Walter Piston: Symphony No.6
Samuel Jones: Symphony No.3 'Palo Duro Canyon'
Stephen Albert: Symphony No.2
London Symphony Orchestra
Lance Friedel, conductor
BIS 2118 (SACD)
More info at bis.se
Buy CD at Amazon.com
Download at eclassical.com
"Lance Friedel knows and loves the music, and is clearly a name to watch. All told, this disc is a huge success. Moreover, BIS's spacious sound is immaculate." --Phillip Scott, Fanfare, Vol. 42, No.3, Jan-Feb 2019
"This is one terrific release...and the obvious engagement one hears in Lance Friedel's conducting and the London Symphony Orchestra's playing speaks to the sense of awe and occasion they seem to have experienced in performing these works. Urgently recommended." --Jerry Dubins, Fanfare, Vol.42, No.3, Jan-Feb 2019
" Jones's symphony is magnificent music. The performances of all these works are excellent. Lance Friedel's conducting displays a firm control of the magnificent London Symphony. The recorded sound is terrific." --Karl F. Miller, Fanfare, Vol.42, No.3, Jan-Feb 2019
“The LSO get this idiom totally and Lance Friedel, a young conductor with an impressive CV, does a splendid job. Piston’s Sixth…is surely one of the great American symphonies and it’s good to have an impressive new recording.” --James Jolly, The Listening Room, Episode 37, Fri 20th July 2018
“There’s much to like about American Symphonies, a new album from Lance Friedel and the London Symphony Orchestra… For one, the programming is great… On top of that, the LSO’s playing is largely vibrant and sympathetic. Indeed, you could hardly expect more idiomatic readings of this music…
Friedel leads the LSO in a tight performance, hitting all the notes, dynamics, and articulations. May there be more to come – and may this one-off survey be the start of a much-needed series by these forces.” --Jonathan Blumhofer, www.artsfuse.org, 7/12/2018
“This is a delightful disc. Chiefly because he's a master orchestrator, Jones is able to move fluidly from one instrumental configuration to another…I like Friedel's interpretation of the symphony…Friedel’s work with the closing two minutes of the symphony are breathtaking.
The performances of Piston's Symphony No. 6 (1955) and the Currier realization of Albert's Symphony No. 2 make this disc an especially attractive offering.” --Andrew Anderson, Auxiliary Input, July 2018
“Maine-born Walter Piston’s Symphony No. 6 was written for Charles Munch and the Boston Symphony…The LSO play with their usual skill, the jaunty, ear-catching scherzo so nimbly done. The deeply reflective adagio is well shaped and projected, the quietest moments – and that gorgeous harp – unerringly caught. It’s capped by a fresh, freewheeling finale, witty and warm.
Like an Ansel Adams landscape, Jones’s striking piece presents nature in all its raw inspiring beauty…it begins with highly atmospheric wind sounds that morph into music of uncommon thrust and thrill. Friedel displays a keen eye for outlines and contrast, the resulting ‘image’ intuitively – and dramatically – framed. The playing is rich and full bodied, especially in those broad, craggy perorations; it helps that engineer Fabian Frank gives the orchestra all the space they need.
New Yorker Stephen Albert’s Symphony No. 2 was unfinished at the time of his death in 1992. The expansive climax at the end of the first movement is particularly impressive. The middle movement is both animated and colourful, its internal conversations and asides a delight. The finale, more equivocal, reveals a fine orchestral blend, beautifully caught by this very truthful and transparent recording. So yes, another ‘find’. (Good notes by Friedel, too.)” --Dan Morgan, MusicWebInternational, 6/28/2018
“The music here has the last word. Three scores that more than deserve to be heard, performed by an excellent orchestra and a conductor who knows exactly what he wants.” --Siebe Riedstra, OpusKlassiek, June 2018
“Three interesting symphonies by American composers are combined on this SACD. The performances are excellent as is the recorded sound. Recommended for anyone with an interest in the symphonic genre or in American orchestral music.” --Remy Franck, www.pizzicato.lu, 9 July 2018
"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
“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
Lance Friedel, conductor
Naxos 8.573418 (CD), NBD0043 (Blu ray)
More info at Naxos.com
WCLV-FM CD of the Day 5/21/15
Artistic Quality: 10 / Sound Quality: 10
"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
Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
Lance Friedel, conductor
Naxos 8.557776 (CD)
More info at Naxos.com
Buy CD at Amazon.com
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