臥薪嘗膽 · 藝術 · 雜記 · 古典音樂

一隻CD說一個故事之二:偉大交響曲

這張唱片是我較早期買的,確實日子當然不記得,但肯定是一九九五年十月二十九日前一個月左右,何解?因為那天是維也納愛樂在香港舉行音樂會,壓軸曲目是舒伯特的《偉大交響曲》(下稱《偉大》),我為了「預習」而買了這張唱片。此話怎說?一切要從另一場音樂會說起。

我早在九四年已開始聽音樂會,那時我讀初中,品學俱劣(其實中三已有很大進步,但依然係劣),卻瘋狂愛上了古典音樂,如此風馬牛不相干的組合,竟然發生在我身上,真可謂奇哉怪也。

雖則余家貧,受惠於學生半價優惠,一張港樂的音樂會門票只需三、四十元,還是可以負擔。選擇當然以大路為主,偶然也會試新曲,而所謂「新」,非指新派音樂,只是我未聽過或不熟識,但仍屬傳統大路曲目。其中一場港樂音樂會正屬此類,節目只有兩首,上半場是布拉姆斯的《第一鋼琴協奏曲》,下半場便是《偉大》。日子忘記了(這場是我極少數沒有保留場刊的音樂會,可惜),只記得指揮非時任總監Atherton,而是請來的客席,地點在香港大會堂。

整場音樂會我都悶得發慌,昏昏入睡,感覺跟這兩首作品情不投意不合,尤其《偉大》,長到不得了,有幾次以為樂章就要終結,不料另一旋律又再展開,此起彼落,沒完沒了。我那時不知道,《偉大》是繼貝九之後規模最宏大的交響曲,有「天國般的長度」(舒曼評語),而旋律延綿不絕,彷彿沒有變化,對不少初哥(例如我)而言,是極具催眠作用(事實上,當年首演亦屢遭挫折,不少樂團因該曲過於艱深而拒演)。總之好不容易捱到音樂會完場,我跟自己說,可一不可再,以後也不會再聽這兩首樂曲。誰能想到,只不過是短短一兩年後,它們(尤其《偉大》)竟會成為我的「賣飛佛」之一!

且說一年後,即九五年,大名鼎鼎的維也納愛樂訪港,由James Levine指揮,在文化中心音樂廳演出兩晚,第一晚是莫扎特的《第二十九交響曲》及《偉大》,另一晚是Richard Strauss的《死與變容》及布拉姆斯的《第二交響曲》。對我來說,兩晚的節目也不吸引(甚或有點趕客),但又想躬逢其盛,兩悶取其輕,故選了第一場(至少有莫扎特!)。票價當然遠比港樂高,扣除折扣,也要二百多元,那不是少數目,如果又重覆上次聽港樂的經歷,那真是貼錢買難受了。

由買票到音樂會當天,還有一個月的時間。莫扎特的交響曲毋須擔心,我是喜歡的,問題是《偉大》!怎麼辦?最低限度,我要令自己聽得明(先不談愛上)才行,唯一辦法是反覆聆聽,於是到唱片店買一隻《偉大》的CD,打算回家做功課。版本有很多,我揀的是最平,恰巧當年台灣百代(EMI Taiwan)推出了Treasure Collection,精選了EMI百張經典名盤,附上中文解說,以低價重新發售,每張只售五十多元,其中《偉大》(連同《未完成交響曲》)的指揮,竟是卡拉揚!沒有比這更超值了。

要知道,今日上網甚麼都有得看(有得聽),但當年資訊不及現在般流通,要研究一首樂曲的創作背景及內涵,非得到圖書館不可,而音樂類的英文書跟中文書又不成比例,前者不論質量均遠勝後者,而我英文不佳(現在也好不了多少),無可能看得明英文音樂書(現在也看不明),中文又太簡單,有些連入門都不如,Treasure Collection的中文解說,內容豐富,長度適中,正好填補了這個空缺。

沒有奇蹟,只有累積。頭幾次聽《偉大》,感覺跟那次聽港樂一樣:「究竟幾時完?!」若是現在,我可能已經放棄了,但往日不同今時,我是蘋果教主口中的「stay hungry,stay foolish」,我迫自己每晚都開來聽,聽完才好瞓。漸漸地,我覺得自己好像有點開竅,《偉大》的主題雖然不斷重覆,延綿不絕,但並非完全沒有變化,而是氣氛層層遞進,過程或許不夠戲劇化,細心聆聽,也不難掌握當中的起承轉合。再三思量,則更能領會此曲的精神境界:舒伯特雖歷盡一生苦澀,孤身一人,仍不失對未來(或身後)的盼望。他深信自己的才華不限於藝術歌,立志要創作一首偉大的交響曲,讓自己名垂千古。套用台灣著名樂評人崔光宙之語,《偉大》之所以「偉大」,在於「挺卑微餘生,歌浩氣長存」。

當然,短短一個月的「預習」,不可能令我對此曲有如此深刻的理解,但至少令我可以忍受,甚至享受此曲的冗長,而不會再有「究竟幾時完」的抱怨。音樂會當晚,我拿原價四百多元的票,也只能坐在面向舞台的最左邊,僅次於管風琴下跟指揮對望的尷尬位。我記得右手邊是一位日本人,見賢思齊,我也盡量表現得文明有禮,中場出入,他側身讓位,我也鞠躬回禮,不丟香港人的架。

說回音樂會,James Levine是當代大師,尤其在歌劇界,更是獨當一面,可惜後來因為性醜聞而身敗名裂,這是後話。當晚演出的細節已記不清,印象最深刻只有兩件事,一是演奏莫扎特交響曲時的速度太快,不是我杯茶。另一是首次(也是至今唯一一次)在現場感受維也納愛樂的甜美音色,令人陶醉不已。對了,還有一件事,《偉大》一曲既終,我第一時間鼓掌叫好(像《交響情人夢》那些搞笑情節),以示自己聽得明(心情跟上次聽港樂截然不同,上次也是第一時間鼓掌,只因終於甩難,可以回家睡覺),也許亦想令鄰座的日本人知道我非初哥,而是知音。現在回想當然幼稚,但又何妨呢,誰沒有幼稚過?

自此以後,「預習」便成為我聽音樂會的指定動作,但凡有我不熟識的新曲,借又好買又好,先在家中聽得滾瓜爛熟,就算最後還是不喜歡,至少在現場可以保持「清醒狀態」,面子事小,不讓買票的錢白白浪費事大。這些年,我因「預習」而愛上的新曲不計其數,聽音樂會不再局限於貝五柴六之類,賞樂的眼界因而大為拓闊。

另一方面,除卡拉揚外,我亦收藏了《偉大》的其他版本,細味當中的異同,包括Karl Bohm、Bruno Walter、George Solti、Gunter Wand…… 還有Geroge Szell,可惜後者送了給朋友,現在後悔莫及,因為Szell也是名盤,以聲部清晰響譽樂界。眾多版本中,我最愛是Bohm六十年代指揮柏林愛樂的錄音室版,其中第一樂章初段,由行版過渡到小快版,Bohm的變速及聲部轉換妙到毫巔、渾然天成。我也有他在八零年指揮德累斯頓的現場版,那時他已垂垂老矣,對樂團的控制大不如前,加上現場一take過,同樣的處理手法,難免有沙石。

以境界論英雄,卡拉揚的《偉大》絕對及不上Bohm,也被Walter、Solti等比下去,但講到紀念價值,卡拉揚是無人能及的,因為他給我開啟了一道深鎖的音樂大門,走進自己以為難以踏足的精神境界。而經過長達一個月的與卡翁朝夕相對,我明白到聽音樂不只是聽旋律這麼簡單,還要探索背後的內涵,作曲家究竟想透過音符向我們說甚麼,這才是重點。

往事只能回味。回想自己當年對知識的渴求、對目標的執著,這份初心,我似乎早已忘記得一乾二淨。而昔日每當學懂一首樂曲,那種喜悅,我亦久久沒有再嘗過。是甚麼原因令我變成今日的我?是壯志未酬心先死?我再落泊,也遠不如舒伯特吧?他連首演自己最偉大的作品的機會也沒有,尚且可以不忘初心,在逆境中「挺卑微餘生,歌浩氣長存」,我呢?能不慚愧乎?

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.