英日対訳:トーマス・ビーチャム自叙伝「A Mingled Chime」第16章(2/2) バスオーボエ騒動/新楽団の立ち上げ








How the piece ever came to be played at all in a sacred edifice remains a mystery to this day; nothing except possibly the anarchic operations of a swing band would have been less appropriate. Then the composer chose to incorporate into his score an important solo part for an instrument, which like Lucy there were few to know and very few to love, the bass oboe. As if these two errors of judgment were not enough, he must needs be persuaded into accepting the services of a young lady of semi-amateur status who had volunteered at short notice to see what she could do with it. Now the bass oboe like certain other members of the single and double reed families is to be endured only if manipulated with supreme cunning and control, otherwise its presence in the orchestra is a strain upon the nervous system of conductor and players alike, a danger to the seemly rendering of the piece in hand, and a cause of astonishment and risibility in the audience. A perfect breath control is the essential requisite for keeping it well in order, and ihis alone can obviate the eruption of sounds that would arouse attention even in a circus. As none of these safety-first precautions had been taken, the public which had assembled in the somber interior of an eleventh century basilica, in anticipation of some pensive and poetical effort from the most discussed musician of the day, was confounded by the frequent audition of noises that resembled nothing so much as the painful endeavor of an anguished mother-duck to effect the speedy evacuation of an abnormally large-sized egg. Had the composer-conductor not been a figure of renown, of middle age, and of outward sobriety, I have often shuddered to think what might have happened. As it was, so successful proved the enterprise of the ministers of Momus that the wife of one of the leading ecclesiastical dignitaries precipitately fleeing the church, decided it were better to absent herself from any of the subsequent performances, rather than run the risk of losing a hardly-won reputation for dignity and decorum.  




When the autumn arrived we resumed our concerts, continuing the policy of previous seasons; and, stimulated by the optimism of the progressive sections in several provincial cities, ventured there on a proselytizing mission, sometimes with happy but at others with dismal results. I had been led to believe that Manchester, which during the prolonged reign of Hans Richter had hardened into a veritable citadel of extreme musical Diehardism, was hungering for some variation from the unchanging round of Beethoven, Brahms, and Wagner. Profiting by the engagement of my orchestra for a concert given by the North Staffordshire Choral Society at Hanley where Delius’ “Sea Drift” was in the program, I decided to take it on to Manchester, together with the full chorus, and to gladden the hearts of its new believers. There were nearly four hundred of us on the platform of the Free Trade Hall, which when full held some two thousand six hundred, and there were actually present in the auditorium less than three hundred. In the vast single gallery which contained about half of the total capacity there was one solitary patron, and even he for some time escaped our notice. Having brought along with him all the full scores of the pieces we were playing, he had propped them up in front of and around him, and in this way made himself wholly in-visible to those below.  




Toward the close of this year differences arose between the orchestra and myself, mainly over the perpetual bogies of the public musical life of that time, rehearsals and the deputy system, which led to the termination of my connection -with it. As I was midway in the passage of a long season and any early adjustment of the breech seemed unlikely, I set about forming an entirely new body of players, there being no other established organization. In nearly every orchestra that I have met in any part of the world, there is to be found at least one person who combines an executive business talent with an encyclopedic knowledge of his own section of the musical community, and there was an admirable specimen of the kind in this one. He had been of the greatest use to me from the beginning of my regular concert career as he knew the name, character, and degree of ability of every player in the town and seemed able to lay his hand upon any one of them at an hour’s notice. This excellent fellow, Verdi Fawcett, belonged to a numerous family scattered here and there over the country, all orchestral musicians and each with a Christian name borrowed like his own from one of the great composers, ancient or modern. He placed himself immediately at my service as a factotum, proving to be as indispensable and invaluable to me in this capacity as ever Figaro was to Almaviva, and within three weeks I had a completely new group of eighty, mainly young men not long out of the colleges, whose average age must have been well under twenty-five. Hearing that there was a violinist of uncommon dexterity in the restaurant band of the Waldorf Hotel, I went to dine there one night, and, following my request for a solo, he complied with the finale of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto taken at a speed that made me hold my breath. I scribbled on a card, “Splendid, but the right tempo is so and so,” indicating by a metronome mark what I thought it should be, and at once came back the answer, “Many thanks. I’ll play it again for you a little later on.” At the close of dinner we were introduced and I learned not only that he was barely twenty-three but that the instrument he was using had been made by himself. I offered and he accepted a prominent place in my new orchestra, and a few months later became its principal violin, a position he occupied for five years. This gifted and resourceful youth developed into the best all-round concert-master I have met anywhere, combining in himself a technical faculty equal to any demand made upon it, a full warm tone, a faultless rhythmic sense, and a brain that remained cool in the face of any untoward happening. Such was the beginning of the career of Albert Sammons, whom many consider the best English fiddler of this generation.  




Soon after this I gained another valuable recruit to the string section, in this case a mature artist of experience and celebrity. That there is a plentiful crop of competent players in England on that instrument of mixed sex, the viola, is due wholly to the example of Lionel Tertis, who, with a natural facility that might have made him the rival of a Heifetz or a Menuhin, elected to devote his life to the exploitation of the resources of this hermaphrodite of the orchestra, and the instruction of a band of youth to replace the older type of player, who rarely atoned by making an adequate study of it for his customary failure on the violin. Tertis remained with us for about eighteen months, after which, unable to endure longer the strenuous routine, the long hours, and the close atmosphere of the Opera House, he resigned his position, and I do not think has ever been seen in an orchestra again.