Kazuki Yamada and the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra open the 2022-23 season with a programme of favourites – Berlioz’s Roman Carnival Overture, Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto and Dvořák’s Symphony No 9. The guest artist is the highly acclaimed young violinist Daniel Lozakovich.
Kazuki Yamada has been Music Director of the OPMC since the 2016-17 season, and with his recent appointment as Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra – a position which he takes up in spring 2023 – we can expect a closer collaboration between the two orchestras. As Principal Guest Conductor of the CBSO since 2018, Maestro Yamada has formed a close association with the ensemble. In 2019 he led collaborative performances of Mendelssohn’s Elijah in Monaco, and in 2023, the CBSO Chorus will return to the Principality for a performance of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana.
Twenty-two year-old violinist Daniel Lozakovich has a glittering career before him. His tone, says the Hamburger Abendblatt, “… resonates with the Romantic warmth of such forebears as Christian Ferras or Jascha Heifetz”, the Boston Globe praised his “poise, tonal purity, and technique to spare”, and – following a performance at the Verbier Festival – Le Figaro wrote of his “Perfect mastery. An exceptional talent”.
Mr Lozakovich has performed with major orchestras such as the Boston Symphony, the Orchestre National de France, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the Orchester der Komischen Oper Berlin and the Konzerthausorchester Berlin. He is also a regular guest at international music festivals such as the Gstaad Menuhin Festival, the Progetto Martha Argerich in Lugano, the Gergiev Festival in Rotterdam, the Baltic Sea Festival Stockholm’s Berwaldhallen, the White Nights Festival in St Petersburg, the Festival de Pâques – Aix-en-Provence and the Tanglewood Music Festival.
He obviously has an affinity for the music of Tchaikovsky – whose Violin Concerto he will perform at this concert – as his latest release for Deutsche Grammophon in 2019 bears the title None but the Lonely Heart, in which he explores masterpieces by Tchaikovsky, including the Violin Concerto. Writing for the French record label Artalinna, Jean-Charles Hoffelé says: “With an incredible elegance, a luminous absence of the slightest Mannerism, this young man plays straight and slender, with a class that epitomizes the masterpiece of Tchaikovsky”.
Tchaikovsky wrote his Violin Concerto in 1878 and dedicated it to the violinist Leopold Auer who protested that it was “almost impossible” to play. Undaunted, the composer transferred the dedication to Adolf Brodsky who premiered it on 4th December, 1881, at a Vienna Philharmonic Society concert, conducted by Hans Richter. Unbelievably, the concerto wasn’t well received, provoking “violent controversy” (according to biographer Anthony Holden). It was particularly singled out for criticism by the Austrian critic Eduard Hanslick, which “wounded Tchaikovsky greatly”. Nevertheless, on the concerto’s first Russian performance – also given by Brodsky – on 20th August, 1882, both performance and concerto were warmly received, the Violin Concerto having retained its popularity to this day.
To open the concert, the OPMC plays La Carnaval Romain (the Roman Carnival) by French composer, critic and conductor of the Romantic period, Hector Berlioz. Best known for his 1830 Symphonie fantastique, the choral symphony Roméo et Juliette written in 1839, and the dramatic La Damnation de Faust from 1849, Berlioz initially intended his Roman Carnival Overture to be part of his score for the opera Benvenuto Cellini. The opera, however, was harshly criticised at its premiere in 1838 and was performed only twice during the composer’s life. The opera has since been revived, but the colourful Roman Carnival Overture has been well received since its premiere in Paris in 1844.
Czech composer Antonín Dvořák wrote his Symphony No 9 whilst director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York, hence its subtitle From the New World. He found it hard to settle in New York, and missed his homeland, nevertheless he did draw inspiration from the African-American spirituals that he heard whilst there. Although many musicologists have suggested that some of the melodies in the Symphony were based on these spirituals, Dvořák himself said that he “…. tried to write only in the spirit of those national American melodies”. The Symphony does however evoke memories of Bohemian, German, French, Scottish and other Old World melodies, and in expressing characteristics of both Old and New World, the Symphony was popular on both sides of the Atlantic. The work was premiered at Carnegie Hall on 16th December, 1893.
Kazuki Yamada conducts the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, and soloist Daniel Lozakovich, in the opening concert of the 2022-23 season on Saturday 24th September 2022 at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco.
Tickets may be reserved on the OPMC website.
Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto – biography of composer by Anthony Holden