英日対訳:T.ビーチャム自叙伝「A Mingled Chime」第24章(2/2)ショパンの教え/ペトルーシュカ/町人貴族








Many years ago a great musician said to me, “I judge a player mainly by his rubato,” and it is upon the use of this device that most music depends for charm as well as clarity, and of which Chopin is reported to have given this definition: “Play a piece  lasting so many minutes through in strict time: then repeat it with any number of variations of speed, but let its total duration remain the same.” Naturally there is a great deal of music that depends for its supreme effect upon an implacably unchanging lilt, and no one with the smallest aesthetic sense would dream of directing the third movement of the Tschaikowsky sixth symphony or the finale of the Beethoven seventh otherwise. And while it is true that there is infinitely more of this kind written for the orchestra owing to the composite nature of its structure than for any solo instrument, there is at the same time a great deal which is not, and it is of that of which I am speaking.  




If the Rosenkavalier was the star event of the operatic portion of this season, then certainly Petrouchka, seen for the first time in England, was that of the ballet. This remarkable piece is not only the most inspired work of its composer, but the high water mark of the ballet’s artistic achievement. Nothing before had been so unquestionably a work of art, and certainly nothing since has been produced to out-rival it. The bulk of the productions had been of an hybrid nature, the music and action not having been conceived simultaneously. Popular concert works, such as the “Invitation to the Waltz” of Weber or the “Scheherazade” of Rimsky-Korsakov had been transferred to the theater where choreography had been adapted to them as ably as possible. But however admirable the results were from the terpsichorean standpoint, they were not equally satisfactory from the musical. To meet the exigencies of the dance, it fell out that the time, the measure, and even the sentiment of the music had often to undergo transformations of which a ruthlessly mechanical style of execution was not the least disconcerting; so that in the new association the dance occupied the position of a senior partner who had pushed his junior into a background, where the outline of his veritable personality was obscured or distorted. 




With the coming of Stravinsky, the creative capacity of the Russian Ballet attained its full maturity. In Petrouchka the charm and poetry that peer out of nearly every page of his earlier tour de force L'Oiseau de Feu rarely make their appearance, the chief characteristics being a rhythm of extraordinary variety and vigor, a bizarrerie which although entirely different from that of Strauss is equally individual, and a fleeting hint of pathos that we find nowhere else in Stravinsky’s work. It is in fact one of the musical landmarks of the past thirty years, and however interesting the later works of its composer may appear to that section of his followers which expects a fresh development of style from him every other year, I do not think that he has yet given birth to a second piece in which the best elements of his art are so perfectly blended.  




My association with the Russians had led me to a much wider study of the operatic output of their great composers, and I felt that the time had come for the introduction into England of at least a small portion of a large and completely unknown repertoire. But here once again I ran up against either the ignorance or the prejudice of my fellow-directors of the Syndicate, who not only had never heard the masterpieces of this school, but flatly refused to believe that anyone else could possibly want to do so; one of them going so far as to throw the coldest of cold water upon the engagement of Chaliapin, who had not yet been heard in London, on the ground that English audiences would not care for that style of singing. I began to feel that the alliance with an organization whose whole scheme of values as well as policy was so dissimilar to my own had outlived whatever utility it had at first contained, and I was convinced that what was vital to the operatic situation in London was some new visitation of striking originality. It was impossible to overlook the undiminished popularity of the Ballet, and it was at least imaginable that another one hundred per cent Russian institution might be the solution of the problem. I accordingly resigned my position at Covent Garden, requested Diaghileff to negotiate the visit of a company from the Imperial Opera of St. Petersburg to include singers, chorus, new scenery and costumes, indeed everything except the orchestra, and took a lease of Drury Lane Theater. Thus I found myself for the summer of 1913 in the same position of rivalry to the house across the street that I should have occupied two years earlier had I carried out my old program as first intended.  




During the late spring, by way of an interlude, I gave the Ariadne auf Naxos of Strauss at His Majesty's Theater in conjunction with Sir Herbert Tree, who himself played the part of Monsieur Jourdain in the comedy. The work was given in English, translated from the German through the French by Somerset Maugham, whose equanimity was on more than one occasion ruffled by the actor manager’s propensity to forget his lines and substitute an improvised patter for the carefully chiseled periods of that distinguished master of the vernacular. Otherwise Tree, who in this line of broad and fantastic comedy had hardly a rival, was capital, and the whole production was adjudged superior to the original given at Stuttgart in the previous year. In this, the earlier version of Ariadne, I have always considered that the musical accomplishment of Strauss attained its highest reach, yielding a greater spontaneity and variety of invention, together with a subtler and riper style, than anything that his pen had yet given to the stage. The incidental music to the three acts of the Bourgeois Gentilhomme which form the first part of this unique work takes its place among other supreme examples of the kind, such as L’Arlesienne of Bizet and the Peer Gynt of Grieg; while the Bacchus section in the opera is one of the purple patches in the operatic literature of the twentieth century. It has to be admitted that it is neither an easy nor practicable sort of piece to give in an ordinary opera house, as it postulates the employment of a first-rate group of actors as well as singers: and for this reason no doubt the authors rewrote it at a later period, making a full-blown opera of the old medley and thinking probably they were making a very good job of it. The result has been doubly unfortunate, for the later version has not only failed to hold the stage, but has dimmed the public recollection of the far superior and more attractive original. Our only consolation is that here we have a rare and refreshing instance of the inability of Commerce to read a lesson to Art, with a nice touch of Nemesis thrown in.  









2022年5月29日 ベルリン・フィルハーモニー室内楽ホールにて 

Richard Strauss: Der Bürger als Edelmann, op. 60 

Conductor: Nodoka Okisawa 

Karajan-Akademie der Berliner Philharmoniker 

Recorded at the Chamber Music Hall of the Philharmonie Berlin, 29 May 2022