Sunday, March 14, 2010

Telemann: Water Music and Hamburg Admiralty Music (Barockorchester Bremen + Alsfelder Vokalensemble / Wolfgang Helbich)

1723,是漢堡(Hamburg)成立海軍部的一百週年。當初漢堡同幾個歐洲重要港口城市,因為貿易而興盛。漢堡是帝國自 由城市,除了有錢的中產階級,還有部份的自治權。為了保護自己商船的安全,免於海盜的攻擊,持續海上貿易的進行,漢堡城1623正式成立海軍部。一年週年 慶,整個漢保市舉辦了隆重的慶典,不僅在港口的船開砲慶祝,更是擺了一整晚的宴席,一直到天亮。


當時漢堡市裡地位最 重要的音樂家泰雷曼,委託為這活動寫音樂。 從文獻記載,知道他當初所寫的曲子共有兩首:(1)Water Music組曲,又稱Hamburg Ebb and Flow(漢堡之潮起潮落)和(2)漢堡海軍部音樂的清唱劇。第一首的Water Music,跟韓德爾所寫的「水上音樂」不同在它當初是在陸地上表演的,而不是像韓德爾的樂團,是在大型的遊艇上演奏。因此,要翻成「水上」二字是不通 的。二者,泰雷曼的這個「漢堡之潮起潮落」組曲,除了序曲外,剩下的舞曲樂章,都是有標題性的,除了有豐富的想像力,還是針對漢堡港。雖然今天韓德爾的水 上音樂名氣遠大過泰雷曼的這一首,但我個人卻覺得泰雷曼寫的這一首組曲更是來的生動而有創意。

第一樂章為法國序曲, 慢的部份描繪平靜的海水,而快的地方則是波濤洶湧的浪花。接著,二,Sarabande - 沉睡的女海神Thetis。三,Bourree - 睡醒的Thetis。四,Loure - 戀愛中海神Neptune。五,Gavotte - 嬉戲中的Naiades。六,Harlequinade - 愛搞怪的Triton(Neptune神之子)。七,兇暴的風神Aeolus。八,Menuet - 和善的西風神Zephyr。九,Gigue - 退潮漲潮。十,Canarie - 快樂的水手。從這兒都可看出,Telemann為這場合所寫的曲子的用心程度。

清 唱劇的部份,則多為歌頌漢堡城市的多方優點,並再祝福漢堡有美好的發展及未來。歌唱的人物都是景物和美德的象徵,像是Hammonia代表漢堡 市,Albis代表Elbe(易北河),Neptunis代表北海,Mercurius神形容漢堡商業貿易上的發達,Themis神代表漢堡的自治法律, 還有戰神Mars隨時準備悍衛漢堡市民的自由。整首清唱劇的合唱曲不多,只有四首,所以其餘的都是常見到的宣敍調(Recitative)和詠嘆調 (Aria)。

 個人對聲樂一向非常外行,所以一來聽得不多,二來收集不多,三來不大懂得欣賞。最近念到,以前聲樂 的唱法跟後期浪漫派的唱法不大一樣。巴洛克時的人聲好像講求乾淨,純潔的聲音,唱法靈活,所以寧可犧牲掉一些聲音上的力量。再者,我也不喜歡宣敘調,所以 只能好好欣賞詠嘆調和合唱的部份。

這張雙CD是由Bremen Baroque Orchestra所表演的。之前沒聽過這個樂團,但CPO所找來的音樂家素質通常都不錯。再來,這個錄音是1995現場的,不知是不是錄音的關 係,Bremen樂團的聲音沒那麼清晰。不過,Bremen的表演,輕盈,有活力,俱有音樂性。Water Music組曲,因為近來錄的樂團相當多,特別又有早期科隆古樂團的經典版本,Bremen的現場錄音,就算稱不上是最精彩的,但水準仍很高。

而在清唱劇的部份,Bremen樂團跟聲樂家的比重感覺想當好。因為上述所說,對聲樂家要求聲音上的乾淨,力度比較沒那麼強。不過Bremen的編制大小恰好,配襯角色非常合適,不會蓋過聲樂家,而是給予適當的輔助。

事 實上,Telemann的音樂,從2000年左右正式開始認真接觸之後,便和韓德爾一樣,非常喜歡。其實晚期德國派的巴洛克音樂,不但吸收了法國和義大利 的精華,又冠上了自己的風格,最後的結果是好接觸又耐聽的音樂。有機會會再多介紹Telemann和其他同時期的德國作曲家。這次兒附上完整的 Telemann Water Music 和清唱劇的兩首Aria。\

 
If you think Handel was the only one to write "Water Music," you'd better think again.  In fact, Telemann was to write some Water Music of his own.  In 1723, Hamburg was to celebrate the 100th year anniversary of the founding of the admiralty.  The admiralty was created to protect its citizens' merchants ship from pirates and provide ransom for sailors captured by pirates. Telemann, who basically held all the major music positions in Hamburg at the time, was commissioned to write music for this event.  He would produce two works, the first being the "Water Music Suite," also known as "Hamburg Ebb and Flow" and the second the "Hamburg Admiralty Music 1723," a secular oratorio, after serenade text written by a Hamburg professor Michael Richey.


The Water Music suite consists of a single orchestral suite, opened by a French Overture and nine very colorful dances.  I would actually go as far as to say that the dance pieces have more character than Handel's.  In fact, each subsequent dance has its own title, with gods and local references  "Thetis awakens," "love-struck Neptune," "violent Aeolus," just to name a few.  Orchestral crescendos and decrescendos of the "ebb and flow" movement are also spot on in portraying Hamburg's tidal waters.  Many critics regard this suite as one of Telemann's finest orchestral suite.  For me, certainly the most memorable and imaginative.

Text to the Admiralty Music generally is of praise and blessing of Hamburg, its people, and of course, the admiralty.  The singing characters are personifications of either the city, the Elbe river, North Sea, or other more abstract ideas like liberty and law.  The oratorio follows the general format of various recitatives and arias mixed with occasional choruses.  

The recording by the Bremen Baroque Orchestra, turned out to be a live recording.  I have not heard of the Bremen Baroque Orchestra before this CD, but they turn in a good solid recording.  The Water Music suite has been recorded quite a bit, so there is some competition here.  The classic recording made by Musica Antiqua Koln will always be a measuring stick, not to mention many others out there.  I have also had the pleasure of hearing this music performed live by San Francisco's Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra.  Bremen's interpretation doesn't push the envelope, but it's a vivacious reading with good musicality.

As to the vocal music, I am actually very unfamiliar with Baroque vocal music.  One of the barriers being the language itself, the other being unsure where and how to critique.










2 comments:

John hendron said...

if it doesn't sound good with singing, then it's no bother worrying about what the words mean. -:-)

Deadlockcp said...

very true indeed... Although I was initially interested on how the Baroque vocal singing style is different. I sort of have a better idea. Nonetheless, I should start broadening my horizons a bit.

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