英日対訳:トーマス・ビーチャム自叙伝「A Mingled Chime」第15章(2/2)「サリュソフォーン之君」は巴里の英雄?








It was just six minutes past eight when I arrived at the hall and found everyone in a high state of worry and excitement. All had gone according to plan with the exception of the final tap on the cymbals, the cue for which I myself had to give, and the result was that the audience who had been sitting in complete darkness for what seemed to them an age, seeing nothing and hearing only the weird rumbling of the thirty-two foot pedal note, had begun to feel decidedly uneasy. There was a feeling that something had gone wrong, and a slight apprehension of danger was brewing; very soon there might have been a panic. I dashed to the platform, and on seeing me the cymbal player, who had worked himself up into a fine condition of nerves, smote his instrument, not discreetly as arranged, but with terrific force. Simultaneously an immense head of the god flashed on the screen and everyone in the audience jumped half a foot in the air. The inevitable reaction followed almost immediately, and with one of the heartiest bursts of laughter I have ever heard in a public building, the crowd resumed its normal equilibrium. If anyone at this moment could have taken a peep behind the curtain he would have been edified by the unusual spectacle of over four hundred performers, also in darkness save for their carefully shaded desk lamps, directed by myself in shirt sleeves and encouraged from time to time by the appearance of the composer, bearing in hand a huge can filled with beer from which he drew frequent and copious draughts.  




On the whole this remarkable experiment went off satisfactorily on both sides of the dividing line, and the only accident of any consequence I noticed on ours was that which befell our aged friend from across the Channel. Excited and bewildered by his novel surroundings, he missed his first important lead and after several wild efforts to come in at the wrong place, which were promptly suppressed by his adjoining colleagues, gave up despairingly and remained tacit for the rest of the evening. On the other, not all the skill and coolness of my friend William Wallace were equal to preventing his slaves of the lamp from resisting the temptation to vary now and then the settled sequence of the lantern slides. When the ethereal flight of Apollo across the daffodil fields was being read by the audience, the orchestra was illustrating it with thunderous explosions from trumpets, trombones, and drums, and the lurid description of the dead uprising from below lost something of its grandeur and terror through synchronizing with a handful of instruments which bore some resemblance to those pipes which the poet had once conceived should be the continuous musical background to his text.  




But in spite of these minor mishaps everyone seemed happy about it all, the authors at having in their opinion produced a new art form, the audience at having been present at an exhilarating experience, and tire newspapers and wits of the town at having something to write and make merry about. The following day I received a letter from Herbert Trench, containing many pleasant things about the performance and one note only of personal criticism. Everything had gone better than he had anticipated with the exception of the orchestral rendering of what he called the “Hell Section” of the work, which he craved leave to think had never sounded so eerie and stupendous since the opening days of the rehearsals. I replied that I was entirely of the same opinion, but refrained from suggesting that it may have been my ill-advised correction of the hundred odd mistakes in the wind and brass parts that was largely responsible for the decrescendo in his enjoyment.  




As for our foreign guest, he returned to his native land covered with glory. The fame of his Odyssey had penetrated not only the quarter where he resided but the whole of artistic Paris; honors were showered upon him, and a famous artist was commissioned to paint his portrait, which was exhibited in the Salon during the forthcoming season. Somewhere among my keepsakes is a picture postcard on which is depicted the old gentleman sitting with a look of radiant happiness on his face, and holding in a close embrace his beloved Sarrusophone, the instrument which had played such a picturesque if silent part in the episode.