骑熊士订阅号 2020-10-14 12:49:49

eciphering Beethoven’s handwriting


Bärenreiter editor Jonathan Del Mar on working with Beethoven’s autographs  

致力于贝多芬手稿研究的骑熊士编辑Jonathan Del Mar教授

"Beethoven had such appallingly messy handwriting, didn't he - I don't know how anyone can read it!"  How many times have I heard that accusation directed against one of the greatest composers who ever lived?  True, many great works have been created despite truly terrible handwriting; Tippett, for example, when asked: "Michael, should this be an F or a G here?", would characteristically respond, "Oh, I don't know, love, do whichever you think best."  I would say the all-time worst handwriting was Janáček's; but perhaps Janáček scholars would defend their icon just as I do Beethoven.

“贝多芬的手稿笔记乱的惨不忍睹,不是吗?真不知道人们如何读懂它!” 多少次我听到这样的指责,矛头指向这位有史以来最伟大的作曲家。没错,很多伟大的作品正是在这些潦草的字迹基础上创造出来的。比如Tippett会问:“Michael, 这儿应该是F还是G?” 然后一般经典的回答是,“哦!我不知道,亲爱的,你认为哪个最好。” 就我个人而言,我认为 Janáček的笔记是最糟糕的;可是 Janáček研究的学者可能会反驳我说, Janáček那个年代使用的炭笔和贝多芬时候的一样糟糕。

Because, you see, Beethoven was actually incredibly accurate, methodical, and scrupulous.  All he demands, for a correct reading of his manuscripts, is time, patience, and a magnifying glass.  Given those three, you find that everything is absolutely precise, every detail is stipulated down to the last accidental and staccato mark.  Beethoven was obsessional about every tiny marking, sending correction lists to publishers on account of quite small details.  He would say: what does it matter if, when you hold the manuscript away from you, it looks messy?  All that is important is that everything is there, correct and legible.  And it is.  Beethoven's manuscripts are a miracle both of creative inspiration and of systematic organization; you can see in them both the white-hot heat of Beethoven's temperament and the cool, calculated pernicketiness of one determined that there should not be a single mistake in the printed score.  Because indeed: when the finished product dropped on to his mat, he opened it, and immediately saw a mistake, he would fly into a rage, and straight away write to the publisher insisting that the edition be withdrawn, or at least that every copy be corrected by them in Indian ink before it was sold.


I first got into Beethoven through my father, the conductor Norman Del Mar.  Why Beethoven, I am often asked?  Simple answer: for conductors, everything begins with Beethoven.  The Beethoven Symphonies are the ABC of the orchestral literature.  At my father's first conducting class of the year, all the new students would sit round in a circle, and he would ask the first: sing me the beginning of Beethoven 1.  Now you, the second movement.  And so on round the circle, until the Beethoven symphonies were exhausted, they would proceed to Brahms, and the sheep (those prospective conductors who knew their repertoire) were well and truly sorted from the goats.  So when he and I were looking at mistakes in orchestral scores, we would always start with Beethoven.  And since in 1984 there was still no reliable edition of the Beethoven Symphonies, we might as well start correcting those!  And he had one of the rare 1924 facsimiles of the Ninth, which we used to pore over together.

我第一次接触贝多芬是通过我的父亲,指挥家Norman Del Mar。为什么是贝多芬?我总是问他。非常简洁的回答:对一个指挥来说,一切应该开始于贝多芬。贝多芬的交响曲是交响乐曲目中的ABC。在我父亲那年的第一节指挥课上,所有的新生围坐成一圈,然后他要求第一个学生,把贝多芬的第一乐章唱给他听,现在你,唱第二乐章,接着按次序依次唱下去,直到他们唱贝多芬的交响曲筋疲力尽,然后他们又开始唱勃拉姆斯,”绵羊“(那些熟悉曲目并具有潜质的未来指挥家)一般都会表现很好,并很快从山羊群中筛选出来。所以,当我和父亲着眼于管弦乐乐谱错误订正时,我们总是从贝多芬开始。并且自1984年以来没有一份可靠的贝多芬交响乐版本出版,那么我们不妨开始纠正这些错误!并且他有一本罕见的1924年版的贝多芬手稿影印本,我俩经常拿来一起研究。

 So if you can get the original manuscript in front of you, and you have a week free, and a good magnifying glass, there is actually no problem.  But it is becoming increasingly difficult to get to see those original manuscripts!  And copies are treacherous: they will show you most of it, give you a good idea of roughly what the composer wrote, but if you need every single detail, they are never 100% reliable.  Even the best blown-up scan cannot show the necessarily three dimensions of a hole in the paper; one reputable edition of the 'Pastoral' sonata (op.28) shows one such as a staccato mark.  Beautiful colour copies are equally deceptive; with the cello variations WoO 46 I thought I was ready to go to print, but just did a final check with the original manuscript of every note, dot and slur, and found that what seemed to be a simple dotted rhythm (dotted eighth plus a sixteenth) was in fact double-dotted; both the second dot and the second flag (beam) were obscured by a rather dark stave-line.  And all other editions, even "urtexts", are to this day wrong in that bar.

所以,如果你手头有一份原始手稿,并且恰好你有一周可以自由支配的时间,还有一个上好的放大镜,那么尝试一下应该不成问题。但是有一点,原始的手稿正越来越难见到,而那些复印件大部分时候不可靠:这些复印件只能展现个大概,让你大概了解一下作曲家的作品,但是如果你需要每个细节时,它们从来不会100%准确。即使最好的放大扫描也不可能显示纸张上一个洞的三维尺寸。一个著名的“田园”奏鸣曲(op.28)的版本就有一个这样类似于段奏记号的例子。漂亮颜色的版本是具有欺骗性的;加上还附有大提琴变奏曲WoO 46,我觉得可以投入印刷了,但当我对照原始手稿最后一次检查每个音符,附加符号和连音符时,我发现一个普通的节点音符(复点八分音符加十六分音符)其实应该是复附点音符;第二个点和第二根线完全被深色的五线谱线遮盖。直到现在,大多数的版本,甚至一些“净版” 在这个小节都是错的。

More bizarre was the case of the cello sonata op.102 no.2.  There I started working with copies made from microfilm, and had my text ready.  Checking everything with the original in Berlin, I was brought up short: this is not an F, but an E!  How could I have got that wrong?  I had my copies with me; I looked back and forth, from E to F and back again, both as clear as day, the F in the copy on the centre of the line, the E in the manuscript right in the centre of the space.  Spooky.

最匪夷所思的案例是大提琴奏鸣曲op.102 no.2。我开始是使用胶卷拍摄的复印件校对版本,而且已经完成了版本的文字部分。最后要去柏林比照原始手稿作最终校对,校对中我突然停了下来,这里不是F,应该是E!我怎么可能会犯这种错误?还好我当时带了我的复印件;从E到F翻来覆去看了一遍,然后再回来看原始手稿,都一清二楚了,我复印件上的F落在了线上,而手稿上的E正好落在空白处的正中心。见鬼了。


The only lesson to be learnt from this is that for an edition to be reliable, it absolutely has to be done from the original manuscript.  Fortunately most librarians realise this, and grant serious scholars access.


本文由德国骑熊士出版社提供,John Zhang 翻译整理。

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