Friday, June 10, 2011

Aufschnaiter: Serenades (from "Concors discordia" Op.2) (L'Orfeo Barockorchester / Michi Gaigg)

Benedikt Anton Aufschnaiter (1665-1742) 是巴洛克中期的奧地利作曲家,更是Georg Muffat過逝後在Passau宮廷音樂指揮(Kapellmeister)的接班人。他出生於奧地利西邊Tyrol郡的Kitzbühel,但似乎在維也納待了許多年。Aufschnaiter當時結識未來的顧主,Passau的采邑大主教(prince archbishop) Johann Philipp von Lamberg時,已經年近四十了。Passau采邑大主教後來換了人,Aufschnaiter仍繼續當他的音樂指揮直到他自己去逝為止。

Aufschnaiter在Passau之前的事蹟已經不可考。他在Passau時曾向主教抱怨宮廷音樂家素質不夠高,並回想起在維也納的時候,身邊隨時有十六到十八位完美的音樂家。他早期的作品,都是獻給維也納重要的貴族。這張作品二的錄音,以及失傳的作品三,分別獻給神聖羅馬帝國的皇帝 Joseph一世和Leopold一世。

這套作品二多半是參考了前輩Muffat的樂團作品,和他一樣融合了義大利大協奏曲和法國組曲的元素,為德奧音樂開創了一條新的方向。Aufschnaiter作品二的標題"Concors discordia",直接翻譯就是「和諧的不和諧」,充滿著矛盾。不知道Aufschnaiter是在指將義法二不同音樂風格的結合在一塊,還是另有所指,也不得而知。

這六首Serenades,曲式為法國組曲,開頭皆有一個序曲般的樂章,通常也是整首最長的樂章,佔全長幾乎一半左右。第五首Serenade縮短版的Entree,少了一般法國序曲快的部份,而第一首Serenade的開頭利用Ciaconna代替, 但其徐緩的步調,倒也無不妥。Serenade裡剩下的樂章,就如同一般法國組曲,為一系列的舞曲,每首Serenade的安排都不同,以免顯得太單調。義大利風格的影響,則在器樂編制上,基本上像是大協奏曲一樣。許多地方,就有專門給獨奏樂器群的片段。

Michi Gaigg領軍的L'Orfeo Barockorchester是於1996年成立的奧地利古樂團,專門錄十七與十八世紀較不為人知的奧地利和南德作曲家的音樂。Aufschnaiter作品二的Serenades的原譜上是只寫給絃樂團的,但前輩Muffat早期的作品上有寫道,如果有程度好的木管音樂家,倒可以編入樂團裡,為音樂增添一些音色。因此,L'Orfeo Barockorchester適時地安排了直笛,雙簧管,以及低音管,取代雙小提琴還有大提琴作為獨奏樂器群。

這張似乎是L'Orfeo Barockorchester最早的錄音之一,表演方式跟之後他們錄Rococo/早期古典樂派時那種大起大落,強勁的手法有點不同。這些法國組曲,L'Orfeo選擇表現音樂中的貴氣,特別是小步舞曲(Menuet),感覺相當平順。不過,節奏較快的舞曲,如布雷舞曲(Bourree),L'Orfeo也會適時地加強火力,弓下重一點,不然配上打擊樂器,使氣氛頓時熱鬧起來。還有,L'Orfeo的編制不大,但聲音不會感到單薄,製造出的音色和比重剛好是我喜歡的。

因為Muffat的1682所寫的那一套Armonico Tributo太具有指標性了,所以Aufschnaiter的這些Serenades讓我很容易就聯想到Muffat的曲子。就連第五首Serenade結尾的Passgaglia,都有Muffat那首有名的Passagaglia的影子。當然,這不完全是壞事。畢竟,Muffat之後,得有像Aufschnaiter的作曲家,才有辦法將德奧的管絃樂組曲文化,繼續傳承給之後的Telemann,Handel,還有J.S. Bach。

Benedikt Anton Aufschnaiter can be remembered best as the successor to Georg Muffat as the Kapellmeister in the courts of Passau, ruled by the prince archbishop. Aufschnaiter was born in the Tyrolian town of Kitzbühel, but he seemed to have spent a considerable number of years in Vienna.   His early opuses, including this collection of opus 2 serenades, and a lost opus 3, were dedicated to the Holy Roman emperors Joseph I and Leopold I.

How he came to meet his future employer prince archbishop Johann Philipp von Lamberg is not exactly known.  However, he must have made quite a good impression.  Aufschnaiter moved to Passau in 1705, where he would serve as Kapellmeister until his death.  After Johann Philipp left, the new archbishop Joseph Domenicus was displeased at how Aufschnaiter was doing in his job and had to remind him to get his act together and compose music more frequently.  Aufschnaiter, being cocky as he was, responded by writing that he already wrote a considerable amount of good quality music and felt there was no harm in repeated performances of them.  Moreover, he felt that the Passau court musicians sucked and were not worthy of playing his music anyways.  Surprisingly, Aufschnaiter kept his post.   

His Op.2 collection has the title "Concors discordia," meaning "Concordant discord."  What it refers to exactly is not entirely clear, but given that this set was written in his earlier days, it's possible that it might mean the blending of the Italian and French musical elements.  Aufschnaiter was not the first German-Austrian composer to come up with the synthesis of the styles.  In fact, it was his predecessor Georg Muffat that is generally given the honors of the first person to do so.  

This set of 6 serenades combines the French orchestral suite with the Italian concerto grosso.  The overall structure follows the suite, with an opening overture-like movement and subsequent short dances.  Instrumentation-wise, there is a concertino group that comes in and out of the orchestra to provide tonal contrasts.

L'Orfeo Barockorchester is an Austrian period ensemble that specializes in lesser known Austrian and South German composers of the 17th and 18th century.  A good portion of their discography features composers of the galant / early classical era.  Unlike those recordings, which are marked by brisk tempi, dramatic dynamic contrasts, and strong bowing, this set of serenades is one the recordings where they decide to take a mellower approach.  I believe it was a conscious decision to bring out the grandiose quality in the music, especially for the opening overtures.  The Menuets are also treated with very relaxing tempi, in contrast to the faster and more energetic Bourrees, where they turn up the heat and even employ percussion instruments.  L'Orfeo has the ability to bring down the house, but they exercise considerable restraint here, and trading rapture for gaiety is appreciated.     

While the original score calls for an all-string ensemble, L'Orfeo has taken some of Muffat's suggestions to heart, basically the addition of wind instruments to support and even replace the concertino string instruments at passages where they see fit.  The effect is pretty refreshing and welcome.

It is certainly no surprise that Aufschnaiter was familiar with Muffat's earlier pieces, and these pieces constantly remind me of Muffat's Armonico Tributo written in 1682.  Even the passagaglia at the end of the 5th serenade resembles Muffat's own grand passagaglia, although it is only nearly half as long and is generally provides lesser emotional depth.  However, it is precisely composers like Aufschnaiter who kept the Austrian-German tradition of writing orchestral suites alive that would lead to the greats of Telemann, Handel, and J.S. Bach to carry on writing them.

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