白遼士安魂曲

Berlioz: Requiem

Javier Camarena (tenor), Santa Cecilia Chorus

Antonio Pappano / Concertgebouw Orchestra  (RCO Media)

(scroll down for English review)

白遼士《安魂曲》不是最常演奏的幾首安魂曲,可能是沒有令人過耳不忘的著名的詠嘆調或段落,又或者一向予人極為巨大、所以難以演奏的印象,震怒之日及神奇號角的巨大聲效,在音樂史上留名。

阿姆斯特丹音樂廳樂團推出此錄音有點令人意外,一來大家不會將白遼士《安魂曲》聯想到他們,二來帕帕諾不是他們的總指揮、甚至關係也不算密切,三來我們接受莫扎特、布拉姆斯、佛瑞或威爾弟的安魂曲可以在音樂廳演奏,白遼士彷彿是要在大教堂才夠味道。不過,世界頂尖的阿姆斯特丹音樂廳,正正令我覺得也是演奏者之一員。

我起初覺得這個錄音沒有我想像般爆棚,包括震怒之日及神奇號角(軌二),但聽着聽着,我發覺此錄音的混音、把聲音調高調低、調前調後的人工修飾很低,聽到軌四的威耀之王,男聲已不是一般錄音聽到的大聲,而是聽得到音樂廳的天然音效,亦即是說,我覺得這個錄音其實很接近在音樂廳聽到的合唱曲。這個2019年的現場演出,我不在現場,不過我還是試過在這個音樂廳聽《復活交響曲》。

相對於其他作曲家的安魂曲,白遼士這首的合唱比重頗高,這個演出的合唱團,是帕帕諾當時領導的聖切契利亞樂團的附屬合唱團。如先前所言,不會一味大聲,但可以在最激烈的地方爆發,寧靜的地方亦可穩定保持。唯一一個有獨唱的樂章是軌九聖哉經,男高音Camarena是當代傑出的美聲男高音,或者有朋友覺得他太細聲,但一來這是原本的效果,二來也是多得錄音師沒有胡亂調較,三來你也可以從纖幼的歌聲聽到此音樂廳的天然潤飾。

I didn’t expect the Concertgebouw Orchestra to put out an own-brand recording of the Berlioz Requiem, a piece one wouldn’t associate with the orchestra. Pappano wasn’t even close to the orchestra. We’d accept Mozart, Brahms, Fauré or Verdi requiems as concert pieces, but Berlioz might best be done in a cathedral. Yet the Concertgebouw gave me the impression of being one of the active participants.

I was initially under-whelmed by the sonics, in particular the Dies irae-Tuba mirum sequence (track 2). But as I reached Rex tremendae (track 4) I finally realized the male chorus wasn’t just loud as in most recordings, but also rich, having been enriched by the venue’s acoustics. Then I noticed this live recording gave a fairly accurate picture of hearing a loud choral piece at the Concertgebouw. No I didn’t hear this 2019 performance live but I did see the Resurrection Symphony once there.

Berlioz used the chorus more prominently than other composers’ setting of the requiem mass. Here the chorus was the Santa Cecilia Chorus as Pappano was still then the music director of that orchestra. As mentioned before it wasn’t just loud but it could be forceful when such effect was called for, and in softer passages it could sustain that very well. Javier Camarena’s tenor solo in the Sanctus (track 9) might sound too soft but such opinion is misguided. This is the intended effect and you’ll get to hear his very fine voice further embellished by the hall’s acoustics.

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