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Violin Virtuoso Isaac Stern

2006-07-23 17:40

  Isaac Stern died on Sep.22 of complications1 from heart surgery at age 81. The legendary Stern was often described as " the supreme violin virtuoso2 of the 20th century" and by himself as " just a fiddle3 player" .

  Born July 21, 1920, in the fledgling4 Soviet Union, Stern and his parents moved to San Francisco when he was 10 months old. Believing that music was an essential ingredient to education, they started him on the piano when he was 6. Two years later, he picked up the violin, inspired by a friend's fiddling. At 16, Stern attracted his first national attention, performing the Brahms5 Violin Concerto6 in a nationally broadcast radio concert. The following year, he made his New York debut at Town Hall to mixed reviews. Afterward, Stern recalled in his memoir " My First 79 Years," he rode a bus to nowhere for six hours." I had hoped that my Town Hall debut would be the moment of breakthrough," he said. " Instead, the New York critics were telling me to go home and practice some more. …… And, riding that bus, I was asking myself repeatedly: Should I keep on trying?" He decided to practice. Six years later, on Jan. 8, 1943, he made his Carnegie Hall debut in a recital7 produced by the impresario8 Sol Hurok. " I played almost defiantly9, to demonstrate my skills, to show them all what I was capable of doing with the fiddle," Stern recalled. The performance attracted the attention of composer-critic Virgil Thomson, who in the New York Herald Tribune proclaimed him " one of the world's master fiddle players."

  A small——5 foot six inches tall——plump10, modest and witty man, Stern performed with the New York Philharmonic11 more than any other violinist in history. He was among the most recorded classical musicians in history, making well-over 100 recordings, including some that are considered THE definitive interpretations.

  He had a knack12 for discovering and cultivating13 the talents of succeeding generations. Among them: the violinists Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman and cellist14 Yo-Yo Ma.

  Ma recalled that it was Stern who introduced the then-9- year-old cellist to his teacher, Leonard Rose, some four decades ago. " He had an incredible impact on impressionable young musicians," Ma told, " He had such an incredible love for life…… It's such a joy to remember the way he would make music, with such love, with such passion."

  In the late 1950s, as New York City was planning Lincoln Center, a developer proposed razing15 Carnegie Hall, renowned for its fabled16 acoustics17. Stern mobilized18 his fellow artists and benefactors19, eventually securing legislation that enabled the city to acquire the landmark in 1960 for $ 5 million. " To me, Carnegie Hall is nothing less than an affirmation of the human spirit," Stern once said. " That, I think, is why it is necessary. Because Carnegie Hall is not just a building, it is a centrality of ideas, of imaginative experiments, of some failures and vaulting20 successes—— but most of all it is a place of people, of human beings. Carnegie Hall is the ' house that music built.' It is the ultimate symbol of the highest human achievement: great artistry."

  艾萨克·斯特恩于9月22日因心脏手术并发症逝世,享年81岁。具有传奇色彩的斯特恩常常被世人推为"20世纪最伟大的小提琴家",而他本人则称自己"仅是一个拉小提琴的".

  斯特恩于1920年7月21日诞生在新生的苏联,才10个月便随父母移居到美国的旧金山。老斯特恩夫妇相信音乐是教育的重要组成部分,在斯特恩6岁时,便开始让他学习弹钢琴。两年后,由于羡慕朋友拉小提琴,他也拿起了小提琴。16岁时,斯特恩在一场面向全国转播的音乐会上演奏了勃拉姆斯的小提琴协奏曲,首次赢得全国听众的青睐。第二年,他在纽约市政厅面对褒贬不一的评价首次登台演奏。演出结束后,他乘坐公共汽车漫无目的地闲逛了6个小时。后来,他在回忆录《我的最初79年》中写道:"我曾希望我在市政厅的首次亮相会是我走向成功的开始。"他说,"可是情况相反,纽约的评论家却叫我回家好好练练。…… 坐在公共汽车上,我不停地问自己:我还要继续尝试吗?"他决定继续练习。6年后,1943年1月8日那天,他在卡内基音乐厅首次登台演奏由演出人索尔·胡洛克主办的独奏会。"我毫无顾虑地表演,以此来证明我的能力,向他们展示我拉小提琴的技艺",斯特恩回忆说。这次演出引起了作曲家兼评论家弗吉尔·汤姆森的重视,他在《纽约先驱论坛报》上发表谈话,声称"斯特恩是世界小提琴演奏大师之一".

  斯特恩个头矮小,身高5英尺6英寸,体态丰满,谦逊机智。他和纽约爱乐乐团共同演出的场次超过历史上任何一个小提琴家。他是历史上录制唱片最多的古典音乐家之一,共录制了100多张唱片,其中一部分唱片被认为是对音乐最具权威的诠释。

  他具有发现后代音乐天才的慧眼和培养他们的诀窍。他发现和培养的音乐天才包括:小提琴家伊萨克·珀尔曼(以色列著名小提琴家,美国古典音乐名人堂成员)和平卡斯·楚克尔曼(当代杰出的以色列青年小提琴家)以及大提琴家马友友(YoYoMa,美国大提琴家,以演奏高难度作品而著名)。

  马友友回忆说,大约40年前,正是斯特恩将他(当时仅9岁)介绍给他的恩师,伦纳德·罗斯(全美排名第一的朱莉亚音乐学院著名音乐教授)。"他对敏感的年轻音乐家具有难以置信的影响力,"马友友说,"他热爱生活的程度简直令人难以置信。……想起他带着这样的爱,这样的热情从事音乐创作,真令人高兴。"

  在20世纪50年代后期,当纽约市筹划建造林肯中心的时候,一个开发商建议拆毁卡内基音乐厅,该音乐厅以神奇的音响效果而闻名于世。斯特恩动员他的艺术家同行和赞助商通过立法使纽约市在1960年以500万美元的代价保留下这座标志性建筑物。"对于我来说,保留卡内基音乐厅是对人类精神的肯定。"斯特恩曾经如是说。"我想这就是为何那样做是必要的,因为卡内基音乐厅不仅仅是个建筑物,它集中了不同思想理念,集中了各种富于想像的实验,既有某些失败也有值得夸耀的成功,但最主要的是,它是人民的场所,人类的场所。卡内基音乐厅是'音乐造就的殿堂'.它是人类最高成就——伟大艺术——的根本象征。"

  注释:

  1.complication n.[医]并发症,并发病

  2.virtuoso n.艺术名家,乐器演奏名手

  3.fiddle n.[口]小提琴

  4.fledgling adj.初出茅庐的,刚开始的

  5.Brahms ,Johannes勃拉姆斯(1833~1897,德国作曲家,代表作有交响曲4部及合唱曲等)

  6.concerto n.[音]协奏曲

  7.recital n.独奏会

  8.impresario n.演出人,主办者

  9.defiantly adv.挑战地,不服地

  10.plump adj.胖乎乎的,丰满的

  11.Philharmonic n.[口]爱乐团体

  12.knack n.本领,熟练技巧

  13.cultivate vt.培养

  14.cellist n.[音]大提琴手

  15.raze vt.拆毁,夷平

  16.fabled adj.神奇的,著名的

  17.acoustics [复]n.音响效果

  18.mobilize vt.动员,鼓动起

  19.benefactor n.赞助人

  20.vaulting adj.过于自信的

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