英日対訳:トーマス・ビーチャム自叙伝「A Mingled Chime」第24章(1/2)バラの騎士/速すぎ?/サン・サーンス








During this time I had lost touch with my friends of the censorship at St. James’s Palace, but upon the announcement of a new Strauss opera they entered the scene again. As I had genuinely enjoyed my previous dealings with them I went in person to see what they had to say about it, and it appeared that they had discovered the presence of a bed in a remote part of the stage in the third act and were worried about some equivocal references to it in the text. Those who know the work will remember how Octavian, disguised as a girl, inquires the purpose of this object of furniture from the Baron Ochs, who replies, “Das wird sie schon seh’n.” There was nothing more offensive in this than a hundred other things heard or seen nightly on the lighter musical stage, but evidently the guardian angels of our national morality were haunted by the idea that what was harmless and innocent at Daly’s or the Gaiety Theatre would be dangerous and reprehensible at Covent Garden. I was given the option of two courses. Either the bed could be exhibited without any reference being made to it, or it could.be hidden away from sight and we could sing about it as much as we liked. As it was easier to move the furniture around than tamper with the score of the work, I accepted the second alternative and I have always regarded this as an almost perfect example of our British love of compromise.  




The Rosenkavaliei, much to the surprise of my colleagues of the Syndicate, obtained a success equal to that of Elektia and Salome, and the representation, at Strauss's request, followed closely the one given under his personal supervision at Dresden. In presenting a new work I always follow with complete fidelity the composer's wishes, even if I am often unable to agree with his choice of artists. The audience of Covent Garden is in my experience, and I have knowledge of nearly every important theater of the world outside South America, the most critical as well as the best-informed on the subject of singing. For over two centuries it has been facile princeps the sanctuary of it, and scores of artists who are popular elsewhere fail to win approval there. It is inevitable that in a house where all the operas are sung in their original tongues and not in that of the locality, that purely vocal qualities such as tonal beauty, facility of execution, legato in phrasing and range of color should be regarded as the all-in-all of the art; with small concern for the niceties of diction and dramatic point, without which an opera sung in a language which everyone knows becomes an absurdity and an irritation. It is universally known and deplored that the endowments of a great vocalist do not often include those which we associate with charm and romance. But while the London public is as insistent as any other that in the ordinary theater the claims of sight must be preferred above those of sound, there still remains a staunch minority which does not care a rap if the appearance of the performer fails to correspond with the character of the role, provided the music is rendered in accordance with its conception of what constitute the essentials of true or great singing. 




For the representation of Die Meistersinger I had endeavored to secure Hans Richter; but, as he declined my invitation, I conducted it myself, much to the discomfort of that small clique of Wagnerians who were convinced that the score was safe in no hands but those of its faithful transcriber and first custodian. It was generally asserted both publicly and privately that my tempi were too quick and that I hurried the singers, who had not time to breathe. Anticipating these judgments I had taken steps to have the duration of each act checked by the stop-watch of one of the stage managers, and published the results, a little to the bewilderment of my critics. The timing of my first act was within a quarter of a minute of Richter's, that of the second almost the same and that of the third half a minute, in each case longer and not shorter. Further the singers one and all declared that so far from being hustled and embarrassed, I had given them more latitude than they had known before for the easy vocalization of many of their passages.  




If this were an isolated case of misunderstanding on the part of those listening to one of my interpretations, or a solitary instance of some queer aural illusion, it would not be worthwhile referring to it. But throughout the whole of my career I have been looked upon as the protagonist of rapid tempi, in spite of the provable fact that in the majority of cases I have actually taken more time over performance than many of my contemporaries who have escaped entirely a similar charge. And although I have frequently given explanations of the seeming mystery, it is clear that they have not carried much conviction. The truth is that the average ear confuses strong accent and the frequent use of rubato with tempo itself, especially if the accents are varied during the course of a single period, and with the result that it has the uneasy sensation of being pricked and speeded against its will.*  



* Connected remotely but perhaps interestingly with this vexed question is an incident which occurred about this time. Some of the musical organizations of London (including Covent Garden) united to give a musical festival in honor of the veteran Saint Saens, and I conducted a concert at Queen’s Hall in which his third symphony in C Minor was the principal item. With advancing years the distinguished French composer had imbibed a taste for somnolent tempi which was often a source of embarrassment to his interpreters. On this occasion his presence at rehearsals had an increasingly depressing influence on the players, and convinced of a fiasco unless this could be counteracted, I did all I could at the performance to create an impression of life through purposely exaggerated accentuation, without altering too perceptibly the prescribed directions as to speed. Later in the evening at supper, I expressed the hope that the execution of the work had been to his satisfaction, and beaming benignantly he replied “You mean, what do I think of your interpretation?” I assured him that nothing would please me so much as to hear his opinion, and he continued; “My dear young friend, I have lived a long while, and I have known all the chefs d’orchestre. There are two kinds; one takes the music too fast, and the other too slow. There is no third!” 




Now the orchestra is a complicated instrument and manifestly more difficult to handle than any other. A virtuoso can do just what he likes with his piano or fiddle, and his own are the hands which fulfill the behest of his brain. Anything approaching a similar freedom on the part of a conductor depends largely upon a long and close association between him and his players, who must be molded to his purpose as intimately as his instrument is to the virtuoso. This is possible only here and there, for there are very few orchestras composed of first-rate elements which play for a sufficient length of time under the same conductor, and incidentally there are not many conductors of natural talent who are also musicians of scholarship. Yet for the full revelation of all that is enshrined in a great orchestral or operatic score, the first essential is the same measure of ease and flexibility that we expect and receive from a solo performer. At the moment there seems to be a straggle between those who favor a rigidly mechanical style of execution, which degrades music from an eloquent language to an inexpressive noise, and those who run to the opposite extremity of a license that degenerates into anarchy. Surely the truth, as is so often the case, may be found in the just mean (auream mediocritatem) and approximates to the style of perfect oratory, where a steady and unbroken line of enunciation derives its vitality from a constant variation of inflection and speed hardly perceptible to the ear. In other words the secret of a persuasive manner is an elasticity of control, so exercised as to give the impression that the iron bonds of rhythm are never for a moment seriously loosened.  







Saint-Saëns: Symphony No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 78, "Organ" 

鄭 明勳  

Conductor: Myung-Whun Chung (Honorary Music Director) 

Organ: Yuka Ishimaru 

Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra 

The 911th Subscription Concert in Suntory Hall 

October 5, 2018, Fri 

Suntory Hall (Main Hall)