Chamber Music / 室内乐

  严格来讲,室内乐是一种适合于小房间而不是大型音乐厅的合奏曲。如果是在博物馆长廊里听音乐,而不是在广袤的有5000个座位的地方听,听者可能会发现自己更喜欢那种与弦乐四重奏曲对话的微妙感觉。这种用乐器演奏的音乐诞生于贵族兴盛时代(粗略地估算是在1500年到1800年间),后来,室内乐在宫殿或者庄园的某间屋子里演奏。从亨利八世时期的舞蹈作品到科莱利的小提琴奏鸣曲,文艺复兴时期的器乐和巴洛克器乐中一些不同的形式会适合这种室内乐。

  更确切地说,从1760年到现在,“室内乐”这个词谈到的是在交响乐团演奏期间小合奏时用到的音乐。最有特色的室内乐是弦乐四重奏曲,演奏乐器包括两种小提琴、中提琴和大提琴。弗朗茨·约瑟夫·海顿在十八世纪后半个50年里完善了这种室内乐。其它的室内乐还包括钢琴曲三重奏,像小提琴、大提琴和钢琴的合奏曲,钢琴五重奏包括弦乐四重奏加上钢琴的合奏曲。其它的群组演奏是两到八个或九个音乐家一起协作的。室内乐的分类一般是根据演奏者的数量而定的,像二重奏、三重奏和四重奏等等。莫扎特的弦乐四重奏深受海顿的影响,他甚至会用一套四重奏致力于先前的作曲家们。贝多芬把弦乐四重奏均匀分布到他的整个音乐生涯中。四重奏的最后五章通常被称为他“最后的四重奏”。听过贝多芬的第九交响曲的人,往往会感受到久违的喜悦。从十八世纪末起,对于有钢琴配音的独奏曲乐器,二重奏鸣曲成为了主要的室内乐流派。这种音乐当中,不乏有一些音乐会成名曲,譬如贝多芬的G大调小提琴独奏曲。

  在音乐创作中,浪漫的激进派作曲家如柏辽兹、李斯特和瓦格纳没有用到室内乐紧凑的基调。浪漫时期的室内乐作品大多数来自于那些继承了莫扎特和贝多芬的精髓并扩展的作曲家们。钢琴曲四重奏是将弦乐四重奏与一些十分浪漫的乐器结合起来的,这是一个结合得非常好的例证。最成功的例子当数以《鳟鱼》四重奏闻名的舒伯特、修曼和德瓦夏克。也许,十九世纪最著名的室内乐作曲家非勃拉姆斯莫属了,他的音乐天赋影响了一些富有开拓精神的继承人。

  室内乐在二十世纪经历了复兴阶段。也许是因为那些作曲家们当时急于把每一种音乐制作成自己内心世界的缩影,所以他们需要一种媒介准确地演绎自己当时的心境。安东·韦伯恩许多柔美的作品中有一种是最早吸收十二音方法的抽象作品,它包含了一些小组作品。像贝拉·巴托克的六首最唯美的弦乐四重奏和日本作曲家武满彻早期的“东方哲学音乐世界”一样,现代作曲家们的作品通常是在一个小小的帆布袋里诞生的.现在,在室内乐最具活力的创始人当中,圣弗朗西斯科创作了克罗诺斯四重奏,这组作品成就过大量的新作品。那些新作品中,许多并不是为交响乐或舞台乐而作的,而是为现在的室内乐小组音乐而作的。


Broadly speaking, chamber music is any ensemble music suited to a small room rather than to a large concert hall. Listeners may find themselves better attuned to the subtleties of musical dialogue occurring between the four members of a string quartet if they are hearing the music in a museum gallery rather than in a cavernous space with 5,000 seats. Since much of the instrumental music from the era of noble patronage (roughly 1500 to 1800) was written for performance in a room of a palace or estate, various forms of Renaissance and Baroque instrumental music, from dance pieces of Henry VIII's time to the violin sonatas of Corelli, might qualify as chamber music.

More strictly, the term "chamber music" refers to music for small ensembles written during the era of the symphony orchestra — from about 1760 to the present. The most characteristic chamber genre is the string quartet (two violins, viola, and cello), perfected by Franz Joseph Haydn in the second half of the eighteenth century. Other chamber music ensembles include the piano trio (violin, cello, and piano), the piano quintet (string quartet plus piano), and other groupings ranging from two to eight or nine musicians. Chamber works in general are often classified according to the number of players involved, as duos, trios, quintets, and so on. Mozart's string quartets were heavily influenced by Haydn's example, and he even dedicated a set of quartets to the older composer. The string quartets of Beethoven are evenly distributed over his entire career, and the last five, often referred to as his "late quartets," share the mystic quality of profound joy that many hear in the composer's Symphony No. 9. The duo sonata, for solo instrument with piano accompaniment, has been a primary household genre since the late eighteenth century and has spawned concert masterpieces like Beethoven's Violin Sonata No. 10 in G major, Op. 96.

Romantic radicals like Berlioz, Liszt, and Wagner had no use for chamber music and its restrained tone; the chamber music of the Romantic era came mostly from composers who extended the forms they inherited from Mozart and Beethoven. The piano quintet, uniting the string quartet with the quintessential Romantic instrument, proved a popular combination; magnificent examples came from Schubert (the "Trout" Quintet), Schumann, and Dvorák. Perhaps the greatest nineteenth-century composer of chamber music was Brahms, whose depth of musical thought influenced even his most experimental successors.

Chamber music experienced something of a resurgence in the twentieth century, perhaps because composers who were making each piece of music into a miniature sound world of its own wanted a medium that would display what they were doing with maximum clarity. Much of the slender output of Anton Webern, one of the early adopters of the abstract 12-tone method, consists of works for small ensemble. From the six perfectly rendered string quartets of Béla Bartók to the Eastern philosophico-musical world of Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu and beyond, modern composers have often worked on a small canvas. Among the most energetic promoters of chamber music in the present day has been the San Francisco-based Kronos Quartet, which has commissioned numerous new works, and more new works are written today for chamber ensembles than for orchestra or the stage.

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