英日対訳:トーマス・ビーチャム自叙伝「A Mingled Chime」第15章(1/2)「アポロと船乗り」初演








On returning to England, I began with ardor the task of realizing in rehearsal and performance the artistic problem of Apollo and the Seaman and it soon became evident that the most important personage in the whole scheme was the manipulator of the magic lantern. As both orchestra and conductor were behind the screen it was clearly impossible for them to follow the text of the poem, and the only alternative was for the poem to follow the music. This involved the cooperation of someone who possessed a knowledge of it as well as a turn for mechanics, and I sought the assistance of William Wallace,* whose easy familiarity with nearly every known art and craft had long marked him out as one of the most versatile characters of the day. He responded to the invitation with such alacrity and enthusiasm that I could not resist the suspicion that his interest had been aroused as much by the singularity of the enterprise and the prospect of an hour or two's light entertainment, as by any curiosity of an aesthetic kind. The author of the poem, Herbert Trench, an agreeable personality with a mind almost childlike in its placid imperturbability, devoted himself to the labor of forming a gigantic social committee; and although I never learned just how many of the peerage he managed to lure on to it, the number must have been uncommonly high, for at almost every rehearsal he would break in upon us to announce with triumphant satisfaction that he had “bagged another Duchess.”  




* This richly endowed personality was a doctor of medicine by profession, although he refrained from actual practice. Joseph Holbrooke in his entertaining work Contemporary British Composers tells us that Wallace was the composer of the first English symphonic poem, and adds, ‘Tie is very Scotch, with all that race's faults and virtues, but I am glad to chronicle his name, as there are so few Scotch composers one can point to with any pride; and not one of them lives in his own country, lovely as it is."  




This was not the only diversion to hinder the speedy mastery of a vast and intricate score. The band parts, which had been copied with reckless celerity, teemed with errors of every sort; between the first reading and the performance I corrected over a hundred in those of the wind and brass sections alone, and as much of the instmmentation was heavy and strenuous, our first impressions were not those that one passes on lightly to any composer seeking sympathy and approval from his interpreters. In the midst of it all arrived the venerable Sarrusophonist, who at once became an especial object of interest to the rest of the players and the recipient of an excess of hospitality which for a few days deprived us of his company. Meanwhile it had been discovered that he had brought over the wrong set of instruments (there seemed to be as many in the family as there are names in a Biblical genealogy) which further delayed his participation in the proceedings: and even when the right ones did arrive they were to my ears almost inaudible in the sea of sound that surged about my ears. But as the composer professed to hear every note, although I never believed him, I could say no more and only hoped that on the night itself we should have a better return than this for all the trouble we had taken in enticing the stranger to our shores.  




The eventful day of the first performance arrived, the final rehearsal held in the morning went smoothly enough, and even the magic lantern, which had had its little troubles, played up well. At that time I lived in the country a few miles out of London, and it was my habit on concert days to spend the afternoon there getting as much fresh air as I could before the evening. But the cab which had been ordered to take me from my house to the station failed to arrive, so that I missed the train by which I was to travel. The next one did not arrive in London until a few minutes before the concert, there was a dense fog on the line, all efforts to obtain a motor car were unavailing, and I saw the dab '‘Apollo and the Seaman" orate schedule of preparation which we had worked out to the last detail going for nothing. In order that the performance should begin in an atmosphere of impressive mystery, a time-table had been drawn up under which at eight o’clock the doors of the hall were to be closed to further admittance. At one minute past the lights were to be half lowered, at three minutes past further lowered, and a minute later the lowest pedal note on the organ was to begin sounding as softly as possible. On the fifth minute the hall would be plunged into complete darkness, the organ would cease, and a soft blow on the cymbals would give the signal for the appearance on the screen of the first lantern slide, Apollo himself. With all these delicate operations in danger of being reduced to chaos, it may be imagined with what anxiety I awaited the coming of the next train. To my joy and relief it steamed into the station hardly a moment late, and as if conscious of the importance of the occasion went on to London without any loss of time.