Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Concerts in Tokyo:

山田和樹指揮 モンテカルロ・フィルハーモニー管弦楽団 日本公演

Kazuki Yamada's masterful ability to create his own music while respecting the individuality of the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic

BY Kiwami Miyajima

Kazuki Yamada led the Monte Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, of which he is the artistic and musical director, on the first day of its Tokyo concert. Yamada’s abundant talent was on full display in a wonderful performance. Yamada is scheduled to make his debut with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra next June, and his most recent concert with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, one of the top orchestras in the U.S. (May 16-21), was a triumphant return to Japan after a successful first performance. He was not at all self-conscious about his music, nor about his mannerisms, and he captivated the packed audience with his unique music-making style, making the most of the virtues of the orchestra and the soloists.


The first half was all Beethoven, with the first piece, the overture to “Coriolan,” revealing the character of the orchestra. Since the Principality of Monaco is a French-speaking country, the style of the orchestra was also French. The orchestra was French in style, using a French bassoon instead of a German bassoon, and all the double basses were French bows. The inner voices of the woodwinds, which tend to be buried in the thick harmonies, reached my ears clearly, and I was reminded of the beauty of the overture to “Coriolan,” which I had not noticed before.


In the second piece, Piano Concerto No. 3, Mao Fujita’s delicate and flowing solo performance was flexibly adapted by Yamada and the Monte Carlo Philharmonic. The result was a performance that brought out the full appeal of Fujita’s piano, which is not bound by stereotypes. It was also interesting to note the unusual version of the cadenza (solo piano) in the first movement by Akio Yashiro.


The main work, Symphonie fantastique, was a dramatic performance full of ups and downs, with a wide range of volume and freely changing tempi with the use of many delicate pianissimos. The solos by the wind instruments were also eloquent. Yamada’s skill in converging the music to his own musical goal while respecting the characteristics of the orchestra was quite impressive. From the third movement onward, as the music progresses, the atmosphere becomes more and more devilish, and in the fifth movement, the piano is superimposed on the C (do) and G (so) bell tones to create an eerie atmosphere. Just before the coda, the tempo and volume were slowed down to further emphasize the eerie atmosphere, and the explosive finale was a masterpiece.

Yamada and Fujita respond to applause from the audience.

Performance data

Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Concerts in Tokyo

Monday, May 27 2024, 19:00 Suntory Hall

Conductor: Kazuki Yamada conductor     
Piano: Mao Fujita Piano
Orchestra: Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra

Beethoven: Overture “Coriolan” Op. 62
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No.3 in C minor, Op.37
Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14