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「Copland on Musicを読む」第7回の1 アメリカの若手作曲家達






The Twenties and the Thirties: How It Seemed Then 




第1章 アメリカ人作曲家の若い世代 


Prefatory Note: A reading of these three articles in chronological sequence should provide some perspective on the unfolding of America's creative talent during the past thirty years. Through no fault of my own several late-comers are not named: Walter Piston in the twenties, William Schuman in the thirties, and Leon Kirchner in the forties. They are missing because their music was littel known until a later 1926, but was down in everyone's book as a composer of popular music with only two concert pieces to his credit. Most significant, it seems to me, is the fact that the writing of articles such as these has become increasingly hazardous due to the variety of and complexity of our present-day musical scene. 





1926:America's Young Men of Promise 



TO DISCOVER the important composers of tomorrow among the young men of today has always proved a fascinating diversion. Franz Liszt, in his time, concerned himself with every rising young talent in Europe who happened to cross the path of his meteoric career. More recently Erik Satie played godfather to a whole brood of young Frenchmen. Braving ridicule, he even sought among the high-school boys for young genius. Others beside Satie have gathered about them the significant young men - Busoni and Schonberg in Central Europe, Casella in Italy. 



In America our new composers have been left to shift for themselves. When, as occasionally happens, a young talent does emerge from obscurity, this can almost always be attributed to the sensational element in his work, never to its purely musical merits. The public wants only a name. But there are other composers, less fortunate, who must be content to add opus to opus with little or no hope of being performed. If these cannot be heard, they can at least be heard about. Perhaps hearing about them may induce someone to let us really hear them. 



This is not intended to be a complete presentation of the youngest generation of composers in America. I have simply chosen seventeen names among those men, born here, whose ages lie between twenty-three and thirty- three, whose music has seemed to me to be worthy of special note. Not that this is, in any sense, a critical estimate of their work. It is too soon for that. But it does indicate a promising group of young men whose compositions deserve consideration. For convenience, these seventeen names might be grouped as follows: 



Four Prix de Rome men: Leo Sowerby, Howard Hanson, Randall Thompson, G. Herbert Elwell. 

Three revolutionaries:  George Antheil, Henry Cowell, Roger Sessions. 

Five free-lances: Roy Harris, Avery Claffin, Edmund Pendleton, Richard Hammond, Alexander Steinert. 

Three pupils of Ernest Bloch: Bernard Rogers, W. Quincy Porter, Douglas Moore. 

Two pupils of Nadia Boulanger: Virgil Thomson, Quinto Maganini. 

(It is interesting to note that the subsequent importance of Mademoiselle Boulanger as teacher of American composers was not yet apparent.) 








Of the first four, recipients of the American Prix de Rome, at least two, Leo Sowerby and Howard Hanson, are too well known to need introduction. The same cannot be said, unfortunately, of either Randall Thompson or G. Herbert Elwell. 



Randall Thompson (1899), after three full years in Rome, has but recently returned to this country. His preliminary training at Harvard and a year under Bloch have given him a firm grasp of the materials of composition. He writes with ease in all forms. His most mature works, written in Rome, include choral settings for Seven Odes of Horace (three with orchestral accompaniment); Piper at the Gate of Dawn for orchestra: a piano sonata and suite, and a string quartet. 



Each one of Thompson's compositions is finished with a most meticulous pen - not an eighth note that does not receive full consideration before it is put on paper. For the moment this very excellence of workmanship seems to be offered in lieu of a more personal style. While Thompson never borrows outright from any one composer, it is not difficult to detect the influence of certain Europeans, Pizzetti, Bloch, Stravinsky, in the several movements of a single work. Thus far Thompson's Ode to Venice, for chorus and orchestra, and especially his string quartet are the works in which he seems nearest to the achievement of a personal idiom. 



In G. Herbert Elwell, now residing at the Academy in Rome. we have a young composer who will not long remain the unknown quantity he is in American music. Elwell is no conventional winner of prizes. He has spent the last five years in Europe - London, Paris, Rome - living life his own way. In 1919 he came to New York from Minneapolis to study composition with Ernest Bloch and continued later in Paris under Nadia Boulanger during the year 1922-24. 

現在ローマのアメリカンアカデミー在籍中である、ハーバート・エルウェルは、遠からず世に知られるであろう若手作曲家である。エルウェルは、受賞歴を持つ作曲家の中では特異な存在だ。今彼はヨーロッパ滞在の5年目である。この間、彼はロンドン、パリ、ローマと渡り歩き、独自のライフスタイルを送っている。 1919年、彼は故郷ミネアポリスからニューヨークへ出てきた。エルネスト・ブロッホの下で作曲法を学んだ後、1922年から24年まではパリでナディア・ブーランジェに師事した。 


Even Elwell's earliest student work had stamped upon it the distinct mark of his own individuality. That individuality is most easily recognized in his scherzo movements, an elflike quality, not of delicacy and charm, but of sharp quips and puckish fancies. His music is dynamic, muscular, alive - weakest, perhaps, in its lyrical moments. There have been passing influences of Rimsky-Korsakoff, Dukas, Bloch, but these need cause us no great concern. With every new work his art becomes more ripe. 



Elwell has written much for the piano - a sonatina, a sonata, nine short pieces. His Quintet for piano and strings is being presented in Paris this spring. The Centaur for orchestra (1924) and his most recent work, a ballet based on Max Beerbohm's Happy Hypocrite, complete the list of his compositions. 



It is a sign of health that we in America also have our radicals in the persons of George Antheil, Roger Sessions, Henry Cowell. For one reason or another their names have been bruited about, though their music has remained more or less inaccessible here. 



George Antheil, the most notorious of the trio, must by now be weary of hearing himself called the enfant terrible of American Music. Antheil's fame first spread among his literary fellow-countrymen in Berlin and Paris. These expatriates were none too careful of their superlative. Potentially speaking, Antheil is all they claim and more; one needn't be particularly astute to realize that he possesses the greatest gifts of any young American now writing. No one can venture to dictate just how he may make the best use of his great talents; one can simply remark that so far the vey violence of his own sincere desire to write original music has hindered rather than helped the attainment of his own ends. 



Antheil's latest work, with its use of numerous mechanical pianos and electrical appliances, takes on the aspect of visionary experiment. This is probably a passing phase. He is still under twenty-five; the next few years will give the true measure of his importance. 



Of Roger Huntington Sessions I can speak only from hearsay. No example of his work has been given publicly in the larger music centers, yet the high opinions of his music held by Ernest Bloch and Paul Rosenfeld command respect. Up to the spring of 1925 he acted as Bloch's assistant in Cleveland, which in part explains his very small output. A work that has aroused much comment is his incidental music to Andreyev's play, The Black Maskers. He is at present in Florence, devoting his entire time to composition.