Concert Reviews

KZN Philharmonic Orchestra Durban

...Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 5 was given a splendid performance by the 26-year-old violinist Avigail Bushakevitz, who was born in Jerusalem ... The orchestra under the direction of the visiting German conductor Frank Cramer, were again in fine form. Mozart's graceful and effortless flow of melody was articulated with accuracy and style, and the results were warmly applauded by the audience. The concert opened with a spirited account of Weber's well-known overture to his opera The Marksman, and after the interval we had Mendelssohn's Symphony No 5 in d minor, (Reformation) in a fine and convincing performance.

Michael Green, Arts, March 28, 2014

KZN Philharmonic Orchestra Durban

...The composer (Henri Tomasi 1901-1071) makes expert use of the bright, metallic tone of the trumpet, and his music was given a brilliant performance here by the 29-year-old trumpeter Giuliano Sommerhalder. The orchestra was under the direction of the German conductor Frank Cramer, who has built up wide experience and a big reputation in Europe.Soloist, conductor and orchestra gave a compelling account of this sophisticated and attractive music, and they were rewarded with a prolonged storm of applause. The concert opened with the Oxford Symphony, No 92 by Joseph Haydn. It is exceptional music, especially the slow movement, and it was greatly enjoyed by the City Hall audience and, it seemed, by conductor and orchestra.Finally, we were given a big, emotional performance of the Symphony in D minor by Cesar Franck. Frank Cramer and the orchestra gave a committed, resonant and grand account of this symphony, the only one composed by Cesar Franck.

Michael Green, Arts, March 21, 2014

Korean Chamber Orchestra

Seoul International Music Festival 2013 was the performance of the Korean Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Frank Cramer, who in last minute stepped in for Charles Olivieri-Munroe. Cramer conducted masterly and virtuosos and presented an unusual and wonderful concert. The world premiere of "Wings II" by the Korean composer Choi, Myung-Whun worked out impressively touching, and also the sensitive and differentiated accompaniment of the soloist Denis Bouriakov by the Korean Chamber Orchestra under Cramer with the rarely heard flute concert in d minor by Khachaturian (original violin concert) was imposing. An excellent performance.

Kim, Seung-Yeol, The Journal of Music, July 2013

Jenaer Philharmony

New music – sensual and expressive | Jenaer Philharmonics take the risk

By the motto of European Expansion the Jenaer Philharmonics, on Wednesday, went beyond of the horizon. Lutoslawskis Concert for Orchestra surely belongs to the kind of literature which, by means of quality, made it to the Pantheon of the 20th century. And Frank Cramer at the conductors stand of the Jenaer Philharmonics lets the orchestra play the unique score nuance by nuance, tasting the contrasts and structural playfullness of the endless, depthfull piece and yet does not loose sight over the complete work …And the precision speaks volumes.Here – and first of all with the remarkable Memento of the Serbian Mihajlovic – the Jenaer again and again proof an astounding force and expressiveness in their sound.This piece also lives of it’s contrasts – dynamics, tempo and style.Cramer leads the orchestra to the extrem, this leaves an everlasting impression behind, which is quite rarely the case with contemporary pieces … A great evening.

Dr.Tatjana Mehner, Ostthüringer Zeitung, March 19, 2010

Philharmonic Orchestra of the Hanseatic City of Lübeck

Freshness, full of colors, and finesse

... J.Haydns Symphony Nr.101 D-major The Clock, then was a great transition and catalyst. Cramer - from now on conducting by heart - gave the symphony the approbiate swing... With Zoltan Kodálys Dances from Galánta, Frank Cramer demonstrated the best of a precise work with the rythmic finesses and made the colors of the orchestra glow. Now the Philharmonics could show their qualities from the dense sound of the strings to the artistic caprioles of the wind section...

güz, Kieler Nachrichten, January 20, 2009

Philharmonic Orchestra of the Hanseatic City of Lübeck

An adagio like a poem

With the young Frank Cramer a conductor, loaded with fresh energy,stood before the orchestra of Lübeck. He could combine his expressive strength with the rich opportunities of the soloist Oliver Triendl. What shining colors, already within the first expanded movement, what fullfilled, lovely silence in the lyrical second one...Enchanting moments, for instance when the adagio (Beethovens' 5th, piano concerto) from the piano was recited like a poem and the orchestra long windedly provided the background...And the encouraging Dances from Galánta by Zoltan Kodály, the musicians, using a great deal of percussion, created a fantastic rhythm. Delightfull...

WT, Lübecker Nachrichten January 20, 2009

Orchestra e Coro dell' Arena di Verona

VERONA SACRA | Great conductor and great orchestra

A brilliant interpretation by the German conductor Frank Cramer ... Outstanding the performance of the Orchestra dell’Arena with the Sinfonia da Requiem (Britten). Here, the German conductor Frank Cramer, succeeds with the most difficult task, to combine dramatic pleading with neoclassic calmness, with a brilliant and desisive interpretation, in examplary agreement with the composing mind Britten’s. Suggestive and moving, subsequently the second piece appears, Vetrate da Chiesa, quattro impressioni sinfoniche, which shows, how intense Respighis love was for the dense and at the same time sensitive coloring. The last picture, the one of Gregor the Great, is a real hymn of joy to God, which Cramer, in all its unusuall might, understands to convey. With the pieces of Pärt (Cantus in memory of Benjamin Britten) and Marco Tutino, who closes the evening with his Canto di Pace, Cramer urges into depth, developes an intimate and affectfull atmosphere, which is engraved by a thoughtfull and reserved performance. The Orchestre dell’Arena reacted very good to his suggestive gestures and especially showed evidence of the quality of its wind section and percussionists.

G.V. , L'Arena, April 21, 2008

Jena Philharmonic Orchestra

A Gem among the New generation of Conductors

Frank Cramer excites the audience in the Volkshaus Jena Who says there aren't any capable young conductors in Germany after all! When Frank Cramer entered the Volkshaus stage last Friday the audience saw a conductor who has exellent command of his craft. It is not only his reading of the scores, he can also bring them to life without the theatrical effects used by many a colleague intending to win over the audience that way. Cramer is an expert of high caliber and the Jena Orchestra was able to read his every gesture - the resulting sound not only confirmed once again the high standard the orchestra sets when it goes about its work, but also expressed the joy of making a new discovery that also mobilizes a musician's new energies. ...this creates seemingly endless dynamic waves in the Rachmaninov piece, which were even visible in Cramer's conducting. After the concert he was rewarded with waves of never ending applause. This is a name one should keep in mind. The Jena audience and concert lovers can only hope that in the future Cramer can be enticed into the Jena Volkshaus again.

Karl Müller Schmied, Ostthüringer Zeitung, 10 / 30 / 2007

Jena Philharmonic Orchestra

Wide Screen Cinema in Music

Jena Philharmonic Orchestra with 'European Hollywood' Above all this evening showed the amazingly compact ensemble sound and the powerful efficiency of the Jena Philharmonic Orchestra. It might not be concidered elegant that towards the end enthusiastic bravos sounded even before the finale trailed away and that Frank Cramer at the music stand broke the suspense, but it is highly understandable. Sergei Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances is definitely one of the works where light and easy only applies to the title; the score meets all requirements of a symphonic concert's main work and is by no means a piece of cake. Frank Cramer neither denies the brittleness nor the almost exaggerated wallowing attitude, the tendency to wide screen cinema. And regarding to his interaction with the Jena Philhamonic Orchestra, one cannot ignore the feeling that this has been a sidereal moment and an excellent symbiosis.

Dr.Tatjana Böhme-Mehner, Ostthüringer Zeitung, 10 / 31 / 07

Orchestra of the Folkwang Conservatory, Essen

Lachenmann, the composer himself was enthusiastic

Frank Cramer conducted the Folkwang Orchestra 'Can one reach the audiences of philharmonic music with modern music? The answer is Yes! ... the predominantly young listeners experienced an exciting concert on a high level. Guest conductor Frank Cramer did a great job…Not only with Arnold Schönberg’s (Five Orchestra Pieces op.16) was the orchestra convincing. Also the introductory piece Passacaglia op.1 by Anton Webern and epecially Witold Lutoslawskis’ Concert for Orchestra clearly proved that with the necessary discipline one can get out a lot more of this orchestra.The piece Mouvement (vor der Erstarrung) by Helmut Lachenmann, played by a smaller ensemble of instrumentalists from the orchestra, triggered great enthusiasm amongst the highly attentive audience, with the composer being present, who at the end congratulated the orchestra to a rousing musical rendition of his score. Please more of it!'.

Christoph Dittmann, WAZ, May 16, 2006

Orchestra Sinfonica del Friuli-Venezia-Giulia

Wonderful direction of Cramer

'...the intensive collaboration of the orchestra with Frank Cramer was remarkably fruitful. Already the first measures of the overture to La Clemenza di Tito stood out with a crystal clear and precisely outlined sound. ...impressive dynamics and transparent voice-leading in the Prague Symphony, a finale of frenzied stringency and emotional outbursts in minor… In the Italian Symphony Frank Cramer convinced with his passionate interpretations.The Andante was astounding – a beginning of a highly emotional intensity. … Finally, with the Saltarello Finale, the audience, who had already shown their enthusiasm throughout the evening, was completely captured.'

Lucia Ludovica de Nardo, Il Gazzettino, January 23, 2006

Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire

'...Frank Cramer, who has conducted many symphony - and opera orchestras, displays his impressive abilities of his personality and authority from the very beginning…..He ended the concert with Schubert’s Ninth (Symphony in C Major), a true monument, to which he, together with a very cooperative orchestra, was able to give a strong dramatic as well as gentle poetic performance, which reflected all of Schubert’s expressiveness, bringing out its magic and radiance.'

Ouest France, October 31, 2003

Bergische Symphoniker

'...Cramer loves the polished orchestra sound. Between fine nuances in colour set in tight margins and the opulent rapture of the finale, there were lush contrasting effects. A student of Stein, Cramer conducted technically clean, analytically clear, always looking ahead and breathing along ...'

T. Wintgen, Remscheider Generalanzeiger, March 9, 2001

Philharmonic Concert Altenburg - Gera

Conductor Cramer was very convincing

'Sometimes Bruckner takes a while to have an effect. And sometimes his symphonic compositions can be an exciting thriller, as was the Fourth Symphony this evening. Cramer drew distinct gaps between the theme structures, set lightness against the voluminous, and in addition sculpted razor-sharp dynamic contrasts.The funeral march like 2nd Movement and the chase-like Scherzo were just as thrilling. In all that, Cramer, born in Essen, especially impressed with naturalness and precision in his conducting, until the very last beat of the triumphant final movement.'

Katrin Seidel, Ostthüringer Zeitung, November 27, 2000

Mecklenburgische Staatskappelle Schwerin

'Frank Cramer pleased with his relaxed, graceful and impulsive style of conducting.'

Schweriner Volkszeitung, February 5, 1999

Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai -Turin

'For quite some time now, the orchestra seams to be so fit, that it's unnecessary to praise them for their work. Everything went quite well last night and young Cramer, who conducted at the podium between Giulini's and Riccardo Muti's performance, was celebrated with ovations by the audience.'

Nicola Campogrande, La Repubblica, January 22, 1994

Hamburg Symphonics

'The result: pure cinema-fascination with terrific `cinemascope sound´, spiced up with informative commentaries by Cramer: the discovery of the evening. His conducting was exact, transparent and expressive. Even rhythmically difficult phrases he managed with the verve of a dancer and was in control of the orchestra at all times. Whether it was dramatic bombastic effects or revelling in romance, every entrance, every pause, every nuance was well placed.'

Hamburger Abendblatt, September 24, 1994