Friday, December 31, 2010

Michel Corrette: Les Six Symphonies de Noel (Noël) (La Fantasia / Rien Voskuilen)

聖誕節的古典樂,大家一定提到柴可夫斯基的「胡桃鉗」,不然就是韓德爾的「彌賽亞」。聽古樂的,或許會再提到Corelli開始,及後來義大利作曲家跟進的「聖誕協奏曲」(裡頭算「比較」有名的有Torelli和Locatelli)。


事實上,Noël一字,原來是「聖誕」的意思,但之後Noël又指和聖誕有關,但非宗教性質的詩或韻文。這些文字,再配上當時有名的旋律,就形成了最早的聖誕頌歌。十六世紀開始,這些Noël曲在法國非常受歡迎,甚至有編好幾本書,將一首首收集起來。

到了巴洛克時期,許多法國的風琴師和作曲家,會根據當時有名的Noël,寫成風琴變奏曲,有些甚至是技巧高超的。接著,當然就有人將這些世俗的音樂改編為器樂曲。這篇要介紹的Michel Corrette (1707 - 1795),就是法國Noël作曲家的其中一位。

Michel Corrette出身於法國的Rouen,父親Gaspard是風琴師,也是他音樂的啟蒙老師。後來Corrette又和當地另一位鍵盤家François d’Agincour(t)學習。經由d’Agincour的大力幫忙,Corrette取得到了巴黎St. Madeleine教堂風琴師的職位。未來的幾十年裡,他又陸續擔任了不同地方的風琴師,顧主均是巴黎上流社會中有頭有臉的人。也因為這樣,他也被冠上許多頭銜,如1734年的Grand maître des Chevaliers du Pivois和1750年的Chevalier de l’Ordre de Christ,當時絕對是受人尊敬的。

但Corrette的聲望,並不是來自他擔任風琴師,而是他身為作曲家和老師所出版的東西。他在1738和1784年之間,相當驚人的,出版了十五本不同樂器的教學書,從小提琴,大提琴,大鍵琴,長笛,直笛,到聲樂都有,專門針對業餘的音樂家。 這些書,以今天客觀角度而言,不能算是真正的權威。但是,以Corrette對於那麼多樂器的精通和瞭解,確實記載了當時各樂器的表演要領,被今天的學者視為十八世紀演奏風格重要的文獻。甚至,Corrette還在小提琴教書冊裡,還清楚地區分了所謂的「法式」還有「義式」小提琴演奏法,更讓今天古樂音樂家要區別各國曲風時,有重要的參考資料。

Corrette也是一位量產的作曲家,各種曲式的音樂均有寫,如清唱劇,協奏曲,經文曲,鍵盤組曲等。可惜,他自己原創的曲子,反而被許多人批評為平淡無奇,沒啥特色。但,他另外很大的一個創作區塊,是改編當時流行的曲調,譜成不同的協奏曲和交響曲,其中代表作,有25首Comic Concerto。而對於當時受歡迎的Noël聖誕曲,Corrette則寫了五首協奏曲和六首交響曲。對於音樂學家,Corrette音樂反而成為研究當時在民間流傳的音樂的重要寶典之一,如同今天透過文藝復興時期許多變奏曲一般,可以了解那時的民謠一般。

這張CD錄的,便是那六首聖誕歌交響曲。每首交響曲的每一樂章,都是改編一首當時流行的聖誕曲。而每首交響曲的樂章數都不相等,少則三樂章,多則八樂章。這些交響曲,編制上似乎是給兩支小提琴,一把中提琴,以及數字低音。倒底,有名的歌曲,有什麼特點呢?其實,除了旋律要簡單之外,二來,曲式也要容易,通常是同樣的主題不斷重複。這些交響曲裡的每個樂章,也是將聖誕歌的簡短旋律,用主題與變奏的手法改編的。Corrette的寫作風格仍相當傳統,停留在巴洛克時期。但是,Corrette還有採用世界各地方的聖誕歌曲,有法國各地區,到波蘭,瑞士,甚至美州大陸都有,看得出來他在選擇題材上創新的一面。

這些音樂的收集和改編,其實相當有趣。許多旋律,常常覺得在今天聽過眾多的聖誕頌歌裡出現過,似曾相識。因為是改編現有的音樂,所以Corrette在起跑點就已經佔了優勢,主題和旋律本身就是受歡迎且入耳的。演奏方面,Rien Voskuilen領軍的La Fantasia,在數字低音的部份,又加入了一支低音大提琴,讓這些Sinfonia表演起來更有份量。La Fantasia的表演順暢,慢樂章時祥和而不沉悶,快樂章裡則營造出喜慶感而不是嘉年華會的狂歡。在過聖誕和新年的佳節裡,Corrette的Symphhonies de Noël算是在大眾古典之餘,提供了稍稍不同的過節古典音樂~~~

During the holiday season, I thought Michel Corrette's Les Six Symphonies de Noël would be of some interest to the early music listener.  First off, French composer Corrette (1707 - 1795) was born in Rouen to an organist father, who also gave Corrette his first music lessons.  Corrette would later study with Rouen musician François d’Agincour(t), and with his help, Corrette would obtain the position of the organist of the St. Madeleine church in Paris.  In the following decades, Corrette would serve as organist to various churches, some belonging to powerful members of the Parisian society.  Because of this,  he was dubbed, in 1734, Grand Maître of the Knights of Pivois, and in 1750, Knight of the Ordre du Christ.  These titles must have carried some considerable weight.

Michel Corrette's reputation as a composer and teacher far eclipsed his long career as an organist.  Between 1738 and 1784, he published and enormous 15 methods on how to play various instruments.  These include the violin, pardessus de viol, cello, harpsichord, guitar, mandolin, flute, bassoon, viola, harp, bass viol, hurdy-gurdy and recorder, and the human voice.  Intended for amateur musicians, the methods not only pinpoint the specific characters and peculiarities of each instrument, Corrette was also well-informed in the different nationalistic styles of playing.  For example, he goes into great lengths on differentiating the French school and Italian school of violin playing.  Although these methods cannot be considered definitive authorities by any of today's standards, it is of great value for early musicians who wish to play in 18th century performance practices.

Corrette was a prolific composer, writing music for many genre, including cantatas, motets, concertos, keyboard suites, sonatas, etc...   Unfortunately, the majority of his original compositions has been criticized as "conventional and uninspiring."  Corrette's fame, however, lies on his numerous transcriptions and arrangements of the popular songs and tunes of his day.  His 25 Comic Concertos are a very good example of this, and he has often since been labeled as a "light music" composer. 

In the 17th and 18th century, many French organists wrote music based on the popular Noëls, or Christmas carols, usually in the form of variations.  The most noted examples are those written by Louis-Claude Daquin, the Nouveau livre de noëls. It was only time that French composers would write instrumental arrangements of the Noëls, such as those by Delalande, Gossec, and Charpentier.  Corrette's six symphonies thus builds on the tradition of adapting well-known Noëls.     

The music on this recording, I assume, are all famous European Christmas carols of its time.  Some are passed down from the medieval times, such as the hymn Puer nobis nascitur, whose theme has been borrowed by many extensively, including J.S. Bach.  Other Noëls are probably less recognizable, but they all give off the Christmas holiday vibe and spirit that is unmistakable in the English-speaking countries.  By choosing popular Noël tunes, Corrette has a convenient advantage in  thematic material, which is already catchy to the ear to start with.  Corrette's instrumental arrangements seem to be set for two violins, a viola, and bass continuo.  They are rather simple in form, mostly along the lines of theme and variations.  Deeply rooted in the old-school Baroque style composition, Corrette shows his adventurous side in choosing his material, whose origins can be Polish (Noël polonais), Swiss (Noël suisse), or even American (Noël américain).  The six symphonies comprise of 34 Noëls, with the shortest symphony only containing 3 movements, to the longest one with 8.

Rien Voskuilen directs La Fantasia from the organ, the choice of instrument fitting for music of this program.  Rien comments that a double-bass is added to the continuo to provide a symphonic quality to the music.  Their overall playing is smooth and adequate.  The slow Noëls are played with grace and serenity yet do not evoke boredom.  The fast Noëls are festive yet are not hysteric.  After all, the Noëls, though sacred in material, are really secular by nature, a time of merry-making and celebrations.  I'm not a religious person by a long shot, but this music of Michel Corrette has served as a nice and interesting companion for this year's holiday season.  Surely, a quiet path away from the Nutcracker or the Messiah.








7 comments:

Mingus said...

這樣的聖誕樂太好了,完全是我的菜!不要殤哀,也不要過high。

最近想要來寫關於早期巴洛克時期以降 trio sonata 、或兩種高音樂器加 continuo 的一些曲式變化。

不知這張是全新錄音嗎?還是Brilliant 跟其他廠買來的版權?若是全新的,一定要來訂一張。

Deadlockcp said...

我在網上看的時候,原本以為是全新的錄音,因為都沒之前的資料。小無奈的是,買回來,發現是1996年的一張錄音重發行。但那家Amsterdam Classics似乎已經不存在了,而且當時好像有沒怎麼被受到重視。同是荷蘭的Brilliant Classics,可能看到這個有趣的曲目,就買下版權了吧~~~

GGs Adventure said...

我幾個月前也買了古典樂的聖誕歌曲.

最近太歡樂了! 入手CD又多,想寫的太多了,卻都沒時間寫(絕對不是玩city ville的關係 XD)

Deadlockcp said...

:) 了解你的心情。最近又進了一批CD,算是給自己的禮物。接下來可能要收斂一陣子(吧)。

Clara Schumann 在 CPO 上那一套妳推薦嗎?這是我很久以前也有注意過的。

講到女性作曲家,中古世紀有個Hildegard von Bingen,最近出了一部有關她的德文電影。抓下,還未看。法國巴洛克時期也有Elizabeth de la Guerre,是有空會去介紹的。

GGs Adventure said...

what is CPO?

speaking of movie (abt music), we watched Taking Sides the other day and thus, bought another CD-set.... :P

Deadlockcp said...

CPO is record company

GGs Adventure said...

我對唱片公司縮寫不了解

我知道克拉拉舒曼有套鋼琴作品全集,封面花花的,如果那套是你指的CPO的話.

如果你是想要收集(像你收藏家的個性),那嚜買全集是最好不過了.
我聽下來比較喜歡她的協奏曲和其他小品如練習曲.那篇一直沒寫完的曲目裡我比較喜歡的其實是芬妮孟德爾頌的trio. 可是呢,我也不確定"耐聽"性質如何?!尤其是練習曲等小品,讓我一直聯想到她老公舒曼.我其實不是特別喜歡把兩個作曲家比喻在一起,總覺得這樣一來隱約貶了其中一個. 例如說布拉姆斯的一號交響曲常被說成貝多芬十號,我總覺得那樣講法貶損之意多過推崇.之所以貶損,是因為那樣子讓我想到copy cat這個詞...

可能因為那樣,我一直沒辦法把那篇寫完.

btw, Happy New Year!

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