Tag: RomanticMusic

[:en]Chopin’s Nocturne in C# minor (studio recording) by Teresa Wong [:]

[:en]This is a studio recording of Chopin’s C# minor Nocturne I did in the States. Enjoy![:]

[:en]Chopin’s Nocturne in C# minor op. posth.[:zh]蕭邦: 升C小調夜曲Op. posth[:]

[:zh]Teresa Wong plays Chopin’s Nocturne in C# minor op. posth.
黃穎妍彈奏蕭邦的升C小調夜曲Op. posth.[:]

內在旋律線:鍵外之音

內在旋律線:鍵外之音 (Inner Voices : The Lines Between And Beyond)


大部分學生即使不只是專注於主要旋律線,也只會著眼於右手要彈奏的樂曲內容。他們忽視了左手的情況、低音音區,甚至低音線。而且很可能連內在旋律線也顧不上。

內在旋律線為甚麼這樣重要?因為它們組成了樂曲的必要元素。當我們忽視樂曲中的一部分,就不能充分表現它的內容。以拼圖為例,一幅50塊的拼圖只拼合了30塊,我們看到的會是甚麼呢?當然只是整幅圖畫的一部分,儘管是很大的部分。另一個例子是填充題。還記得小時候學習英文文法時那些填上詞語來完成句子的練習嗎?內在旋律線就是那些不見了的字。I _ _ going to _ _ _ mus_ _ m on _ _ _ day.(有時甚至是不見了的字母。)它們只是方程式的一部分,來幫助表演者和聽眾從整體上理解一篇樂曲。

要把內在聲音更圓滿地展現,就要從三個主要方面著手。


第一,用心觀看。

理解內在聲音的結構,看它們各自如何發展演進,又怎樣互相連接交流。

你不只是閱讀和觀看音在樂譜及鍵盤上的位置。

要真正明白它們在某處出現的原因。


第二,用心聆聽。

彈奏時跟隨旋律線的發展。留意每個音,把兩個音之間的空間連接起來。

要合時按下對的琴鍵,靠的不只是聆聽。

而是要用心傾聽音符在某處出現的原因。


第三,用正確的技巧展現聲音。

用心理解和聆聽後,是時候彈奏了。你要在同一時間單手彈出多過一個音時,就要用手掌來彈。要彈出一個和弦,就要感受把音往內向掌心輕輕抓住的感覺。不要用手掌按著琴鍵。準確一點說,就是不要用手掌和手指之間的關節按著琴鍵。

要用心細察雙手做出的每個動作。

專注於樂曲中的每個細節。注意手指、手掌、手腕、手肘、手臂、上身和後腰的每個動作,以及腳的重量轉移。


先聆聽內在的聲音,再把它們恰當、準確、優美地展現出來。



黃穎妍


附註:用心留意要怎樣把樂曲彈對,並彈得優美,而不是想著怎樣避免彈錯和彈得不好。

英國皇家音樂學院第一級文憑考試: 口試部份預備的要訣 (dipABRSM viva voce)

For English: More on dipABRSM Viva Voce

英國皇家音樂學院第一級文憑考試 口試部份預備的要訣 (dipABRSM viva voce)


有讀者來信問我,怎樣去預備有關聲樂 (voice) 文憑考試的口試部份。其實,所有演奏文憑考試 (practical exam) 的口試部份都是大同小異的。


首先,你要很熟悉自己選擇的每首曲目。你需要了解曲目的背景,這包括作曲家的生平,作曲家在編寫此作品時的遭遇和目的(如果有的話),作曲家的寫作特色,作曲家在此作品中所表現的寫作特色。然後,你要知道每首曲目的結構,包括曲式,分段,調性(轉調),句子結構,特別的和絃等等。如果你選擇的那首曲目是sonata 奏鳴曲,你知道這作曲家共撰寫了幾多首奏鳴曲呢?這首曲是否很典型的奏鳴曲,又或者是否被視為很有這作曲家典型的作曲手法及模式?


接著就是作曲家其他的曲目。除了你選擇的那首曲目外,你認識他寫的同類作品嗎?即是說,如果你是拉小提琴的,你認識這作曲家其他的小提琴曲目嗎?還有,你知道他其他的弦樂作品嗎?如果你是唱聲樂的,除了你選舉唱的那個種類(例如是oratorio 清唱劇)外,你知道這作曲家其他的聲樂作品嗎?還有,和這作曲家同一個時期(period)內,你可以講出其他作曲家的名字和他們同類型的作品嗎?


你也應該多少知道一些關於每個作品的時期的特色,包括performance practice(每個時期特有的演奏特色),而這個特色也和當時樂器的發展惜惜相關。你要對自己的樂器一定的認識,除了樂器各部份和發聲原理外,亦要知道每個時期你的樂器有怎麼樣的變化和改進,因為,這些改變直接影響到作曲家如何編寫相關的樂曲。Performance practice 在巴洛克時期尤其緊要 – 當然在古典時期或之後也有影響,但由於樂器發展在越早時期變化越大,因此對樂曲寫作影響也越多。而在巴洛克時期我們也對裝飾音 (ornamentation) 特別講究,所以考生也要留意這一點。


另外,每個時期亦有自己獨特的aesthetics(美學)。例如,巴洛克時期(Baroque period)追求的是一首曲目表達單一的情感 (Affekt : one single unified affection in a movement or a piece), 而浪漫派時期(Romantic period) 是主張人文主義 (humanism) 和個人主義 (individualism), 表達人性豐富的感情和情緒上的多變(雖然此主義已經逐漸由貝多芬開始帶動),加上後期亦引申至民族主義nationalism 出現等等。除此之外,音樂的寫作取向亦和文學的寫作取向(literary movement) 有著差不多平衡的發展關係。這是後話,而且這個文憑水平並不需要如此高深的理論。不過,如果是聲樂的話就有需要了解一些有關歌詞的背景和內容,尤其是浪漫派時期,歌詞大多數是來自詩詞,所以至少應該知道詩人是誰和詩篇的大概意思。讀者們有興趣的話我會在未來的文章中再詳細論述。


這主題還有很多空間給我發揮,但是由於撰寫中文實在是異常費時,所以今天先寫到這裡,容後再談。

有需要看有關的口試題目,請到上面英文版的文章中閱讀。


黃頴妍 Teresa Wong

Romanticism

September 17, 2012

“Romanticism” was first referred to describe concepts in German literature in 18th Century, when the literature was said as “romance-like” or “narrative”. It was used and its concept widely applied in 19th Century in music. Romanticism emphasizes the emotion, the inner feeling of mankind. It is about the naïve and folklike, the strange and surprising, the fairylike and remote, the joy and pain. Music then rose to be the highest rank of all arts as the most able means to express the inner soul and thoughts of man, to voice the inexpressible.

Music was then closely related to other arts, especially the literature. At that time, the most favorite topics for writers and composers were: the nature, the moonlight, the dream, the river, lake and forest, the joy and pain of love, the fairy tale, the supernatural etc. There was a rise of the middle-class in Europe so that the audience became more educated and music became more amateur and domestic on one hand. Musicians became the moral leaders of the society.

“Lied” (art song) got gradually popular in 19th Century. It first appeared in 15th Century when poetry was meant to be sung, like those stanzas by Homer. As a matter of fact, “Lied” meant poem with music or without (plural: “Lieder”). It was always associated with the primitive and then the folk poetry. Around 1750, there was an increase in interest for folk art, folk poetry and folk music in Western Europe. As lied was a combination of poetry and music, it was the best means to the music, and then the singer and the pianist to the audience.

At first, since lied was required to be written in folk and simple manner, it was only for the amateur and the leading German composers did not care about this genre. Goethe was the very important figure in German literature of the time to cast great influence on development of lied. Goethe insisted that his poems should be set in a very simple and folk-like manner and repetition of words, extensive melisma and ornaments should be avoided as much as possible. This was to reveal the meaning of the poem very clearly through the composition of music.

Goethe’s “music advisers”, Ielter and Reichardt, set a lot of his poems to lieder. The “WandersLied I” was set in both composer’s songs. They were the leading composers of the Berlin song school. The other younger generation of composers were Berger and Klein. Berger’s song collection with the setting of Müller may have influenced that by Schubert.

In general, this North German group of composers was more in favor of setting Goethe’s poems (and others’) faithfully in their music. Zumsteeg, of the South Germany, had more variety in music since he was geographically farther away from Goethe who thus had less influence on him. His setting of Berger’s “Leonare” was full of recitative style, arioso, simple song melody and dramatic interlude for piano. The other song for Goethe’s “Colma” was about the Romantic were used, e.g. the tremolo octave, figuration was used to depict the roaring wind and the descending scale the waterfall in the right hand of the piano accompaniment.

Both Zumsteeg and Schubert set Kosegarten’s “Nachtgesang” in their lieder. Zumsteeg’s setting reveal his faithfulness to the poem’s structure, thus very harmonically simple musical setting and chordal accompaniment, while Schubert had more variety musically, with wide leap and more harmonic interest to bring out the essence of the poem.

The reason Schubert set the kind of third-rate poems to his song is that the delicacy of the rhyme and meter of the first-rate poems creates a serious problem to the composer. The other problem would be how to depict the meaning of poem in the music: whether to be truly faithful to the poem or to suggest another side of meaning is the choice of the composer. (Plantinga)

Schubert raised the status of lied to the highest at the time as he artfully combined poem and music together. He was much more academically and literally educated than the other composers of the time as he was the son of schoolmaster and was raised to be one. He knew how to render the meaning and the structure of the poem and skillfully applied that to his setting of poems to music. He was in much favor of Goethe, Müller and Heine’s poems.

“Gretchen am Spinnrade” is a poem of ten stanzas from Goethe’s “Faust” Part I. It is about the maid’s infatuation with the Faust. The piano accompaniment has the figuration of the spinning of the wheel throughout except the stop in between when Gretchen was overcome with intense emotion. As the emotional intensity increased, the modulation was applied to one step higher and higher, from Eb to F, G & finally A minor. The lied is in tripartite form which Schubert favored to neglect the strophic setting of Goethe’s poem.

“Erlkonig” (1815) is another lied with Goethe’s poem. This is a Danish legend and is a ballade. It has four characters: narrator, father, child and Erlking. The singer is required to portrays the four different characters. Here the piano accompaniment always present the figuration to depict the galloping of horse. It is a very difficult accompaniment which was unusual of the time as the amateur status of lied still prevailed. The music is actually in through-composed structure though one may argue the music sounded like repeated and varied very little in strophic manner. The tonality of “child” is always ambiguous, that of “king” in major key and with simple melody (except the last time in minor) and the “father” very assuring. The father and child’s melodic register are set in low vs high tessitura.

Beethoven’s “An die ferne Geliebte” is the first lieder cycle which is a collection of songs with similar mood and theme of poems set. Then comes Schubert’s “Winterreise”, “Die Schöne Müllerin” and Geshwanengesang”. Schumann also has “Dichterliebe” and “Liederkreis”.

Schumann’s “Mondnacht” from “Liederkreis” (with text by Eichendorff) (1840) depicts the calm and beautiful moonlight. The piano accompaniment has the prelude which depicts “the kissing of the earth”
with descending line, and it is repeated as interlude, and postlude which encapsulates and ends the song. The prelude sets the mood for the voice which has very simple melodic and the lyrical line throughout.

The Golden age of lied was built by Schubert and Schumann, with the praise of love and of German poetry. Richard Strauss and Gustav Mahler also wrote some lieder, but especially Mahler used orchestral accompaniment instead for the voice. Wolf also has a big collection of songs, and he tends to be more faithful and to reveal the meaning of poems.



Teresa Wong


Further Reading:

Fredrich Blume. Classic and Romantic Music: A Comprehensive Survey.
Leon Plantinga. Romantic Music: A History of Musical Style in Nineteenth-Century Europe.
Charles Rosen. The Classical Style: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven.