「Copland on Musicを読む」第5回の2(2)ベルリオーズは今



This can perhaps be most clearly observed in is writing for orchestra. Even his earliest critics admitted his brilliance as orchestrator. But they could hardly have guessed that a century later we would continue to be impressed by Berlioz's virtuoso handling of an orchestra. It is no exaggeration to say that Berlioz invented the modern orchestra. Up to his time most composers wrote for the orchestra as if it were an enlarged string quintetー none before him had envisaged the blending of orchestral instruments in such a way as to produce new combination of sonorities. In Bach and Mozart a flute or a bassoon always sounds like a flute or a bassoon; with Berlioz they are given, along with their own special quality, a certain ambiguity of timbre that introduces an element of orchestral magic as a contemporary composer would understand it. The brilliance of his orchestration comes partly by way of his instinctual writing for the instruments in their most grateful registers and partly by way of his blending of instruments rather than merely keeping them out of each other's way. Add to this an incredible daring in forcing instrumentalists to play better than they knew they could play. He paid the price of his daring, no doubt, in hearing his music inadequately performed. But imagine the excitement of hearing in one's inner ear sonorities that had never before been set down on paper. It is the sheen and sparkle, the subtle calculation of these masterly scores that convince me that Berlioz was more, much more, than the starry-eyed romantic of the history books. 



It is easy to point to specific examples of Berlioz's orchestral boldness. The use of the double-basses in four part chordal pizzicatti at the beginning of the March to the Scaffold; the writing for four tympany, also in chordal style, at the conclusion of the movement that precedes the March,; the use of English horn and piccolo clarinet to typify pastoral and devilish sentiments respectively; the gossamer texture of Queen Mab with its impressionist harp and high antique cymbals; the subtle mixtures of low flutes with string tone at the beginning of the “Love Scene” from Romeo ー all these and numerous other examples demonstrate Berlioz's uncanny instinct for the sound stuff of muisc. 



Apart from his orchestral know-how there is hardly a phase of his music that has not been subjected to criticism. His harmonic sense is said to be faulty ー that's the reproach most frequently heard ー his structure too dependent on extramusical connotations, his melodic line disappointingly old-fashioned. These oft-repeated strictures are now due for revision. Any clumsiness in the handling of harmonic progressions should be viewed in the light of our extended notions of right and wrong in harmonic procedures. The Berlioz harmony admittedly is sometimes stiff and plain, but is it so awkward as to disturb one's over-all enjoyment? That always has seemed an exaggerated claim to me. His formal sense is unconventional ー refreshingly so, I would say, for even when he lacks the inevitability of a Beethoven, one senses that he is finding his own solutions arrived at from his own premises. More often than not these are unexpected and surprising. The reproach concerning his melodic writing has some basis in fact, especially for the present-day listener. Berlioz depends upon the long-breathed line and the unconventional phrase length, to sustain interest, rather than the striking interval or pregnant motive. His loveliest melodies give off a certain daguerreotype charm, redolent of another day. This must have been true even at the time he penned them. Looked at from this angle, they lend his music a quite special ambiance, as if they came from a country not to be found on any map. 



Let us concede, for the sake of argument, that the weaknesses are there. The fact remains that, whenever a composer is adjudged worthy to stand with the masters, a remarkable willingness to overlook what was formerly considered to be serious weaknesses is apparent. The weaknesses remain, but public opinion tacitly agrees to accept them for the sake of the good qualities ー and I consider that public opinion does right. My prognostication is that we shall, in future, be hearing less and less of Berlioz's weaknesses and more and more of his strengths. 




For I repeat that there is something strangely right about Berlioz for our time. The French historian Paul Landormy put my meaning well when he wrote: “His art has an objective character by comparison with the subjectivity (interiorite) of a Beethoven or a Wagner. All the creatures that he created in his imagination detach themselves from him, take on independent life, even if they are only an image of himself. The Germans, on the contrary, have a tendency to fuse the entire universe with their interior life. Berlioz is essentially a Latin artist.” It is the objective handling of romantic elements that makes Berlioz an especially sympathetic figure in our own time. That and our clear perception of his musical audacity. For he is clearly one of the boldest creators that ever practiced the art of musical composition. 



An aura of something larger than life-size hangs about his name. After hearing a Berlioz concert Heinrich Heine wrote: “Here is a wing-beat that reveals no ordinary songbird, it is a colossal nightingale, a lark as big as an eagle, such as must have existed in the primeval world.”