Tabloid press and golden voices

Apr 29, 2017

The Württemberg Chamber Orchestra delights the Kornhaus audience – especially with its encore.

Ulm Rarely does a concert review start with an encore. However, during the fourth concert of the Württemberg Chamber Orchestra in the Kornhaus, Estonian conductor Risto Joost demonstrated that he is one of the most innovative young conductors in the world: ‘Kollane Meedia’, loosely translated as ‘tabloid press’, is the third movement of the concert for strings ‘Headline Hues’, composed in 2013 by the 23-year-old Estonian composer Jonas Tarm, and dedicated to the events of the Arab Spring. In this movement, the orchestra theatrically mimes the buzz of an exciting press conference.

Musicians rise from their seats, their instruments seem to ask questions and even the contrabass comes to the fore. Quietly, critical, excited or sometimes moping and nagging, the instruments imitate human voices. Truly this movement is a fascinating and dramatic piece of contemporary music. The passion of Risto Joost while conducting the Württemberg Chamber Orchestra in this unusual piece of contemporary orchestral music was equal to the passion the musicians displayed. Earlier on, Risto Joost, who is a conductor at the Estonian National Opera, principal conductor of the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, art director of the MDR radio choir and art director of the Philharmonic Association in Tallinn, had conducted Tchaikovsky’s string sextet ‘Souvenir de Florence’ with the same passion; after the final fugue, sweat was pouring down the face of the 36-year-old conductor from Tallinn: the fullness of the sound of the 40 minute musical piece prompted thunderous applause from the audience, which lasted for minutes. Elegiac cantilena, an air of Italy in the pizzicato moments and an allegretto moderato, to which Freddie Mercury must have reverted back to in 1975 for the Scaramouche part of the rock song ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ – Risto Joost guided the Württemberg Chamber Orchestra with fascinating energy through the work. In the first part, Joost introduced Estonian composer Heino Eller to the audience, with five romantic pieces for string orchestras. Eller is considered the father of Estonian orchestral music. Eponymous for the concert evening – ‘Stimmengold/Golden Voices’ – was the Hamburg soprano Mojca Erdmann, who breathed life into six songs by Schubert with her warm voice. In her white-golden evening dress she interpreted Goethe‘s ‘Gretchen am Spinnrade’ with convincing mime and gesture and brought to life the scenes of Matthias Claudius' ‘An die Nachtigall’/‘To the nightingale’ and Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart. Concert At the fifth concert by the Württemberg Chamber Orchestra this season, Sabine Meyer (clarinet) and Dag Jensen (bassoon) will perform as soloist on Thursday 18 May.