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 Literary Classics米尔斯坦Literary Classics


                             莫扎特之旅整理 文/图 2017-03-14  16:26




THE IMMORTALS: Nathan Milstein

  Julian Haylock explores the life, musicianship and recordings of a man who for many represented the pinnacle of all a violinist can be      
  Nathan Mironovich Milstein was a Ukrainian-born American virtuoso violinist. Widely considered one of the finest violinists of the 20th century, Milstein was known for his interpretations of Bach's solo violin works and for works from the Romantic period. He was also known for his long career: he performed at a high level into his mid 80s, retiring only after suffering a broken hand.      

Nathan Milstein was a violinist’s violinist. Purity was his watchword as he negotiated even the most notorious technical chicanery with a nonchalant sleight-of-hand. He avoided the use of shoulder pads or rests as they impeded the jewelled perfection of his sound, activated by long flowing bow-strokes sustained at comparatively low pressure. His playing arose out of a legato bedrock, studiously avoiding the percussive ‘kick’ of a traditional staccato. Employing the angled bow-hold and concave thumb of his teacher Leopold Auer (rarely encountered nowadays) and activating each stroke from the shoulder, his sweeping arm action created a seamless flow. His unusually supple left-hand fingers hovered perilously close to the strings and fell gently – he could not abide high-velocity, high trajectory fingering and its attendant ‘banging’ on the fingerboard. The resultant effect was as though his hands and arms were merely floating around the instrument as he played it.

Milstein’s stage persona was as elegant and undistracting as his playing mechanism. Some mistook his lack of flamboyance for interpretative cool, yet careful listening, and watching, reveals his profound micromanagement of phrasing and inflection, entirely free of rhetorical gesture. He tended to avoid the cloying espressivo of a slow vibrato, preferring to explore the medium-to-fast range and senza (‘without’) so as not to impair the shimmering accuracy of his intonation. He had a special sensitivity for the violin’s tonal spectrum – grounded by its open strings (G–D–A–E) – and used natural harmonics freely (achieved by touching the string lightly at specific points) as a means of anchoring the tuning of ordinary, stopped notes.

Milstein continually honed and refined his playing in an attempt to discover ever-more graceful solutions to the thornier challenges of the repertoire. He kept his playing fresh by adopting new fingerings as the occasion demanded, even in mid-performance as the inspiration came to him. Little wonder that the renowned New York Times critic and journalist Harold C Schoenberg once described Milstein as ‘The most nearly perfect violinist of his time.’

Of all the great violin concertos, the Mendelssohn E minor came closest to matching the jewelled perfection of Milstein’s quicksilver soundworld. Recorded with the Chicago Symphony and Walter Hendl in March 1962, when Milstein was at the height of his powers, one can savour at close hand his majestic playing action, capped by a glorious downward octave portamento in the final coda at 26:33. Keep watching as a stunning performance (recorded the following year) of the Preludio from Bach’s E major solo Partita follows:


  Nathan Milstein在演奏中      

Born in the Ukrainian city of Odessa in December 1903, Milstein insisted that ‘I started to play the violin not because I was drawn to it, but because my mother forced me to in order to keep me out of mischief!’ Aged seven he began formal lessons with Piotr Stolyarsky, and although he felt he learned very little from him at the time, Stolyarsky clearly knew a thing or two about the violin as his later pupils included Leonid Kogan and David Oistrakh. Four years later Milstein joined Leopold Auer’s legendary Moscow masterclasses, a hotbed of violinistic endeavour that had already produced Jascha Heifetz, Mischa Elman and Efrem Zimbalist (father of the American television actor). Even under the severe pressure of playing in front of 50 fellow students every lesson, Milstein stood out from the pack, astonishing Auer with his displays of ‘Black Sea technique’.

Returning to Odessa, Milstein quickly came to the attention of none other than rising piano superstar Vladimir Horowitz, with whom he established an instant rapport. ‘Horowitz invited me around for tea,’ Milstein later reflected, ‘and I ended up staying three years!’ The two chums became virtually inseparable and having earned the sobriquet ‘Children of the Revolution’, were given official permission to tour Western Europe. Milstein never returned to the homeland, heading instead (via a series of consultations with Eugène Ysaÿe) for the United States, where he made a sensational debut on 17 October 1929, playing the Glazunov Concerto with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Leopold Stokowski. The incandescent quality of Milstein’s playing at this time was captured four years later in a live Copenhagen recording of Paganini’s Caprice No 5, destined to become one of his signature pieces:


回到敖德萨后,米尔斯坦很快就得到了冉冉升起的钢琴巨星弗拉基米尔·霍洛维茨(Vladimir Horowitz)的注意,他与霍洛维茨建立了一种即时的融洽关系。“霍洛维茨邀请我去喝茶,”米尔斯坦后来想,“我最后在这里待了三年!”这两个密友几乎形影不离,赢得了“革命之子”的称号,获得了参观欧洲西部的官方许可。米尔斯坦再也没有回到祖国。他转而前往美国(通过与欧热妮·伊萨·伊萨的一系列磋商),他于1929年10月17日在美国首次登台,与费城管弦乐队和利奥波德·斯托科夫斯基一起演奏格拉齐诺夫协奏曲。四年后,米尔斯坦在现场的一名警察中捕捉到了米尔斯坦当时演奏的白炽灯的质量。


It was around this time that Milstein formed a ‘million-dollar’ piano trio with Horowitz and the great Russian cellist Gregor Piatigorsky to rival even the all-star Heifetz-Rubinstein-Feuermann outfit. Piatigorsky discovered with some astonishment that Milstein rarely practised as such, but that he was ‘rarely without the fiddle in his hands’, as he experimented with new fingerings and bowings. ‘His quick movements, lively eyes and shiny black hair, and his medium-sized frame suggested youth that would stay with him forever,’ Piatigorsky also noted.

By now Milstein had acquired his first Stradivarius, the so-called ‘Dancla’ (1703), which can be savoured on two American recordings dating from 1942. The first features the slow movement of Bruch’s G minor Concerto, which finds Milstein at his most radiantly expressive, inspired no doubt by the heartfelt conducting of John Barbirolli with the New York Philharmonic:

  大约在这个时候,米尔斯坦与霍洛维茨和伟大的俄罗斯大提琴演奏家格雷戈?皮亚蒂戈斯基(Gregor Piatigorsky)形成了一部价值百万美元的钢琴三重奏,甚至可以与全明星海夫兹·鲁宾斯坦--费尔曼的球衣相提并论。皮亚蒂戈斯基惊讶地发现,米尔斯坦很少这样练习,但他在尝试新的指尖和弓箭时,“很少没有小提琴”。他的快速动作、活泼的眼睛和发亮的黑发,以及中等大小的头发。皮亚蒂戈斯基还提到,到现在为止,米尔斯坦已经获得了他的第一首斯特拉迪瓦里(1703年),这首歌可以从1942年的两张美国唱片中品尝,第一首是布吕克的g小调的缓慢乐章,在他的作品中找到了米尔斯坦。  

  A majestic 1963 performance of the Tchaikovsky Concerto with the Chicago Symphony and Walter Hendl exchanges Heifetz’s rapier-like thrust and Stern’s meltdown espressivo for an uncluttered, almost Mozartian vision that keeps even the most over-heated passages in proportion. The notorious first movement solo cadenza (8:57) is despatched with almost nonchalant indifference – during one sequence of rippling arpeggiations Milstein somehow finds time to throw in a flying A harmonic (9:25) for the special appreciation and amazement of the cognoscenti:   1963年柴可夫斯基协奏曲与芝加哥交响曲的精彩表演,沃尔特亨德尔用海菲兹的剑杆般的推力和斯特恩的熔毁式超压迫症来换取一种整洁的、几乎莫扎提亚式的景象,即使是最热烈的段落也能保持相称的比例。臭名昭著的第一乐章独奏卡登扎(08:57)在一连串的涟漪中,弥尔斯坦不知何故找到了一段和弦(09:25)。特别感谢和惊奇的是:  
  There is one magnum opus, however, in which many feel Milstein remained unsurpassed: Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin. In this hallowed repertoire his near-flawless mechanism came into its own, exchanging the downward cut and thrust of mainstream post-Romanticism for a horizontalised, exquisitely cushioned flow of velvet-toned clarity. His 1973 Grammy Award-winning recording for Deutsche Grammophon finds the 70-year-old playing with a shimmering precision that would grace a musician half his age, as witness the finale of the G minor Sonata.   然而,有一部巨著让许多人觉得米尔斯坦是无与伦比的:巴赫的独奏小提琴曲奏鸣曲和小提琴曲。在这个神圣的曲目中,他近乎完美的机制进入了它自己的行列,把主流浪漫主义的向下削减和冲刺换成了水平的、精致的天鹅绒般的粗犷。他1973年获得格莱美奖的德格莱美音乐为德国格莱美音乐找到了70岁的弹奏,他见证了g小调奏鸣曲的结局。这位音乐家的演奏精度令人惊叹的优雅的光彩,将使他一半年纪的人都受益匪浅。  
  Yet the ultimate test of any violinist’s skills remains the mighty Chaconne from the D minor Partita, and remarkably Milstein included it as part of what turned out to be his final recital in Stockholm on 17 July 1986, aged an almost unbelievable 82 at the time:   然而,对任何小提琴家的技能的最终考验仍然是d小调组曲中的洽空,而且值得注意的是,米尔斯坦把它作为他1986年7月17日在斯德哥尔摩的最后一场独奏会的一部分,当时他已经82岁了,几乎令人难以置信:  

In 1989 Milstein suffered a bad fall at home and sustained an injury to his right arm which precluded him from ever playing again. Visiting him at home during his recuperation, Milstein’s celebrated colleague and devoted admirer Pinchas Zukerman asked Milstein what the secret of his playing was – ‘not spoiling the mood’ came the disarming reply. Calmly accepting the situation, Milstein turned his attention instead to a series of violin transcriptions, which encapsulate the exquisite taste and style that had characterised his entire playing career. ‘His violin belonged to his body no less than his arms and legs,’ Piatigorsky once memorably observed. ‘Nathan could be only what he was: a marvellous violinist.’


1989,米尔斯坦在主场摔得很厉害,右臂受伤,他再也不能上场了。在休养期间,米尔斯坦的著名同事和忠实的崇拜者品查斯·祖克曼(Pinchas Zukerman)在家中拜访了他,问米尔斯坦他演奏的秘诀是什么--“没有破坏情绪”的回答让人心烦意乱。米尔斯坦平静地接受了这种情况,转而把注意力转向一系列小提琴抄写,这些作品概括了他整个演奏生涯中的精致品味和风格。“他的小提琴属于他的身体不亚于他的胳膊和腿,”皮亚蒂戈斯基曾经记忆深刻地观察到。“内森只能是个了不起的小提琴家。”







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