神童から成熟した音楽家へルース・スレンチェンスカの初来日によせて
English
岩崎 淑
(ピアニスト、桐朋学園大学院大学教授)

台湾での出会い
2003年1月20日、私は弟の洸(チェリスト)と共に台北のジュリアード音楽院の同窓会に招かれた。ハウスコンサートに出演し、同窓生たちとシューベルトの《ます》などを演奏した。

会の途中に「ピアニスト、スレンチェンスカさんがお見えになっています。ここで1曲弾いていただきましょう」とアナウンスがあった。聴衆の中から現れた150cmの小柄な老婦人はピアノの前に座ると、ショパン《エチュード》作品25-1と作品25-12を演奏された。作品25-12では力強く、フォルテと音楽的な流れでぐいぐいと引きこんでいくタッチに圧倒された。「すばらしい」と誰もが立ち上がって拍手した。78歳の彼女は、台北の東呉大学音楽学部に1年間の客員教授として招かれ台湾に在住していた。私の恩師が師事したイザベル・ヴァンガロヴァに彼女は学んだという。彼女のすばらしいテクニックはヴァンガロヴァ流なのか、とただ驚くばかりだった。

初来日のコンサートで
台湾でのコンサート後、その演奏に深く感動した三船文彰氏が、岡山の自宅に建てたプライベートホール(劉生容記念館)に彼女を招き、2003年4月6日コンサートを開いた。彼女の初来日となった。

コンサート当日の朝、私は彼女のリハーサルを聴いた。ペダルはなく、メトロノームでゆっくりとしたテンポで弾き始め、少しずつテンポをあげていく。これを丁寧に繰り返し行うので、必然的に時間を要する。私はその忍耐強い丹念な練習振りに驚嘆させられた。

その夜のコンサートでは、ラフマニノフの《前奏曲》、ベートーヴェンの《ソナタ「ワルトシュタイン」》、プロコフィエフの《束の間の幻影》、ショパンの《即興曲》全4曲、ショパンの《バラード第1番》と《エチュード》2曲を披露した。とても78歳とは思えないテクニックだ。小柄な体から発する強力なタッチは想像もできないほどで、音楽は生きいきと躍動し、また精神が安まるような緩い部分が耳に沁み入る音色の連続だった。コンサート前の昼食時、私は彼女にインタビューを試み、大変な師に学ばれていたことを知った。

巨匠に出会い、学ぶ〜シュナーベル、コルトー、バックハウス、ラフマニノフ〜
「私は一番よかった自分としか比較しません。もし今日の出来がよかったのなら次はもっとよくなるはず」。この言葉からもわかるように、彼女は多くの巨匠と出会うなかで、最大限に努力を続けてきたのだと思う。
    
岩崎淑さんとルース女史

2003年4月岩崎淑さんと日本(岡山)で再会
5歳でカーティス音楽院に入学しヴァンガロヴァとホフマンに師事。6歳でベルリンに移り、アルトゥール・シュナーベルらに学んだ。シュナーベルが最も重視したのはベートーヴェンのフィンガリングだという。「常に易しく弾けることは必ずしもよくない、いつも音楽的でなければいけない」と。7歳から14歳までをパリで過ごし、アルフレッド・コルトーに学んだ。「腕をまわして弾くことができればどんなピアノでも美しい音が出る」と、コルトーより手首のテクニックを習得。バックハウスには6回のレッスンを受けた。しかし、当時のシュナーベルはバックハウスのライバルだったためシュナーベル版を否定、ベートーヴェンの原曲版で弾くように言われたそうだ。
ラフマニノフの代役としてリサイタルを成功させたのが9歳のとき。そのことに驚いたラフマニノフに呼ばれ、9歳と10歳の2回の夏にパリでレッスンを受けたという。「茹ですぎたスパゲッティのような指」と指摘され、毎日8時間練習するように言われたそうだ。

その練習というのが、第1音から第2音、第3音と順次アクセントの位置をかえて、ゆっくりと弾き始め、左右の指の音の確実性を高めていくシフティングアクセントという奏法で、一つひとつのアクセントを変えて弾くことによって各音がしっかりした音になるという。練習を続けることは非常にむずかしい。しかし彼女は「音楽家として一番大切なことは自分の感覚に忠実に従い、自分の弾きたい音が出せない限りピアノを離れてはならない」という。

ホロヴィッツとの親交
名演奏家との親交も深い彼女。殊にウラディーミル・ホロヴィッツとは21歳の年齢差があったが、終生友人としてつき合いが続いたという。

ある時彼女は、カーネギーホールで行うホロヴィッツの12年ぶりになるリサイタルのリハーサルに呼ばれた。ステージ上に並べた椅子に多くの友人たちを座らせ、なんと12日間もリハーサルを続けたそうだ。練習後ホロヴィッツはカードゲームを楽しみ、彼女と夫人はイタリアファッション雑誌を見たり、料理の話に花が咲いたりしたという。

余談になるかもしれないが、1962年、サンフランシスコ交響楽団の公演で彼女はソリストとして、ハチャトリアンが指揮者として出演することになっていたが、ハチャトリアンが都合で客演できなくなった。急遽、ブザンソン国際青年指揮者コンクールで優勝したばかりの小澤征爾氏に白羽の矢が立った。オーケストラ指揮者としての北米デビューとなった小澤氏の指揮はすばらしかったそうだ。

常に前をみること、前進せよ そして楽しみなさい、微笑みをもって
彼女のこれまでのキャリアから見ても、日本でコンサートが開かれていなかったことが本当に不思議なくらいだ。

78歳の彼女は、まさにすべてを極めていながらシンプルで自然体。そんな彼女だが、幼少から父親の耐えがたい練習、たとえば毎朝24曲のショパン《エチュード》を弾かなければ朝食を与えられない、ミスをすると平手打ちなど、ピアニストになるという課題のため精神的苦悩もあったのだろう、20代頃に音楽や演奏活動を拒否してしまった時期もある。そのような栄光と挫折を経て20代後半楽壇に復帰し、40代後半でまたそれまでの華やかなキャリアを放棄し、自分の芸術を極める努力をしてきた彼女は「一番むずかしいこと?それはどんな困難な状況下でもまだ『音楽が好き』でいられること。」という。彼女がここまで芸術家としての歩めをつづけてきたのは、この想いがつねにあったからだろう。

若者たちへのメッセージを尋ねると「常に前を見ること、前進せよ、そして楽しみなさい。いつも微笑みをもって」と。これらのアドバイスは、まさに貴重なものとなろう。

(「ムジカノーヴ」2003年7月号より一部改補筆して転載)

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From a Child Prodigy to a Mature Musician
By Mrs.Shuku Iwasaki, pianist, professor of Toho Gakuen Graduate School

Encounter in Taiwan
On January 20, 2003 my younger brother Kou (cellist) and I were invited to the class reunion of the Juilliard School of Music in Taipei. We also joined the home concert in playing Piano Quintet 'Trout' by Schubert and other pieces.
"Today, we have a precious guest of pianist, Mrs. Slenczynska. Let's request her to play upon the piano!" The announcement was made in the middle of the concert. A 150 cm tall elderly lady, who stood up among the audience, started performing Etude Op. 25-1 and Op. 25-12 by Chopin after she seated in front of the piano. We were completely overwhelmed with her powerful forte and irresistibly attracting musical touch. "Wonderful!" everyone stood up and heartily applauded. The seventy-eight-year pianist stayed in Taiwan at that time as an Associate Professor at Faculty of Music, Dong Wu University for one year. She said she learned from Jzabel Vangarova, from whom my former teacher also learned. We were much surprised at her wonderful technique, "Has she inherited it from Vangarova?"

Her first recital in Japan
Mr. Bunsho Mifune was deeply moved by her performance at the home concert in Taiwan. Mrs. Slenczynska was invited to the Liu Mifune Art Ensemble (a hall next to the Mifunes in Okayama) and her first recital in Japan was held on April 6, 2003.
In the morning of the recital I had a chance to listen to her rehearsal. Without using pedals, she started playing upon the piano with slow tempo alongside metronome, and the tempo gradually gets faster. Because this process is repeated thoroughly, it takes considerable time. I was truly amazed at her perseverance and diligence being loyal to the painstaking exercise method.
Prelude by Rachmaninov, Beethoven's Sonata 'Waldstein', Visions Fugitives by Prokofiev, all of four Impromptu by Chopin, Ballade No. 1 and two Etudes by Chopin - these works were performed at the recital in the evening. Her wonderful technique makes us hard to believe in the fact that she is seventy-eight years old. Her powerful touches from her small build are beyond our imagination. Her musical expression in full of life, the parts in slow tempo calm down our mind, and the whole of her performance is continuously full of moving touches. At the lunch table before the recital I personally interviewed her and came to know that her teachers were great masters.

Encounters with masters, and her learning - Schnabel, Cortot, Backhaus and Rachmaninov
"I only compare with the best of myself in the past. When I accomplished something good today, it should be better tomorrow." According to her words she must have done her very best efforts at every encounter with great masters.
Mrs. Slenczynska entered Curtis Institute of Music as she was five years old. Vangarova and Josef Hofmann were her teachers. At the age of six she moved to Berlin, and learned from Artur Schnabel and others. Schnabel attached the best importance to Beethoven's fingering. "It is not always good that one can play upon the piano easily. The performance should be musical at any time," commented Schnabel. As she stayed in Paris from seven to fourteen years old Alfred Cortot was her teacher. "If one could play on the piano rolling his wrists, every kind of piano sounds beautifully," taught Cortot. Thus, Mrs. Slenczynska learned the technique how to control her wrists. Backhaus gave her lessons six times. However, Schnabel was Backhaus' rival in those days and he refused to recognize Schnabel's edition, which was why she was taught to perform according to the original edition of Beethoven.
She was nine years old when she played as a substitute for Rachmaninov, and the recital obtained great success. Having been surprised at her, Rachmaninov invited her and she had his lessons twice in Paris in the summer of her nine and ten years of age. "Your fingers are like too much boiled spaghetti," mentioned Rachmaninov, and he advised her to exercise fingers eight hours a day. It is the shifting accent method. As for the accent, the first note, the second note and the third note - each time the accent will be shifted in order. At the beginning one should play slowly and each finger of both hands will be trained to play exactly. Thanks to this kind of training, each note can be performed substantially. It is very hard to go on with this exercise method. "It is the most important for a musician to be always loyal to one's sense. You should not leave from the piano until you are able to play the sound in the way you want to express," says Mrs. Slenczynska.

The friendship with Horowitz
She also forms enduring friendships with famous pianists. Vladimir Horowitz, for example, is older than her by twenty-one years. Nevertheless, a lasting friendship sprang up between them.
Once Mrs. Slenczynska was invited over to Horowitz' rehearsal at Carnegie Hall. In those days Horowitz had interrupted his performance for twelve years. He went on his rehearsal for twelve days! A lot of friends of Horowitz' were asked to sit on the chairs on the stage during the whole rehearsal. He also enjoyed card game after his exercise, while Mrs. Horowitz and Mrs. Slenczynska enjoyed looking at an Italian fashion magazine or their conversation was enlivened by cooking.
By the way, Mrs. Slenczynska was going to perform as a soloist for San Francisco Orchestra in 1962 under the baton of Khachaturian. However, it became inconvenient for him in the end. Suddenly Mr. Seiji Ozawa, who had just won the first prize at International Besancon Competition for Young Conductors (1959), was chosen to conduct. Mr. Ozawa made his debut as a conductor there. Mrs. Slenczynska highly praised his conducting.

Always look forward, march forward and enjoy wearing a smile
Thinking of her previous career, it is truly surprising enough that her recital has never been performed in Japan.
Mrs. Slenczynska is seventy-eight years old now; she has been in the pursuit of everything and yet she is quite simple and natural. The tyranny of her father in her childhood must have been unbearable. For instance, she could not have her breakfast until 24 Etudes by Chopin were played every morning or her father slapped her cheek for her mistakes. Therefore, there should have been her spiritual suffering in her task to be a pianist. As a matter of fact, she refused music or performing activities in her twenties. She again returned to the world of music at the second half of her twenties after having experienced glory and setback. However, she abolished her brilliant career once again at her second half of forties for the sake of pursuing her own art. "Do you mean what it is the most difficult thing? It is for me to love music evermore in any hard situations," says Mrs. Slenczynska. These words have to be the key why she has been as an everlasting artist.
"Always look forward, march forward and enjoy with a smile!" This is her message for the youth. How precious it is!
- Musicanova monthly, July 2003 issue, rewritten by the author

translator  Kiyoko Kruzliak

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