Yamashita chronicles

Kazuhito Yamashita
Kazuhito Yamashita

The Yamashita Chronicles by Matanya Ophee are a must read. These articles describe Yamashita's first appearances in the West and the subsequent politics which have probably prevented his wider recognition.

Some excerpts:

  • (re the 1984 concert) "both myself and my wife were presented with a reading of Musorgsky’s masterpiece which we could whole-heartedly embrace as an authentic representation of the spirit of Musorgsky. "
  • "... certain elements in English guitar circles have exhibited in the past a deep-seated prejudice against him."

Copyright © 2001 by Editions Orphée, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Read the entire article here: www.guitarandluteissues.com/rmcg/yamashta.htm

Yamashita in Concert, 1984

Matanya Ophee on attended a concert by Kazuhito Yamashita concert in Toronto, 1984.

 Kazuhito Yamashita

His astute observations provide crucial information to those who are interested in developing the art of guitar playing.

For example:

  • "One thing he must have learnt thoroughly... is to listen carefully to his own playing. That is, it seems to me, the reason he was able to develop this fantastic dynamic range."
  • "... Yamashita is something new, something sui generis. ... "
  • "as he sits down still bowing to the audience in the process, something unbelievable takes place right before your eyes. The shy little boy turns into a giant. Obviously, there is some internal process of concentration going on in the artist’s mind. The visual effect on the audience, perhaps not intended, is that we are made to partake in this transformation of the boy into a passionate and mature artist. "
  • "the powerful grip of a master musician is enough to dispel any preoccupations with one’s own convictions and prejudices. "
  • "in thirty years or so of attending guitar concerts, I have never seen an audience give a standing ovation to the artist right after the first piece in the program."
  • "... he is able to use speed as an expressive device, where and when required. This is the kind of velocity which is taken for granted in violin, flute and piano performance, and for the first time in guitar history, can also be heard in a guitar performance. "
  • "He selected the music first, and then set out to develops the technique required for its execution. Not being bound by blind allegiance to this or that school, this or that mythology, this or that cult figure, he was able to think through a whole new way of eliciting sound from the instrument."
  • "... if you are a free spirit, a free creative spirit who is determined to do your own thing, then you write music like Nikita Koshkin and Wolfgang Lendle, and play music like Kazuhito Yamashita"
  • Copyright © 2001 by Editions Orphée, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Read the entire article here: www.guitarandluteissues.com/rmcg/ophee.html

Kazuhito Yamashita plays the Bach Lute Suites

Yamashita: Bach Violin/Lute suites: BWV 1001-1006 - 2004
Yamashita: Bach Violin/Lute suites: BWV 1001-1006 - 2004

Kazuhito Yamashita plays the Bach Violin/Lute suites, BWV 1001 - 1006 (2004).

This is a truly revelatory recording of the famous Bach suites. Yamashita plays them with great energy and abandon, managing to bring out new sonoroties.

Adapted from the liner notes:

  • 1980 : Recorded Violin Partita No 2 and cello Suite No. 6 for RCA.
  • 1989: Performed complete Violin sonatas and Partitas over 2 successive nights at Casals Hall in Tokyo.
  • 1990: Recorded 6 Cello Suites and Partita for solo Flute and Lute Suites BWV 995 - 1013 for Nippon Crown... etc. etc. ... leading to this new transcription and recording in 2004.

Unfortunately (for me) most of the liner notes are in Japanese, which I cannot read.

Yamashita: Bach Violin/Lute suites: BWV 1001-1006 - 2004
Yamashita: Bach Violin/Lute suites: BWV 1001-1006 - 2004

Yamashita: Bach Violin/Lute suites: BWV 1001-1006 - 2004
Yamashita: Bach Violin/Lute suites: BWV 1001-1006 - 2004

Yamashita: Bach Violin/Lute suites: BWV 1001-1006 - 2004
Yamashita: Bach Violin/Lute suites: BWV 1001-1006 - 2004

By transcribing well known pieces of orchestral music for solo guitar he has encouraged a trend which could make classical guitar much more appealing and accessible to concert programmers and the general concert going audience.

Truly these transcriptions should have shaken up the world of guitar pedagogy, but this apparently didn't happen. I know they shook up my world, turned me upside down and forced me to reassess my whole approach to the instrument. A good part of the sleeve notes to my 2005 CD "Late Night Lovers" is devoted to this.

The Yamashita Chronicles by Matanya Ophee - is a must read - these articles describe Yamashita's first appearances in the West and the subsequent politics which have probably prevented his wider recognition.

 Kazuhito Yamashita

He has realised the idea of guitar as a "small orchestra" more literally and vividly than anyone before. The training as an "orchestral guitarist" began with his father Toru Yamashita, founder of the Nagasaki Guitar Orchestra.

Biography

1961 Born in Nagasaki.
Studied guitar under:

  • Toru Yamashita
  • Kojiro Kobune
  • J. Thomas
  • Narciso Yepes
  • Andres Segovia
  • Toru Takemitsu.

Member of the Nagasaki Guitar Ensemble.
Married and with children, he often performs and records with his wife and children, who, not surprisingly are very competent guitarists also.

He has released over 80 CD's! A true virtuoso in the "big sense" he has a huge repertoire which he performs both effortlessly and musically. He has recorded all the Guitar works of Sor, Giuliani, Ponce and most of the standard Classical guitar repertoire.