Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Concert: Richard Egarr (02/01/2012)

02/01/2012


J.S. BachThe Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, BWV 846–869

Richard Egarr, harpsichord

呵呵,沒有看錯,又是Richard Egarr。事隔三天,我在自己學校的音樂廳,再度去捧場Egarr先生的大鍵琴獨奏音樂會。

其實決定要來聽Egarr先生的獨奏音樂會,我花了一點勇氣。主要原因是2006年的時候,就聽過他彈奏的郭德堡變奏曲,說實在是失望的。而且,一整場巴哈的平均律,也是需要另一種耐力和勇氣。憑良心講,平均律我手邊的錄音不只一套,但要說每一首Prelude & Fugue都熟,可是與事實相差甚遠。就第一冊,下半本我就算是進入不熟的領域了~~

不過,Egarr最近新發行的Louis Couperin的大鍵琴作品全集,我其實意外地滿意。不能將Egarr和Pierre Hantai或是Christophe Rousset那種比較出鋒頭式的風格相比,但Egarr對音樂總有自己獨特的見解,倒也是一大特色。 加上,學生票價也很便宜,所以就決定再來了。

Egarr所彈的大鍵琴,是我們學校的那台William Dowd仿法式的大鍵琴,而且正好是我們大鍵琴學生每學期要公演時會彈的那台。那台琴的觸感輕重適中,而且聲音甜美柔合,跟平常在琴房練的那一台John Philips仿德的琴不一樣。

長話短說。平均律最有意思的,就是每個表演者的心中的「平均」標準都不一樣。要彈多快,要彈多大聲(鋼琴上),樂句怎麼修飾,哪幾個音要強調,至今眾說紛云。可以保證的是,對於平均律稍微有點深入接觸的人都會跟你說,沒有一套是令他完全滿意的。

Egarr整體表現,我比較喜歡下半場。一大原因可能也是因為對下半冊的曲子不是那麼了解,所以個人主觀意見的成份也比較低。可以確定的是,上半場前面幾首前奏曲,Egarr選擇的樂句修飾,不太合我的胃口。甚至,2006他的表演的一幕幕,又再度浮現出來。

原本覺得又會是一個難熬的一晚,但聽到後來,出現了轉機。他斷句開始出現變化,而且Egarr對於音樂節奏的掌握,總是獨到。有時會覺得,「怎麼會選擇這樣?」,但立刻又會想到,「其實這樣做,並無不可。怎麼先前沒想過?」

一首接著一首的前奏曲與賦格,將音樂帶入另一種意境。巴哈音樂中的對位與強烈的半音階元素,很容易讓人覺得音樂「理性」,「有距離感」。說到這個「距離感」,甚至有人說成是「非人間」。正因為此,我腦中漸漸地進入了一種冥想的狀態,極為放鬆舒適,但肯定是沒睡著的,只是感受一個個被奏出的音符。雖然俗氣,但「昇華」二字,實在是再適合也不過。而到了最後那首B小調的賦格,在Egarr不急不徐的彈奏下,成為最終的心靈淨化。

上半場聽完就離去的人,至少有一到兩成。不過像我留到後來的聽眾,聽完這麼巨大深度的著作,總需要個片刻好好沉澱一下。一片安靜之後,緊接的就是給予肯定的掌聲。音樂會後,我沒稍作停留再和Egarr致謝,因為這一晚的大鍵琴獨奏,就已足夠了~~

You've got to be a die-hard fan of Egarr and harpsichord to attend his concert within 4 days of each other.  I can't say I am really of that category, but insanely reasonable student tickets ($10) will do it for me.  

Now, sitting through Book 1 of The Well-tempered Clavier is no ordinary feat.  I have gone over these pieces in my recordings before, but I can't say that I know the pieces inside out.  Therefore, coming to this concert was in a way another opportunity to get to know the music. 

I've commented before that I have heard Egarr's solo concert in 2006 at the same university concert venue, where he played the entire Goldberg Variations, and I wasn't impressed.  Shades of possible disappointment quickly surfaced when the first couple preludes & fugues were played and articulated in a way that was reminiscent of the 2006 concert, and it seemed that I was in for a long night. 

However, things made a turn for the best.  His sense of musical line, rhythm, and clarity was now so good, and totally infused with Bach's signature counterpoint and chromaticism.  Bach's music of this sort can be characterized as "distant" and "rational," but it some argue that it is of "ethereal" nature.  Quickly, my mind entered a trance, "meditation with aid of music," if you will.  Neither fully awake nor asleep, just the total experience of one note coming after the other.  And then the last B minor fugue, the last subliminal act of catharsis.   

At least 10-20% of the audience left after the first half.  After that last note, utter silence in the concert hall, followed by applause of true appreciation.  I opted not to stay after the concert and thank him again for the performance; no words out of my mouth on that night would have been fitting for the occasion and experience.

2 comments:

John Hendron said...

Wow. I have resisted purchasing his releases of Couperin and the Bach WTC. But it seems he ultimately delivered for the audience in CA.

I am far more familiar with the WTC 1 than 2. I would have loved this opportunity. And yes, $10 is a steal.

My favorite harpsichord recording is by Hantaï; I also hear good things about Dantone.

I also own several piano renditions I enjoy; Keith Jarrett's for me is far too sparse in "feeling" from the performer; a favorite is Fredrich Gulda recorded in the early 1970s. He takes a very pianistic approach, but not without sensitivity to baroque touch. He's fond of large-scale forms and doing things like making one entire fugue a giant crescendo.

Thanks for your review.

Deadlockcp said...

Egarr has his quirks, or his own personal style, as you will. Often times, the first reaction is "what? why did he do that?" and then later followed by "hmm.. now that I think about it, it was actually quite interesting."

It's not going to be a please-all interpretation, but I came around and warmed up to it.

Also, I forgot to mention, Egarr has some fun playing around with the different registers. You notice that from keyboardists who are also well-versed on the organ.

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