Thursday, September 16, 2010

Farnaby: Complete Fantasias (Glen Wilson)

Giles Farnaby (1562-1640) 是英國文藝復興晚期與巴洛克早期的英國鍵盤作曲家。和他爸爸一樣,他的職業其實是木工接合者,但他於1592年,從牛津大學取得了音樂的學士學位。當時的大學很嚴荷,除了要念七年以外,還必須熟讀拉丁文。另一位英國的鍵盤大師John Bull,在同一年在牛津取得了博士學位。

幾年後,Farnaby一家人不知為何,到了英國鄉下居住。Farnaby成為Nicholas Saunderson爵士的兒子的音樂老師,而Nicholas則同意將自己一部份的地租給Farnaby。Farnaby一家人之後又搬回了倫敦,但細節已不可考。史料記載他們一家有登記戶口,是在倫敦最貧窮的一區。在他過逝的時候,當地資料將他的行業歸類為「音樂家」,說不是他和他家人希望後世人們如此這樣記得他吧。

嚴格地說起來,Farnaby是一位業餘音樂家,所寫的曲子不多。他有五十幾首鍵盤作品,收錄在Fitzwilliam Virginal Book裡,是今天他的名氣的所在。Fitzwilliam Virginal Book這本手稿裡,收集了十七世紀初(1620左右)當時英國最重要的大鍵琴作品。

在十七世紀初,英國出了一批重要的大鍵琴作曲家,如William Byrd,Orlando Gibbons,Peter Phillips,John Bull等,在鍵盤音樂和技巧上,有新的突破和創新,是鍵盤音樂史上重要的一頁。很可惜,這個優秀的文化,一下子興起,卻也很快就衰落了。在1640年左右,因為英國清教徒派在議會中取得優勢,立了法將許多藝術活動立刻停止,使得整個國家好像頓時陷入沒有音樂的世界。Farnaby和上述這些大師們屬同輩,但其「業餘」的水準,常是評論的重點。許多學者客觀地說,他的曲子沒有上述這些作曲家的深度、挑戰、或是流暢性。再者,他對於複音音樂的掌握不夠熟練,無法譜出規模較大的曲子,而只能以小變奏曲見長。

這張CD收錄了Farnaby留傳至今的所有的鍵盤幻想曲,共有十一首,加上錄音的大鍵琴師Glen Wilson另外自行改編的三首曲子。這些早期的幻想曲,是從即興表演慢慢演化成的音樂形式,曲風自由,通常從簡單的主題,發展出多聲部,一層一層疊上去,最後形式一種複雜度高的音樂。雖說Fantasia並不是Farnaby應該善長的形式,但Farnaby是個天生的作曲家,對於音樂的動向非常有掌握。他的幻想曲裡,可以聽到他音樂中的生命力和特殊的魅力。

Glen Wilson是美國出生的音樂家,不過後來到荷蘭求學發展。他是布魯塞爾古樂音樂大賽歷史裡,唯一獲得大鍵琴,古鋼琴,和風琴頭獎(有幾年是第二名,因為第一名從缺)三冠王的參賽者,是一件了不起的殊榮。他是荷蘭鍵盤師Gustav Leonhardt(雷翁哈特)的學生(今天世界上可能有七成以上的大鍵琴師是師承他這一學派,包括在下本人:) ),對於樂句的表現上非常有音樂性,觸感上也有一定的細膩度。

Farnaby的曲子有別於巴哈與韓德爾的晚期德國鍵盤樂,史卡拉第的義利奏鳴曲,或是及法國的特別鍵盤音樂風格。這些文藝復興末期的英國鍵盤音樂,發出了短暫但強烈的光輝,是值得大家再去發掘的。對於像Byrd或是Bull這些量產的作曲家,有時無從開始聽起,這張Farnaby的曲子擁有一定的吸引力,提供了另一種管道認識那個時期的音樂。

不過,話說在前頭,這種音樂風格變化不大,就連我也無法花長時間聽,可能半小時為上限。剛聽的時候有種清新感,但是到了第五或第六軌,會因為相似度太高而開始無法辦識,變得混亂。而且,這些幻想曲沒有真正的旋律做開頭,因此在聆聽時沒有明確的主題可以掌握。但是話雖這樣說,但這些曲子有特色,有它迷人的地方,仍不容被世人遺忘。

Giles Farnaby (1562-1640) was an English composer of the late Renaissance / early Baroque era.  Like his father, Giles was a joiner, and this was the official profession he listed.  However, under circumstances not entirely known, he obtained a Bachelor's degree in music at Oxford University, an amazing feat, considering that a degree back in those days required seven years and a mastery in Latin.

Shortly after his degree, Farnaby and his family were documented to live in the rural village, where Farnaby was the musical instructor of Sir Nicholas Saunderson.  In return, Saunderson agreed to lease his property to Farnaby's family.  They later moved to London, but records indicated that they lived in an area of London labeled as "extreme poverty."  Farnaby died in 1640, where his records list him as "musitian," (no typo) a title he probably would have liked people to remember him by.

Strictly speaking, Farnaby was an amateur composer, and his fame pretty much rests in the 53 keyboard pieces he wrote, 52 of them which selected into the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book.  The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book represents an anthology of the most important, and in some respects the finest English virginal keyboard pieces written at the time.  Keyboard music and technique was improved and advanced significantly by the English composers at the turn of the 17th century, with important names like William Byrd, John Bull, Orlando Gibbons, Peter Phillips, and Thomas Tomkins.  Unfortunately, as fast as the English virginal school rose, it virtually vanished just as quickly.  Thanks to a law passed by the Puritan-dominated Commonwealth in 1641, the arts suffered dramatically, and the English virginal school was literally finished.   

Farnaby's music has been criticized as being "amateur," not showing the depth, virtuosity, or grasp of polyphony that the other greats have exhibited.  His less-extensive musical training must have been most of the reason, but his music is definitely not without merit.  In fact, his music has a vigor and a natural flow that makes him hold his place among the finest English composers.

This CD records all of Farnaby's keyboard fantasias, including 3 arrangements by the performer Glen Wilson.  The fantasia style evolved out of the improvisational style, and they continue to exhibit that free musical form.  Often these pieces start out with a very simple motif, which expand polyphonically  and contrapuntally into very complex pieces.  Although Farnaby supposedly did not have the best grasp of creating polyphonic pieces of larger scales, his keyboard fantasias nonetheless exhibit a charm, fluidity, and freshness unmatched by others.

Glen Wilson is an accomplished American early music musician, who has the distinctive honor of winning the top prize in the harpsichord, fortepiano, and organ category in the Bruges International Competition, the only person in history to do so.  He has clear understanding of each musical phrase, and he exhibits fine touch in his playing.  Wilson treats us to an enjoyable feast in the dazzling parts of the fantasia with outstanding playing, complemented by a rich and powerful sounding instrument.

Those interested in the early English virginal school who want to branch out past the larger names of William Byrd or John Bull would definitely find Farnaby's music and Glen Wilson's excellent playing to be a very nice addition to they early keyboard music library.











2 comments:

Mingus said...

Glen Wilson 的Naxos新作 Andrea Gabrieli 鍵盤樂最近常聽,很推薦。我非常喜歡早期鍵盤樂中較自由即興的類別,如ricercar、toccata、fantasia、capriccio等。

不過,真的要控制劑量,通常前三分之一,會帶你到天堂。過了三分之二後,突然發現,天堂就一個樣,怎麼沒什麼好逛。哈!

Deadlockcp said...

嗯,的確長度要控制:)

Andrea Gabrieli那一張我沒有,看來是未來要收錄的曲子之一。謝囉。

早期這一類的曲子,我手邊也不少,也是很喜歡那種即興類別,但也很愛那種民謠的變奏曲。當初第一個接觸的錄音為Ton Koopman所彈的Sweelinck鍵盤曲。不過後來,我買了更完整的Sweelinck鍵盤樂大全集(而且憑良心講,也彈得比Koopman好些)。Sweelinck或許是我最喜歡的早期鍵盤作曲家之一,有時間得好好介紹一下他。

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