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|Other Titles:||The Ban on Music in the Jewish Religion Based on Psalm 137: How Did Charles-Valentin Alkan Circumvent It?|
|Author's alias:||MURAI, Yukirou|
|Journal title:||ディアファネース -- 芸術と思想 = Diaphanes: Art and Philosophy|
|Abstract:||Franco-Jewish composer-pianist Charles-Valentin Alkan published his piano setting of Psalm 137 along what is thought to be his own French translation in 1859. The psalm, where the psalmists refuse to sing the song of Zion under captivity on a foreign soil of Babylon, provided one rabbinical basis for the strict prohibition of music in diaspora synagogues. Its musical setting became a longlasting taboo which resonated into the mid-19th century Parisian synagogues halls, provoking stark arguments over the proposed installation of organs. In this paper, Alkan's musical setting, as well as the corresponding translation, was analyzed with respect to the following two diversions from the original text that the score displays, aiming to investigate how Alkan attempted to circumvent the prohibition: an instruction of cantabile placed at the refusal of singing, and an omission of two verses from the score. The former proved to be even bolder a diversion in light of the preceding authoritative musical setting of the Psalm by Salomone Rossi, where the refusal is mirrored in the temporary deletion of one voice and the absence of any instrumental accompaniment. Alkan's cantabile manifests itself following a culmination of emotions, not necessarily referenced in the original text, but is evidently present in Alkan's translation in the form of added punctuations. This implies a somewhat Rousseauian idea where music precedes language in emotion, the shared origin of the two according to the thinker that Alkan was familiar with. The omission of the two verses, where the psalmist declares he would curse his fingers and tongue if he forgets Jerusalem, corresponds to another peculiar aspect of the translation, where, unlike most of the contemporary translations, the "if" clauses are all in conditional présent. This may be interpreted as an attempt to quarantine the renunciation of the harps and singing behind a condition that is never to be fulfilled, thus invalidating the prohibition, which allowed Alkan not only to musicalize the psalm, but to animate it with beautiful renditions of harps and singing of intimate verisimilitude. These two devices of circumvention testify to the wide range of Alkan's free thinking, which covered perhaps the most authoritative book for a practicing Jew. More interesting is the fact that the two diversions do not agree in terms of their synagogal implications-the former being rather provocative to the temple while the latter caters well to its view on Jerusalem-, the two agree in terms of their attempts to rescue music from its long-placed prohibition. If so, his musical setting and the translation of Psalm 137 prove to be a reflection of Alkan, who, while struggling with his interpretation of the Bible, stayed consistent in being a musician to the very end.|
|Appears in Collections:||第5号|
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