainly a group effort, as everyone from the former mayor to the choir are helping out gratis. Gun-woo mournfully remarks that this is the last performance Ru-mi will give before her operation, and then sighs that Kang mae won’t be there to lend them a hand too.

Unfortunately, Kang mae’s flight coincides with the time of the concert, precluding all possibility of his being there. Ah, cruel fate. And he won’t even let them host a going-away party.

The next morning, Kang mae doesn’t even wait to wake Gun-woo up before leaving. [Insert chorus of ‘Aww’.]

It’s not really possible to hide something as big as a concert in a public park, but the former mayor does his best to distract Evilface so everyone can set up. Yi-deun gingerly sets down Grandpa Kim’s clarinet down in his seat. Even Park, who’s getting rather henpecked, is allowed to come for this one performance.

A sizable crowd’s shown up for the concert, and while the playing is painful to watch, the effect is lighthearted and the audience certainly seems to enjoy it.

On his way to the airport, Kang mae seems to have chosen the one road lined by posters and banners promoting the performance. I think we all know what’s going to happen, but in any case, Kang mae is going through some major mental gymnastics.

As Gun-woo waits for a Ru-mi and Park to arrive, he sees Kang mae standing a little bit in front of him, and the effect is everything the melodramatic conductor could have wished for.

Kang tears into Gun-woo for being so stupid and not being able to see that things have already ended, for both the city symphony and Mouse. However, Gun-woo is convinced that this is the beginning, and giving up now would be truly the end of both orchestras.

Looks like Kang still has a few things to learn from Gun-woo.

Kang: Don’t think you can succeed so easily. Classical music was written for the noble, the elegant. How can you aspire to that?
Gun-woo: But as you said, even we can become famous. We’re doing as you did, and we won’t give up.
Kang: If you must walk the thorniest path, then I will conduct for you. But you must all obey me, without conditions.

Kang announces that he will only conduct the 9th Symphony by Beethoven, but this is greeted with screams of wild joy, and he leaves with at least a smile on his face. (Ode to Joy seems particularly appropriate for the moment.)

Shots of the orchestra performing fades out to a shot of Kang walking away. He goes through a tunnel into the coming light, to the accompaniment of his orchestra, Beethoven trotting faithfully alongside him.

End episode.

Commentary/Rambling:

– Okay, a few things to clean out of the closet, and then I’ll shut up. 😀

– I love the open ending. When I finished the show, I had the ‘wait, what happens to everyone’ reaction – but then I realized that the point is not whether or not they went on to make lots of money and get famous, but that this love of music brought all these people together. And they’ll keep in touch, maybe form another orchestra once Evilface is replaced. The mature, somewhat nostalgic feeling this drama brought at the end balanced the fluctuations in tone in the middle. The loose ends that it leaves aren’t loose ends at all – that’s how life works. As Gun-woo says, it’s just the beginning.

– And now for shipping – to be quite honest, I interpret his giving the ring to Ru-mi as a promise that he’ll come back – after all, he says that this time he ran away from wavering, but when the desire to waver comes again, he may not be able to escape it. (I’m slightly annoyed by the implication that he can’t love a woman and still conduct properly, but I’m not artistic, so I guess the influence of a muse is acceptable.)

– BV’s had its share of bumps along the way, but this is the drama that introduced me to Kim Myung-min, so it gets an overall plus, I think. Lee Jia continues to improve (really) and Jang Geun-seok also. I don’t think Beethoven Virus was ever meant to rival Nodame in terms of sheer erudition/passion about classical music – it focused (as kdramas will) on interpersonal relationships. To be quite honest, if I hadn’t been recapping the show, I would have enjoyed Beethoven Virus. But it just doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

– Thanks to everyone for reading and being such good sports about my agrammatical and procrastinatory ways! I couldn’t have done it without all the encouragement you gave.

Sevenses

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