Doubleday & Company社の「コープランド・オン・ミュージック」を、原文と日本語訳の両方を見てゆきます。

「Copland on Musicを読む」第12回 観閲台から見た風景 1.ダリウス・ミヨー




The Reviewing Stand 




第1章 〇〇の音楽 




Darius Milhaud (1947) 



I HAVE OFTEN WONDERED what the “big” public thinks about the music of Darius Milhaud. If they like it, what is it they warm up to, and if they dislike it, what puts them off? In spite of the large quantities of it available on radio and in concert there seems to be a curious lack of vocal enthusiasm in regard to Milhaud's music. More recondite composers like Schonberg or Bartok have their devoted followers, while Mahler and Sibelius are listened to rapturously by fervent adherents. Milhaud, apparently, is headed for a different fate. He once wrote: “I have no esthetic rules, or philosophy, or theories. I love to write music. I always do it with pleasure, otherwise I just do not write it.” You can't hope to arouse a following on the basis of any plain statement like that. 



Nevertheless it seems to me fairly obvious that since Ravel's death France has given us no composer more important than Darius Milhaud. 

それにも関わらず、私にはハッキリと分かる。ラベル亡き後、ダリウス・ミヨーをこえる作曲家など、 未だ出てきていない。 


I became a Milhaud fan back in the early twenties, when the composer was considered the enfant terrible of French music. In those days we were struck by the abundance and many-sidedness of his talent, his forthrightness and fearlessness, his humor, his humanity, the contrasts of tenderness and violence, and his markedly personal style. Most striking of all in an age when the new music was being accused of having no melody was the singing quality of Milhaud's music. After nearly thirty years I continue to marvel at Milhaud's apparently inexhaustible productive capacity, at his stylistic consistency, at the sheer creative strength that the body of his work represents. Those who persist in describing modern music as decadent and desiccated will get little comfort from this man's music. 



Milhaud's finest work will probably be found in the operatic field. But it is good to have these two recently recorded examples of his orchestral literature. The Symphony No.1 is particularly welcome because it is a comparatively new opus (1939) that has had few hearings. It was composed on commission from the Chicago Symphony as part of the celebration of the orchestra's fiftieth anniversary, and was first heard in Chicago under the composer's baton. In category it belongs with the less accessible of his works. By which I mean you will have to hear this score more than once before you can hope to uncover its own special secret. 



Like Brahms, Milhaud waited until he was in his middle forties before embarking on the writing of a symphony. But that is about the only similarity one will find. In order to properly evaluate this Symphony No. 1 it will be necessary to have no preconceived notions of what a proper symphony is like. The symphony as a form is confused in our minds with what the nineteenth century thought it ought to be. True, Milhaud's symphony has the usual four movements (of a duration somewhat briefer than usual) but the familar hortatory manner is lacking. It is a songful symphony, though not cheerfully songful like the “Italian” of Mendelssohn. The first movement, for example, has long-lined melodies, but they are accompanied by darkly tinted and unhappy-sounding harmonies. Milhaud has a particular aptitude for suggesting the complexities of modern life, even at times embroiling himself in analogous musical complexities. The second movement of this symphony is a case in point. It presents the listener with a changeful panorama and an intricate fabric, a little frightening in its noisiness. It would be easy to lose one's bearing here, but if we listen carefully for the principal melodic strand, it will lead us through the movement like a thread through a labyrinth. 



Perhaps the most impressive movement of the entire symphony is the third ― the slow movement. The opening chords in quiet brass are steeped in Milhaud's personal idiom ― producing a drugged and nostalgic effect. Seriousness of tone and warmth of expression are the keynote. A curious mixture of Gallic exoticisms and “blues” atmosphere combine to create the typical Milhaud ambiance. He snaps us out of it, so to speak, in a finale that is scherzo-like by nature, with square-cut themes in 6/8 rhythm. There is a surprisingly close affinity with Scottish folk melody and nasal bagpipe sonorities. As in the second movement there are strong contrasts of light and shade, raucous brass, and a rather complicated structural frame. Considered as a whole, this is not an easy work to assimilate. But I strongly suspect that it will repay repeated hearings. The performance by the Colombia Symphony Orchestra under the composer's direction appears to be well balanced and is certainly authoritative. 



On the final side of the fourth record is the recording of a short orchestral elegy entitled “In Memoriam,” representative of the composer's most sober style. 



For those who may have missed it when it was released some months ago, there is an excellent account of a Symphonic Suite ― vintage of 1919 ― culled from the music Milhaud composed for Paul Claudel's satirical drama Protee. The first performance of the suite in Paris in 1920 resulted in a near-riot. The public was quite convinced that the composer was mad. It's amusing to listen to this same music in 1948, played by Pierre Monteux and the San Francisco Symphony. Obviously, it is the music of a brash young man, not at all perturbed at the idea of shocking his audience. My guess would be that it was the clashing polytonal harmonies that were largely responsible for the upsetting effect the music had on its first listeners. The newness of effect has worn off, but not the essential freshness of the music. My favorite among the five movements is the “Nocturne,” a poetic fancy that never fails to move me. Delightful is the word for Proteus.