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2015.01.15 弗朗茨-舒伯特 寒冷的激情

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Franz Schubert
Wintry passions
A master-tenor deconstructs a piece of music he has sung 100 times
Wintry water
Jan 15th 2015



Schubert’s Winter Journey: An Anatomy of an Obsession. By Ian Bostridge. Knopf; 544 pages; $29. Faber and Faber; £20. Buy from,

I came a stranger
I depart a stranger
May was good to me
With many a garland of flowers.
The girl, she talked of love,
The mother even of marriage—
Now the world is so gloomy,
The way is shrouded in snow.

The opening of “Winterreise” sets the tone. This is one of Franz Schubert’s most famous compositions: a cycle of 24 songs (Lieder) for voice and piano, written in 1827-28. It is set to a collection of poems by Wilhelm Müller, a contemporary of Schubert’s, about a winter journey undertaken by an enigmatic wanderer. The mood is mostly dark, though the hero also reminisces about happier times, especially in “The Linden Tree”, which subsequently became a much-loved folk song.

The desolate, freezing weather (at a time when continental European winters were much colder than they are now) reflects the wanderer’s state of mind. With a love affair apparently behind him, he hides from other people and sees rejection and forebodings of death everywhere. But is he just an isolated misfit, or a symbol of a more widely felt sense of alienation?

Ian Bostridge, one of Britain’s foremost tenors, has performed “Winterreise” more than 100 times. He knows every last nuance of the work and has given it a great deal of thought. His beautifully produced book offers many new insights that will inform the enjoyment of both old admirers and newcomers to the music. Each of the songs has a chapter devoted to it, which at first sounds like a device that might quickly pall; but, like Scheherazade in “1001 Nights”, Mr Bostridge is a good storyteller and keeps the reader in constant suspense.

A man of deep intellectual curiosity, he offers explanations of many of the strange sights the wanderer encounters on his journey, from the design of snowflakes to the physics of the will-o’-the-wisp and from the special qualities of the crow family to the story of the waltzing craze in the Vienna of Schubert’s day. More important, as a historian who came late to his singing career (his PhD thesis was on witchcraft c. 1650-1750), Mr Bostridge has an acute understanding of the historical context of the time and how it may have influenced Schubert’s reading of the poems.

The composer was about 30 when he wrote “Winterreise”, and enjoying a prolific and successful career. He was one of a new breed of musicians who were able to live on their talent without the need to find a job at court or in the church. That allowed him a measure of independence, but also involved some financial ups and downs. He had a large circle of friends, mostly artists, writers and thinkers, with whom he liked to engage in what became known as “Schubertiads”, lengthy drinking sessions accompanied by lively intellectual discussions. In Metternich’s post-Napoleonic Austria such intellectual exchanges were not without their dangers. Censors were everywhere, trying to keep down political and religious dissent.

Schubert understood the coded messages in many of Müller’s poems and reflected them in his music, which required some careful judgments. The frozen landscape mirrored a repressive political regime. Even the wanderer’s seeking refuge in a humble charcoal-burner’s hut was fraught with meaning: it was a hint at the carbonari, an Italian secret society which Austria’s Habsburg rulers suspected of subversion.

On a personal level, the composer was deeply affected by a new marriage law the regime introduced in 1815, requiring men to take a means test before they were permitted to wed. He applied, but as a freelance worker failed the test. He subsequently contracted syphilis, probably caught from a prostitute, which caused him much suffering and killed him at just 31. Some authorities take the view that he may have been gay. In any event, he never married. All that snow and ice in “Winterreise” might also be read as a symbol of repressed sexuality, Mr Bostridge suggests.

Certainly the poems and their musical settings reflect the Romantic obsession with death. On his journey through the wintry landscape the wanderer is often tempted to rest, and thus die from cold. A signpost invites him down a path from which no one has ever returned. He meets a crow which already seems to look upon him as carrion. Later he stumbles upon a cemetery which in his benighted state he sees as an inn welcoming guests with green wreaths, but it has no room for him. In the last song he comes across an old hurdy-gurdy player, grinding away at his instrument without anyone listening, and considers joining forces with him.

When Schubert was working on “Winterreise”, he sang it to a group of friends and accompanied himself on a small piano. At first hearing, his friends were sceptical. Now famous singers perform the work in large concert halls the world over, accompanied by well-known pianists playing very grand instruments. The context is quite different, yet the Lieder still seem to hit home with today’s audiences.

“Winterreise” is a long work; it takes 70 minutes or so to perform. Mr Bostridge explains that when it has ended, with the hurdy-gurdy man’s plain and oddly inconclusive song, the audience usually sits in stunned silence for some time. That is just what happened when he sang it at the Barbican in London this week.

This article appeared in the Culture section of the print edition under the headline "Wintry passions"


舒伯特的冬季之旅。痴迷的剖析。作者:Ian Bostridge。Knopf;544页;29美元。Faber and Faber;20英镑。从,购买。


冬日恋歌》的开头奠定了基调。这是弗朗茨-舒伯特最著名的作品之一:由24首声乐和钢琴歌曲组成的循环曲,写于1827-28年。它是根据与舒伯特同时代的威廉-穆勒(Wilhelm Müller)的诗集创作的,讲述了一位神秘的流浪者的冬季旅行。这部作品的气氛大多是黑暗的,尽管主人公也回忆起了快乐的时光,特别是在 "菩提树 "中,它后来成为一首广受欢迎的民歌。


英国最重要的男高音之一伊恩-博斯特里奇(Ian Bostridge)已经演出过100多次《冬日恋歌》。他了解这部作品的每一个细微之处,并进行了大量的思考。他那本制作精美的书提供了许多新的见解,将为老的崇拜者和新的音乐爱好者提供丰富的乐趣。每首歌曲都有一章专门论述,这初听起来像是一个可能很快就苍白的装置;但是,就像《一千零一夜》中的谢赫拉扎德一样,博斯特里奇先生是一个很好的说书人,让读者一直处于悬念之中。


作曲家写《冬日恋歌》时大约30岁,正享受着多产和成功的职业生涯。他是新一代的音乐家之一,能够靠自己的才华生活,而不需要在宫廷或教堂里找工作。这让他有了一定程度的独立性,但也涉及到一些经济上的起伏。他有一个庞大的朋友圈,大多数是艺术家、作家和思想家,他喜欢与他们进行所谓的 "Schubertiads",漫长的酒会伴随着生动的知识讨论。在梅特涅的后拿破仑时代的奥地利,这种思想交流并非没有危险。检查员到处都是,试图压制政治和宗教上的异议。






这篇文章出现在印刷版的文化部分,标题为 "冬天的激情"
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