"Time to Rid Orchestras of the Shakes"
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New York Times에 실린 노링턴 경의 글입니다.

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/16/arts/music/16NORR.html?ex=1046766241&ei=1&en=8b7ab51fa0064bf7

February 16, 2003
By ROGER NORRINGTON

ARE there any frontiers left for what used to be called the early-music movement? As it swept the field in Monteverdi, Bach and the like in the 1960's and 70's, the movement became closely identified with period instruments. In recent decades, period bands, playing in what is now called historically informed style, have been expanding their terrain to include Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn and even later composers.
But the performance of early music has always been more about how you approach and play the music than about what you play it on, and historically informed practice has long since progressed into the mainstream. Many of the key elements that once embarrassed "modern" performers - tempo, orchestral seating, bow speed, articulation - are now almost taken for granted. It is rare to come across a really slow andante movement in a Mozart symphony. The great remaining question is the sound orchestras made in the Romantic era.
As audiences, we have already got used to the idea that the music of Monteverdi or Bach is normally played and sung with pure tone, without the use of steady vibrato, a minute fluctuation of pitch intended to make the sound more intense. With the aid of period orchestras we are gradually accustoming ourselves to the same sound for Haydn and Mozart - even, on occasion, for Beethoven. But surely here, on the threshold of the Romantic era, pure tone must be questionable. Wouldn't orchestras from at least Berlioz's time on have used vibrato like that used today?
Not at all. Far from being a characteristic of the 1830's, vibrato did not become common in European or American orchestras until the 1930's.
Yet remarkably, players and listeners alike seem to have become entirely used to an orchestral sound that not one of the great composers before that time would have expected or imagined. When Berlioz and Schumann, Brahms and Wagner, Bruckner and Mahler, Schoenberg and Berg were composing their masterpieces, there was only one orchestral sound: a warm, expressive, pure tone, without the glamorized vibrato we are so used to.
"Glamorous" describes the new sound well. The very word was little used before the 1920's. It arrived with Hollywood, aerodynamic car design, radio, ocean liners and the early days of flight. It coincided with other attempts to modernize concertgoing, like the reseating of orchestras with first and second violins juxtaposed rather than opposite each other, the replacement of gut strings with steel and the gradual elimination of applause between movements of symphonies and concertos.
True, some kinds of vibrato had always been known for soloists, whether singers or players. In the 18th and 19th centuries it was an expressive device, used to inflect long notes or to underline especially passionate moments. What was new in the 20th century was the idea of a continuous vibrato, used on every note, however short.
The great Austrian violinist Fritz Kreisler seems to have started the fashion, drawing on the style of cafe musicians and Hungarian and Gypsy fiddlers. Yet listening to Kreisler's recordings, one is struck by the delicacy of his vibrato: much more a gentle shimmer than the forced pitch change one often hears today.



Although many soloists stood against it, the new mannerism caught on quickly. Still, it was strongly and steadily resisted in one area: in orchestras, particularly German orchestras. The whole process can be heard in recorded performances. Recording came in just as the vibrato era was beginning. From 1900 on, one can hear great soloists and great orchestras at first playing with the pure tone of the previous century, then gradually changing to what we know today.
But only gradually. In the early 20's the more sensuous and entertainment-minded French players began to experiment with continuous vibrato, and the British followed suit in the late 20's. But the high-minded Germans and most of the big American institutions held out until the 30's. The Berlin Philharmonic does not appear on disc with serious vibrato until 1935 and the Vienna Philharmonic not until 1940.
During the first half of the 20th century, therefore, violin concertos were recorded with vibrato from the soloist but with pure tone from the best orchestras in Germany. It seemed normal at the time.
Some regarded the soloists as vulgar. Others thought the orchestras old-fashioned. Curiously, we hear little about this momentous change from those who lived through it. True, Schoenberg likened vibrato to the unpleasant sound of a billy goat. But what did Elgar feel as his noble world slipped away? And what about all those conductors - Toscanini, Furtw”ngler, Weingartner, Klemperer - brought up with one sound, then offered another by the orchestras they worked with?
Players probably had more to do with the change than conductors did. Fights must have taken place in orchestras all over America as, for instance, a French-trained flutist joined the Boston Symphony or the Philadelphia Orchestra and introduced the woodwinds to his new ideas.
A central figure in this struggle was Arnold RosÈ, the concertmaster of the Vienna Court Opera and the Vienna Philharmonic from 1881 until 1938, when the Nazis threw him out. He led the orchestra all the time Mahler, his brother-in-law, directed the opera. We can hear RosÈ on records with his string quartet as late as 1928, playing with exemplary clarity and naturalness and without anything resembling modern vibrato.
So if pure tone was good enough for all those great composers, what are we missing when we hear a modern glamorized orchestral tone? When the glamorous makeup falls away, the sound of an orchestra gains in many ways. The texture becomes transparent; you can hear right inside the sound. Discords are more serious and astringent.
Because the sound is not glamorized, phrasing becomes more important. Nowadays symphony orchestras tend to rely on sound rather than shape. But music is not about sound. Sound is simply its material (as paint is for painting). What music is about is gesture, color, shape, form and, especially, emotional intensity.
In addition, pure tone restores a crucial feature of 19th-century music: its innocence. We tend to think of Baroque music as having a monopoly on innocence. Yet it is certainly a feature of Mendelssohn's music, and it is equally important in Brahms and Tchaikovsky.
So can this clear, noble 19th-century sound return to normal orchestral life? Several modern orchestras have already changed their seating to the European system the great masters wrote for. Those orchestras could just as easily change their sound, too, back to that of Mendelssohn, Brahms or Mahler.
The reason to do so is not because pure tone is "authentic" but because it is beautiful, expressive and exciting.
작성 '03/12/08 19:31
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