英日対訳:トーマス・ビーチャム自叙伝「A Mingled Chime」第23章(2/2)いざ、ベルリンへ:大絶賛なのに…








During the summer the Russian Ballet reappeared, repeating its spectacular success of the previous year and depreciating even further the already dubious credit of the operatic side of the season. Decidedly the stock of the music drama was on the decline and the position was in no way helped by the monumental failure of Mr. Hammerstein and his new opera house. With a repertoire drawn mainly from France, and with artists generally of the second rank who were better known in provincial theaters than in Paris, the American impresario encountered one reverse after the other. After less than a year’s trial of the artistic predilections of the British capital, he gave up altogether in sorrow and bewilderment, and his unsuccessful descent upon our shores will always be ranked among those of historic ill luck such as the Athenian expedition to Sicily and the French attempt on Russia.  




The association between Serge de Diaghileff and myself had ripened into a friendship which bore happy fruit, when in the autumn he engaged my orchestra to go to Berlin and play in a two months’ season of ballet at the Kroll Theater. By this time the orchestra, which had taken part in two long seasons at Covent Garden, had the repertoire of the company at its finger-ends, was at the top of its form and promised to be, in Diaghileff’s view, a distinct addition to the regular attraction of the Ballet. No English orchestra had yet visited Berlin, and probably as many people there as at home would be astonished that it could really play well at all. In any case, it was looked upon as an act of daring to present it to the critical ears of the German capital.  




I thought I would take advantage of this Anglo-Russian invasion to go over at the end of it and give two or three concerts in which I would introduce some English works, as well as a few of my eighteenth century trifles. I was also anxious to see Strauss again, who after the enormous success of his Elektra and Salome had been inquiring through his publishers if I had any intention of giving his Rosenkavalier, produced the previous year in Dresden and just as much of a triumph. I had already urged this work upon my colleagues of the Syndicate, but found them unsympathetic, as indeed they were to most of my suggestions for the performance of novelties or revivals. I had to admit the prudence of their attitude in the light of some of my own experiences, but I had never seen any risk in Rosenkavalier, owing to the immense popularity of its composer. But their argument was that although the public might endure an hour and forty minutes of Straussian melodrama, and even be thrilled or shocked by it, it would never sit quietly through four hours of German comedy, whether it were written by Strauss or Martin Luther himself. Nearly two years had gone by since a note of his operatic music had been heard in London, and it was beginning to look as if the chances of its being given in the next ten years would, be small unless I myself did something about it. 




The concerts aroused an interest that was both pleasing and surprising to me. I had been a little apprehensive about the reception of my programs, having been warned that Berlin musically was a stuffy sort of place, with a marked superiority complex vis a vis the rest of the continent. But everyone showed the liveliest curiosity about the new music, disputed warmly just as they were to do twenty years later over the authenticity of my classical readings (one venerable professor of the Hochschule said of my rendering of a Mozart symphony, “It sounds grand but it isn't Mozart”) and wondered at the technical accomplishment of the orchestra, notably the wind and horns, which were without question superior to their own. One of the leading critics devoted an entire article to a close analysis of the style, tone, and method of my players, indicating in detail wherein they differed from those of the Austrian as well as German orchestras, and ended by saying, “These Englishmen play with a sovereign authority all too rare nowadays anywhere.” 




Strauss was deeply impressed just as he had been in 1910 at the time of Elektia, and was generous and penetrating in his remarks on the English composers. Of Delius he said charmingly and characteristically, “I had no idea that anyone except myself was writing such good music as this.” Afterwards, he went on to talk about the possibilities for Rosenkavalier, and before my departure I gave him an assurance that it would be given during the next few months. I had been turning over in my mind the plan of another winter season, and it seemed to me that the combination of a Strauss cycle, some later Wagner and the Russian Ballet in a few new productions ought to strike the public fancy. If this missed fire, then the position was practically hopeless. So upon my return to London I at once engaged Covent Garden for a season of about six weeks along the lines indicated. 




My orchestra, which quite rightly considered that it had covered itself with credit, was a little chagrined to find that their success was received rather coolly at home. In some quarters it was even minimized, one leading journal, now happily defunct, hinting that the reports sent over by correspondents on the spot had been somewhat exaggerated. I thought of the almost overwhelming fuss made by the people of every other country, when one of their representative institutions ventured across the frontier for a week or even a few days. We had been in the stronghold, indeed in the inmost citadel of the world’s music for over two months, had conquered its prejudices, won its suffrages, and had been admitted to a rank and status held only by two or three of its leading organizations. This however in the England of 1912 passed unnoticed and, for some reason I was never able to understand, was even a little resented.