英日対訳:トーマス・ビーチャム自叙伝「A Mingled Chime」第10章(1/2)海外で仕上げの磨きを








My colleague in the conductor’s chair of the opera company was an Italian, Emilio Pizzi, an excellent musician who for a few years back had obtained a fair success with a short opera produced by some courageous entrepreneur in the West End. He was a friend of the celebrated librettist, Luigi Illica, part author of the "books” of La Bohdme and La Tosca, collaborator with nearly all the composers of modern Italy, and an old admirer of English literature. Pizzi suggested that if I were contemplating another opera, it might be a good idea to ask this past master of the craft for a suitable libretto. Possibly he had something already sketched out that might do, for being a man of fiery energy he never sat and waited until a fresh commission came along, but always had half a dozen subjects on the stocks, to be completed when the call was sounded. We communicated with Illica, who replied that he was sure he had the very thing I was looking for: a three-act tragedy on the life of Christopher Marlowe. Nothing could have happened more pat to my mood, for I had just finished rereading all the plays of the founder of the Elizabethan drama, of whom a contemporary wrote, “His raptures were all fire and air,” and I was deeply under the spell of their rhetorical m agnificence. At the same time I could discover nothing in the life of Marlowe himself of the slightest romantic interest, and I concluded that the Italian poet proposed to draw largely upon his own imagination in framing the plot of a fairly long lyric drama. And so it turned out to be: a very charming and creditable effort with about one-quarter fact and the rest pure fiction.  




Although he was able to let me have at once an outline of its scenes and episodes, Illica could not settle down for a little while to work on the text itself, as all his available time had to be given up to Puccini and their new opera Madama Butterfly, which was to be produced the following year. Too much absorbed in the prospect of my coming task to take on any other effort of composition, and yet unwilling to remain musically idle during the period of waiting, I set out to find some fresh job of conducting, but without success. There seemed to be no opportunities anywhere, and I was soon forced to the conclusion that if I wanted to continue before the public in this capacity, the only thing to do was to hire an orchestra and give concerts on my own account, at the moment an enterprise quite beyond my means. I next considered the formation of a choral society for the performance mainly of Tudor music, of, which I had been making a special study during the period I had been working with Charles Wood, and although this project did materialize eventually, it was through the initiative of another than myself. One evening at the house of my friend the harpmaker, I met a young man who had not been long back in London from the Continent, where he had been working under Vincent d’Indy at the Schola Cantorum. He too was full of the subject of ancient choral music and thought it might be fun to collect about a dozen persons together, sit around a table and sing it for our own amusement. This we did, but in a very casual fashion, and a few months later my new friend, Charles Kennedy Scott, proposed that our little group be increased to a size large enough for the purpose of public concert appearance. The re-constituted body was christened The Oriana Madrigal Society and under Scott’s masterly direction acquired during the next few years a technical skill, an eloquence of expression, and an insight into the music it was called upon to interpret that placed it an easy first among the small choirs of the Kingdom. 




Not long afterwards I came into possession of a moderate-sized estate, the gift of my grandfather, which enabled me to reconsider my plans for the future. But before committing myself to any definite line of action, I decided first to go for a lengthy stay on the Continent which might stimulate my ideas and broaden my outlook. I had been working pretty hard in London for over three years along a single track, and I should be all the better for a renewal of acquaintance with those great musical centers, in one of which during my Lancashire days I had wanted so much to make my second home. More particularly I felt the need of enlarging my knowledge of orchestration, a craft which Charles Wood had always told me could be taught only by a master hand. I made my way to Paris, and sought the advice of Messager, who sent me on to Moskowski. The latter was at the outset somewhat at a loss to know what to do with me and insisted that I already had as much proficiency as tire average musician of my years. But that was not good enough for my ambition, and our argument ended by my inventing a system of study which proved to be of equal interest to both of us. I used to select, or myself write, a shortish piece of two or three hundred bars and orchestrate it in the different styles of, say, Haydn, Bizet, Tschaikowsky or himself, and very soon, I think, he extracted as much amusement from this pleasant game as I derived instruction. Anyway he always maintained that it was an excellent plan, and I know that, assisted by his wide experience and refinement of taste, I learned much from it that later on I was able to put to useful purposes. 




One evening I went to hear Gretry’s Richard Coeur de Lion at the Op6ra Comique and, at once attracted by this delicate and delightful music, set out to acquire all I could of the composer’s work as well as that of his contemporaries. To my surprise there was very little of it in print, a mere handful of piano copies in the big music shops, and, as for full scores, they were to be found only in curiosity shops. It took me several months to compile a complete set of the operas of M6hul, and I never succeeded in collecting more than half-a-dozen of Dalayrac, Monsigny, and Isouard together. This music is unlike any other in that it owes little or nothing to any ancestry but that of the popular song of old France, which in turn took its character from the idiom and accent of the language. In the case of Gretry there is a lightness, a grace, and a melodic invention surpassed only by Mozart, while in that of Mehul there is a vein of simple and chivalric romance to be found in no other composer of the day except Weber. But indeed the whole of this school has a charm and distinction that never fails to fall fragrantly on the ear, and offers to the musical amateur, who may feel at times that the evolution of his art is becoming a little too much for either his understanding or enjoyment, a soothing retreat where he may effectively rally his shattered forces. Having plenty of time on my hands I spent some of it in the Bibliotheque Nationale, transcribing those works which had gone entirely out of publication, and when I left Paris in the summer for Switzerland I had a small company of young men still working at the job.