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Bilingual Music: Scarlatti, pan-European Baroque keyboard master
雙語音樂:橫跨歐陸的巴洛克鍵盤巨擘─史卡拉第

A painting by the 18th-century Italian painter Gaspare Traversi, titled “Concerto,” depicts Domenico Scarlatti, back row center, tutoring Maria Barbara of Portugal in playing the harpsichord.
這幅由十八世紀義大利畫家加斯帕爾‧特拉維西所繪的油畫,題為「合奏音樂會」,描繪史卡拉第(後排中)指導葡萄牙公主瑪麗亞芭芭拉演奏著大鍵琴。

Photo: Wikicommons
照片:維基共享資源

Domenico Scarlatti, the sixth child of the Italian composer Alessandro Scarlatti, demonstrated a talent for musical composition and performance from a young age, and received a comprehensive musical education from his father. His keyboard works espoused outstanding technique, including hand-crossing, voice-exchange, jumps of two octaves or more, rapid arpeggios and nimble alternation of fingering for the same note.

Certainly, exquisite playing technique is a defining characteristic of Scarlatti’s keyboard sonatas, but at the same time one cannot overlook the influence on the composer of Spanish and Portuguese folk music and the guitar playing that was so prevalent in the Iberian Peninsula, where Scarlatti lived from his 30s.

During the Baroque period, keyboard music and plucked string instruments such as the guitar were intimately related, as the harpsicord employed a lever mechanism in which the strings inside the instrument are plucked by quill plectra triggered by pressing a key, in much the same way as a plucked string instrument, placed horizontally, would produce notes.

During his life, Scarlatti wrote 555 keyboard sonatas, the vast majority of which were composed during the time he was musical director for the Spanish and Portuguese royal courts. At the time, the Portuguese monarch entrusted Scarlatti with his daughter Maria Barbara’s musical education. The princess was to be married to the Spanish prince, Fernando, and Scarlatti would accompany the princess on her travels around the peninsula, soaking in the customs and traditions of the local populace and drinking in traditional Spanish music.

Scarlatti’s harpsicord pieces command an important place in the history of Western music. His borrowings from the folk music tradition of the Iberian Peninsula, together with the innovative keyboard playing techniques he introduced, had a significant impact on later composers and piano virtuosos such as Chopin, Brahms and Bartok. Quite distinct from the polyphonic compositions popular in his day, the majority of Scarlatti’s keyboard pieces employed a single melodic theme to construct a simple binary form structure consisting of two sections, usually repeated.

In concerts today, the performer will generally open the programme with several Scarlatti sonatas according to their own preference, or which best reflect their personality, or perhaps bring their own creativity to play and combine several works to embody an invigorating musical journey.

(Translated by Paul Cooper, TAIPEI TIMES)

多明尼哥‧史卡拉第是義大利歌劇作曲家亞歷山大‧史卡拉第的第六個孩子,從小展露出作曲與演奏才華,在父親薰陶下接受完整的音樂教育。他的鍵盤音樂作品展現出卓越的演奏技術,包括雙手交叉、交換聲部的彈奏、超過八度音的跳奏、又或是快速的分解和弦,以及靈巧地使用不同手指重複彈奏同音。

如果說華麗的演奏技巧是史卡拉第鍵盤樂器奏鳴曲的特色,那更不能忽略這位作曲家三十歲後長居伊比利半島,從西班牙與葡萄牙的民俗音樂,以及當地盛行的吉他演奏中汲取的養分。

在巴洛克時期,鍵盤樂器與吉他等撥弦類樂器有著密切關聯,原因就在於古大鍵琴是藉由按鍵觸發槓桿機制,讓樂器內部以鳥類羽管作成的撥片彈奏琴弦,就像是平放的撥弦樂器。

史卡拉第畢生寫下五百五十五首鍵盤奏鳴曲,絕大多數創作於擔任西葡兩國的皇家音樂指導期間。當時的葡萄牙國王將公主瑪麗亞芭芭拉的音樂教育託付給他。公主被許配給西班牙王國的費南多王子後,便經常帶著史卡拉第隨行,讓這位作曲家遍覽伊比利半島的風俗民情,並且耳濡目染於西班牙的傳統舞宴音樂。

史卡拉第的大鍵琴作品在西方音樂史上佔有相當重要的地位;他對伊比利半島當地雅俗音樂的援引,以及革新的鍵盤彈奏技巧,深深影響著包括蕭邦、布拉姆斯、以及巴爾托克在內的後輩作曲家暨鋼琴好手。史卡拉第的鍵盤作品迥異於當時流行的複調音樂,大多採取單一旋律主導,結構為簡單的二段曲式,也就是由兩段樂句組成,經過各一次反覆。

在今日的音樂會中,演奏者經常依個人喜好或性格表現從中挑選幾首作品開場,或是運用巧思,將多曲組合成為一段生氣勃勃的音樂行旅。

(台北時報章厚明撰)

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