英日対訳:T.ビーチャム自叙伝「A Mingled Chime」第31章(1/2)「パリ・大都会」騒動/有名老歌手








In spite of my artistic activities I had kept in touch with James White over the Covent Garden position and stimulated his energies whenever they showed any sign of slowing down. The plan which his fertile brain had conceived was taking longer to work out in detail than he had foreseen, and it would not be until the close of the year that it could assume workable shape. But it was sound and practical enough to let in a little light on what had become an unpleasantly obscure situation, and as it relieved considerably my father's mind I felt free to shelve the problem for a while and to undertake a task of a rather singular nature in Italy.  




Suggested by a member of the Government, it was a composite affair, an odd mixture of the social, political, and artistic in one. The aristocratic class in Rome was none too sympathetic toward Great Britain, indeed a fair proportion of it favored the Central Powers. A good many Romans had married Austrians and Hungarians, and these alliances were thought to be something of a danger to our cause. It might therefore help at this juncture if some Englishman would go out there, make himself as agreeable as possible, give parties and throw in a few orchestral concerts as well. The idea seemed fantastic to me and I should certainly have never put it forward on my own account; but as it emanated from a responsible politician I listened politely, if incredulously, and set out for the Eternal City.  




My arrival was inauspicious, for while in Paris on my way through I had caught a touch of influenza which kept me indoors for several days. But the enforced inactivity enabled me to obtain an advance idea of how the land lay, for my old friends and acquaintances turned up in force, all overflowing with information and advice. One of my most frequent callers was Oscar Browning, whose chief delight was Mozart and all his works, and every time he came to see me he insisted upon my playing him some favorite piece. But as he had a perverse affection for little known specimens such as the concerti for Horn and Bassoon or the opera Zaide, it was not always easy to oblige him. Afflicted by a delightful vein of snobbery of the historico-social kind, he was inspired with a profound veneration for the antiquity of the noble Roman houses. One day he was positively shocked when I caused a certain lady who had been announced to wait below for a few minutes, asking in a tone of gentle rebuke if I was aware that she could trace back her lineage to our Saxon times. The most adequate excuse I, could make for delaying her admission was the truthful one that I wanted to finish the Mozart movement I was playing for his sole benefit, but while this may have flattered his vanity I could see that his ruffled sense of propriety was only half tranquillized.  




For my first concert at the Augusteo I had selected a program of ancient and modern music in more or less equal parts. I knew very little of the state of local musical culture, and had I been better informed about it I should have proceeded even more conservatively, for Rome is not really a musical city if compared with other great European centers. But things went smoothly enough vmtil we reached the “Paris” of Delius, a piece of musical impressionism pur sang, mysterious and poetic for the most part, with here and there wild outbursts of hilarious gaiety. The public of the Augusteo was dumbfounded by the tone-picture of a city of which their acquaintance probably did not extend much beyond the Avenue des Champs Elysees, the Ritz tea-room and the cabarets of Montmartre, endured it in silence for about ten minutes, and then began to shuffle their feet and break into conversation. A few serious listeners endeavored to silence the chatter but succeeded only in increasing it. Presently a few bolder spirits began to whistle, the opposition responded with furious cries and gestures of protest, and from that moment on the rest of the work was inaudible. I did not attempt to finish it, but waited for a likely place to stop and walked off the platform. The unexpected cessation of the music had the instant effect of quieting the uproar, and I returned to play the little overture of Paisiello’s “Nina o la pazza d'amore,” whose artful simplicity enchanted both sides of the house and saved the situation.  




After the concert I was accosted by a stranger of great age, who introduced himself to me as Cotogni.* I strove to manifest recognition and delight all the while my brain was working furiously to remember who on earth it might be. Then suddenly I recalled having seen the name on an old program and in accounts of opera performances half a century or more earlier and decided that a heaven-sent opportunity had been offered me to elucidate dozens of doubtful points in the production of some works which had been puzzling me for years. For here was one who had sung constantly under the eye of II Vecchio himself, an actor in and spectator of great events, a witness to the truth almost as impressive as the voice of the oracle itself. I invited the old gentleman to dinner and posed the hundred and one questions to which I longed to receive replies. What did Verdi mean by this, or Ponchielli by that; how did Mariani take this scene or Faccio the other, and what did the chorus do in such and such an ensemble? To none of these interrogations did I obtain a satisfactory answer, and I began to think that the mind of my venerable companion had failed to retain any clear impressions of the past. But here I was wrong, for with perfect lucidity he explained that why he could not answer my questions was that hardly any of them were concerned with scenes in which he had a share. In his time a singer was expected to learn nothing but his own part and to devote his energies to executing it to the best of his ability. What his fellow artists were doing was no business of his, and I could see that he was inclined to regard any suggestion of mine to the contrary as an amusing flight of Anglo-Saxon eccentricity. I doubt if he knew the stories of half the works he had sung in, for while perfectly reminiscent of his own share in them, he could rarely recall the names of other characters in the same operas. I have often wondered whether this method is inferior to that of many modern singers who have an intelligent knowledge of an entire work, but do not seem able to make much of their own roles.  




* One of the most popular operatic baritones of the second half of the last century, and a frequent visitor to Covent Garden. British admirers of the late Nellie Melba may be interested to know that at her London debut in Lucia di Lammermoor, during the season of 1888, Cotogni sang the part of Ashton. 





W.A.Mozart Horn Concerto No.2 n E flat major K 417 

1. Allegro maestoso 

2. Andante 

3. Rondo 

Dennis Brain, French Horn 

Philharmonia Orchestra 

Herbert von Karajan