「Copland On Music」を読む 第1回 pp.36-41

If one were asked to name one musician who came closest to composing without human flaw I suppose general consensus would choose Johann Sebastian Bach. Only a very few musical giants have earned the universal admiration that surrounds the figure of this eighteenth-century German master. American should love Bach, for he is the greatest, as we would say - or, if not the greatest, he has few rivals and no peers. What is it, then, that makes his finest scores so profoundly moving? I have puzzled over that question for a very long time, but have come to doubt whether it is possible for anyone to reach a completely satisfactory answer. One thing is certain; we will never explain Bach's supremacy by the singling out of any one element in his work. Rather it was a combination of perfections, each of which was applied to the common practice of his day; added together, they produced the mature perfection of the completed oeuvre. 



Bach's genius cannot possibly be deduced from the circumstances of his routine musical existence. All his life long he wrote music for the requirements of the jobs he held. His melodies were often borrowed from liturgical sources, his orchestral textures limited by the forces at his disposal, and his forms, in the main, were similar to those of other composers of his time, whose works, incidentally, he had closely studied. To his more up-to-date composer sons Father Bach was, first of all, a famous instrumental performer, and only secondarily a solid craftsman-creator of the old school, whose compositions were little known abroad for the simple reason that few of them were published in his lifetime. None of these oft-repeated facts explains the universal hold his best music has come to have on later generations. 



What strikes me most markedly about Bach's work is the marvelous rightness of it. It is the rightness not merely of a single individual but of a whole musical epoch. Bach came at the peak point of a long historical development; his was the heritage of many generations of composing artisans. Never since that time has music so successfully fused contrapuntal skill with harmonic logic. This amalgam of melodies and chords - of independent lines conceived liner-fashion within a mold of basic harmonies conceived vertically - provided Bach with the necessary framework for his massive edifice. Within that edifice is the summation of an entire period, with all the grandeur, nobility, and inner depth that one creative soul could bring to it. It is hopeless, I fear, to attempt to probe further into why his music creates the impression of spiritual wholeness, the sense of his communing with the deepest vision. We would only find ourselves groping for words, words that can never hope to encompass the intangible greatness of music, least of all the intangible in Bach's greatness. 

バッハの作品について、私が最も心を打たれるのは、音楽に溢れる公正さである。それは単に一人の人間の公正な意識、というよりは、その時代の音楽全体の持つ公正な意識だ、と思う。音楽の長い歴史が作ってきた積み重ね、それが頂点を迎えた頃、バッハは登場した。彼の作品は、音楽作りの名工たちが何世代もかけた、その積み重ねの結果である。この時代に初めて、対位法と和声理論が一つになることができた。この、旋律と和声が合わさったもの - 階層的に構想された基本ハーモニーの枠組みの中で、線のように考え出された、一つ一つが独立しているもの - は、バッハに、彼の大きな音楽体系を作る上で必要な枠組みをもたらした。この体系の中には、それまでの音楽の歴史の集大成が込められており、一人の創造力溢れる者の魂がもたらすことができる、偉大さ、気高さ、そして内面の深さを伴っている。彼の音楽が、精神世界の全体像を創り出すのはなぜか、彼の音楽が、誰よりも深いビジョンをもって聴き手にメッセージを伝えてくれるという印象を与えるのはなぜか、残念ながら調べても無駄だろう。調べた結果をまとめたとしても、ただ言葉が並ぶだけ、形に表れない音楽の素晴らしさを説明する内容など、込めることはできないだろうし、形に現れないバッハの音楽の素晴らしさの一端すら、説明できないだろう。 


Those who are interested in studying the interrelationship between a composer and his work would do better to turn to the century that followed Bach's, and especially to the life and work of Ludwig van Beethoven. The English critic, Wilfrid Mellers, had this to say about Beethoven, recently: “It is the essence of the personality of Beethoven, both as man and as artist, that he should invite discussion in other than musical terms.” Mellers meant that such a discussion would involve us, with no trouble at all, in a consideration of the rights of man, free will, Napoleon and the French Revolution, and other allied subjects. We shall never know in exactly Beethoven's thinking, but it is certain that music such as his would have been inconceivable in the early nineteenth century without serious concern for the revolutionary temper of his time and the ability to translate that concern into the original and unprecedented musical thought of his own work. 



Beethoven brought three startling innovations to music: first, he altered our very conception of the art by emphasizing the psychological element implicit in the language of sounds. Because of him, music lost a certain innocence but gained instead a new dimension in psychological depth. Secondly, his own stormy and explosive temperament was, in part, responsible for a “dramatization of the whole art of music.” The rumbling bass tremolandos, the sudden accents in unexpected places, the hitherto-unheard-of rhythmic insistence and sharp dynamic contrasts - all these were externalizations of an inner drama that gave his music theatrical impact. Both these elements - the psychological orientation and the instinct for drama - are inextricably linked in my mind with his third and possibly most original achievement: the creation of musical forms dynamically conceived on a scale never before attempted and of an inevitability that is irresistible. Especially the sense of inevitability is remarkable in Beethoven. Notes are not words, they are not under the control of verifiable logic, and because of that composers in every age have struggled to overcome that handicap by producing a directional effect convincing to the listeners. No composer has ever solved the problem more brilliantly than Beethoven; nothing quite so inevitable had ever before been created in the language of sounds. 



One doesn't need much historical perspective to realize what a shocking experience Beethoven's music must have been for his first listeners. Even today, given the nature of his music, there are times when I simply do not understand how this man's art was “sold” to the big musical public. Obviously he must be saying something that everyone wants to hear. And yet if one listens freshly and closely the odds against acceptance are equally obvious. As sheer sound there is little that is luscious about his music - it gives off a comparatively “dry” sonority. He never seems to flatter an audience, never to know or care what they might like. His themes are not particularly lovely or memorable; they are more likely to be expressively apt than beautifully contoured. His general manner is gruff and unceremonious, as if the matter under discussion were much too important to be broached in urbane or diplomatic terms. He adopts a peremptory and hortatory tone, the assumption being, expecially in his most forceful work, that you have no choice but to listen. And that is precisely what happens: you listen. Above and beyond every other consideration Beethoven has one quality to a remarkable degree: he is enormously compelling. 



What is it he is so compelling about? How can one not be compelled and not be moved by the moral fervor and conviction of such a man? His finest works are the enactment of a triumph - a triumph of affirmation in the face of the human condition. Beethoven is one of the great yea-sayers among creative artists; it is exhilarating to share his clear-eyed contemplation of the tragic sum of life. His music summons forth our better nature; in purely musical terms Beethoven seems to be exhorting us to Be Noble, Be Strong, Be Great in Heart, yes, and Be Compassionate. These ethical precepts we subsume from the music, but it is the music itself - the nine symphonies, the sixteen string quartets, the thirty-two piano sonatas - that holds us, and holds us in much the same way each time we return to it. The core of Beethoven's music seems indestructible; the ephemera of sound seem to have little to do with its strangely immutable substance. 

それは何かベートーベンのような情熱と信念の男には、誰もが惹きつけられ、ねじ伏せられ、感動させられるのではないか?彼の代表作のいくつかは、人間の清濁をすべて受け入れるという勝鬨を音楽にしたものである。ベートーベンはクリエイティブアーティストの中でも特に楽天的な人物の一人である。悲しいことばかりが溢れる人生において、彼の切れ味の良い思考に触れると、こちらも元気になる。彼の音楽は、人間の性(さが)を、少しでも良い所に注目して集めたものだ。純粋無垢な音楽表現を用いて、彼は私達にこう呼びかけているようだ 「気高くあれ」 「強くあれ」 「大志を抱け」 「慈悲深くあれ」。私達は彼の音楽が抱く、こうした人の道の教えに触れる。しかし私達の心をとらえて離さないのは、交響曲が9、弦楽四重奏曲が16、ピアノソナタが32、といった作品そのものである。いつも同じように。また彼の音楽へと帰ってきてしまう。ベートーベンの音楽の根っこにあるのは、「不滅」。「音は」その場限りではかなく消えるが、音楽に内在する、ベートーベンだけが語る「不滅」は、音のはかなさとは無縁である。