英日対訳:The Northern Fiddler北の大地のフィドラー達('79/'85)第15回 2部(7/7)ジョン・ドハティの晩年




London / New York / Sydney / Cologne 











March 1977 




The hospital was a sleepy place devoid of the functional decor of the modern clinic. It seemed a remnant of the last century - more of a place to keep sick people out of the way than a place for healing. We were apprehensive and tense. My companion and I had come to visit John Doherty who, we heard, was extremely ill. The unavoidable atmosphere of a dormant nineteenth century hospital that surrounded us only increased our anxiety. John Doherty was of an age and lifestyle where he was unlikely to survive either illness or the institutional routines of hospital life. We entered a ward in which a dozen men lay on their beds, or sat dressed in street clothes, looking bored, as if they had been dumped on top of those beds and left there for no reason except for the fact they were all in their seventies or eighties. 



We found John Doherty sitting by his bed occupied with his pipe and tobacco. It was the first time I had met him without his tweed cap on. He has a large, dignified, fine-boned head. He greeted us with smiling eyes that were the palest of blue, the colour of the sky of the Donegal coast on a warm hazy day, and made us welcome in his usual cordial manner as if he was inviting us to sit in his private parlour. He possessed a gentle courtly way and is very skillful in transforming unlikely locations such as pubs - and in this case a hospital ward - into private intimate sherers. In talking to him, you cannot help but form the impression that you are in conversation with an educated, modest gentleman of an earlier age. 



As we sat down I slipped him a small bottle of whiskey to help him survive the dull routine of hospital life. Our conversation, of course, soon turned to music. I mentioned to John that I had brought with me a tape of a Highland piper to cheer him up. That set him off on a general talk about the music of the Highland pipers of which he is extremely fond and which has had an extensive influence on his own fiddling. Along with the fiddle his father and grandfather had been masters of the Highland pipes, which was a popular instrument in Donegal when John was a boy. Gradually as John's amusing talk drew us into a closer circle the atmosphere of the hospital receded, and in a soft low voice he began lilting pipe tunes, reels, strathpeys, and marches, one after another. He injected into his lilting all the ornamentations and nuances of the Highland pipes. We sat mesmerized, knowing full well that we were witnesses to a magnificent performance, possibly the last ever to be given by this great fiddler. Here in front of us was the emblem of the master musician, a man so impregnated with music that he possessed the capacity to make it with the simplest of instruments in the most adverse of situations. His lilting was so masterful that his voice became the pipes sounding away in the distance. After a while he stopped, apologizing to us, explaining that his illness had left him short of breath. We had only a recording of pipe music to recompense John, but he was anxious to hear the tape. The piper was good and John withdrew into himself to listen to the music. John's body was before us and gradually became an empty shell - his eyes looked only inward. They were dominated by a distant image: the music of the pipes had carried him away. 



(picture on p53: Ned Gallagher's house) 






My companion and I exchanged looks. We had become aware of his withdrawl at the one moment, and both of us were frightened and at the same time moved. But as the tape played we gradually became aware of another sound that was intruding into our circle. Its volume threatened to overwhelm the music on the tape. As the piper played, one by one each of the inhabitants of the ward had fallen asleep, and each in his turn had contributed a drone to a cacophony of snores that threatened to engulf us. We could not control our laughter at the overpowering sound: twelve old men snoring away in the late afternoon, an off-key accompaniment to the piper playing on the tape. It broke the spell and John slowly came back from wherever he had been and, smiling, suggested that the pipes had put the old men to sleep. His observation reminded us that one of the functions of music in the old Gaelic culture was the magical induction of sleep. After a while we rose, making our way through the droning bodies. We left John Doherty sitting by his bed calmly smoking his pipe as the harsh angular winter light poured through the hospital windows revealing his fragility in that room full of sleeping old men ... 



Several months after our visit John Doherty was discharged from hospital in a weak but basically healthy condition. His near encounter with death seemed to have eradicated the last remnants of his former life style. Soon after his release he retired to a small town in Eastern Donegal where he had relations who could look after him. He has ceased playing in pubs as a full-time practice, and kept no fiddle in the house with him for fear of disturbing the nighbours. He was willing to play for the occasional friend who dropped by with a violin, and when he played the old power was still present, yet for a man of his experience he seemed immersed in silence. Good as this regimen may have been for his physical condition, John was only able to abide it for a short period. He soon took to the road again, circulating among the hospitable homes of many friends he has throughout Donegal. The patterns of a lifetime were hard to change. As he travels, moving among his close friends and admirers, he carries no fiddle with him. It is indicative of the type of life he has led that John Doherty can move from place to place in Donegal, knowing that in each resting-place he chooses a fiddle will inevitably find its way into his hands so that he can fill the house with the sound of his music. It is as if he has a pre-determined appointment with every fiddle he plays. 





There is a tale that John is fond of telling that concerns one of his most beautiful pieces of music, a lament he calls 'Paddy Rambles Through the Park.' The tale serves him well as a metaphor for a life devoted to the search for musical experience. 

ジョンさんの大好きなお話をご紹介しましょう。彼が素晴らしく演奏する曲の一つにまつわるものです。その曲は「Paddy Rambles Through the Park(パディが領地を闊歩する)」というラメントです。彼自身が、音楽を求めて自然の中や人々の間を巡ることに、その生涯を懸けたことを、このお話は見事に物語っています。 



(John Doherty) 


'Paddy was a great musical man and a great singer. And he would stroll away at night and go away to rake - to places where they would be dance parties. Well, he was strolling home at a very late hour one night and he was coming past that big demesne about three o'clock at night. But there inside the fence he heard this lovely singer, and he stopped for a moment to listen to the song. “Well,” he says, “that's a lovely singer that's singing just now,” and what was the singer only a banshee. So Paddy wanted to get in near to it so he could hear the song. But at that time they wouldn't take stones away from the park - any stones they would get they put them in a pile. They used to call them a cairn. Well anyhow, he heard the singer at the first cairn. “Well,” says he, “I'll see if I can get in touch with that singer,” says he. He went into the first cairn and the singer was at the second cairn and when he was there the singer was at the third cairn. That is how he was kept rambling through the park till it was clear daylight. But he made good and sure he would have the air of the song with him in great style indeed - and you would know by its playing it is something unearthly.' 



(photo on p55 and picture on p56: John Doherty) 




Paddy's Rambles Through the Field ·  

Matt Molloy (Flute) 

Back to the Island 

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