Bachfantasier

Alle husker åpningen av Fantasia (1940, Walt Disney produksjon). En dirigent kommer inn i silhuett og begynner å dirigere et usynlig orkester, og ut kommer en orkestrert utgave av Johann Sebastian Bachs Toccata og fuge i d-moll:

Dirigenten er Leopold Stokowski, og det er også hans arrangement, eller adaptasjon, av Bachs orgelstykke. Jeg ble minnet om det i lesningen av Peter Szendys Listen: A History of Our Ears, der han skriver:

“One of my most fascinating listening experiences is listening to an orchestration or transcription of a work that I think I know well. Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor, for instance. To say that I know it is an understatement. I could, like many others, whistle or sing pages and pages of it. And yet, what a surprise, the day I listeed to it in Stokowski’s orchestration! You can say what you like about it: that it is kitsch, that it turns Bach’s organ into music for costume drama … Perhaps. But what fascinates me is the unique experience of listening to such an arrangement: my ear is continually pricked up, torn between the actual orchestra and the imaginary organ that keeps superimposing itself like the shadow of a memory. I hear, inseparably, both the organ screened by the orchestra and the orchestra screened by a phantom organ. That, I think, is the strenght of every arrangement: we are hearing double.”

Dette gjelder selvsagt ikke bare arrangmenter, og jeg er sikker på at mange av bloggens lesere vil kjenne igjen en slik tanke fra lytting til coverversjoner. Jeg synes også det er interessant hvordan Szendy finner noe interessant i Stokowskis arrangement på tross av at han vet hvor “omstridt” arrangementet er. Selv det å arrangere Bach kunne jo være grunnlag for spørsmål, noe Szendy også kommer inn på:

“It is strange that, in 1962, during the era of mass recording, Stokowski can declare that, in order to spread Bach’s organ work, we have to pass it through a transcription for organ. Strange, too, for our ears paralyzed by authenticity, that he can think he has transmitted, with such a swollen orchestration, the ‘same impression’ as the original. One is reminded more of Hollywood, or of Disney (in fact, it is this orchestration that Stokowski directed for the soundtrack of the famous Fantasia). In any case, no one today would go so far as to argue that it is the ‘same message’, the ‘same inspiration’ as in Bach.”

Og det har Szendy sikkert rett i, men hva med Stokowski? Her blir det mer interessant, og Szendy har mye å si om arrangører og hvordan en musikkhistorie med fokus på arrangører nettopp ville kunne bli en historie som tar lyttingen inn på en helt annen måte. En arrgangør gir nettopp sitt publikum innblikk (vel, “innhørsel” skulle det vel stå) i sin egen lytting. Samtidig fjerner arrangøren seg, i det minste delvis. Som Szendy skriver:

“Whatever the case, Stokowski the arranger hides behind respect. He crosses out his own signature by erasing himself, pretending that he is only rendering a service. In this, he joins the chorus of all those who, in arrangement, see above all a function in the service of the original, which he is often summoned temporarily to replace.”

Her er ikke Szendy enig. Arrangementet er en oversettelse, men inneholder nettopp dermed også alle oversettelsens attributter. Den er mer enn og noe annet enn “originalen.”

Problematikken om Stokowskis arrangementer finnes også i Glenn Goulds tekster. I “Stokowski in Six Scenes” (originale publisert i Piano Quarterly i 1977-78) skriver han om Bach-transkripsjonene, og om fortolkning:

“It didn’t matter that my colleagues rambled on about Stokowski’s eccentricities and deviations from the text an then segued to an account of Toscanini’s latest metronome steeplechase; for me, Stokowski had already redefined the role of the interpreter.”

I en annen tekst, “The Record of the Decade” (fra 1968), der Gould skriver om Walter Carlos’ Switched-On Bach, fletter han sammen enda flere Bachfortolkninger:

“But it’s the sounds which recall no particular experience that underline what I take to be Carlos’s prime motivation – a utilization of the available technology to actualize previously idealized aspects of the world of Bach. Now this may well be just the sort of argument Stokowski would use to justify his orchestral inflation of the organ works, and even Anton Webern would probably have claimed he was seeking a comtemporary look for Bach as he set about pointillistically dissembling A Musical Offering’s last fugue.”

Dermed kommer også Anton Weberns orkestrering (fra 1934-35) av den seksstempte fugen fra Musikalischs Opfer inn, et stykke jeg alltid har vært svak for, og et stykke der Bach gjennom orkestrering nettopp lyder som Webern:

Bevegelsen fra Webern over Stokowski til Carlos viser åpenbart fram “Bach.” Og om vi tar Szendys innsikter i lyttingen og arrangørenes rolle for musikken inn, er det muligens også Bach. Fantasier eller skygger spiller her mindre rolle.

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