臥薪嘗膽 · 藝術 · 古典音樂 · 歷史

一隻CD說一個故事之一:黃河鋼琴協奏曲

家中藏碟數百,大部份是古典音樂,不少是古董名盤或絕版珍藏,見證上世紀五六十年代古典樂壇的風華絕代。而多年前小弟艱苦求學,這些唱片也一直陪伴左右,每當壓力迫人時,最佳的減壓方法莫過於走進音樂的殿堂,逃避現實,以爭取片刻的喘息空間。

第一張買的唱片是甚麼?我已經記不起來了,但這一張《黃河鋼琴協奏曲》,大概是最早買的幾張之一吧。那時我讀中三,還未搬入粉嶺的公屋,住的是太子的板間房(比今日的劏房更惡劣),空間擠迫,生活艱難,在家除了看電視,便是用廉價的Disman聽音樂打發時間。

家母有《黃河》的錄音帶,閒時會播,我不知道是甚麼時候開始聽,只記得很快便愛上了這首旋律激昂的作品。某日路經文化中心的演藝禮品店(當年仍是辰衝經營),看見這張由Ormandy指揮費城樂團演奏的《黃河》,大喜過望(現在回想,也不知喜從何來,或許是外國的月亮等別吸引吧),想買,又不夠錢,於是馬上回家拿自己的積蓄,湊夠再回店舖找數!

蘋果教主話齋:「stay foolish,stay hungry。」正好是我當年的寫照──向着標杆直跑,不成功,便成仁。那是一個理想年代,每天都感受到自己在蛻變。生活充滿盼望,前路充滿希冀。青春的熱血灌注全身,努力、奮鬥,邁步向前,是每一天醒來的指定動作。所以當我看見心頭好,一刻也不能等,要馬上得到手!

《黃河》的內涵是甚麼?最初也不大了了,以為是抗戰名曲。後來知道,此曲是改篇自冼星海的《黃河大合唱》,後者才關乎抗戰,可惜被共產黨利用,於文革期間改篇成鋼琴協奏曲,屬集體創作,為了加強洗腦效果,末段加入《東方紅》及《國際歌》的變奏,寓意毛魔戰勝日本鬼子,建立「新中國」。一如《東方紅》的歌詞:「東方紅,太陽升,中國出了一個冚家鈴……」

將《黃河》染紅是江青的主意,結果也大受歡迎。1973年,費城樂團訪華,應中方要求演奏《黃河》。臨行前先熱身,在美國試演一場,由年青鋼琴家Daniel Epstein擔任鋼琴獨奏,在中國的演出則改由《黃河》的創作者之一殷承宗。費城樂團回國後,與Epstein再次合作灌錄此曲,並由RCA發行,從此成為經典。無他,「費城之聲,享譽世界」,以其獨有的華麗音響來演奏澎湃的《黃河》,真係無得輸!(其實費城之後, Abbado與維也納愛樂也曾訪華,無獨有偶,又跟殷承宗合奏了《黃河》,可惜沒有錄音,實在遺憾)。

撇除政治因素不談,《黃河》的編曲及配器確是一流,比冼星海的原作更能激勵(蠱惑)人心。邪惡的共產黨在這方面似乎特別有天份。後來四人幫倒台,《黃河》也沉寂了一段時間。直至八十年代,此曲再次搬上舞台。問題是,當時中國正全力推行改革開放,中共將十年文革定性為十年浩劫,毛魔的極左路線被徹底否定,染紅的《黃河》屬政治不正確,怎麼辦?當局只好把《黃河》重新染黃,打算將《東方紅》及《國際歌》的變奏刪除,並由另一位創作者石叔誠補白。幾經思考,他以第一樂章《黃河船夫曲》的主題作取而代之。

效果如何?紅黃兩版我都聽過,純粹以樂論樂,紅版確比黃版優勝,旋律及氣氛的銜接近乎天衣無縫(其中《東方紅》又比《國際歌》銜接得更好)。相反,黃版雖然更接近原曲的精神面貌(石叔誠在一次訪問中如此說),而在曲式上亦更附合傳統sonata form的要求,但效果卻有少許反高潮。所以這些年,紅版始終比黃版更受歡迎。加上六四事件後,經濟加快開放,政治卻走上了回頭路,原本政治不正確的紅版,也慢慢變成「不完美,可接受」。

話說回來。九十年代的我還是典型的大中華膠,仇共,但親中、愛國。我當然知道《東方紅》和《國際歌》是甚麼東西,但我跟自己說,藝術歸藝術,政治歸政治,你要歌頌毛魔是你的事,我可是炎黃子孫,黃河之水好比母親源源不絕的愛(嘔~),聆聽《黃河》是要紀念抗日前輩保家衛國的高尚情操和捨身精神,故除了費城版,我還有殷承宗版和較近期的郎朗版,以作比較。由此可見,我當年的愛國情懷比今日的藍屍廢老更真摰,因為那時沒有蛇齋餅粽,而中國還未暴發,認祖歸宗,沒有土豪的優越感。

現在回想,悔不當初。一如那些看見五星紅旗高高扯起便熱淚盈眶的傻HI,說甚麼愛國不等如愛黨,但明明五星旗上最大的一顆星,就是共產黨,他們還可以昧著良心說瞎話,真是自欺欺人至於極點!

行文至此,想起對上一次聽《黃河》,恐怕已是十年前。會再聽嗎?肯定會,其實今天晚上也想聽,就算今晚無時間,這個星期也會抽空播一次,重拾當年的情懷。不論有幾岸鳩,發生過就是發生過。年紀大了,懷舊來得有點濫,不論對錯,不問緣由,總想回到過去。如果時間可以倒流,我希望可以再岸鳩多一萬次!

English Practice

Carrie Lam’s Love

I’ve come across this article and found it worthsharing to the world.
嘴裡說疫情,心裡想選情,像極了愛情 – 劉偉程

If there is any inconsistency between the Chinese and English versions of this article, the Chinese version shall apply and prevail. Incase of copyright infringement, please let me know and I will delete this translation.

Title: Talking about the Pandemic, Thinking about the Poll, like love.

Carrie The Mom said at a press conference last Friday about the Legislative Council delay:

“I live with the epidemic every day, and I don’t have time to care about the election." (Carrie, 2020)

Believe her, she didn’t lie. In the past few days, from the view point on how CCP central government granted all requests of the Hong Kong government, how resources are contributed by them, how our mother country loves Hong Kong people as herself, sending the best experts to help us, blah blah blah, it can be read as that the government has made up its mind to convert the pandemic to vote for the Pro-Beijing camp. Handling the COVID-19 is the same as handling the election, so why bother to distinguish?

Remember the SARS in 2003? The catastrophe that claimed 299 lives. Trace back to the source and we can see, it was CCP government’s delay in reporting the epidemic. Even after the diagnosed entered Hong Kong and spreaded the virus, Hong Kong could not respond immediately. By the time there was an outbreak in the community, everything was too late. From then, no matter how tough our citizens were and how committed our medical and nursing staff were, there left a bloodstain in Hong Kong’s history.

Years passed, when it comes to SARS, see what is the official comment?官方的輿輪風向是甚麼?

“In 2003 SARS, the central government quickly delivered medical supplies. The care and concern of the central government moved us very much." (Tong Jianhua, who was the chief executive during the SARS epidemic and is now the vice chairman of the CPPCC National Committee, 2017)

Does it look like a husband with gambling debts? It made the whole family restless, and he is still telling his wife, “Hey, honey, remember at that time the creditor came to the door? I tried to go out to block it! How brave was I!"

It’s like love.

Now, this dear friend is performing the same trick again.

The severeness of the pandemic in Hong Kong is a fact. However, the 500 hospital beds in the community treatment facilities of the Hospital Authority are already in place. If the government is willing to help, it is absolutely feasible to add reverse triage facilities. The current 500 hospital beds are prepared by the Hospital Authority. What did the government do? You don’t know, I don’t know, nobody knows.

All I know is that the government will have a line in the future. Carrie may sneer and say, “Oh, the 500 beds provided by the HA will be overloaded. I’m more than familiar with it. Let me tell you this: “We cannot rely on HA to make more. Luckily we have strong support from the central government, so two temporary hospitals will be set up!"

In fact, based on various media reports, the location and scale of the two temporary hospitals have been determined. The CCP party is so efficient.

Temporary hospital, why? There is news again. Member in the government said that we must be careful and prepared for the fourth wave of epidemics and winter flu. Therefore, instead of taking precautions about preventing the epidemic, such as preparing for how to operate the social protocol, how to work flexibly, how to arrange online operations, they are building a temporary hospital and wait for the outbreak.

Not to mention the winter flu, more than ample studies have shown that when people have hign awareness of infection prevention, the outbreak of the flu season will be greatly curbed.

In other words, when the number of flu surged every year in the past, why didn’t the government set up a temporary hospital? Such government is either extremely stupid, or it treats the people as extremely stupid. It is not difficult to imagine that in a few years, Carrie will be interviewed, and will be like TUNG before. Oh, how difficult we were back then, fortunately we have all support from the central government!

Don’t forget the national COVID-19 testing. Experts said wholeheartedly that at this point the national testing results are of limited reference value. However, the government didn’t listen at all. Two days ago, “Wen Wei Po", a pro-Beijing newspaper, said the whole population should be tested. Then today news is the government is looking for a place to build a laboratory.

Does this farce sound familar to you? Have you ever experienced that your boyfriend bought you a gift and you didn’t like it, then he lost his temper?

He did not want to please you. What he wanted is him offering and you receving, like charity.

I am not here to deny all support. Increasing the amount of testing is great. With the procedures and standards guaranteed, it can alleviate the burden on Department of Health’s laboratories. What I want to emphasise is that national testing is not necessary. Adding temporary hospitals is a good idea, if it’s under the leadership of the Hospital Authority. It is also suggested to expand the reverse triage. However, does Carrie Lam or CCP need to “speak up" each time for these to come true?

One drama after another, seems this is nothing more than paving the way to rewrite HK’s future history, to turn the sadist into offeror, and to win over some people who don’t know the truth, and the votes will naturally be in favour of the Pro-Beijing camp.

What’s more if next year’s election prediction is not as they wished, sure there will be more tactics yet to come.

The pandemic and political situation have paining Hong Kong people to the bone. Nevertheless, what hurt us the most is that there exists such a regime that distorted the truth and used the pandemic for their own good. And she would claim it is you who conspire and politicized matter.

Do you think it looks like love?
P.S. “像極了愛情" “Very similar to love" is a Sino quote, and a meme, aimed to teach people how to write so-called poetry.

臥薪嘗膽 · 藝術 · 雜記 · 電影 · 歷史

評湯漢斯新作:《雷霆戰艦:獵犬號》

Tom Hanks 1

湯漢斯自編自演的新片《雷霆戰艦:獵犬號》,因為武漢肺炎而取消在戲院公映,改為在AppleTV播放。看trailer,特技出色,戰爭場面也甚可觀,心想:這麼一套大製作,放在網上播豈不浪費?幸好之前買iPad,附送一年AppleTV,可以免費欣賞,看過後,我明白發行商為何願意放棄戲院上映了,畢竟像《阿凡達》續集及新一套《星球大戰》等大片,也只是推遲一年上映,而不會改在網上播。投資者有信心,又怎會放棄圖利的機會?

以下含劇透,但看無妨,因為電影本身也沒有甚麼劇情可言。一開場,湯漢斯就跟老婆說接獲通知,被委任為驅逐艦獵犬號的艦長,將要執行一項護航任務,老婆聞言鼓勵,說艦隊深慶得人。鏡頭一轉(只不過三分鐘),湯漢斯已在海上,處理一宗艦上打鬥案,期間發現敵人,湯漢斯馬上丟下他們(同樣,也只有三分鐘),走出艦橋指揮攻擊……看到這裡,不禁要問,湯漢斯的老婆究竟扮演甚麼角色?導演安排那場公審戲,又想表達甚麼?

電影全長個半小時,絕大部份是獵犬號跟U boats的糾纏,一如我在開首所講,特技是出色的,戰爭場面也是可觀,但由頭打到尾,無劇情無背景無戰術,簡單來說,就是沒有起、承、轉、合,就像一套功夫片,一開波就打大佬,一直打到尾,就算打得再精采,也不會好看吧?

戰爭片要拍得好看,不能只重特技,還要有劇情配合,例如湯漢斯的舊作《雷霆救兵》(《雷霆戰艦》這個譯名,是否想食《雷霆救兵》的老本?),一開始是諾曼第登陸,角度寛廣,戰場宏大,單是這個開場已經是經典。然後鏡頭聚焦一隊拯救小隊,深入敵陣拯救同袍。每個隊員各司其職,性格鮮明,沒有一個是多餘,特別是不起眼的文書兵,瘦弱怕死,但因懂德語而被招入隊。途中他們補獲一名德軍戰俘,因一念之慈而將之放生,種下結尾的悲劇,而文書兵跟戰俘的互動,又構成全片其中一個高潮,這就叫起、承、轉、合!

《雷霆戰艦》呢?文戲跟戰爭場面是一比九十九,比例上嚴重失衡,劇情沒有任何變化(因為根本沒有劇情),更談不上氣氛層層遞進,而湯漢斯扮演的艦長,也不見得足智多謀(相比《異形海戰》的艦長,至少想出漂移此一奇招對付外星人),只是不斷下令左轉右轉躲避魚雷(這只是艦長的最基本職責)。觀眾看畢全片,既不覺得艦長神勇,也不知道所謂「雷霆戰艦」究竟有多厲害(觀其譯名,有此預期,也是合理的,英文是reasonable expectation),而對戰爭的來龍去脈,更是一頭霧水。

「咁叻,你嚟拍吖笨!」我當然不懂拍電影,但拍戲一如作文,題材先決,故仔好,才能拍(作)得好。《雷霆戰艦》的背景,只是尋常的護航任務,途中有驚險,但談不上峰迴路轉,簡單來說,就是不夠戲劇性。若真要拍同類題材,我想起PQ-17這隊護航船隊,堪稱二戰中最慘烈(應該說是最失敗)的護航任務……

1942年6月27日,由三十三艘貨船組成的PQ-17運輸船隊,在二十多艘驅逐艦、巡洋艦及潛艇等組成的艦隊護航下,從冰島出發駛往蘇聯,以支援紅軍抵抗納粹入侵。把這一役搬上銀幕的原因,是過程完美體現起、承、轉、合此一黃金定律。首先,護航艦隊規模龐大,由驅逐艦貼身保護,再由巡洋艦擔任中距離掩護,而英國的本土艦隊(包括最具戰鬥力的戰列艦及航空母艦)更在附近游戈,充當外圍警戒,實力十足,予人足夠信心,任務理應可以順利完成(反觀《雷霆戰艦》,只得兩三艘孤艦護航,實在顯得寒酸)。這就是「起」。

有「起」則有「承」。船隊起航後不久,即遭納粹U型潛艇及He-111魚雷轟炸機的連番伏擊,但都被護航艦隊一一擊退。據歷史記載,過程中發生了一段小插曲:其中一架魚雷機遭炮火擊落,另一架魚雷機慢條斯理地(魚雷機的特色是不夠快、無速度、飛得慢)穿越護航艦隊的炮火,斯斯然降落在墜機位置救出隊員(我fact check過,此款魚雷機體型較大,的確有空位可以救人),然後奇蹟地再次穿越火網飛走。PQ-17的一艘護航艦中尉看得兩眼發呆,咕嚕地說:「真他媽的不可思議!」這段小插曲見諸於電影,能起抒緩緊張氣氛之效,即最近經常聽到的「張弛有度」。

此一起承,再次營造樂觀氣氛,勝利彷彿就在眼前。但在7月4日卻出現了命運的逆轉。當晚船隊收到英國海軍部連續發出的三封急電:

「十萬火急!巡洋艦隊全速向西撤退!」

「十萬火急!敵方主力艦迫近,船隊解散,各自前往蘇聯港口!」

「十萬火急!護航艦隊馬上解散、撤退!」

護航艦隊的任務不就是護航嗎?怎麼會遇到敵人就輕言撤退?況且,之前不是有過把來犯者擊退的經歷嗎?原來今次的敵人不是等閒之輩,而是納粹海軍最強大(也是大西洋戰區最強大)的鐵必制號戰列艦,也就是傳奇戰艦俾斯麥號的姊妹艦,莫說PQ-17的護航艦隊無法匹敵,就連英國的本土艦隊也要忌其三分。英國海軍部一收到納粹出動鐵必制號的情報,就知道PQ-17玩完了,護航艦隊無必要陪葬,撤退是避免更大的損失。

電影最緊要有戲劇性,戰爭電影尤甚,劇情發展到這一步,扣人心弦,原先積聚的底氣及希望一下子化為烏有,只要導演正正常常,必能拍出懾人的張力,保證觀眾就算急到瀨屎,也不會離開座位半步。那主角呢?我認為非PQ-17的船長John Dowding莫屬(不要搞錯,船隊有船長,艦隊有艦長,前者是負責PQ-17的航程及維持各貨船的隊形,而後者則負責保護PQ-17的安全),導演不妨多花一點鏡頭描繪Dowding在遭到艦隊拋棄後的失望、憤怒及恐懼,同時在後來遭到納粹海空夾擊下,他仍勇敢帶領貨船避開攻擊,以盡可能減低傷亡及損失,令觀眾更投入角色。

PQ-17最後無被全殲,但也差不多了,三十三艘貨船中,總共被擊沉了二十二艘,死者百餘人,貨物損失最為慘重,包括二百多架戰機、四百多輛坦克、三千多輛軍用汽車,以及十萬噸物資,足夠裝備一個軍團。而更要命的是,後來調查發現,英國海軍部情報有誤,鐵必制號並非其估計的「迫在眉睫」,而是在距離船隊三百海哩外,同時由於擔心皇家海軍的航空母艦,並無放膽出擊。換言之,攻擊PQ-17的主要是潛艇及轟炸機,如果護航艦隊沒有解散,以其實力應該有力一戰。但歷史沒有如果,PQ-17的悲劇,除了令皇家海軍負上背信棄義臨陣逃脫的惡名,也令同盟國出現內訌──美國怪責英國護航不力(PQ-17主要是美國貨船),要求將美艦調回太平洋,不再參與英國的聯合行動,而蘇聯的史太林更加火滾,指責英軍藉詞推搪,令其獨力對抗納粹。雖然裂縫日後得以修補,但PQ-17的悲劇,也著實影響了之後的戰爭發展,稱得上是二戰史上舉足輕重的一役。

想一想,若將PQ-17搬上大銀幕,豈不會賣過滿堂紅,又怎會屈就在AppleTV的串流平台上苟且偷生呢?