Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Boismortier: Six Concertos for Five Flutes Op.15 (soloists of Concert Spirituel)

Joseph Bodin de Boismortier 是法國巴洛克晚期的量產作曲家。在1689出生於Thionville,1755死於Roissy-en-Brie,有「法國泰雷曼」之稱的 Boismortier,出版的作品編號有高達102首,以巴洛克的標準來說,是相當地驚人。除了大量創作之外,他也跟Telemann一樣,具有一定的 創意,為多種不同的樂器組合寫曲子。這張CD錄的給五支長笛的協奏曲,便是這樣下的產物。因為不同民族所有的偏好,他大部份的曲子,仍是為長笛所寫,反映 出當時法國人對音樂的品味。因此,他也為當時很流行但今天幾乎不再被演奏的樂器寫曲子,像是hurdy-gurdy(手搖風琴)還有musette(小風笛)。


Boismortier相當了解當時的人喜愛的音樂風格,常寫迎合大眾口味的作品。當身邊的音樂風格在改變的 時候,他也會在他的曲子中做出一定的調整。正是,他在任何時候所寫的曲子,都能真正一窺當時世人所喜歡的音樂是怎樣。他寫的曲子除了大眾以外,也寫得可以 讓一般人業餘水準的人都能表演,不需要職業的音樂家。他生前寫音樂所賺取大量的版費,更是足以很優渥地生活,不需要額外再找有錢的貴族或皇室贊助。在當時 巴洛克音樂家中,這是非常少數的例子。甚至,他的音樂被批評說沒有深度,僅有取悅大眾的功能時,他直接很自豪地回應:「我的東西賺錢耶!」

他 的音樂除了有甜美的旋律之外,也善用合聲,製造出飽滿的效果。這張CD給只有五支長笛的六首作品十五協奏曲,雖然名為協奏曲,但其實是一種室內合奏協奏曲 的性質,而沒有特定哪一支長笛是來擔任主奏的樂器。五支長笛,常常兩支-兩支做二重奏配上一支吹低音線,但也會不時來個全部大合奏。雖然 Boismortier是法國人,但這些協奏曲是不折不扣的義大利的曲式,都是三樂章,不是快-慢-快,就是慢-快-快。其中也不難看出義大利形式的曲 子,在法國音樂圈中開始慢慢被大多數人接受。義大利的協奏曲形式,也將會在接下來的幾百年內,主導西方音樂的發展。

Soloists of Concert Spirituel的長笛手們,都用巴洛克長笛演奏,所以都以木頭做的。巴洛克長笛,在某些音域的音色,不像現代的長笛那麼亮,而帶有陰沉的感覺。與其說 是材質的差別,其實主要是洞口大小和形狀設計上的差別。不過話說回來,當時的作曲家也根據當初長笛的音色寫出適合表演的曲子。長笛的聲音因為沒有那麼刺 耳,所以更圓滑,也沒有那種金屬感。其實我不是長笛音樂的專家,所以在這兒無法提供更深入的見解。不過,單單由五支長笛所表演的音樂,有一種很特別的感 覺,尤其是在某些時候,五支長笛一齊吹奏的時候,會非常地共鳴。這些曲子都不長,且都帶有一定的幽雅,像在喝下午茶一般。在底下的連結附上第五號協奏曲, 可供人參考。

Joseph Bodin de Boismortier (1689-1755) was a French late Baroque composer.  He is sometimes known as the "French Telemann" because he was probably the most prolific French composer to ever live.  Born in Thionville, he came from quite modest beginnings and only started publishing his works in 1724, when he was 35, which afterwards, he really did not look back.


Boismortier's published opuses is documented at a whopping 102, a very large number especially in Baroque standards.  Like Telemann, he wrote music for many combinations of instrument, like the recording of interest here.  Being French, many of his works were written for the transverse flute, which happened to be his favorite instrument.  That being said, Boismortier would also write for other instruments popular at the time, like the musette and the hurdy-gurdy.    

Boismortier knew exactly what the public wanted, and he was quick to reflect this in his works when the European music style had moved onto the new Galante style.  Boismortier not only wrote very crowd-pleasing music, his music also wasn't as technically challenging, so that the amateur musician was able to perform them.  In fact, Boismortier was so successful in his lifetime that he made enough money off his publishing his music that he did not need any patrons, one of the few exceptions for sure.  

However, like Telemann, Boismortier was also criticized for writing shallow and unsophisticated music whose purpose was to entertain the uneducated middle-class and their neighbors.  Boismortier would simply brush off these comments by saying, "I make money."  Sure, the public liked music that was simple and elegant, and Boismortier had the answer.  He would provide nice melody-driven music with rather good harmony, that which the professional musicians could not deny either.

This recording of Boismortier's 6 Concertos for 5 solo transverse flutes is kind of an interesting collection of works.  I don't think I've run into any other work that has this kind of combination.  Comprised of only 5 flutes, pairs of duos take place between flutes while another flute provides the necessary bass, which are then linked together by all 5 flutes playing the tutti passages.  While it can be lacking in instrument variety, at the same time, there is an interesting sonority by playing only these flutes.

The Soloists of Concert Spirituel perform these works on Baroque wooden flutes, which sound very warm at the lower registers.  When two or more of the flutes are playing in this range, the resonance is simply amazing.  Each flautist is an excellent soloist in their own right, and them playing together is rather striking.  Admittedly, French flute music may not be my cup of tea, but Boismortier is quick to adopt the Italian concerto form here.  All the movements are 3 movements, either fast-slow-fast or slow-fast-fast.  Strictly speaking they are chamber concertos where there isn't a solo part.  I'm by no means an expert on Baroque flute, so I can't offer more insight.  Overall, however, this is sweet music indeed, and if one keeps digging into Boismortier's works, certainly one shouldn't be too quick to dismiss everything.

1 comment:

Fan of Biber said...

If I were the King of France, this is the music I'd want to wake up to in the morning.

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