英日対訳:トーマス・ビーチャム自叙伝「A Mingled Chime」第23章(1/2)オケ公演奮戦/作曲家達を斬る!








One advantage of my alliance with the Grand Opera Syndicate was that I became largely free from management responsibilities, as I could leave to their own competent staff the supervision of my business part in the joint undertaking. This left me more time not only for concert work with my own orchestra but for the acceptance of outside engagements with societies at Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham, as well as the Royal Philharmonic of London. In Birmingham I conducted the whole of the concert series during 1911-12 and 1913 and a gallant effort was made there to place the concerts on a more permanent basis, but without success. The old ghost of discord was still stalking the place and it was not until some years afterwards that the various dissident parties could be brought together to agree upon a scheme for a permanent orchestra, in which I was privileged to take a part. 




In my own concerts I continued the policy adopted four or five years earlier, but with a little easing off in the practice of hurling at the public such huge masses of modernity unrelieved by even a little of something they had heard before. These shock tactics are often useful and even necessary as much to strike the eye as the ear with an appearance of strangeness or singularity. Wilde has said that nothing succeeds like excess; but, though this is often correct in the opening moves of a campaign, it is not always so effective in its later stages. For instance, in one concert devoted to the work of a celebrated living composer I opened with about two thousand persons in Queens Hall and finished with less than two hundred. Having made sure that the Press, as well as the public, was no longer in any danger of forgetting either the name or some of the music of the composers I was endeavoring to advertise, I diluted my programs with a relieving dash of the familiar, and soon found that my listeners who had overtly or covertly resented being asked to swallow large doses of Delius, Sibelius, Mahler, and others, became quite placable on smaller allowances of the same fare. Of course I am speaking of ordinary everyday symphony concerts and not of festivals given up to the work of a particular school or of one composer: of the latter kind there is never likely to be a dangerous superfluity.  




The reputation of Delius continued to grow, although it was not yet rivaling that of Elgar whom the British public had placed on a pedestal higher than that occupied by any native composer since Purcell. I did not find this valuation shared by either our own or foreign musicians, and on those occasions when in later years I played this composer’s works in continental countries, as well as in the United States, I found that time had failed to maintain it. All the same there is not the least doubt that most of what Elgar wrote between 1895 and 1914 showed an undeniable advance over anything produced by his English predecessors or contemporaries in the more orthodox forms such as the symphony and the oratorio. The writing itself is clearer and more varied in style, the grasp of the subject closer and keener, and the use of the orchestra is often, but not always, admirable. The better side of him is to be found in miniature movements, where he is often fanciful, charming and, in one or two instances, exquisite. His big periods and ‘tuttis’ are less happy; bombast and rhetoric supplant too frequently real weight and poetical depth, and he strays with a dangerous ease to the borderline of a military rhodomontade that is hardly distinguishable from the commonplace and the vulgar. Here and there are cadences of a charm that are quite his own, unlike anything else in music, evoking memories without being in themselves reminiscent, and breathing a sentiment to be found in much English literature written between 1830 and 1880, notably Tennyson. But whatever the quality or merit of the invention, his is the work of a truly serious and honest craftsman.  




According to Max Chop,* Delius belong to the small group of wholly underivative composers. This is not to say that he is without musical ancestry of any sort, or that his is a greater genius than that of many who are less original in their aesthetic makeup. For instance the actual musical accomplishment of Mozart is greater than that of Berlioz. But while nearly all that the former master wrote had a definitely pious kinship with the foreshadowing effort of the foregoing generation, such extraordinary portents as the “Symphonie Fantastique” or “La Damnation de Faust” broke upon the world like some unaccountable effort of spontaneous generation which had dispensed with the machinery of normal parentage. Such human phenomena are invariably more complicated in their mental processes than their more simply constructed brethren of orthodox breed, and they can rarely bring themselves to make use of the inheritance bequeathed to them by their predecessors. Theirs is no simple and primitive musical faculty like that of Schubert or Dvorak, each of whom was capable of pouring melody into any form of the art, the symphony, the quartet or the sonata, without any desire to vary or develop it in any way; and they are either incapable of expressing themselves in such forms, or they deliberately ignore them in favor of new vehicles for the communication of their ideas. Wagner, as we know, clearly saw that Beethoven had said the last word in symphonic structure and had stretched it to the furthest possible limits of expansion. But conventional minds thought otherwise and continued to hope for the coming of someone who would open a new chapter in the evolution of the form. It is now realized that nothing of the slightest consequence has been added to the architectural finality of the Third or Sixth, and that all those who have written symphonies during the past hundred years may have charmed but have not succeeded in surprising us. 



* An eminent German musicologist born in 1862 — died in 1929. His best known works are: Liszt’s Symphonic Poems; Wagner's Music Dramas; and Modem Musicians*  




Chopin, Wagner, Moussorgsky, and Debussy struck out on fresh lines, creating forms for themselves, and Delius is essentially of their kind and company. Although, like some of them he had little or no aptitude for traffc with the sonata form, his efforts in this line being his weakest, his capacity to create movements on a big scale which are shapely and logical, and which match the needs of his inspiration is evident in such experiments as Sea Drift, “Paris,” and “Brigg Fair.” But the most underivative side of his genius and that which separates him most sharply from all other modem composers is undoubtedly his harmonic endowment. This is unique and peculiar in that it is present and audible in nearly every bar of any piece which he has written. I have often asked quite first-class musicians to play from memory some apparently easy-sounding passage of his that they have just been listening to, and while they have had no difficulty in getting the melody right, I cannot recall one occasion when they have been able to render the harmony correctly. And yet in performance all sounds simple and natural. Modem musicians have not yet given enough attention to this side of Delius, a genuine innovation for which the art is perceptibly the richer; and although his reputation during the past fifteen years has grown apace, the creator of A Mass of Life and A Village Romeo and Juliet has yet to receive that recognition which sooner or later will inevitably be his.  





Beethoven Symphony No 6 /  

Sir Thomas Beecham 

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra