Monday, February 28, 2011

Rameau: Pieces de Clavecin en Concerts (Rousset/Terakado/Uemura)

Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764) (拉摩),是法國巴洛克晚期最偉大的作曲家和音樂理論家。他於1722年出版的「和聲學」(Traité de l'harmonie)以及陸續出版的十幾本有關音樂理論的著作,是革命性的音樂理論,成為西方音樂和聲學的基礎,甚至是今天音樂系學生也必須學的東西。他的和聲理論,結合了美學,數學,及哲學上嚴謹的思考,所以在過程中也結識了像是哲學家盧梭(Jean-Jacques Rousseau), 伏爾泰(Voltaire),以及數學物理學家d'Alembert的人物。在他過逝之後,他的音樂一度被世人遺忘,但他的音樂理論,則長期以來在西方國家被公認是不二的權威,也是他不滅聲望的來源。



拉摩雖然因為他的和聲學轟動一時,從一個沒沒無聞的小風琴師,赫然躍升為歐洲最有名的音樂理論家,他的志仍在創作。他極力想打破「音樂理論家無法成為好的作曲家」這種迷思,無論如何都要向大家證明他作曲上的能力。拉摩年輕時就已有出版過一些大鍵琴作品,但在法國,作曲家的名聲和肯定來自樂劇,包括盧利(Lully)開創的特有抒情悲劇(Tragédie en musique)和芭蕾歌劇(Opéra-ballet)。如同布拉姆斯四十歲才寫出他第一號交響曲,拉摩直到五十歲才開始他的歌劇創作生涯。他的第一部歌劇Hippolyte et Aricie在巴黎音樂圈立刻投下了一顆震憾彈。他的創作手法太前衛,和聲複雜,遭到的評價也太兩極。一邊立刻出現了擁護者,譽為法國音樂的新代表,但另一邊也跑出了一群攻擊者,認為他破壞了盧利所建立的優良傳統。甚至有一位暱名樂評更是寫說,整部歌劇亂七八糟,奇形怪狀(baroque),一點條理也沒有。「巴洛克」一詞,本義是不規則,沒有美感的。被用「巴洛克」形容一首作品,當時來講,並不是一件值得驕傲的事。但,「巴洛克」一詞用在音樂上的典故,確實是從拉摩的音樂開始的

如果拉摩的戲劇樂作品是法國巴洛克音樂最重要的代表,那他在器樂作品上同樣有非常大的貢獻。他和庫普蘭(Couperin)的大鍵琴音樂,更是法國鍵盤音樂發展的最高峰。雖然Couperin比拉摩大上二十歲左右,但拉摩的第一本大鍵琴作品集(1706),卻比Couperin早出版(1713)。在之前這篇文章裡有提到,拉摩和Couperin跳脫了早期鍵盤作曲家對於組曲的舊思維,不拘泥於傳統的舞曲形式,利用有創意標題,成功地為法國鍵盤音樂寫下了新的一頁。

這張CD上收錄的音樂,則是拉摩晚年,於1741所出版的唯一室內樂。這些合奏曲(pièces en concerts)是由晚輩Mondonville所開始的室內樂形式(詳見這兒之前的文章),有別於義大利的三重奏鳴曲(trio sonata),大鍵琴不再只是伴奏的角色,而晉升成為主角的地位,有些曲目當中,小提琴和古中提琴,反而是伴奏的。因為義大利的奏鳴曲裡,大鍵琴的數字低音是要即興的,業餘的音樂家常常沒這種能力。Pièces en concerts,則是將大鍵琴要彈奏的譜,明確地寫下來,音樂家只要照著彈即可。這種創作手法,巴哈在他的小提琴奏鳴曲裡也已出現過,不過拉摩的這些曲子,可以說正是鋼琴三重奏的前身。

這些Pieces de Clavecin en Concerts,共有五部Concert,每一部裡各有三或四首曲子。如同Couperin和他的鍵盤組曲,這些曲子都有法文標題,有些淺顯易懂,但有些至今仍是個謎。再加上本人不會法文,常常看著這些標題就頭大。總之,大致上有分舞曲類(Tambourins,Menuet),地區名(Le Vézinet),還有人名(Forqueray(作曲家),Marais(作曲家),Rameau(作曲家 - 有自戀傾向嗎?),La Poplinière(他的顧主,不忘感謝大金主))。

拉摩是鍵盤師起家的,所以對於大鍵琴也情有獨鍾。因此,這些Pieces de Clavecin en Concerts雖然明文規定是由大鍵琴,小提琴(或長笛),還有古中提琴所演奏的,拉摩也特別強調如果「適當」地改編,也可以變成大鍵琴獨奏曲。他甚至親手將其中的四個樂章改編成大鍵琴。只是,學者發現拉摩改編的過程中,其實費盡了相當的苦功,因此「可完全給大鍵琴表演」一說,是被受質疑的。有小提琴和古中提琴合奏的原始版本,我也覺得更有韻味。

拉摩的Pieces de Clavecin en Concerts,是道地的法國曲風,採用大量裝飾音,並用華麗典雅的意境,將炫技的橋段給包裝起來。正因為大鍵琴的部份都是寫好的,許多曲子對演奏者的挑戰是相當高的。而拉摩熟悉和聲學的概念,了解不同和絃製造出來的情緒和效果,也充份地運用大鍵琴高低音不同的音色,譜出了一個色彩濃厚的音樂響宴,堪稱法國巴洛克室內樂中的極品。

CD上的音樂家,由法國知名大鍵琴家Christophe Rousset,與日本籍的兩位古樂音樂家Ryo Terakado和Kaori Uemura組成的搭檔Tokyo Baroque Trio。Rousset的漂亮履歷就不需要再多作介紹,而Terakado和Uemura都留學過歐洲,也都和最一流的古樂音樂家合作過,自然也都是非常厲害的角色。整體而言,錄音效果相當不錯,而且樂器比重剛好,大鍵琴的聲音很結實,沒有被提琴們蓋過去。Terakado的小提琴音色也滑順清亮,令人舒服。

不過,這麼完美的組合,三人的表演方式倒比預期的還要收斂些,特別是一向較為浮誇的Rousset,彈奏方式略顯保守。他們的速度上彈性比較小,平鋪直敘些,Terakado在樂句上的處理也單調些。對我來說,法國音樂更為細膩,所以需要多一點點的修飾,方能將那種氣息更佳地散播出來。老實說,當我對法國巴洛克音樂尚未那麼深入接觸之前,這張錄音那時並沒有深得我心。但就如好酒越沉越香,這些曲子後來慢慢地,越聽越入味,要說是acquired taste也無妨,因為在我的經驗裡,法國巴洛克音樂就是如此。

最後,這張CD上也有收錄Rameau改編成獨奏大鍵琴版的那四首曲子。這是不錯的附加價值,因為大部份的錄音只會放合奏版本。但比較詭異的是,它們穿插的音軌順序令人不解,如原本第四Concert的L'indiscrete,居然被放到第五Concert裡面。

如對拉摩的聲樂作品無太大興趣,但對純大鍵琴作品又不見得喜歡,那這些Pieces de Clavecin en Concerts,是切入拉摩最自然的路踁了。這張錄音,也算是一個安全的選擇~~

Jean-Philippe Rameau is perhaps one of the greatest French musicians to ever have lived.  Of course, any bold claim like this is bound to have people strongly agree or disagree.  Believe what you like, but the quality of his works and his principles and theories on music harmony have literally been a cornerstone of Western music as we know it today.

While Rameau's reputation as a composer lies mainly in the theatrical works, ashamedly I have shunned myself from that genre for the most part.  His remaining instrumental works, though few, have had a great impact.  On this recording are the so-called Pieces de Clavecin en Concerts, the only chamber music Rameau has ever written.  These pieces were written in the latter years of Rameau's career, when he was in semi-retirement, close to his sixties.   

The "pieces en concert" genre found success in the French public, during mid-18th century.  This was most likely popularized by Mondonville's op.3 works.  In short, instead of the harpsichord playing the figured bass and taking on the role of continuo, the harpsichord now took on a major role, and the other instruments (violin, gamba, or even voice) provided the supporting, if not equal roles.  The harpsichord parts were completely realized, so musicians of lesser capacity did not need to worry about improvising.  A fully written out harpsichord part wasn't exactly new, as J.S. Bach did so for his violin sonatas BWV 1014 - 1019 (those that actually have accompaniment).  However, it can be argued that Rameau's arrangement for violin, gamba, and harpsichord is the direct predecessor of the modern piano trio.  

Rameau wrote 5 sets of "Concert," each three or four "pieces".  As with French Baroque music, their titles are enigmatic and hard to pronounce for me.  The recognizable ones are the dance forms (Menuet, Tambourin) and musicians (Forqueray, Marais, Rameau (a bit of narcissism here)).  Others, I'm not going to try.  Their styles are unmistakably French, richly ornamented, combining virtuosity with a touch of elegance.  The harpsichord parts aren't easy, but unlike Italian all-out flashiness, they are packaged quite cleverly.  Add to the fact that Rameau really understood harmony and what it could bring to the table, his pieces are thus sonorously richer than most of his contemporaries.  

Rameau started out as a keyboardist, and so he also made an effort to claim that these pieces could be played entirely on the harpsichord "after some effort of arrangement."  To show this, he made arrangements of four of the pieces.  Further analysis revealed that the arrangements are actually a quite thoughtful process, so Rameau's claim isn't exactly that convincing.  In fact, the pieces work much nicer as an ensemble.     

The musicians feature all-star French harpsichordist Christophe Rousset and Japanese musicians Ryo Terakado and Kaori Uemura, both who have studied in Europe and collaborated with many leading early musicians.  This should be a match made in heaven, but in actuality, the playing is more reserved than I expected.  In particular, Rousset seems to be holding back a bit more than I am familiar with.  Terakado's playing is also plainer and more straightforward.  The overall performance isn't bad by any means.  In fact, it is a very solid recording:  Rousset's harpsichord is nicely balanced, and Terakado's violin tone is smooth and rich.  The only thing I hoped for was a little more excitement, a little gesture of playfulness, and some more variety.  A recent companion recording I bought by Monica Huggett, Mitzi Meyerson, and Sarah Cunningham does capture the spirit in a way I prefer.    

I always stress that French Baroque music for me has always been an acquired taste, and such music really requires an extra oomph to bring out some of the intricacies.  I purchased this disc when my appreciation of French Baroque music was light, and so the music did not make an immediate impact on me.  Returning to it over and over again though, the music eventually carried through.  If Rameau's theatrical works are too grand (and long), and his solo harpsichord music isn't exactly your cup of tea, then I'd strongly recommend trying out the Pieces de Clavecin en Concerts.  Rousset et al's performance probably won't dazzle you, but it will provide a good entry point to the French master.





4 comments:

John Hendron said...

Terakado's instrument is not typical in sound to my ears; his violin's sound is caramel brown, which matches well with the subdued role in the trio with Uemura. This is one of the first Rameau recordings for me, too, and nothing is richer than tracks like Le Livri (the trio version), or more toe-tapping than La Forqueray.

There is debate whether or not the pieces with names name the composers - or their wives... or that the feminine pronoun refers to the piece, and the label simply denoting a favorite of that person.

I've resisted re-buying this music, probably because I've been so pleased with Rousset's other Rameau - his collection of the Pièces de clavecin en suites on L'Oiseau-lyre.

Owning Rousset's collection of the François Couperin suites, this collection is far more accessible, and Rameau, as you state, the better composer.

Deadlockcp said...

I have Rousset's complete Couperin keyboard set, and going over the entire set is a feat yet to be accomplished.

I don't have Rousset's Rameau keyboard recordings, a pity. I have another good recording that is equally fiery in interpretation, which I hope to get to next time I come back to Rameau.

For what we are familiar with in Rousset, the playing is really conservative. I think it also owes to the fact that in ensemble playing, you'll have to come to a general agreement, and I think Terakado and Uemura just weren't going to take bigger cuts.

Mingus said...

應該是歐洲巴洛克有些共通的大作,也是喜歡古樂的我輩有些曲目上的喜好共識,我本來也存有Rameau 這套曲子的草稿。

我雖然沒有這張唱片,但是 Rousset 的早期 Harmonia Mundi 風格的確稍微保守嚴謹,與他後面在Decca 與法國廠如 Naive/Ambrosie 的自由奔放有挺大的差異。

你介紹 Biber 那篇文,讓我感觸不少,待他日再另行文回溯自己欣賞 Biber 藝術的軌跡。Schmelzer 與Biber 之間的曲風與形式關聯,也是值得持續探討的一條路徑。

最近有發現一些特別有感覺的新作曲家或是作品嗎?

Deadlockcp said...

正是~~~ 不過,Rousset在HM上錄的Couperin那一套我還算是相當滿意。

因為這週末要和這兒一群愛樂的長輩們給一個大鍵琴講座,所以主要在複習一些大鍵琴作品。前一陣子入手Alan Curtis的巴哈英國和法國組曲,彈得相當好,沒想到居然是30年前的錄音。也剛好趁這個時候,又深入去聽早期義大利的鍵盤音樂。

不然,最近沒有那種能讓我心頭為之一震的音樂。有也只會是一張cd上的一兩軌而已。沒辦法像是Biber或是Buxtehude的作曲品質高,一張CD可以聽到很多動聽的音樂。

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