英日対訳:トーマス・ビーチャム自叙伝「A Mingled Chime」第11章(1/2)指揮者としての本格始動








During my travels abroad my mind had been turning more recurrently than before to thoughts of conducting, for I had begun to wonder if it might not be easier to bring myself to the notice of the London public in this way than to wait for the ncertain chance of having my compositions played by someone else. With the exception of the two months' opera season of which I have written, I had done nothing in this line since I left the North of England five years ago, and I often recalled the keen delight it had given me in those far-off days to handle the giant instrument of the orchestra, how fully I had felt at home with it, and how I had seemed to find little difficulty in expressing through it my own personality. After all, nothing very disastrous could come of it, for in those days conductors were much less common than now, concerts were fewer, and a new departure, even a modest one, might not be unwelcome.  

ヨーロッパを巡っている間、私は以前よりも頻繁に、指揮をしたいと思う気持ちを、頭に巡らせるようになった。というのも、誰かに、私がこれまで作った数々の作品を、演奏してもらうという、来るか来ないかわからない様はチャンスを待つよりも、ロンドンの音楽ファンに、指揮者をやるという方向である、ということを知らせることにする、もしかしてこちらの方が簡単ではないか、と思い始めていたからだ。我がふるさと・英国北部を離れて以来 、先述の2ヶ月間のオペラ公演期間をのぞいて、この線では何一つ行動を起こしていなかった。そして私は、オーケストラという巨大な楽器を操っていり、オーケストラと共に在ると、とても気持ちが安らいだこと、オーケストラを指揮すると、自分らしさを難なく表現できそうだ、と感じていたこと、そんな、本当に素晴らしい、あの遠き日々の喜びを、しばしば思い出していた。何しろ、オーケストラの指揮をすると言っても、そんな大それた事など、起きるはずもなかった。当時は指揮者というのは、今ほど一般的に注目される存在ではなかった。クラシックの演奏家の数も、今より少なく、新しいい門出と言っても、そんなに大々的な興行にしなくても、世間は歓迎しないということは無かった。 



My opening essay was given at the Bechstein (now Wigmore) Hall with a body of forty players drawn from the Queen's Hall Orchestra, and the program included several of the eighteenth century French and Italian works which I had collected on the Continent. A leavening note of modernity was Cyril Scott's pretty ballad for voice and orchestra, ''Helen of Kirkconnel," sung by Frederic Austin, who not long before this had thrown up his old job in Liverpool to devote himself wholly to the profession of a singer. My chief sensation both during and after the performance was one of definite disappointment with myself: for at hardly any moment during it had I the conviction that I was obtaining from my executants the tone, style, and general effect I wanted. Somehow or other the sound of much of the music was strangely different from the conception of it in my brain, and, though my friends did their best to make me think I was mistaken and the newspapers were sympathetic, I felt I knew better, and I knew I could do better. But first I must find out what was the matter. I returned to the study of a large number of well-known scores, attended during the next few months nearly every concert given at Queen’s Hall, and found that in many instances I experienced the same sense of dissatisfaction on listening to performances under other conductors. Years before I had not been troubled in this way; everything had sounded grand and perfect. I began to be alarmed; was my ear beginning to be affected or— more awful reflection— had the actual sound of the modern orchestra begun to distress me as it did increasingly an ultra-fastidious friend of mine in Paris? But one evening I listened to a highly unsatisfactory rendering of some famous piece, of which I knew every note, and here there could be no doubt where the fault lay. At one moment the brass instruments were excessive, at another inadequate; the wind and horns strident or feeble, and the strings feverish or flaccid. Briefly, there was no true balance or adjustment of the component parts of the machine, and it began to filter through my consciousness that if this were the source of trouble in a flagrant instance like this, it might turn out to be the same in fifty others less obvious. My curiosity well aroused, I followed with a keener ear everything I heard, and formed a conviction which the passage of time has only strengthened. The supremely important factor in any choral or instrumental ensemble is the relationship between the different sections of the forces of play.  




During the years I had been poring over hundreds of scores, there must have crystallized in my mind definite impressions, less of interpretation than of the coordinated sound of the various combinations for which they had been written. These I determined to submit to the test of performance without delay, in a series of concerts devoted to a period of music where accuracy of execution, purity of style, and the harmonious balance of parts were all essential to its correct and effective presentation. I then considered the practical side of my enterprise; what players I should engage, whether I should he able to have enough rehearsals for my needs, and if there would be the slightest public interest in it. Among the principal members of the two leading London orchestras there had been more than a suspicion of skepticism and condescension when I had broached my plan; and as for the chances of an audience, the manager whom I had placed in charge of its business end quite cheerfully expressed the view that as no one knew even the names of most of the composers I intended to play, not a soul would dream of buying a ticket. For a short while I vacillated in a state of uneasy indecision from which I was rescued by two fortuitous circumstances.  




One day I had a visitor, Charles Draper, the foremost clarinetist in the country, who had come to let me know that he and a few other first-class players in their respective lines had founded a chamber orchestra, that he had heard something of my projected concerts, knew that I had not yet engaged my players, and offered me the servies of his own group. I went to one of its  rehearsals and, immediately impressed by a superior refinement of tone which I had not found elsewhere, decided that here might be an instrument capable of answering the demands I should make upon it. But what of the daunting prospect of playing to what would look like an unending vista of empty seats? This was enough to damp the ardor of an even more sanguine spirit than mine, and I invited my pessimistic manager to spend a day with me in the country to talk the matter well over. After lunch we went for a long walk across the fields, discussing the problem from every critical angle, and on the way back came across no less than three horseshoes. This extraordinary occurrence made such an impression on both of us that, flinging prudence to the winds, we drew up our prospectus, sent it off to the printer, and two days later advertised the series. Contrary to nearly everyone’s expectation there was considerable interest in the concerts; the singularity of the programs, the appearance of a new body of players containing some of the best known names in the profession, and a conductor virtually unknown to central London, all exciting a fair amount of attention. The orchestra played excellently throughout, and I had the satisfaction of sensing that, through its ability to grasp my intentions, it was well within my power to realize in the concert hall that which I had conceived in the study.