Sunday, September 7, 2014

Concert: Mitzi Meyerson (02/28/2014)


 

2/28/2014

St. Mary Magdalen Church, Berkeley, CA

RAMEAU: Suite #1 in A minor (Premiere Livre de Pieces de Clavecin)
Prelude - Allemande - 2e Allemande - Courante - Sarabande 1&2 - Gavotte - Menuet
COUPERIN: Suite from 6me. Ordre
Prelude (l'Art de Toucher le Clavecin #7) - Les Moissonneurs - Les Langueurs Tendres - Le Gazouillement - La Bersan - Le Moucheron - Les Baricades Misterieuses
FORQUERAY:  Suite in d/D
Allemande: La Labord - La Cottin - La Regente - La du Vaucel - La Portugaise - La Bellmont - La Couperin

有在聽或留意大鍵琴音樂的人,肯定對Mitzi Meyerson女士不陌生。她除了是Trio Sonnerie多年的當家大鍵琴家之外,她近年來還灌錄了許多鮮為人知但非常好聽的曲目。她目前在柏林教書,其職位是當初為女大鍵琴家先軀Wanda Landowska而成立的。身為一名古樂愛好者以及非常遜色的業餘大鍵琴家,雖然她的音樂會是安排在週五晚上,但前去朝聖是一定要的。下班後還要開那麼久的車,雖然有點辛苦,但果然沒令我失望。這場音樂會,可以說是我參加過最享受的大鍵琴獨奏會之一。

這晚Meyerson彈的都是法國作曲家的鍵盤曲,剛好我都沒有她的錄音,前來聆聽也是抱著一種好奇的心態。在正式彈琴之前,Meyerson很有親和力地和聽眾說了幾句話,態度極為謙卑地說能來到灣區表演是她的榮幸。她上半場彈的是法國大鍵琴作曲家之中最重要的兩個代表,拉摩(Rameau)和庫普蘭(Couperin)。從開頭的前奏曲就知道為什麼Meyerson的彈奏風格獨樹一幟,為人稱道。除了常在琴的上下排之間切換,樂句修飾中停頓的方式,反覆時自己加的裝飾音,都感覺得出Meyerson極富創意的音樂性。其餘的Rameau作品,也聽得出來Meyerson在大鍵琴上製造出不同音色和情境的巧思。

接下來的Couperin,應該是場晚曲目中和我最沒有共鳴的音樂。不知道這是不是因為Couperin音樂的本身,還是別的原因,但就連Meyerson的演奏,也沒給我特別強力的衝擊。不過,開頭的前奏曲,選自Couperin教學用的l'Art de Toucher le Clavecin(「彈大鍵琴的藝術」),是我很早前練過的。Meyerson表演裡展示出的彈性,仍然很有意思。當然,這首組曲最有名的,莫過於那首「神秘的障礙」。出乎意料地,Meyerson選的節奏過於規律,讓我覺得甚至有點太直接了。有趣的是,在彈奏這首之前,Meyerson向觀眾開玩笑說,有練過這首的人,保證都會在曲子的某段「走丟」,還當場幽默地示範了一下。音樂會結束和她聊天時,我坦承我也曾是迷失過的人之一 :)



St. Mary Magdalen Church

而最讓我震撼,有醍醐灌頂感覺的,莫過於下半場的Forqueray。其實Forqueray的曲子,我本身就很喜歡,因為每首都相當有特色。 Meyerson從D小調第一組曲與D大調第三組曲中選出了幾首,湊成了自己的一首組曲。從她指尖所流出的音樂,和我平時期待的詮釋不大一樣,說是清新脫 俗真的不為過。我聽了那麼多場音樂會,大鍵琴上能讓我聽得那麼津津有味的,只有Mahan多年前的獨奏會與Elaine幾次在Stanford教堂表演可匹敵。

Meyerson沒有Rousset或Sempe那種陽剛式的快感。她散發出一種女性的優雅,但彈性的節奏與眾多手法,變化層出不窮,許多效果的意想不到與突如其來,甚至有種幽默風趣。在坐的同行,大鍵琴家Junghae Kim,不斷地看到她嘴角露出微笑,想必也是這種感覺。七首Forqueray下來,彷彿吃了一場法國大鍵琴曲的山珍海味。La Labord的雄偉的氣勢,La Cottin時而灰暗但時而俏皮,La Regente帝王般的高貴,但Meyerson和絃敲打中也製造出詼諧感,La du Vaucel的寧靜,Meyerson甚至一度完全靜止,La Portugaise的強有力與飽滿,La Bellmont的韻律感與嬉鬧,以及La Couperin的動力,都讓我豁然開朗。原來,Forqueray是可以如此演奏的!

而最終的安可曲,她問觀眾想要聽類似整晚曲目的音樂,還是想要點不同類型的?當大部份觀眾回答要點不同口味時,她為我們彈奏的是巴哈平均律第一冊第一首前奏曲。Meyerson在每小節樂句反覆時,彈到上排去,立刻產生出回聲效果。如此明顯的事,之前竟然沒有聽過任何人嘗試過。Meyerson的別出新裁,就連世人聽到滾瓜爛熟的曲子中也都聽得到。

音樂會結束後,等到其他熟人和專業音樂家都和她聊完之後,我才找到機會和她講到話。Meyerson女士外表看起來雖冷酷,但是實際上人非常親切。在許多CD上,她還特別寫下祝福的話(最下方的圖)。如此有耐心與真誠的音樂家,還真的不常見。這場Meyerson的音樂會,可真是令我大飽滿~~


Anyone who pays any attention to harpsichord music must come across Mitzi Meyerson sooner or later. Besides being a former member of Trio Sonnerie, she has recorded many unknown yet fabulous harpsichord works. She currently teaches in Berlin, where her position was previously established for pioneer female harpsichordist Wanda Landowska. As an early music fanatic and rather mediocre amateur harpsichordist, a Friday night concert at Berkeley, though unideal and painful, was still a must-go for me. This concert turned out to be one of the most enjoyable solo harpsichord recitals I've ever attended.

For the evening, Meyerson picked out a program of entirely French harpsichord pieces, which ironically I fail to have any recordings of. Before playing anything, Meyerson addressed the audience humbly about what an honor it was for her to return and play at the Bay Area. Occupying the first half of the program were the two pillars of French harpsichord music - Rameau and Couperin. And from the opening umeasured prelude of Rameau, the audience got to experience Meyerson's unique personal style that has come to garner rave reviews. Registers shifts, playful articulations, interesting timing decisions, and ornamentations on repeats all showcase her creative musicality. The other remaining Rameau pieces also reflect Meyerson's attentiveness in create different textures and moods on the harpsichord.

The Couperin which followed next probably resonated with me the least. I'm not sure if this is due to my overall lesser opinion of Couperin's keyboard music (admittedly some good pieces among his vast output) or some other underlying reason, but even Meyerson's performance could not implant any great impression. However, there were memorable moments, like the prelude from l'Art de Toucher le Clavecin (The Art of Playing the Harpsichord) which opened the suite. This was one of the earliest pieces I've got to learn and play on the harpsichord, and Meyerson's flexibility in phrasing and timing offered a delightful fresh approach. The most well-known piece in the suite though, was no doubt the Mysterious Barricades. Surprisingly though, her tempo was quite regular, and the playing turned out to be a tad too straightforward. However, before playing this piece, she jokingly told the audience that anyone who tries to play the piece "gets lost at some point", with a humorous demonstration. After the concert I went up to her and told her I was among those "lost souls".


Mitzi Meyerson

The pieces that left me in a sheer sense of awe and amazement, had to be the second half's Forqueray. I started out already really liking Forqueray's music, owning several recordings of the music. Every piece is different and are all full of character, not to mention the transcription from the viola da gamba which gives it a very unique sonority. Meyerson selected pieces from the D minor 1st suite and D major 3rd suite into a suite of her own. The music which flowed from her fingers was distinctly different than my usual expected interpretations of the pieces, and there's no better of putting it other than saying that I was hearing Forqueray in new light. Having attended so many early music concerts, only Mahan's SFEMS concert years ago and some of Elaine's Stanford recitals were able to give me the same level of such immense pleasure on the harpsichord as Meyerson's Forqueray this evening.

Meyerson does not have Rousset or Sempe's raw might and power. Instead, she possesses a graceful feminine touch, backed up by an endless bag of tricks up her sleeve, which come in at times totally unexpected, the effect even being downright humorous. In the audience, I noticed that harpsichordist Junghae Kim was constantly smiling; I guess she must have really enjoyed greatly too. At the conclusion of the Forqueray pieces, I experienced a complete palette of colors and moods of French harpsichord music.  There was La Labord being majestic, La Cottin playful amidst its dark overtone, La Regente grand and poised, with Meyerson's pounding chords providing a comical effect, La du Vaucel's serenity, Meyerson even doing a full stop at one point, La Portugaise powerful and rich, yet some humor created by Meyerson's unique sense of timing, La Bellmont's swing, and finally La Couperin's rhythmic pulse and energy. All of this was a true sense of epiphany, as I never imagined that Forqueray could be played like this! 

When it came time for the encore, Meyerson asked if the audience wanted more of this (French) sound, or if they preferred something else. When the consensus opted for something different, she gave us Bach's first prelude from the first book of the Well-Tempered Clavier. What we didn't see coming was the shifting into the upper register in the repeat of each phrase within the bar. An immediate echo effect was achieved, and something so obvious, I wonder why I've never heard it done before. It goes to show that even in the most popular well-known pieces, Meyerson never fails to come up with something original. 

After the concert, I waited until close friends and professional musicians finished talking to her before finding the opportunity to speak to her. While she may appear to look a little distant, she was really sweet and friendly in person. On some of my CD booklets, she even addressed me personally with personal greetings (image below). Such patience and sincerity in a musician is something you truly don't find often. This Meyerson concert was true satisfaction on many accounts.


1 comment:

John Hendron said...

I lost my first comment.

I simply wanted to say I am glad there are still musicians like Meyerson who aren't afraid to play with freedom and an inventive spirit. It appears that when done in good taste the results can be very rewarding.

Post a Comment