「Copland on Music を読む」第5回の4 フォーレ生誕100年inUS







3章 4の巨匠 



Faure Centennial in America: 1945 

1945年 フォーレ生誕100周年を祝うアメリ 


DURING THE LAST four days of November 1945, Cambridge, Massachusetts, is to be turned into a shrine for Faure devotees. The Harvard Music Department is sponsoring a festival of five concerts, free to the public, in honor of the hundredth anniversary of the great French composer's birth. The music will range from the comparatively familiar Requiem through less familiar chamber music and songs to the rarely performed opera Penelope, to be given in concert form under the direction of Nadia Boulanger. 



It is a little difficult for those of us who have long admired Faure's work to foresee how the present dwellers in Harvard Yard will take to him. Personally I'm just a trifle nervous. It isn't that one's faith in the value of the work itself has wavered, but the moment doesn't seem to be quite right for doing full justice to a Faure celebration. In a world that seems less and less able to order its affairs rationally Faure's restraint and classic sense of order may appear slightly incongruous. Consequently it is only reasonable to speculate as to how he will “go over,” especially with younger listeners.  




As a matter of fact, it has never been easy to convince the musical public outside France of the special charm that attaches itself to Faure's art. In France itself Faure's name has for many years been coupled wih that of Debussy, as is proper. But outside France the public has been slow to appreciate his delicacy, his reserve, his imperturbable calm ー qualities that are not easily exportable. 



It is perfectly true that you must listen closely if you would savor the exquisite distinction of Faure's harmonies or appreciate the long line of a widely spaced melodic arch. His work has little surface originality. Faure belongs with that small company of musical masters who knew how to extract an original essence from the most ordinary musical materials, To the superficial listener he profoundly sounds superficial. But those aware of musical refinements cannot help admire the transparent texture, the clarity of thought, the well-shaped proportions. Together they constitute a kind of Faure magic that is difficult to analyze but lovely to hear. 



The public at large, when it knows his work at all, knows it, as Theodore Chandler has pointed out, “through a mere handful of works, all written before his forty-fifth year.” But Faure lived to the ripe age of seventy-nine and composed his most mature works during the last thirty-five years of his life. It is the bulk of this later work that is so little known, and undeservedly so. A song cycle like La Chanson dEve belongs with the Dichterliebe of Schumann; the second piano quintet belongs with Franck's essay in that form; the piano trio should be heard along with Ravel's trio. 



At the age of sixty-seven Faure wrote his first and only opera, Penelope. From a musical standpoint this opera will stand comparison with Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande. Dramatically it suffers from an obviously weak libretto, but despite that fact it continues to be performed regularly in Paris. It is these works of his maturity ー and other similar ones ー that arouse my enthusiasm. 



I don't suppose that it is primarily the enthusiast like myself at whom the centenary concerts are aimed. And, of course, the sponsors of the festival must know that there are people of good will who will continue to think of Faure as a petit maitre francaise no matter what one demonstrates to the contrary. Assuming that they really know Faure's music ー not just the early violin sonata and some of the songs, but the ripe works of his maturity ー they have a right to their opinions. But what about the many music lovers who have never had an opportunity of forming their own opinions? Certainly the festival must have been devised with them in mind ー for the true believer in the genius of Faure is convinced that to hear him is to love him.