英日対訳:トーマス・ビーチャム自叙伝「A Mingled Chime」第14章フレデリック・ディーリアス(1/2)








The unexpected advent of a new conductor and a full and first-class orchestra devoting themselves largely, nay almost aggressively, to the introduction of unfamiliar compositions naturally excited the curiosity as well as the hopes of many of the rising young English composers, who were clamoring for a wider recognition as well as a more studied performance of their work. Until this moment almost the only chance of a hearing was to be found in the Promenade Concerts, which ran nightly during August and September and included in its programs not only all the standard repertoire of the great masters, but a large mass of modern novelty. But the immense amount of music played, and the necessarily limited time for rehearsal, did not make this otherwise admirable series always the best vehicle for presenting new and frequently intricate pieces to the public under the most favorable conditions. Also at this time of year most of our knowledgeable amateurs were out of London, so that the bulk of the native effort was to be heard in the off-season only.  




As nearly all the men who sought my company or cooperation were about my own age, none of them had reached that maturity where it was possible to take stock of their achievement; but their ability and promise was never in question at any time. Arnold Bax from the beginning revealed an all-round technical accomplishment of the highest order; Vaughan Williams was already striking out that individualistic line which was eventually to mark him as the most essentially English composer of his time; the rare and charming personality of Cyril Scott was fully present in his smaller pieces; and there were half a dozen others of almost equal capacity, if of less originality, such as W. H. Bell, J. B. McEwen, and Frank Bridge.  




But the most picturesque and singular figure of the hour was undoubtedly Joseph Holbrooke. His talent was eclectic and absorptive. Liszt and Richard Strauss were his models, and he gravitated by instinct and with ease to the fantastic and the macabre in his choice of subject. Under the conviction that my mission in life was to serve the contemporary muse, particularly his own, he lost no time in getting in touch with me. At our first meeting he inveighed loudly and bitterly against the neglect of his work and the apathy of the public, and then produced from his pocket an immense string of press notices and a list of performances which flatly contradicted all that he had been saying. Having satisfied himself that I was the sort of collaborator he was looking for, he confided in me that he was working on a musical experiment that would prove to be the event of the year. He had been approached by a stranger who had written a long narrative poem of metaphysical character, entitled “Apollo and the Seaman,” which he wanted to bring to the public attention in the most telling fashion. This was to be effected by taking Queen's Hall, rigging up an immense screen to separate the platform from the auitorium, and throwing on it by means of magic lantern slides the poem, stanza by stanza; all the while an orchestra, concealed behind the screen, played music illustrating the succeeding moods and episodes of the story. Upon my asking what sort of orchestra he proposed to use, he replied that the poet had suggested a few strings and pipes, something soothing, pastoral and economical. But as the piece was in places really stirring and dramatic, he (Holbrooke) did not see how he could limit himself to such a primitive scheme of color.  




It was agreed that when he had finished a good part of his score he would bring it to me to see if I would cooperate on the executive side of this odd enterprise, and a few weeks later he turned up with an enormous manuscript which contained, in addition to a choral section requiring about two hundred and fifty voices, nearly all the orchestral instruments I had ever heard of and a few that I had not. Among the latter was the Sarrusophone, used mainly in French military bands, a species of bass bassoon, and capable, according to my friend, of yielding lower notes of extraordinary sonority. One of these at least he urged we must have at any cost, but since he could not find it in England he had determined to go over to Paris to look for it there; and, as about this time I had received an invitation from Delius to spend a few days at his house near Fontainebleau, I proposed that we set out on the voyage of discovery together.  




It was a raw December morning when we met at Victoria Station for our outward journey and I was impressed not only by my companion's choice of apparel, which was of the sort most people wear only at the height of summer, but by his supply of luggage which consisted of one small bag, hardly bigger than a modern woman’s vanity case. On the way to the coast he chatted gaily about the inherent affinity of all Englishmen for the sea, but was so ill during our crossing that he needed two days complete rest in Paris before we could start on the hunt for our Sarrusophonist. This did not prove so easy as anticipated; there seemed to be very few of the species about, and these either could not leave their jobs or shrank from facing the rigors of a winter trip. But we finally heard of a likely quarry in an outer suburb of the city and, after a tiresome search up and down the district, for no one knew the exact address, we ran it to earth on the top floor of a tenement building of which the stairway ascent was as long and painful as that of Martial’s lodging in ancient Rome.  




Enshrined in a tiny apartment and surrounded by, indeed almost buried beneath, dozens of weird-looking instruments was an equally diminutive old man of gentle and venerable appearance to whom we made known the reason of our visit. To our intense relief he accepted our offer of an engagement with alacrity, declaring that such an event would be a worthy climax to a long career spent in the service of the Republic, and going so far in his enthusiasm as to toy with the idea that Providence had chosen him out as an apostle to convey a special branch of Gallic culture to the less enlightened shores of Great Britain. Our mission accomplished, I went on to Grez-sur-Loing, a small village lying about five miles south of the forest of Fontainebleau, the home of Delius and a spot of some antiquity. A church of the thirteenth century, together with a ruined castle of the twelfth, adjoined the house of the composer, of which the front entrance opened onto the little main street. Once inside, however, nothing met the eye except a long garden sloping down to the river and a country landscape beyond it fading away in the distance.  




Of all the men in any walk of life that I have known during a career spent almost as much in other countries as in my own, Frederick Delius is the most remarkable. His biographers have styled him an Englishman, born of German parents, settled in Yorkshire in the early part of the nineteenth century, and this is correct so far as it goes. But it does not take us nearly far enough in probing the problem of a highly complex personality, and the truth is that Delius was of no decided nationality but a citizen of all Europe, with a marked intellectual bias toward the northern part of it. His family was almost definitely of Dutch origin and some time in the sixteenth century had changed its patronymic from Delif or Deligh to a latinized form of it, a common enough practice at the time. A member of it was numbered among the chaplains of Edward VI of England and others are traceable to Spain, France, and Germany. But whatever were the diverse elements that united to make up the interesting amalgum of Frederick, anything less Teutonic would be hard to imagine. His earthy solidity and delicate romanticism were English, his uncompromising logic and analytical insight French, and his spiritual roots went down deep to that layer of far northern culture which, half Icelandic, half Celtic, gave birth centuries ago to the beautiful folk-music of Scotland and Ireland and in the nineteenth century to the vast imaginative genius of Ibsen.