<最終回>1999年版編集者あとがき(後半)「What to Listen for In Music」を読む

Two major forces, pulling in what seem to be exact opposite directions, fill in a large portion of the musical map as it stood at mid-century. One the one hand there was the extreme freedom advocated by John Cage, the minimalists and the serendipitous borrowers of influences from other civilizations. On the other, Schoenberg's conception of melody and harmony ― the “atonality” previously discussed in this book ― followed a system strictly organized to prevent any one note in a scale from being more important than any other (in the way the note C is the most important note in the C-major scale). Something about the intense organization of the Schoenbergian systems proved congenial to his German and Austrian followers; his disciple Anton von Webern, in his legacy of extremely small, compact works for few instruments, worked out ways of systematizing not only the notes and harmonies of a composition but also the orderly sequence of tone-colors and rhythms, louds and softs. Some of his set of “Pieces for Orchestra” (Opus 10) last less than a minute: in that little time, they seem to give off enormous clouds of multicolored sparks.  

2つの大きな勢力が、全く逆の方向と思われるところから、20世紀のど真ん中で、音楽界に幅を利かせるようになった。まずひとつは、極端とも言える自由さ。率いるのはジョン・ケージミニマリストであり、「2つ」の、自分と反対の勢力から、偶然にも様々な影響を受けている。もう一つは、シェーンベルクのメロディとハーモニーに対するコンセプト(「無調音楽」として、本書にも記載)。ルールを厳格に守って、ひとつの音階の中では、どの音も皆等しく平等である、と言う状態を維持するという考え方だ(間違っても、ハ長調の音階では、ハの音(ド)が一番重要だ、などとしない)。シェーンベルクの考えたシステムの、緻密な曲の構成の仕方については、ドイツやオーストリアの、彼のファンの好みに合うものだった。彼の弟子の、アントン・フォン・ヴェーベルンは、極端に少ない楽器編成による、極端に規模が小さくてコンパクトにまとまった作品という、彼が受け継いだものを引っさげて、システム化するやり方を創り出していったのが、一つの作品を作る際には、個々の音符や和声だけでなく、音色やリズム、音量の大小までも、厳格に繋がりを決めてゆく、という方法だった。彼は組曲に類するものをいくつか残しているが、そのうちの「管弦楽のための5つの小品Op. 10」は、演奏時間が1分にも満たない。その中で、それぞれの楽章が、とてつもない規模で多彩な輝きを放っている。 


Two twentieth-century giants, Igor Stravinsky and Arnold Schoenberg, came to live only a few blocks apart in Los Angeles during the War years; they never spoke to one another. After the sensational launch of his career with The Rite Of Spring, Igor Stravinsky's musical manner found many modes of expression, but his works, like those of the Schoenberg school, allowed no room for anything but the exact letter of the score. Stravinsky claimed to have no use for the atonal style: yet, shortly after Schoenberg's death, he tried out the Schoenbergian style of composition and found it congenial. Some of his stark, intricately patterned late scores ― the powerful “Requiem Canticles” for one ― bring about a fascinating synthesis between styles once regarded as incompatible.  



Anton von Webern died in 1945, shot by mistake by an American sentry in the Austrian village of Mittersill. For years after his death little of his music was heard: the microscopic precision of his jewel-like pieces defied any but the most dedicated performer. By the mid-1950s, however, Webern's vision of a music tightly organized in all aspects brought about his rediscovery by a generation of young Europeans obsessed with exploring new modes of expression. At Cologne the West German Radio had set up a laboratory to investigate the potential of music electronically produced through oscillators and other tone-generating devices and electronically processed through tape editing. The young composer Karlheinz Stockhausen saw the possibilities of maintaining total control over the substance and structure of a musical work by pressing the right buttons on a electronic console. At Cologne he was joined for a time by a similarly revolution-minded Frenchman, Pierre Boulez ― who within a few years would convince the French government to finance a studio of his own in Paris (IRCAM, the Institute for Research and Coordination of Acoustics and Music). 



By the 1980s electronic-music laboratories had become a standard adjunct to most universities, and electronic music had moved out of its sound-effects stage and into a more serious kind of music. New York boasted a center maintained jointly by Columbia and Princeton Universities and Bell Laboratories; its most renowned composer, Milton Babbitt, triumphantly demonstrated that a work electronically conceived (Philomel, for soprano and four-track tape) could be deemed worthy of the prestigious Pulitzer prize. At the California Institute of the Arts, north of Los Angeles, Morton Subotnick worked out ways in which live musicians and a computer program could interact to produce music more fantastic, more complex, than mere mortals or mere machines could do on their own. 



The limitless sound potential of electronic music seemed, in a delightful if curious way, to stimulate some composers into expanding what they might do with “normal,” or, at least, nonelectronic means. The Greek-born Iannis Xenakis pursues two careers, as both composer and architect; the curving, swirling, undulating outlines of some of his most striking music does, indeed, suggest the shape of buildings he is known to have worked on. The Hungarian-born Gyorgy Ligeti worked with Stockhausen at Cologne for a time, but later created a strange, enchanting repertory that called for “live” mechanical instruments: a “Poeme Symphonique” for an assemblage of 100 metronomes all wound up and ticking but eventually slowing down to individual, out-of-synch rates; and other pieces for such humble means as a barrel-organ or an ensemble of ocarinas. Some of Ligeti's music found its way into the background score for Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey; the eerie, swirling, buzzing music that brings the spaceship through the interplanetary light show and onto Jupiter is from Ligeti's masterful Requiem. 

これだけ電子音楽の持つ無限のサウンドに関する潜在的価値が示されると、作曲家の一部には、前向きに興味を持って、「普通の」というか、少なくとも電子装置を使わなかった方法から、手を広げてみようかな、と思わせる刺激となったであろう。ギリシャ出身のヤニス・クセナキスは2足のわらじをはく。作曲家と建築家である。建築家として知られる彼の建物の、カーブや螺旋、波状のアウトラインは、自身の最も衝撃的な音楽作品にも活かされている。ハンガリー出身のジェルジェ・リゲティは、ケルンでしばらくの間シュトックハウゼンと研究活動に取り組み、後に、今までにない奇抜な、そして魅力的な、「Live Mechanical Insrument(命ある機械じかけの楽器)」とよばれる作品を次々と発表した。「ポエムサンフォニックス」は、100台のメトロノームを、それぞれ違うテンポで一斉に鳴らし始めて、バラバラのまま進み、最後の一つが止まったら終わり、というもの。他にも、手回しオルゴールのための作品や、オカリナアンサンブルのための楽曲と言った、素朴なものもある。リゲティの音楽は、その一部がスタンレー・キューブリックの映画「2001年宇宙の旅」で使用された。惑星間を航行する宇宙船が木星へと向かう場面で流れる、不気味で渦を巻くようにザワザワと聞こえてくる音楽は、リゲティの力作「レクイエム」である。 


Were these revolutionary trends ― the cultural eclecticism, the minimalism, John Cage's aesthetic, the Schoenbergian and Stravinsky's seeming capitulation, the electronic revolutions ― the entire panorama of serious music in the second half of this century? By no means. As Aaron Copland noted in his invaluable chapter on form, many composers in this century still create symphonies and concertos, operas and chamber music. Within these forms, of course, the musical language changed; so did the very idea of what might constitute a symphony worthy the name. 



Dimitri Shostakovich left a legacy of fifteen symphonies, but one of them (No. 13) is actually a choral setting of the Yevtushenko poem “Babi Yar,” and another (No. 14) is a series of tragic songs for vocalists and a small orchestra. In 1976 the American minimalist Philip Glass joined with the avant-garde stage director Robert Wilson to create ― well, you might call it an opera ― a huge stage work called Einstein on the Beach, dealing with the great scientist entirely in metaphor and climaxing, about five hours into the piece, with action aboard a spaceship.  



In the realm of the Broadway musical, there was reason by 1976 to fear that this particular form had run its course; that was the year that a big, dazzling show by the best known of all American musicians, Leonard Bernstein, failed to run a full week. On the other hand, Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd, a musical created for Broadway and dealing with murder, cannibalism and lechery, seemed more like an opera than a theatrical musical, and has in fact been produced by several opera companies. 



By far the most successful operatic composer of recent times, England's Benjamin Britten produced a repertory that ranges from grand opera on an old-fashioned grandiose scale (Peter Grimes) to works of comparable emotional impact but using far smaller forces (and, therefore, with better chance of being performed, such as The Turn of the Screw, The Rape of Lucretia, Death in Venice). 



In the Soviet Union under Communism, avant-garde composers like Alfred Schnittke and Sofia Gubaidulina wrote their challenging new music in dark corners, away from the eyes of the disapproving commissars that had given Shostakovich and Prokofieff many anxious moments. With the collapse of Soviet power a repertory of vivid music by these and their colleagues has taken its rightful place. On Alfred Schnittke's eight symphonies (so far), the First is a hilarious free-form work that at one point requires a rock band to invade the concert hall and set up shop; his Fourth Symphony employs a chorus, intoning ancient Russian church chants. His Third String Quartet is a splendid musical stew, into which quotations from Bach, Beethoven and other past masters are stirred in and seasoned with the fearsome dissonances of Schnittke's own language. 



What, then, do we listen for in this vast array of music of our own time? In the familiar music we're most likely to hear in concert halls or on the radio, we use our powers of memory to bind a listening experience; we remember the tune at the beginning of the symphony, smile with pleasure as the composer tweaks the tune here and there, and enjoy the thrill of rediscovery when it later returns as it was before. Other listening tools come into play, as Aaron Copland's book explains better than anyone I know or have known. 



In his short chapter on contemporary music, written for the 1957 revision of this book, Copland divides the realm of new music into four categories: very easy, quite approachable, fairly difficult and very tough. Forty years later there is no real reason to change those pigeonholes or the birds cooped up in them. Arnold Schoenberg's Fourth String Quartet and the Third Symphony of Roger Sessions ― two inhabitants on the “very tough” level ― demand a certain effort from listeners. 



If it's any comfort, half a century after my first hearing of the Schoenberg Fourth Quartet, I find that it's still “very tough” ― except that now I begin to make out the outlines of the work's principal melodies and to note when they reappear, as I do with a Mozart quartet. The late quartets of Beethoven are also “very tough,” and so is the Ninth Symphony of Gustav Mahler. I firmly believe that, once we conquer our fear of new experiences ― and I repeat, our, not just your ― we're more than halfway toward establishing a oneness with those “very tough” pieces out there. 



Instead of the simple harmonies and recognizable tunes of a Mozart symphony, listen to the amazing swoosh of orchestral tone-color in Bela Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra; be hypnotized by the repetitions in Steve Reich's Drumming as the music oozes ever so slowly from one pattern to the next; let Morton Subotnick's synthesizer-created Silver Apples of the Moon transport you to “long ago, in a galaxy far, far away.” 



Confronted with a brand-new work you have no foreknowledge of, hold your ground. Perhaps it isn't any good, and everybody around you is waiting for someone to say so. Perhaps, however, it is any good; be sobered by a book called A Lexicon of Musical Invective compiled some time ago by the great musician / author Nicolas Slonimsky, in which we can read the critic who, at the first performance of Tchaikovsky's thrice-familiar Violin Concerto, wrote that “it stinks in the ear.” 



The fearsome critic and not-very-tough composer Virgil Thomson once drew up a set of rules for hearing an unfamiliar work: the last of those is the question I take with me to every new-music event: “Is this just a good piece of clockwork, or does it actually tell time?” Really, that's all you need: that question, and an open mind connected to a pair of ears of like quality. 

Alan Rich 




Copland ― Piano Concert; other early works 

Garrick Ohlsson, piano, with Michael Tilson Thomas 


Copland ― Billy the Kid; Appalachian Spring 

Aaron Copland, Boston Symphony Orchestra (RCA) 


Harrison ― Double Concerto for Violin, Cello and Javanese Gamelan 

Mills College Gamelan (Music & Arts) 


Reich ― Drumming 

Steve Reich Ensemble (Nonesuch) 


Glass (with Robert Wilson) ― Einstein on the Beach 

Michael Riesman, Philip Glass Players (Nonesuch) 


AdamsNixon in China 

Edo de Waart, Original Cast (Nonesuch) 


Cage ― Imaginary Landscapes  

Electronic and live performers (Wergo) 


Boulez ― Notations 

Pierre Boulez, Ensemble Intercontemporain (Deutsche Grammophon) 


StravinskyRequiem Canticles  

Oliver Knussen, London Sinfonietta (Deutsche Grammophon) 


Ligeti ― Requiem 

Michael Gielen, chorus and orchestra (Wergo) 


Gubaidulina ― Offertorium, for Violin and Orchestra 

Gidon Kremer, Charles Dutoit, Boston Symphony (Deutsche Grammophon) 


Schnittke ― Quartet No. 3 

Kronos Quartet (Nonesuch) 


Britten ― Peter Griems  

Benjamin Britten, with Peter Pears (London) 


Sondheim ― Sweeney Todd 

Broadway cast (RCA) 


Subotnick ― Silver Apples of the Moon 

Electronic synthesizer (Wergo) 


Corigliano ― Clarinet Concert 

Leonard Bernstein, with Stanley Drucker (New World) 



コープランドピアノ協奏曲 他、初期作品 

ギャリック・オールソンピアノ) マイケル・ティルソン・トーマス指揮 



アーロン・コープランド指揮 ボストン交響楽団RCA) 






スティーヴ・ライヒ アンサンブル(ノンサッチ) 



マイケル・リースマン指揮 フィリップ・グラス プレイヤーズ(ノンサッチ) 



エド・デ・ワールト指揮 初演時出演者 (ノンサッチ 






ピエール・ブーレーズ指揮 アンサンブル・インターコンテンポレイン(ドイツ・グラモフォン 



オリバー・ナッセン指揮 ロンドン・シンフォニエッタドイツ・グラモフォン 



ミヒャエル・ギーレン指揮合唱団 管弦楽団ウェルゴ 


グバイドゥーリナ:奉献唱 バイオリンと管弦楽のための 

ギドン・クレーメル(バイオリン) シャルル・デュトワ指揮 ボストン交響楽団ドイツ・グラモフォン 






ベンジャミン・ブリテン指揮 ピーター・ピアーズテノール) (ロンドン 









レナード・バーンスタイン指揮 スタンリー・ドラッカークラリネット) (ニューワールド)