Masterpiece Series 3 SHOSTAKOVICH 1


Yasushi Akutagawa: Music for Symphony Orchestra
Rodrigo: Concierto de Aranjuez (Xavier De Maistre, harp)
Shostakovich: Overture on Russian and Kirghiz folk themes, Op. 115
Shostakovich: Symphony No.1 in F minor, Op.10


The most well-known piece of this program is surely “Concierto de Aranjuez” (originally written as a concerto for guitar). But my twisted idea was to propose a version for harp and orchestra.
Outstanding harpist from France, Xavier De Maistre was a member of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Full of excellent tension and flexible musicality, our concert was a great success and the audience in Taipei praised us with a lot of energy.
To tell the true situation, Xavier changed his flight at the last minute because of a strike in France and had to participate in the first rehearsal with a heavy jet lag right after his twelve-hour flight. Also, it seemed like the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO, Taiwan) members played this concerto too long ago to remember the details (I guess their big hall is not suitable for music for acoustic guitar).
Therefore, the rehearsals were not smoothly done, and we played through the piece two times at the last dress rehearsal. That’s why our performance was a well-prepared one, in the end.
Or course, the two works by Shostakovich were completely new to the NSO, as the style of this composer is not fit for this country’s climate. So the rehearsals were tough.
The concert began with “Music for Symphony Orchestra”, a beautiful piece easy to understand. I conducted this music by Akutagawa many times with the Chiba Youth Orchestra.
As for the repertoire of the NSO, the most recent performance, for example, of Mahler’s 7th symphony and R. Strauss’ “Don Juan” was more than ten years ago. I had imagined an orchestra with a developed repertoire such as the Hong Kong Philharmonic, so I was surprised to hear that.
I was really glad that my friend Kenny Chen from the Hong Kong Philharmonic came to listen to the concert. I know him very well because he was a staff member at KAJIMOTO (Tokyo) and then at the Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa.
After the concert, I went to Tainan to visit the Hatta Dam. The bullet train was amazing (they maybe combined the French system and the Japanese system). Taiwan is easy to access, and the station was lively (I saw a “conveyor belt” sushi restaurant there).
By the way, it was the Japanese hydraulic engineer Yoichi Hatta who was responsible for the construction of this Dam, the best one in the East at the time. He made it before the war to enable a stable water supply for the huge plain of Tainan. Today, he is still adored by the Taiwanese people, as much as Takamori Saigo.
His beautiful wife Toyoki had and raised eight children with him. After the dam was completed, Mr. Hatta died onboard a ship attacked by the US Marines. Some years later after Japan lost the war, his wife refused to go back to Japan and killed herself jumping into the dam.
I’m wondering why she did it, as her kids were well……? This incident is very hard to swallow. Actually, I’m commissioning a Noh drama on this story to mourn for her. But I hope I don't put myself forward in that way……Any way, I’m looking forward to this new piece.


ショスタコーヴィチの魂が疾走する! 井上道義の才気が炸裂する! これぞショスタコーヴィチの真髄!


1冊でわかるポケット教養シリーズ 指揮者の世界