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The News Paper Concert Review of Yngwie Concerto 15/June/'01



[Article from the Asahi Shinbun, June 17, 01 Edition] translated by Akira Sogabe

A "competition" betwen New Japan Philharmonic and Yngwie Malmsteen, a Swedish-born rock guitarist, was held Friday (June 15) night at Sumida Triphony Hall in Tokyo. Concerto Suite "Millennium" written by Yngwie was performed for the first time at a live concert. Here's the review by Takashi Yoshimatsu, a composer familiar with classical and rock music.

Staking the Future on the Cross-match
- NJP vs. Malmsteen the Roccker -

Reviewed by Takashi Yoshimatsu

Will orchestras survive the 21st Century?
Summarising rather roughly, we may say that, if it was the era of classical music until the 19th Century, the first half of the 20th was the jazz era and the second half was the rock era. Recent original compositions in classical style, however, has been stranded in a dead alley of "non-key music". And rock has already been over its golden age and is nearly expiring.
In this sense, the performance last night was what I should call a "cross-match" on which classical music and rock staked their future. On one side was the heavyweight champion from the heavy metal scene, "Shredding Malmsteen". On the other side was New Japan Philharmonic conducted by Taizo Takemoto. The main event was Concerto Suite "Millennium" consisting of eleven rounds (impressions).
Among the audience, there were quite a few young people who looked as though they were watching a pop concert or a pro wrestling match. And their shouting "Ing-waaay!" toward the stage produced an atmosphere pretty different than at ordinary orchestra concerts.
And resounding inside the hall were the hugely sounding (so-called extremely hardrockish) electric guitar, and the orchestra which was electrically amplified in order to counter the guitar. They reminded me of Goethe's comment on hearing Beethoven's Symphony, "What a huge sound! The ceiling is almost falling down!"
Nevertheless, the melodies sounding behind were unexpectedly ilaborate and classical. When Malmsteen himself had showed me his score before, the notes filled in it neatly with computer had been like ones from a baroque concerto. Playing its electric guitar part with a violine would make a classical-tasted violine concerto. But that's quite natural when you consider that he has been attracted to baroque music ever since he was a child and he started his music life with playing Paganini with guitar.
On the other hand, as he played shaking his long hair and his huge body like a friendly naughty boy, flood of his guitar sound overwhelmed us. Although at first some of the audience were embarrassed by the mismatch of orchestra and electric guitar, at last the fully-occupied seats turned into a scene of thunderous standing ovation.
While there are some squares and zombies who keep ignoring this kind of music saying "that's not in my category," this musician and this orchestra are carrying out a "stracture reform" looking for the future. Hurray for their bravery! Finally, this battle last night was won by Malmsteen's "gaburiyori"*. Will the orchestra take its revenge next time? Check it out.
Same performance is to be held Sunday (June 17) night at Bunkamura Orchard Hall in Tokyo, but the tickets to it have been sold out.

* Traslator's note: "Gaburiyori" is a technique of sumo wrestling that is "shaking, holding close, and forcing out". In this text, the writer seems to mean that Malmsteen first didn't drive away the orchestra but made a close approach to it, and then defeated it.

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