Sunday, August 1, 2010

Vivaldi: Il cimento dell'armonia e dell'inventione (Op.8) Fabio Biondi/ Europa Galante

如果光只說韋瓦第的作品八協奏曲集「和聲與創意的嘗試」,那許多人可能一點概念都沒有。但如果再補上,裡面前四首小提琴協奏曲是「四季」小提琴協奏曲,那幾乎是無人不知,無人不曉。這些音樂是通俗到連不聽古典樂的人都一定聽過。

韋瓦第的生平和事蹟不大需要在這兒再多作介紹了。「四季」的旋律,我想應該也是許多人隨便都能哼得出來。這兒主要是談談錄音本身。不過,已經被錄到爛的音樂,倒底還有什麼值得談論的 ?

韋瓦第的「四季」,我也是在小學的時候就接觸到了。那時很正常地,是聽現代樂器版本的演奏。姑且不論樂器音色上和錄音場地效果上的不同,最大的差異還是整體的演奏風格。就連推廣巴洛克音樂不遺餘力的I Musici老前輩們,仍是採取一種相當浪漫的方式在表演。聲音飽滿但會過於濃厚,節奏從容但會時而慵懶,樂句處理很柔順但對比較少,顯得單調。簡單地說,一般印象中那是給老人聽的,或是適合做背影音樂,因為是舒服悅耳,但無精打采。

古樂運動的開始,開創了新的巴洛克音樂表演風格。他們巴洛克音樂注入了新的生命力,使得表演起來更有活力。今天古樂運動那麼盛行,在同個框架裡,演奏風格更更是細分出不同學派。和現代樂器比起來,雖然更精彩是一定的,但仍然有些詮釋偏保守,而有些音樂家,則是行徑非常大膽。

Fabio Biondi領軍的Europa Galante,便是這種完全顛覆傳統表現的一個樂團。他們的表演,是舊瓶裝新酒,完全像搖滾歌星在玩巴洛克音樂。如果抱著「這首就這樣,還能怎樣?」的心去聽,那等著受點震撼教育吧。這是極重口味的演出,下弓重,很誇張的斷句,還有強弱的明顯對比,時時刻刻充滿能量。Fabio Biondi也不保留地將所有的炫技都搬出,將一個截然不同的「四季」呈現給大家。Biondi和Europa Galante的表演哲學,是將17-18世紀的音樂,加入新的21世紀的刺激感,給今天的聽眾。這麼前衛的詮釋,能吸引大批支持者,也招來一堆撻伐聲。

我通常對有勇氣嘗試新的東西的音樂家是給予肯定的。Biondi手下的韋瓦第協奏曲,彷彿是變成了新的音樂。快樂章中他們的拉法,精彩指數肯定是破表了,但那麼極端的拉法,也幾乎超越了我能接受的標準。慢的樂章,我則覺得有時Biondi有點太快就帶過去了,沒有充份醞釀。我仔細想想,這個版本,相當適合當手邊的比較版本,但卻不太適合給入門的人聽。但是對這些曲子已經有接觸的人,Biondi的另類表演,則能給你一個不同的聽覺享受。

「四季」中,我其實最喜歡夏季和冬季。儘管youtube上已經有重覆了,不過還是自己上傳一下自己親手弄的。

Vivaldi Op.8 Concertos, titled "The Contest Between Harmony and Invention" is arguably Vivaldi's most well-known set of concertos, thanks to the first 4 concertos, also known simply as "The Four Seasons."  They are one of the most recorded Baroque pieces and even the average Joe can hum to many of its tunes.  With an overload of recordings out there, who and possibly offer another memorable one?

Fabio Biondi and Europa Galante certainly push the limit as to what can be accepted by even followers of period performances.  To me, they are the rock stars of period performers.  They seem to embrace the philosophy of playing the 17th and 18th century with a new-age 21st century twist, musically justified I would like to believe.   Obviously, their playing style has attracted a great following, but at the same time, it has also garnered much criticism.  Some are ecstatic at how much new life they breathe into these ancient works, while many call them a downright bastardization of the music.  

Biondi and Europa Galante play every note with such forcefully, complete with extreme articulation, and the music itself is performed at very fast tempi.  Biondi does not hesitate to show off all the skills on the violin, bedazzling us in a complete display of great virtuosity.  The only thing I sometimes do wonder is, with all the impressive showmanship, is he really enjoying some of the more intimate passages of the music?  It seems that he could have enjoyed and held on to some moments more instead of having it sound like an ornamented etude.     

Bottom line is, this is a very very entertaining rendition of Vivaldi's famous works, not close to the average ones you would expect.  I would say that it is almost a must-have companion for those who are curious as to how far a period performance can really go.  However, I'm not sure if this would be your first endeavor into Vivaldi's Four Seasons.  Surprisingly, I would actually tend to favor someone like Simon Standage or Monica Huggett to start off (but not to end with).  I suppose in that respect, that has to be my only reservation of Biondi and the Europa Galante.   

With the existing youtube versions out there, I almost am feeling inclined not to upload my own version, but I'm still going to do it anyways.




3 comments:

Sherman said...

原來是四季阿!

the four seasons!!

Deadlockcp said...

哈哈,雪曼兄~
終於寫了一篇比較大眾的曲子,是你一定聽過的 :)

不然大部份我介紹的曲子和作曲家,還算是真的很冷門 ~~~

John Hendron said...

This is, in fact, the best recording out there; when I say "Best," of course, how does one measure the "best?"

I'm saying if I had to throw-away all my other op 8 recordings, I'd ditch all the others. I really like Dantone's op 8 (I only own the second half, not the first). I have IGA's one with the bullet on the cover. And I own Biondi's earlier 4 seasons recording too...

Yes, there is virtuosity here. Where I give Biondi kudos in his own authenticity (there are two, one, the authenticity of the composer, second, authenticity to the performer; Kivy argues the first is less important since we can't really know Vivaldi's thoughts).

Since we can't actually go back in time to experience Vivaldi's soundworld, every performer who is interested in it is seeking out experiments to get there. While some play the Four Seasons like gentrified music for high tea, here we roll the sleeves up and approach the music from a quite different (if not athletic) aesthetic.

However close he gets, we won't know. But it's tasty music all the same.

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