Musically this concert was a real highlight! The versatile Wolfram Christ, long-time violist at the Berlin Philharmonic, founding member of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, soloist, chamber musician, teacher and conductor, took the baton in front of the superbly organised English Chamber Orchestra. Christ’s very dynamic conducting style was highly effective in these lively works, but also the slow moments were interpreted here in an elegant and balanced manner. Above all it was Wolfram Christ’s artistry that led the musicians to soaring heights throughout this concert […]
The International Regions Symphony Orchestra (IRO) left a lasting impression with Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto and Mahler’s Symphony No 1 on Friday in front of a capacity crowd at Lindenhalle. Led by Wolfram Christ the young highly talented players from Baden-Württemberg and its partner regions in Europe, America and Asia gave a superlative rendering of both works.
The longstanding Principal Viola of the Berlin Philharmonic and Professor at Freiburg Conservatory proved to be a superior conductor of first rank both in the Mozart as well as in the post-interval Mahler.
Here, Mahler’s natural sound world, interpreted clearly and precisely by the IRO, triggered thunderous applause.
(Schwäbische Ehingen 07.08.2018)
Thunderous applause for young, talented musicians ... a wildly acclaimed concert.
Wolfram Christ, who captivated through his energetic conducting using every fibre of his being, engaged and carried the musicians away with his passion for music.
Those who believed that the young musicians and their conductor Wolfram Christ had used up all their energy with their sparkling vigour in the first half were proven wrong. The project orchestra topped off this exceptional concert after the interval with a powerful and expressive account of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No 1 in D major. Their rendering of the sounds of nature, including flashing sunlight and happy birdsong, was breath-taking. Orchestra and conductor were in full command of Mahler’s ability to interweave bohemian folk songs with coffee house music, to interpret the French children’s song “Frère Jacques” with instruments from the lower registers as well to include the most distinguished symphonic writing, in a fascinating synthesis of professional perfectionism and bravery. The interpreters were, quite rightly, greeted with tumultuous applause from the audience at Ehingen’s Lindenhalle.
(Südwest Presse 07.08.2018)
The orchestra is in excellent shape. What distinguishes the ensemble from others is a clear and exquisitely lively and expressive sound. The art of phrasing is presented here with fluidity and great sensitivity. Christ's interpretation is direct and straightforward, yet at the same time elegant and highly sophisticated. Fluid tempi in Dvorak's Serenade for strings don't allow for false sentimentality - yet Christ explores the emotional depths of the work with as much sentience as discretion. Rather than placing all focus on the melodic lines Christ carves out the interrelations between the parts, to shine a light on the texture of the serenade.
(Badische Zeitung, Gero Schreier 05.12.2016)
[Brahms’ String Quartet No. 2 arr. for string orchestra] was an excellent choice in this programme, and I was impressed with Christ’s profound interpretation… The string players were in perfect harmony and unison. I deeply felt their empathy and devotion towards the conductor… He opened up new horizons for the Kansai Philharmonic.
His interpretation of Brahms’ Second Symphony was a culmination of the Maestro’s naturally sensitive skills. The climaxes were never forced and he created graceful moments by relaxing and letting the breeze through. The shaping of the last part was perfect. Christ here shared the secret to bringing delight.
(The Nihon Keizai Shimbun Newspaper, Kazuo Fujino 03.02.2016)
With great support from the conductor, the orchestra achieved a rare and special contrast in its dynamics.
Dvorak Symphony No. 7: Maestro Christ showed that he had a mature structural understanding of the piece in which his reading was coherent and expressive. Each signal that he gave was full of musical purpose. The overall performance was filled with freshness and directness of expression. Christ has brought such powerful leadership along with charisma to the orchestra. In this expansive work, the music was driven and full of vitality. At the end, maestro Christ and the players received a tremendous ovation from the audience.
(Bangkok Post, Jetta Naraya 06.07.2015)
The big choir produced a splendid volume of sound and Christ conducted with much animation and vigour.... Christ drew many grand sounds from the orchestra, with the horns in particularly fine form.
(Independent Online, Michael Green 24.03.2015)
Wolfram Christ took the orchestra at a brisk tempo throughout this long work and drew from the players an impressive, full-blooded performance. This was the authentic big sound that can only be produced by an orchestra in a concert hall, and the audience greatly appreciated it
(Michael Green, Artsmart.co.za 12.03.2015)
The orchestra is navigated securely through rapid changes in tempo and dynamics by guest conductor Wolfram Christ, who guides each individual section with energy, conviction and precision, and incorporates all orchestral movement in his direction. He encourages, restrains and conducts with sometimes with minimal and at other times the grandest of gestures. His ability to lead the orchestra with intense glances is particularly noteworthy.
(Kulturbuero Goettingen, Jasmin Büttner 13.02.2015)
Amongst all new releases on the occasion of CPE Bach's anniversary this recording of the six "Hamburg Sinfonies" sets an Exclamation Mark!
(Marcus Stäbler Neue Zürcher Zeitung 06.06.2014)
The Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra are obviously in good Hands with Wolfram Christ providing such lithe and exhilarating Performances that bring many rewards. These new Performances in modern instruments will appeal to many.
This is, hands down, the best version of these remarkable pieces yet recorded.
Wolfram Christ, famous as a solo violist and principal in the Berlin Philharmonic, whips the strings of the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra into a frenzy in the quick movements, and wrings every drop of expressive angst from the more brooding slow movements. Consider, for example, the adagio of Symphony No. 3, ostensibly in C Major, with its tritonal shrieks and desolate, almost expressionist harmonies. It's an amazing work, and this recording does it full justice. The opening of the B minor Symphony No. 5 offers an excellent example of how attractive, how modern, the music sounds when performed in this fashion.
The result is simply wonderful, and surely closer to Bach's intentions than more avowedly "authentic" versions if only because it's so much more musical.
Surely you will want to own this gripping, even thrilling disc.
Artistic Quality: 10
Sound Quality: 10
(Review by: David Hurwitz "Classicstoday" 18.01.2014)