NEW 2016!

Bruckner: Symphony No.5
London Symphony Orchestra
Lance Friedel, conductor

MSR Classics MS1600
(SACD)


More info at msrcd.com 

Buy CD at Amazon.com 

“Friedel’s direction is direct and straightforward, with well-chosen tempi that keep allegros moving while allowing for contrast and repose. He also has the ability to sustain tension over long spans and to invest Bruckner’s often extended climaxes with power and grandeur. …the finale is a major achievement and enjoys a rendition of the coda that is as thrilling as any on disc. [The LSO] perform superbly for Friedel, delivering playing that is both sonorous and passionate… The recording is quite superlative… Friedel has real authority in the music of Bruckner and I look forward to hearing more of his performances.”
                                                                     --Christian Hoskins, Gramophone, April 2016

“American conductor Lance Friedel opens your eyes and ears to the complexities in the score. He offers a multi-faceted take on the work, sometimes seeming scaled down, other times sounding enormous and bold. He allows you to hear all sorts of meaningful detail while not sacrificing the epic sense of this Bruckner symphony…[Friedel] is obviously a huge talent, if I can judge from this recording. Some major orchestra should sign him to a long-term contract. He appears to be the real thing, a conductor who knows precisely how to draw out the performance he imagines from the orchestra – and what he imagines is quite special indeed. The sound reproduction on this MSR Classics SACD is vivid and powerful. Highly recommended.”
                                                             --Robert Cummings, www.classical.net, April 2016 

"An impressive release this... Friedel shows himself here to be an accomplished and distinctive Brucknerian. He comes as close as any I have heard to the Holy Grail of modern Bruckner interpretation: a performance that is fashionably fast and dynamic, yet which also retains the grandeur and depth that so many present-day conductors are happy to sacrifice... All round, this is an approach that makes the most of the world-class orchestra the MSR has put at Friedel’s disposal. Sound quality is excellent, with renowned engineer Phil Rowlands giving his very best... in the finale, Friedel makes an excellent case for his tempo choices by integrating them all towards a compelling, and monumental, climax. All round then, an impressive Bruckner Five, certainly a contender in the work’s rapidly growing SACD discography.”
                                                --Gavin Dixon, Classical-CD-Reviews.com, February 2016

“***** (5/5). Friedel leads the London Symphony Orchestra with confidence and authority, and the musicians respond with precise execution and dramatic expression, especially in the superb brass section, which really takes this glorious music to heart. Add to the LSO's magnificent performance the splendid 5.0 multichannel sound of this hybrid SACD, and it's evident that Friedel has produced a recording that belongs in every serious Bruckner collection. Highly recommended.”
                                                                --Blair Sanderson, Allmusic.com, February 2016

“...accessibility is high on Friedel’s conducting agenda here. He moderates some of the more bewildering lurches of gear in the first and last movements. He moves the Adagio at a flowing pace that the ear can follow more easily than the glacial crawl of Karajan on his acclaimed DG recording. Fugal lines are clarified in the finale, and throughout there’s an energetic forward pulse...Friedel makes a fine choice.”
                                                                                   --Huntley Dent, Fanfare, March 2016 

“the exquisite care Lance Friedel takes in pacing this account of the Bruckner Fifth allows us to hear it in finer perspective than is usually the case... Friedel takes pains to shape the contours of these themes, so that Bruckner’s purpose becomes clearer as we go along... In the course of [the final] 25-minute movement, he makes the relationships clear through his superb sense of pacing and dynamics, keeping the full force of the orchestra in reserve until the very end.”
                                                           --Phil Muse, Audio Society of Atlanta, January 2016 

“This is an exceptional performance that surely ranks amongst the finest recorded…We need to hear more from this fine conductor.”
                                      --Bruce Reader, theclassicalreviewer.blogspot.co.uk, March 2016


Great Comedy Overtures:
Zampa; The Merry Wives of Windsor; Il segreto di Susanna; Mignon; Donna Diana; Martha; Fra Diavolo; Zar und Zimmermann; Il matrimonio segreto; Si j’étais roi; Der Barbier von Bagdad.
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Lance Friedel, conductor

Naxos 8.573418 (CD), NBD0043    (Blu ray)

More info at Naxos.com 

Buy CD at Amazon.com             

                                                  WQXR-FM  Album of the Week  4/19/15

KDFC-FM  CD of the Week  4/18/15



Artistic Quality: 10 / Sound Quality: 10
The performances are as vibrant as the music itself. Friedel has the Royal Scottish National Orchestra playing with real brilliance and warmth. It sounds like everyone is having a good time, with crisp rhythms at the climaxes, well-balanced percussion that never becomes obnoxious, and a certain easy elegance in the many lyrical passages that the music absolutely demands. Friedel never takes the music for granted just because it’s “light.” There are numerous places where you’ll hear some lovely touch of detail that you might not have noticed before. …Happily, we can enjoy this generous, extremely well played and well engineered program to remind us of times past.
                                                                         --David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com, April 2015

The conductor here is Lance Friedel, an American who has a fairly wide repertoire that embraces the likes of Carl Nielsen and Bohuslav Martinů. Is Friedel slumming it here? Perhaps, but seconds into Hérold’s Zampa overture it’s clear he is having a ball; after all, there’s nothing like a bit of seduction and flirtation with the supernatural to get the pulse racing. And that’s exactly what happens in this feisty overture, played here with tremendous brio and bite.
          We move to Germany for Nicolai’s Merry Wives, which finds the RSNO in sparkling, fun-filled form. Friedel paces the music well and ensemble is crisp throughout. The side drum that opens François Auber’s Fra Diavolo is even more thrilling. Now this really is grand opera, and Friedel and his players give the music all the amplitude it needs. Those memorable, Rossini-like tunes and the overture’s martial passages are superbly rendered.
                                                                     --Dan Morgan, MusicWeb International, April 2015

…the Scottish orchestra, under the American conductor, Lance Friedel, are in sparkling form, with outstanding solo contributions from horn and woodwind in Mignon, while the brass bring drama to Adam’s Si j’etais roi and the strings add the fizz of champagne to Wolf-Ferrari’s Il segreto di Susanna. Add a symphonic quality to the lengthy overture to Nicolai’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, and a weighty account of Peter Cornelius’s Der Barbier von Bagdad, wrap it all up in a first class recording, and you have a winning release.
                                                                    --David Denton, David’s Review Corner, April 2015

Allmusic.com Editor’s Choice  4/19/15
Because of their memorable tunes, exciting pacing, and colorful orchestration, these effervescent pieces were once ubiquitous in the concert hall and on radio and recordings. …Friedel and his musicians fully communicate the buoyant moods and theatricality of these bon-bons, and the reproduction is clear and detailed, with credible presence and fine separation of parts.  
                                                                                                  --Blair Sanderson, Allmusic.com


Carl Nielsen: Orchestral Works:
Maskarade Overture; At the Bier of a Young Artist; Helios Overture; Saga-Drom; Pan and Syrinx; Rhapsodic Overture; Bohemian-Danish Folk Tune; Aladdin Suite
Aarhus Symphony Orchestra
Lance Friedel, conductor

MSR Classics, MS1150 (CD)


More info at msrcd.com

Buy CD at Amazon.com

Young American conductor Lance Friedel and his players are clearly in tune with the bluff confidence of the opening theme, with crackling energy in the whirling string-writing, and bravura to burn at the coda.  In the Helios Overture…Friedel’s patient unfolding of the opening pages is artfully moulded with inexorable strength to the majestic coda.
          The Aladdin Suite is particularly vivid…Friedel and the players serve up this music with great panache…the recording provides the proper atmosphere for Nielsen’s nature-painting, adding to the pleasures of these exemplary, idiomatic performances.
                                                                                 --Lawrence A. Johnson, Gramophone

Friedel gives the Nielsenian sun its proper arc across the sky…with a laudable attention along the way to accents and phrasing. …Again, Friedel brings the visual image to musical life.  …Throw in the far superior performance by Friedel and the Aarhus SO, and a strong recommendation is a forgone conclusion.
                                                                                                    --Barry Brenesal, Fanfare

…Friedel gets the balance right, and its effect is really striking. …[This CD] has a lot to offer and will bring great enjoyment.    
                                                                         --John W. Barker, American Record Guide
 
Finally, the Nielsen disc from MSR is a prize…as conducted by young Lance Friedel…  It’s been too long since we’ve heard… performances of this caliber…there is a vivacious Maskarade Overture, and the best Aladdin Suite…since Blomstedt’s in SF, and at moments even more ebullient.  Bravo MSR Classics – more, more!
                                                                        --Roger Dettmer, ClassicalCDReview.com
 
[Friedel’s] approach is always musical, lively, and intelligent…you really can't go wrong with this generously filled collection. 
                                                                                 --David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com

American Lance Friedel, conducting an excellent Aarhus Symphony Orchestra from Denmark, makes an impressive debut…the performances are so beautifully paced by Friedel and so smoothly played by the orchestra…At the end the listener is ready to encore the program.
                                                                                                        --Atlanta Audio Society

Terrific music, superbly recorded and thrillingly played.  …it's a wonderful debut album; I eagerly look forward to more.
                                                                                                      --Jim Svejda, KUSC-FM


Foerster: Symphony No.4 "Easter Eve"; Festive Overture; Meine Jugend
Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
Lance Friedel, conductor

Naxos 8.557776 (CD)

 
More info at Naxos.com

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Artistic Quality: 8 / Sound Quality: 9

Symphony No. 4, subtitled "Easter Eve", strikes a deeper note…Friedel has the measure of the piece and projects its gentle loveliness just as effectively.  Also, the vivid engineering gives the organ-reinforced conclusion plenty of the necessary gravitas, and at the Naxos price you can hardly go wrong. This is well-made, attractive music that fans of late-Romanticism should certainly hear.
                                                                                  --David Hurwitz, classicstoday.com

From east of the Alps, Naxos has two clear winners out of three new releases — music by Shostakovich and Josef Bohuslav Foerster (1859-1951) …there have been only three recordings – including this new one – of his acknowledged masterpiece for orchestra, the “Easter Eve” Fourth Symphony…Lance Friedel on Naxos who plays it and the two shorter companion pieces with a fervor matched in his excellent program note.  The playing of the Slovak Radio Symphony at Bratislava is especially beguiling…[the recording is] a paragon of clarity.

Friedel continues to impress as he did in MSR Classics’ recent collection of tone poems and the Aladdin Suite of Carl Nielsen.  …Naxos may be proud of its talent-scouting, leaving us anxious for more. Congratulations all around.
                                                                           --Roger Dettmer, classicalcdreview.com

Excellent stuff for admirers of the Czech muse.  The Symphony is the work by which Foerster is perhaps best known. The slow movement is a glorious one and here Friedel really expands and wrings every drop of emotion. The orchestral balance here is especially judicious.

The Naxos performance is characterised by fine balances and care; it's a warmly sympathetic reading.  So newcomers will revel in Foerster's splendid Symphony and will enjoy the crisp and affectionate direction of the Naxos and at bargain price.
                                                                  --Jonathan Woolf, musicweb-international.com

Foerster was a deeply religious man, and the [Fourth Symphony] uses material from Easter celebrations in small Czech towns. …One doesn’t have to be religious to appreciate the masterly orchestral writing.

Of the three recordings the newest may have the best sound…It also has the first recording of My Youth, which is one of the first things he wrote after moving to Vienna in 1903.  It is filled with vigorous, confidant themes and is very well written.  The orchestra plays well in all three works…the disc is certainly worth having at Naxos’s bargain price.
                                                                            --Carl Bauman, American Record Guide

I can recommend this music to all listeners who enjoy ‘late romantic’ music - all those who love the works of Mahler and Dvorak and Bruckner will relate to much in these three works.
                                                                       --John France, musicweb-international.com