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



14. Frederick Delius 





A portion of his unsettled youth he spent on an orange plantation in Florida, to which he had been sent by anxious parents striving to head him away from the dangerous lure of the Continent, and where, anticipating Dvorak by some fifteen years, he discovered the potentialities of Negro music. After his return to England and a period of study in Leipzig, which it is hard to believe was the slightest benefit to him, he made his way to Paris, where he lived for about twelve years, and upon his marriage moved out to the house at Grez which he occupied until his death in 1934. By his own account, France was the only country in which he found it possible to work and live at ease, for it was there alone that he could enjoy that constant and prolific intercourse with intellectual equals which has always been one of the more attractive features of life in the French capital, as well as a social independence and immunity from unwanted intrusion hard to find on the other side of the channel.  




It was inevitable that in a musician of such highly and narrowly original type that he should seek associates outside his own profession, and it was mostly men of letters and painters who formed his intimate circle during those earlier years, of whom the more notable were Strindberg, Sisley, and Gauguin. Of the work of the last named, he possessed a splendid example which hung on the walls of his studio at Grez for over twenty years. But in the financial chaos in which so many found themselves nearly lost just after the war he disposed of it to Sir Michael Sadler, at that time Principal of the SheflEeld University and an ardent Gauguin collector, for a price some fifty times more than he had paid for it. For there was nothing in Delius of that vague indetermination associated traditionally with musical genius; in practical affairs he was as hardheaded as any to be found in his native county, and his knowledge of the world, both men and women, was searching and profound. He was skeptical and cynical where the majority of people were concerned, and he never wasted a word of sympathy or encouragement on those who in his opinion were not deadly in earnest over their job. But he was frank and cordial with the few he really cared for, and in general company he loved passionately to engage in highly controversial discussions on every subject imaginable. In these he was seen at his social best, for his uncanny gift of penetrating the heart of the matter and hitting the nail on the very center of its head often gained him the advantage over men who had the reputation of being experts in their particular callings.  





After a while I discovered that his entire philosophy of life was based upon an ultra-Nietzschean conception of the individual. The individual was all in all, a sovereign creature who perhaps owed certain perfunctory duties to the State in return for mere protection and security, but certainly nothing more to anyone but himself and the vital needs of his task. This in other words means that Frederick from the Anglo-Saxon point of view must be reckoned a supreme and complete egoist, and such he was unquestionably. He chose to give little to others, but then he asked for virtually nothing in return. “My mind to me a kingdom is,” sang old William Byrd, and so it was with Delius, who knew as well, if not better than any man I have known, exactly what he wanted and went after it with a simplicity and celerity that were models of direct action. But this self-centered, self-sufficient, and self-protected spirit had its noble and idealistic side, for it lived on earth but to look steadily into its own remoter depths, bring to the light the best discoverable there, and to translate it into terms of music with hardly a care that it should be acclaimed by others or even noticed at all. Never did I observe any occasion when he lifted a finger to advance the cause of his own work; and not once in our subsequently long association did he ever actually ask me to play anything of his, although he knew well enough that I was ready to do so at any moment.  




This unique character made a deep impression upon me and actively influenced my life for several years. It was not that I shared either his views or sentiments, indeed more often than not I heartily disagreed with both, but that for the first time in my career I had encountered a personality of unmistakable stamp, full, mellow, and unchanging, to whom nothing in the world was ambiguous, equivocal or indefinite. It is related of Goethe that he preferred the conversation of Englishmen to that of his own countrymen, for the reason that the former although often complete asses were at the same time almost always complete men. Delius in his own way was a complete man, carved by nature in a single and recognizable piece out of the rough and shapeless store of her raw material; a signpost to others on the way of life; a light to those in darkness; and an unfailing reassurance to all who strove to uphold the ideal of human dignity and independence.  




At the time of our meeting I was just beginning to emerge from a psychological condition which for many years I had dimly sensed was alien to my real self, and from which I did not quite know how to escape. Keats has told us that the imagination of the boy is healthy as much as that of the grown man; but that there is an intermediate state when it is likely to go astray in any errant direction. This period began for me about the time I went to Oxford, lasted for quite seven or eight years, and was essentially one of unrest, indecision, and self-questioning. Life led me tentatively to more than one point of attraction but held me to none; and, devoted as I was to music, I was at any time capable of turning to some other career. I was distrustful not only of my ability but of my good fortune where anything that had to do with music was concerned, for during the few years previous to these events I had suffered two set-backs in my work. From the time I arrived in London I had industriously continued my piano studies with the settled intention of appearing sooner or later as a fully-fledged professional. But this, the lesser of my two ambitions, was wrecked forever by a mysterious mishap to one of my wrists of which I never ascertained the actual cause. Whether it came from overstrain in practice, from the blow of a cricket ball or some other accident unnoticed at the moment, I do not know, but from a certain day I became incapable of playing longer than fifteen or twenty minutes without a species of cramp or partial paralysis numbing and rendering impotent the lower half of my arm. Every effort of medical science to remedy my misfortune was unavailing and this disability has remained with me to the present time. I was hardly more fortunate with my creative endeavors which I had begun with the highest hopes of success; but here again nothing went according to plan. My dream was to become an operatic composer on a grand scale, and I had made two or three full sized experiments in that direction. But the longer I labored, the more dissatisfied I became with the inadequacy of my effort, and I gradually came to realize that the task was beyond me, at any rate for the time being. Had I been wiser and more experienced I should soon have recognized that my small inventive capacity could without difficulty have found its natural medium of expression in forms other than the mighty machine of opera, and that if my ambition had been under better control I might have developed eventually into quite a respectable composer of songs and small pieces. But at that time I was unmindful of the sound Daedalian maxim that middle flights are safest for tyros, and as it seemed a case of '‘Aut Caesar aut nihih' I chose the latter alternative.  




After these disappointments it was an agreeable surprise to find strangers from so many different sides hailing me as an orchestral conductor of talent for whom there was a definite future. The encouragement I received was enough to satisfy almost anyone else than myself, but I was still a little reluctant to devote the whole of my energies irrevocably to a single occupation until I brought myself to believe that I could achieve a success in it that would compensate for my failures elsewhere. That I did take the final plunge was due mainly to the convincing counsel and constant conviction of Frederick Delius.