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THE JOYS OF UNDISCOVERED MUSIC

Julian Lloyd Webber

 

With a time span of more than six centuries, the library of classical music runs so deep that there is a wealth of marvellous ‘unknown’ music we hardly ever hear. So why not join me and make some musical discoveries?

 

There can’t be many people unfamiliar with the opening phrase of Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 in G minor – apparently it’s one of the most downloaded of all mobile phone ringtones! Yet how many are familiar with his equally marvellous String Quintet, K516, in the same key?

 

Mendelssohn’s extraordinary Octet for Strings - composed when he was a mere sixteen – is another piece of chamber music every music-lover should experience.

 

2004 was Dvorak’s centenary and one piece I discovered that year was his beautiful Stabat Mater. This inhabits a completely different world to the well-known orchestral works and I found it profoundly moving.

 

Shostakovich is one of my favourite composers – an undoubted genius who has a strong claim (in my opinion) to being the twentieth century’s greatest composer. His symphonies and concertos are world renowned, but what about his fifteen string quartets? These incredible pieces reveal his innermost thoughts. The one we hear most is Number 8; but I also recommend Nos. 3 and 5. No 5, especially, is a marvellous work in which the composer really bares his soul.

 

Shostakovich’s fellow - Russian, Prokofiev, is famous for his ballet music but we always seem to hear ‘Romeo and Juliet’ rather than the equally wonderful ‘Cinderella’. When I played the end of Act 2 to my thirteen-year-old son he announced: “I have never heard anything like it”! I know what he means because Prokofiev’s writing for the orchestra as the clock chimes midnight is truly amazing.

  

I love Russian music and I have always wondered why we don’t hear Rachmaninov’s early First Piano Concerto as often as we hear numbers Two and Three. It may not be as ‘professional’ as those masterpieces but it contains just as many luscious themes and harmonies plus all the ardour of youth - not bad for Opus One!

 

Along with Frederick Delius, John Ireland is a British composer whose music should be heard more often. He was a fine pianist who had a liking for writing piano pieces with descriptive titles like ‘Columbine’ and ‘Amberley Wild Brooks’ and they are always beautifully written for the instrument.

 

Another ‘miniaturist’ well worth investigating is the French-Venezuelan, Reynaldo Hahn. His songs are amongst the most sensual in the repertoire, particularly the ecstatic ‘L’heure Exquise’.

 

Sometimes it seems as if the choice of music we hear in the concert hall is becoming ever more limited but the classical music library – seven hundred years old and still growing – is filled with hidden treasures to be discovered.

 

 

                                                                                              Translator: Terrie Dai

 

發現音樂寶藏的欣喜

朱利安 勞埃德 韋伯

 

 

隨着超過六個世紀的時間跨度,古典音樂的樂庫裡深藏着令人驚異的“未發現的音樂寶藏”。那麼,何不跟我一起去做個音樂探險呢?

 

 

幾乎無人不曉的莫扎特的G小調交響曲作品第40,它顯然是用戶下載率最高的手機鈴聲。然而,有多少人熟悉他的同是G小調的,同樣美妙的弦樂五重奏 K516。

 

 

門德爾松非凡的弦樂八重奏 – 當他創作這首樂曲時只有十六歲 – 是另一首室內樂,值得所有音樂愛好者去欣賞體驗的。

 

  

2004年是德沃夏克的百年紀念,在那一年我發現了他的一首美麗的《聖母悼歌》。這首和其它著名的交響樂完全不同,它彷彿帶我到了另一個世界,領受前所未有的深切感動。

 

 

肖斯塔科維奇是我最喜歡的作曲家之一,一位不容置疑的天才,他以強勢(在我看來)成為二十世紀最偉大的作曲家。他的交響樂和協奏曲舉世聞名,但是他的第五首弦樂四重奏是怎樣的呢?這些令人難以置信的作品揭示了他的內心深處。

 

我們聽得最多的是是第八首;但是我還建議你聽聽第三和第五首,尤其是第五首,這是一首令人吃驚的作品,作曲家在這裡裸露了他真實的靈魂。

 

  

肖斯塔科維奇的同胞,也是俄羅斯作曲家的普羅科菲耶夫,他最著名的是芭蕾音樂。但是我們似乎總是聽“羅密歐與朱麗葉”,而不是同樣精彩的“仙德瑞拉”(灰姑娘)。當我奏完第二幕的結尾給我十三歲的兒子聽,他宣稱:“我從來沒聽過像這樣的音樂!”我明白他的意思,因為普羅科菲耶夫寫給樂團演奏的午夜鐘聲,確實太神奇了。

 

 

我喜愛俄羅斯音樂,我一直很困惑,為甚麼我們不聽拉赫曼尼諾夫早期的第一鋼琴協奏曲,好像我們常聽他的第二和第三協奏曲一樣。它可能不是像第二,第三那樣常被大師們作為高難度作品來炫技,但是它包含了同樣深的主題,而年輕作曲家的全部熱情則構成了甘美的和音,是相當不錯的傑作之一。

 

 

沿着英國作曲家弗雷德里克·戴留斯的足跡,約翰·愛爾蘭也是一位英國作曲家,他的音樂我們應該經常聽得到。他是一位很好的鋼琴家,他喜歡為他的鋼琴曲配上描述性的標題,如《喇叭花》,《郊野》等,它們是用樂器來描寫的精美文字。

 

  

另一個值得研究的“縮影”是法籍委內瑞拉裔的作曲家雷納爾多·哈恩。他的歌曲躋身最性感的曲目中,特別是藝術歌曲《美好的時光》L’heure Exquise’,令人心醉神迷。

  

 

有時,在對音樂的選擇上,我們在音樂廳裡聽到的越來越有限,但是古典音樂發展了700年,如今仍然在不斷增長,充滿了隱藏着的寶藏,有待我們去發現。

 

 

                                                                                               -- 翻譯  戴莉