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文学鉴赏:The Second Test

2013-03-15 10:15
第二次考试 
何为 
著名的声乐专家苏林教授发现了一件奇怪的事情:在这次参加考试的二百多名合唱训练班学生中间,有一个二十岁的女生陈伊玲,初试时的成绩十分优异:声乐、视唱、练耳和乐理等课目都列入优等,尤其是她的音色美丽和音域宽广令人赞叹。而复试时却使人大失所望。苏林教授一生桃李满天下,他的学生中间不少是有国际声誉的,
但是这样 的年青而有才华的学生却还是第一个,这样的事情也还是第一次碰到。 
那次公开的考试是在那间古色古香的大厅里举行的。当陈伊玲镇静地站在考试委员会里几位有名的声乐专家面前,唱完了冼星海的那支有名的“二月里来“,门外窗外挤挤挨挨的都站满了人,甚至连不带任何表情(1)的教授们也不免暗暗递了个眼色。
按照规定,应试者还唱一支外国歌曲,她演唱了意大利歌剧“蝴蝶夫人”(2)中的咏叹调“有一个良辰佳日” (3),以她灿烂的音色和深沉的理解惊动四座,一向以要求严格闻名的苏林教授也不由颔首表示赞许,在她严峻的眼光下,隐藏着一丝微笑。大家都默无一言地注视陈伊玲:嫩绿色的绒线上衣,一条贴身的咖啡西裤,宛如春天早晨一株亭亭玉立的小树。众目睽睽下,这个本来笑容自若的姑娘也不禁微微困惑了。 
复试是在一星期后举行的。录取与否都取决于此。这时将决定一个人终生的事业。经过初试这一关,剩下的人现在已是寥寥无几;而复试将是各方面更其严格的要求下进行的,本市有名的音乐界人士都到了。这些考试委员和旁听者在评选时几乎都带着苛刻的挑剔神气。但是全体对陈伊玲都留下这样一个印象:如果合乎录取条件的只有
一个人,那么这唯一的一个人无疑应该是陈伊玲。 
谁知道事实却出乎意料之外。陈伊玲是参加复试的最后一个人,唱的还是那两支歌,可是声音发涩,毫无光彩,听起来前后判若两人。是因为怯场、心慌,还是由于身体不适,影响声音?人们甚至怀疑到她的生活作风上是否有不够慎重的地方(4)!在座的人面面相觑,大家带着询问和疑惑的眼光举目望她。虽然她掩饰不住自己脸上的
困倦,一双聪颖的眼睛显得黯然无神,那顽皮的嘴角也流露出一种无可诉说的焦急,可是就整个看来,她通体是明朗的,坦率的,可以使人信任的;仅仅只因为一点意外的事故使她遭受挫折,而这正是人们感到不解之处。她抱歉地大家笑笑,于是飘然走了。 
苏林教授显然是大为生气了。他从来认为,要做一个真正为人民所爱戴的艺术家,首先要做一个各方面都能成为表率的人,一个高尚的人!歌唱家又何尝能例外!可是这样一个自暴自弃的女孩子,永远也不能成为一个有成就的歌唱家!他生气地侧过头去望向窗外。这个城市刚刚受到一次今年最严重的台风的袭击,窗外断枝残叶狼藉满
地,整排竹篱委身在满是积水的地上,一片惨淡的景象。 
考试委员会对陈伊玲有两种意见:一种认为从两次考试可以看出陈伊玲的声音极不稳固,不扎实(5),很难造就;另一种认为给她机会,让她再试一次。苏林教授有他自己的看法,他觉得重要的是为什么造成她先后两次声音悬殊的根本原因,如果问题在于她对事业和生活的态度,尽管声音的禀赋再好,也不能录取她!这是一切条件中
的首要条件! 
可是究竟是什么原因呢? 
苏林教授从秘书那里取去了陈伊玲的报名单,在填着地址的那一栏上,他用红铅笔划了一条粗线。表格上的那张报名照片是一张叫人喜欢的脸,小而好看的嘴,明快单纯的眼睛,笑起来鼻翼稍稍皱起的鼻子,这一切都好像是在提醒那位有名的声乐专家,不能用任何简单的方式对待一个人——一个有生命有思想有感情的人。至少眼前
这个姑娘的某些具体情况是这张简单的表格上所看不到的。如果这一次落选了,也许这个人终其一生就和音乐分手了。她的天才可能从此就被埋没。而作为一个以培养学生为责任的音乐教授,情况如果是这样,那他是绝对不能原谅自己的。 
第二天,苏林教授乘早上第一班电车出发。根据报名单上的地址,好容易找到了在杨树浦(6)的那条僻静的马路,进了弄堂,蓦地不由吃了一惊。 
那弄堂里有些墙垣都已倾塌,烧焦的栋梁呈现一片可怕的黑色,断瓦残垣中间时或露出枯黄的破布碎片,所有这些说明了这条弄堂不仅受到台风破坏,而且显然发生过火灾。就在这灾区的瓦砾场上,有些人大清早就在忙碌着张罗。 
苏林教授手持纸条,不知从何处找起,忽然听见对屋的楼窗上,有一个孩子有事没事地(7)张口叫着: “咪——咿——咿——咿——,吗——啊——啊——啊——”仿佛歌唱家在练声的样子。苏林教授不禁为之微笑,他猜对了,那孩子敢情就是陈伊玲的弟弟,正在若有其事地学着他姊姊练声的姿势呢。 
从孩子口里知道:他的姊姊是个转业军人,从文工团回来的,到上海后被分配到工厂里担任行政工作。他是个青年团员,——一个积极而热心的人,不管厂里也好,里弄也好,有事找陈伊玲准没有错!还是在二三天前,这里附近因为台风而造成电线走火,好多人家流离失所,陈伊玲就为了安置灾民,忙得整夜没有睡,终于影响了嗓
子。第二天刚好是她去复试的日子,她说声“糟糕”,还是去参加考试了。 
这就是全部经过。 
“瞧,她还在那儿忙着哪!”孩子向窗外扬了扬手说,“我叫她!我去叫她!” 
“不。只要告诉你姊姊:她的第二次考试已经录取了!她完全有条件成为一个优秀的歌唱家,不是吗?我几乎犯了一个错误!” 
苏林教授从陈伊玲家里出来,走得很快。是的,这天早晨有什么使人感动的东西充溢在他胸口,他想赶紧回去把他发现的这个音乐学生和她的故事告诉每一个人。 
The Second Test 
He Wei 
Professor Su Lin, a well-known expert on vocal music, found something very puzzling. Twenty-year-old girl Chen Yiling from Chorus Training Class of more than 200 students had come out exceedingly well in the preliminary test, scoring high marks in vocal music, sightsinging ear training and music theory. Her beautiful tone color and broad range, in particular, won high praise. But, to the great disappointment of everybody, she failed the second test. The professor, who had trained a large number of students, many of them now of international fame, had never seen a young girl with a brilliant talent. And the above strange happening was something he had never known before. 
The preliminary test took place in a specious hall of antique style. Chen Yiling stood calmly before the eminent vocal music experts on the Test Committee. When she finished singing Xian Xinghai’s famous When February Comes, throngs of listeners could be seen standing entranced outside the doors and windows, and even the professors, who usually wore an air of casual indifference, could not help exchanging knowing looks at one another. 
And it was required of each candidate to sing a foreign song as well, Chen sang the aria Un bel di from the Italian opera Madama Butterfly. The audience were amazed by her splendid tone color and deep comprehension. Even Professor Su, known for his strict demands, also nodded his approval, his stern eyes twinkling with delight. Chen, wearing a light green woollen sweater and close-fitting brown trousers, stood there like a graceful tree on a spring morning. However, under the silent stare of so many eyes, the smiling girl appeared somewhat ill at ease. 
The second test came to pass a week later. The result of this test was to determine each candidate’s fate-accepted or otherwise, and what his or her future career would be like. With most of the candidates already eliminated by the preliminary test, this second test was even more demanding in every respect. All celebrated local musicians were present. During the test almost all Test Committee members and visitors wore a harsh and nitpicking look. Nevertheless, they were all under the impression that all the remaining candidates Chen would undoubtedly be the last one to fail the second test. 
Unfortunately, the result was contrary to everybody’s expectation. When Chen’s turn came last, she sang the same two songs, but her voice was unpleasant and utterly lackluster as if she were no longer her old herself. Was it due to stage fright, nervousness or indisposition? People even suspected some sort of impropriety in her private life. They stared at each in speechless despair and eyed her questioningly. Weariness was written all over her face. Her bright eyes now looked dejected and dull. And the corners of her otherwise playful mouth wore an expression of unspeakable anxiety. But, as a whole, she was bright, candid and trustworthy. People just could not understand what little accident, if any, had been the cause of her frustration. She smiled apologetically and disappeared out of the room. 
Professor Su was obviously upset. He had always believed that to win people’s genuine love and esteem, an artist must first of all be exemplary in every way, first of all a noble-minded person. A singer was of course no exception. But a girl like Chen, who had no urge for self-improvement, would never become a successful singer. He turned in anger to look out of the window. The city had just been hit by the worst typhoon of the year. The ground outside was strewn with broken twigs and dry leaves. Fallen bamboo fences on the sodden ground. What a pitiful sight! 
The Test committee were divided in their opinions about Chen. Some held out little hope of her achieving success as a vocalist, saying that the two tests had shown her voice far from able to hold its own. Others wanted to give her an opportunity for another try. 
Professor Su, however, had a view of his own. He thought it important to find the root cause of her failure in the second test. He maintained that if her failure was due to her questionable attitude towards her career and life, she should on no account be admitted no matter how highly gifted she was. That, he said, should be the first and foremost of all things to be considered. 
Now what on earth was the cause of her failure? 
Professor Su got Chen’s application form for enrollment form his secretary and underlined in red pencil the address she had put down on it. The photo attached to the form showed a very cute face with a pretty little mouth, lucid guileless eyes and a nose which would pucker up a little bit whenever she smiled. All that seemed to warn the professor against treating a person in a simplistic way—a person alive with thought and emotion. 
There must be certain practical aspects of the young girl which the simple application form made no mention of. Her failure to pass the second test might mean her life-long divorce from music and hence a permanent stifling of her musical talent. Should that be the case, the professor, whose duty it was to foster young musical talents, would never forgive himself. 
The next morning, Professor Su took the first tram of the day. Thanks to the address given on the application form, he finally managed to find the secluded street in Yangshupu. 
The moment he stepped into the lane, he was taken aback by what he saw. 
There were broken walls, charred beams of a ghastly black and scorched rags here and there among debris—all telling of the destruction wrought by the recent typhoon and the ensuring fire. Since early in the morning, some people had already been busying themselves amongst the rubble. 
Professor Su, with a slip of paper in hand, was wondering where to find the address when all of sudden he heard a child crying out randomly from an upstairs window of the opposite building, like a singer practicing his voice: “Mi—yi—yi—yi—, ma—ah—ah—ah—” The professor could not help smiling. He guessed right that the kid was Chen’s younger brother affectedly parroting his elder sister’s voice. 
The professor then learned from the child that his elder sister Chen, ex-member of the PLA art troupe, was now on the administrative staff of a factory after being transferred from the army to civilian work in Shanghai. As a Youth Leaguer, she was enthusiastic and earnest. Whenever the factory or her neighborhood was in need of some help, she was always considered the right person to approach. Just a couple of days before, the neighbor- hood had caught fire as a result of electric wire sparking caused by the typhoon. 
Consequently, many families were left homeless. Chen spent a sleepless night caring for the disaster victims, which in turn affected her voice. The next day, when it occurred to her that it was the very day for the second test, she blurted out, “Oh, my!” Yet, she went to the test all the same. 
That was the whole story. 
“Look, she’s still busy working over there!” exclaimed the child from the window, gesticulating with his raised hand. “Let me call her! I’ll go and call her!” 
“No, don’t. But just tell your sister that she’s been admitted after passing the second test! She has every qualification for being a superb singer, hasn’t she? I’ve almost made a mistake!” 
The professor walked away from Chen’s house, and that very quickly. Yes, his bosom swelling with a thrill, he wanted to hurry back to let everybody know of the music student he had discovered and the whole story about her. 
注释 
《第二次考试》是散文家何为(1922- )的前期代表作,1956年12月26日在《人民日报》上发表后,立刻博得好评。此文以情节取胜,构思精巧,是一篇成功之作。 
(1)“不带任何表情”意即“表情冷漠”,现译为wore an air of casual indifference。 
(2)“蝴蝶夫人”为意大利著名歌剧作曲家普契尼(Giacomo Puccini)的作品,共三幕,于1904年2月17日在意大利米兰首演。原名为Madama Butterfly或Madame Butterfly。 
(3)“有一个良辰佳日”为意大利歌剧《蝴蝶夫人》中的著名女高音独唱曲。原名为Un bel di或Un bel di vedremo。另一中文译名为《晴朗的一天》。 
(4)“她的生活作风上是否有不够慎重的地方”指“她在私生活方面恐有不够检点之处”,故译为some sort of impropriety in her private life,其中impropriety意为“不正当的行为”或“不合适的举止”。 
(5)“声音极不稳固,不扎实”译为her voice far from able to hold its own, 其中to hold its own是习语,意为“维持原有的状态”或“不衰退”。 
(6)“杨树浦”位于上海市东北部,濒临黄浦江,旧时为贫民区。 
(7)“有事没事地”意即“任意地”或“胡乱地”,故译为randomly。 

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