A. Copland 「What to Listen for in Music」を読む

コープランドの「What to Listen for in Music」(2011版)を、原文と日本語訳の両方を見てゆきます。

「Copland On Music」を読む 2.Creativity in America (The Blashfield Address, May 1952)


Creativity in America 


Presented as The Blashfield Address before The American Academy and National Institute of Arts and Letters, May 1952. 

1952年5月、全米芸術文化協会 「ブラッシュフィールド講演」にて 



THE CREATIVE SPIRIT, as it manifests itself in our America, is assuredly an appropriate subject to bring before this academy and institute, dedicated as they are to the “furtherance of literature and the fine arts in the United States.” We here know that the creative act is central to the life process. The creative act goes far back in time; it has functioned and continues to function in every human community and on every level of mankind's development, so that by now it possesses an almost hieratic significance - a significance akin to that of the religious experience. A civilization that produces no creative artists is either wholly provincial or wholly dead. A mature people senses the need to leave traces of its essential character in works of art, otherwise a powerful incentive is lacking in the will to live. 



What, precisely, does creativity mean in the life of a man and of a nation? For one thing, the creative act affirms the individual, and gives value to the individual, and through him to the nation of which he is a part. The creative person makes evident his deepest experience - summarizes that experience and sets up a chain of communication with his fellow-man on a level far more profound than anything known to the workaday world. The experience of art cleanses the emotions; through it we touch the wildness of life, and its basic intractability; and through it we come closest to shaping an essentially intractable material into some degree of permanence and of beauty. 



The man who lives the creative life in today's world is, in spite of himself, a symbolic figure. Wherever he may be or whatever he may say, he is in his own mind the embodiment of the free man. He must feel free in order to function creativity, for only in so far as he functions as he pleases will he create significant work. He must have the right to protest or even to revile his own time if he sees fit to do so, as well as the possibility of sounding its praises. Above all he must never give up the right to be wrong, for the creator must forever be instinctive and spontaneous in his impulses, which means that he may learn as much from his miscalculations as from his successful achievements. I am not suggesting that the artist is without restraint of any kind. But the artist's discipline is a mature discipline because it is self-imposed, acting as a stimulus to the creative mind. 



Creative persons, when they gather together, seldom speak of these matters as I speak of them now. They take them for granted, for they are quite simply the “facts of life” to the practicing artist. Actually, the creator lives in a more intuitive world than the consciously ordered one that I have pictured here. He is aware not so much of the human and aesthetic implications of the rounded and finished work as he is of the imperfections of the work in progress. Paul Valley used to say that an artist never finishes a work, he merely abandons it. But of course, when he abandons it, it is in order to begin anew with still another work. Thus the artist lives in a continual state of self-discovery, believing both in the value of his own work and in its perfectability. As a free man he sets an example of persistence and belief that other men would do well to ponder, especially in a world distracted and ridden with self-doubts. 



All this is very probably elementary stuff to the members of this distinguished community of creators. But the question in my mind is whether it is correct to assume that it is also “baby stuff” for the generality of our fellow citizens. Does the average American really grasp the concept included in the word “creativity”?  Have the artists of America succeeded in impressing themselves - that is to say, in the deepest sense - on the mind of America? Frankly, I seriously doubt it. Some of my friends tell me that there are no special circumstances that surround the idea of creativity in our country, and that my theme - creativity in America - makes no sense, because creativity is the same everywhere. But my observation and experience convince me of two things: first, that the notion of the creative man plays a less important role here than is true in other countries; and second, that it is especially necessary that we, the artists of America, make clear to our countrymen the value attached in all lands to the idea of the creative personality. 



The origins of the American attitude toward creativity are understandable enough. We are the heirs of a colonial people, and because for so long we imported cultural riches from overseas, it became traditional for Americans to think of art as something purchased abroad. Fortunately there are signs that the notion is slowly dissolving, probably forever, along with other nineteeth-century preconceptions about art in America. Europeans, however, seem intent upon perpetuating that myth. When I was abroad in 1951 I was aware of a certain reluctance on the part of the ordinary music-lover to believe that America might be capable of producing first-rate work in the field of music. The inference seemed to be that it was unfair for a country to have industrial and scientific power and, at the same time, the potentiality of developing cultural power also. At every opportunity I pointed out that it is just because commercial and scientific know-how alone are insufficient to justify a civilization that it is doubly necessary for countries like the United States to prove that it is possible, at the same time, to produce, along with men of commerce and of science, creative artists who can carry on the cultural tradition of mankind. 



The British music critic Wilfrid Mellers dramatized the crucial role America must play in this regard by writing that “the creation of a vital American music [he might have written American poetry or American painting]. . . . is inseparable from the continuance of civilization.” One might, I suppose, use a less grandiose phrase and put it this way: to create a work of art in a non-industrial community and in an unsophisticated environment is comparatively unproblematical. Thus the impoverished peon with none of the distractions of modern urban life carves something out of a piece of wood, or weaves a design in cloth. Subsequently someone comes along and says: “Why, this is art; we must put it into a museum.” A contrasted though analogous situation obtains in a country like France. There a long tradition of cultural achievement has been established for many centuries; hence it is not surprising that a young generation can carry that tradition forward through the creation of new works of art. Creativity in such an environment does not take too much imagination. But in a civilization like our own, with few traditional concepts, and with many conflicting drives, each generation must reaffirm the possibility of the coexistence of industrialism and creative activity. It is as if each creative artist had to reinvent the creative process for himself alone, and then venture forth to find an audience responsive enough to have some inkling of what he was up to in the first instance. 



I say this with a certain amount of personal feeling, as a native from across the East River, who grew up in an environment that could hardly have been described as artistic. My discovery of music and the allied arts was the natural unfolding of an inner compulsion. I realize that not all lovers of art can be expected to have the kind of immediacy of contact that is typical of the practicing artist. What seems important to me is not that all our citizens understand art in general, or even the art that we ourselves make, but that they become fully cognizant of the civilizing force that the work of art represents - a civilizing force that is urgently needed in our time. My fear is not that art will be crushed in America, but that it won't be noticed sufficiently to matter. 



Whose fault is it that the artist counts for so little in the public mind? Has it always been thus? Is there something wrong, perhaps, with the nature of the art work being created in America? Is our system of education lacking in its attitude toward the art product? Should our state and federal governments take a more positive stand toward the cultural development of their citizens? 



I realize that I am raising more questions than can possibly be discussed in so brief an address. No doubt the most controversial of these questions is that of the involvement of government in the arts. Central to this issue is the problem as to whether the arts and artists ought to be nurtured in the first place, or whether it is more healthy to let them fend for themselves, One might deduce cogent arguments for both sides of this question. In America nurturing of the arts has traditionally come from private rather than public funds. The kind of free-lance patronage that served the country fairly well in previous times is now becoming more inadequate each year, for reasons that are obvious to all of us. The growing trend toward government involvement is clear, also. Everything points to the eventual admission of the principle at issue, namely, the principle that our government ought actively to concern itself with the welfare of art and professional artists in the United States. Actually the federal government does expend a certain part of its budget for cultural projects, but unfortunately these must always be camouflaged under the heading of education, or of information, or even of national defense - but never as outright support of the arts. That should be changed. 



Please don't misconstrue me. I am not asking for a handout for the artists of America. Even on that level the Works Progress Administration proved that artists who were government employees often did valuable work. My belief is that the future will prove that the government needs artists just as badly as artists require government interest. Here is an instance that comes to mind. Our State Department, in a comparatively recent development, has set up more than a hundred fifty cultural centers throughout the world and deposited therein American books, musical scores, phonograph recordings, and paintings as well as educational and scientific materials. (It is a stimulating centers in action, as I have, in Rome or Tel-Aviv or Rio de Janeiro; to watch a crowded room of young people making contact with intellectual America through its books and music and paintings.) The government purchases the materials necessary for these centers and distributes them abroad. It is only one step further, is it not, to hope to convince the government that since the end product is needed, and worth purchasing, something should be done to stimulate the creation of the product itself, instead of leaving this entirely to the fortuitous chance that some artist will supply what is needed. 



I have no doubt that some of you are thinking: “What of the obvious dangers of bureaucratic control of the arts? Is it worth the risk?” Personally, I think it is. The experience of European and Latin American countries in this regard is surely worth something. Subsidies for the arts in those countries are often of an astonishing generosity. These have persisted through periods of economic stress, through wars and violent changes of regime. On more than one occasion I have heard complaints about the dictatorial behavior of a ministry of fine arts, or objections to the academic dud produced by a state-sponsored opera house. But I have never heard anyone in foreign lands hold that the system of state subsidy for the arts should be abandoned because of the dangers it entails. Quite the contrary. They look on us as odd fish for permitting a laissez-aller policy in relation to American art. Surely, in a democracy, where each elected government official is a “calculated risk,” we ought to be willing to hope for at least as happy a solution as is achieved abroad. Bureaucratic control of the artist in a totalitarian regime is a frightening thing; but in a democracy it should be possible to envisage a liberal encouragement of the arts through allocation of government funds without any permanently dire results. 



All this is not unrelated to my main contention that the artist and his work do not count sufficiently in twentieth-century America. People often tend to reflect attitudes of constituted authority. Our people will show more concern for their artists as soon as the government shows more concern for the welfare of art in America. This has been admirably demonstrated in our educational system in regard to the musical training of our youth. In one generation, with a change of attitude on the part of the teachers, the entire picture of music in the schools has altered, so that today we have symphony orchestras and choral ensembles of youngsters that would astonish our European colleagues, if only they knew about them. I cannot honestly report, however, that the young people who sing and play so well have been led to take any but the most conventional attitude to the musical creators whose works they perform. There is a vital link missing here, a link that should enable us to transform a purely perfunctory respect into a living understanding of the idea that surrounds creativity. Somehow, sooner or later, it is that gap in understanding that must be bridged, not only as regards music, but in all the arts. Somehow the reality of the creative man as a person made meaningful for the entire community must be fostered. Creativity in our country depends, in part, on the understanding of all our people. When it is understood as the activity of free and independent men, intent upon the reflection and summation of our own time in beautiful works, art in America will have entered on its most important phase.