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Anton Bruckner





"...there is a fine sense of urgency about Friedel's account, captured in cogent, insistent, well-controlled rhythms and dynamics. It is definitely a disc I'll be returning to from time to time and one well worth a Bruckner fan's consideration... [the recording has] good detail, just the right amount of lower midrange warm, a decent but not over-pronounced stereo spread, a sweet hall ambience, a fine depth of image, respectably strong impact, and a healthy degree of overall transparency. It's among the better-recorded Bruckner Fifths I've heard."
John Puccio, Classical Candor [June 2017]
[ * * * * * ] “Favorite Classical Instrumental Albums” - The world of classical instrumental music received many welcome new additions this year, like Lance Friedel and the London Symphony Orchestra's performance of Bruckner's Fifth Symphony...”
AllMusic [December 2016]
“Brilliantly recorded in the resonant acoustic of All Hallows Church, Gospel Oak... Under producer Tim Handley’s expert ear, detail is magnificently rendered, yet there is a nice sense of space around the orchestra. Demonstration standard would be the perfect term... [Lance Friedel] clearly knows his Bruckner; plus, his previous releases of Nielsen (MSR) and Foerster Fourth Symphony (Naxos) have been well received. The booklet notes, by Friedel himself, are lucid and strong; in terms of the performance, the London Symphony plays with great assurance and confidence under his leadership... if you are after a Bruckner symphony for audiophile purposes, look no further. The LSO is in fine fettle, too.”
Colin Clarke , Fanfare [May/June 2017]
“Friedel displays a fine feeling for orchestral sonority, playing off solo instruments and choirs against each other to create multilayered, appropriately organlike textures, which enhances the interplay of melodic lines. Coupled with springy dotted rhythms and crisp articulation, it also makes the Finale's fugue sound unusually active, while retaining a clear, 'open' sound... The recorded sound offers a nice brightness and weight... The brass choir registers with impressive depth... the engineering underlines the conductor's welcome separation of first and second violins.”
Stephen Francis Vasta, Music & Vision [October 2016]
“perfectly rendered by Lance Friedel and the LSO... A recording which must be included in any collection of Bruckner!”
Crescendo Magazine [July 2016]
“One reason that this recording of one of Bruckner’s most popular symphonies sounds wonderful is the multichannel, 'super audio' properties of the CD itself. Another is that, as his liner notes make clear, the conductor Lance Friedel understands not only the symphony’s demanding intricacies but also their aesthetic purposes. 'It is living, passionate music,' he writes, 'that encompasses a huge range of emotions.' This understanding he has obviously communicated to the orchestra, which responds with such lapidary precision that even the dynamics take on a monumental dimensionality.”
Arsenio Orteza, World Magazine [August 2016]
“Sounding magnificent in SACD format, this is certainly a disc to savour as a hi-fi experience… The acoustic of All Hallows Church suits Bruckner well, being spacious and welcoming without turning the sound into something too cavernous. The balance puts a nice amount of distance between us and the orchestral sections without losing too much detail... The Scherzo has plenty of forward momentum and no lack of Viennese swagger when it comes to its waltz-feel passages. The storm bursts are very effective in this recording, as are the moments of calm in between, with plenty of atmosphere and tension being built and dispersed as required of the score. The Finale is very fine indeed, the brass once again impressive and richly recorded. The pacing of the wide variety of tempi is well-judged. There are plenty of gorgeous moments... I can’t imagine anyone being disappointed with this state-of-the-art SACD recording of a superb orchestra on good form and in a very well suited acoustic. [I am] highly impressed by this production. Some CDs you know will vanish into a cupboard and only see the light of day when moving house. This is one I’d rather have more easily to hand, and I’ll certainly be bringing it out when testing new audio equipment.”
Dominy Clements, MusicWeb International [May 2016]
“[This recording] is notable for not only having a world-class orchestra on board but also for enjoying a multi-channel SACD release... this is a notable and in many ways desirable addition to the Bruckner discography. 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 London Symphony Orchestra] perform superbly for Friedel, delivering playing that is both sonorous and passionate, with violins placed antiphonally and inner voices eloquently articulated… The recording is quite superlative, combining exceptional transparency with a warm cushion of reverberation, neither muddy in climaxes nor opaque in quieter passages... On the evidence of this recording, 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, Classical Net [April 2016]
[ * * * * * ] “Could we be witnessing the birth of a born Brucknerian? Yes, if this recording has anything to say about it.Not since 2010, as far as I can tell, has MSR ventured into Super Audio territory. I made a comment back then on their [Burkard Schliessmann] piano disc, the first they offered, that if subsequent issues were like this, then we were in very good hands. Well, listening to Lance Friedel’s Bruckner offering only confirms that assessment... Friedel, known to me only once previously from a marvelous Nielsen album, has got the measure of this sometimes elusive, yet rather editorially stable Fifth Symphony... Friedel takes the piece at face value, and relies heavily on his instinctual sense of balance and warmth to convey the innate tonal shimmer of the work, and allows the fully Brucknerian and traditional concept of “ground up” building blocks of harmonic structure to sway throughout. The soundstage is slightly distant yet exceptionally warm, perhaps a little like Karajan but with better sound than he could ever imagine. The LSO plays beautifully here, majestically when needed, but never losing the silky melodic imaging so important in this work.”
Steven Ritter, Audiophile Audition [April 2016]
“American conductor Lance Friedel brings an exceptional performance of Bruckner’s Fifth Symphony that surely ranks amongst the finest recorded on a new release from MSR Classics... [Friedel] finds a flow with a pacing and tempi that are impressive. The orchestral detail is laid bare, with a great awareness of the overall structure, never rushed, a natural beautifully drawn flow, laying out this huge canvas most wonderfully. The London Symphony Orchestra’s brass sonorities are impressive. This conductor brings a freshness to this music with flexible tempi and some gorgeous hushed string and woodwind passages. Friedel brings moments of impetuosity unusual in a Bruckner performance, quite spectacular... This is an exceptional performance that surely ranks amongst the finest recorded. Lance Friedel and the London Symphony Orchestra are given an SACD recording of depth, impact and detail that emerges from an inky black silence... We need to hear more from this fine conductor.”
Bruce Reader, The Classical Reviewer [March 2016]
“The wonderful SACD sound of a new MSR Classics release of Bruckner’s Symphony No. 5 is one of the disc’s many pleasures, but it is by no means the most important one. [Lance Friedel] is going to be a force to be reckoned with in Bruckner interpretation, and sooner rather than later... [Friedel] brings to [the Symphony] both passionate involvement and a level of intellectual understanding that shines forth both in the performance and in the booklet notes that he himself provides. This is a simply marvelous reading: tempo after tempo feels exactly right and seems to lead inexorably to the next, as if of course the music should flow just this way and no other; the building blocks of the symphony fall into place with an unforced naturalness that pulls listeners in at the very quiet start and never lets them go until the resounding conclusion... this reading will intrigue even listeners who may not fully accept Friedel’s approach, and that ability to make listeners think as well as feel is what makes Friedel such a special conductor and this release such a special one.”
Mark J. Estren, InfoDad [March 2016]
“the sonic quality of this Hybrid SACD exemplary. It gives full justice to the opulent and powerful Bruckner sound, with plenty of dynamic headroom left over. And Lance Friedel well projects what he himself calls the "cathedral-like symmetry" of this symphony, with a pacing that allows the music to unfold naturally. And of course it goes without saying that the sound of the London Symphony Orchestra itself, one of the best ensembles in the world, goes a long way in producing the perfect Bruckner sonics... don't hesitate to get your hands on this recording.”
Jean-Yves Duperron, Classical Music Sentinel [March 2016]
“Lance Friedel’s account of Bruckner’s Fifth Symphony is energetic, reasonably fast and dynamic, without losing the grandeur and depth of the music. This compromise gives this overall excellent performance a distinctive character. It’s somehow an ideal solution for a modern Bruckner that is far from denying the composer’s identity... genuine breath and spiritual depth are retained. Lance Friedel realized a modern Bruckner in an ideal way, without losing view of the identity of the composer.”
Remi Franck, Pizzicato [March 2016]
“[ * * * * * / 5-Stars] Lance Friedel's second release on MSR Classics is a stirring account ofAnton Bruckner's monumental Symphony No. 5... Friedel leads the [LSO] 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... Friedel's recording joins the masterful performances [of this work] by Georg Tintner, Franz Welser-Möst, Benjamin Zander, Simone Young, and Gerd Schaller, which have raised the work's profile for modern audiences. 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, All Music [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, as reflected in an overall timing of 73 minutes, which is on the shorter side for the Fifth... Friedel’s account arrives close on the heels of Simone Young’s from Hamburg on Oehms...Young and Friedel share a natural, instinctive feeling for Bruckner that’s essentially straightforward, with no eccentricities of pacing or dynamics... call it a draw between two very recommendable recordings.”
Huntley Dent , Fanfare [March/April 2016]
“...there’s no question [Friedel] 'gets' Bruckner’s Fifth. This in itself is no mean achievement, given the fact that this probably is the composer’s most idiosyncratic work. Friedel remains an artist to watch.”
David Hurwitz, Classics Today [February 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 [February 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 Hybrid SACD can be played on any standard CD player. The high-definition stereo and surround sound programs require an SACD player for playback.

Anton Bruckner was born in 1824 in Ansfelden, near Linz, Austria. His father was a school teacher, and at first Bruckner intended to follow his father into that profession. But his musical talent was recognized early, and he became a choirboy and an excellent organist, eventually being named organist at St. Florian in Linz, and later St. Stephen in Vienna. He also became a professor of counterpoint and composition at the Vienna Conservatory of Music, where Gustav Mahler was one of his students. Bruckner grew up during a pivotal time in music history. The great musical movement in Europe was Romanticism, where composers looked to poetry and literature (a Roman is a novel in German) not only for inspiration but even for the outward form of a piece of music. Musical works were not ordered by an abstract design and structure, but by an extra-musical plot, or a psychological progression which could lead the music in any  direction at any time. This led to a strong reaction by more conservative composers and critics, who saw the Romantic movement as a breakdown of the  more calm, orderly universe of the classical style.

In Vienna, the division of the two musical camps, the classicists and the  Romantics, became a heated confrontation, led by the influential and reactionary critic Eduard Hanslick. He strongly championed the music of Brahms as an  example of beauty and order, and railed against the more progressive music of Liszt and Wagner. Bruckner eventually found himself allied with the Wagner side (understandable, as his music was greatly influenced by Wagner, at least in  certain ways), and his music was viciously attacked (as “formless”) by Hanslick and others.

The irony is, though, that Bruckner’s symphonies are in many ways models of classical proportion and structural strength. Bruckner called his Fourth Symphony the “Romantic” (and even proposed a fanciful “plot” for the music, probably  intended to answer those incessant questions of what the music was “about”), which might suggest that he did not consider his other symphonies particularly Romantic. In this sense his music was the opposite of Wagner’s, and actually much closer to Brahms’. Bruckner never wrote an opera (nor did Brahms), whereas Wagner for the most part wrote only operas. The music of Liszt and Wagner was nearly always an expression of a poetic or literary impulse. For Bruckner, the symphonic argument, the purely musical logic, was paramount. His music certainly sounded Romantic in style, especially to those who were swept along by the fashion of the times, but to exaggerate this connection is to gravely misunderstand Bruckner’s musical conception.

American conductor Lance Friedel maintains an active career in the United States and Europe. He has served as Music Director of the Providence Chamber Orchestra in Rhode Island and Assistant Conductor of the Peabody Symphony Orchestra in Maryland, and has directed numerous orchestras throughout the world. In 1994, Friedel was the first-prize winner at the Czech Music Workshop in Hradec Králové, and was invited to conduct the Hradec Králové Philharmonic Orchestra the following season. In 1995 and 1996, he was awarded first prize at the Marienbad Conducting Workshop in Mariánské Lázně, and was invited to conduct concerts with the West Bohemian Symphony Orchestra. Since then,  Friedel has been invited to conduct orchestras throughout Eastern Europe, including the Wrocław Philharmonic Orchestra in Poland and the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine in Kiev. He has conducted new productions of Aida and Le nozze di Figaro in Slovakia, as well as premiere performances of several new American symphonic works in Bulgaria. In 2001, Friedel was awarded first prize at the prestigious Mario Gusella International Conductors Competition in Pescara, Italy, and as a result, was engaged to conduct concerts with orchestras  throughout Italy, as well as in Hungary. More recently, Friedel conducted the  Berlin Sinfonietta and Berliner Symphonie-Chor in a performance of Beethoven’s  Ninth Symphony at the Konzerthaus in Berlin. Friedel has attended master  classes under such esteemed conductors as Leonard Slatkin, Andre Previn and Lorin Maazel, and has attended numerous workshops and seminars, including the Mozarteum Summer Academy in Salzburg, Aspen Music Festival and  Tanglewood. His conducting teachers have included Georg Tintner, Gustav Meier and Michael Charry. As a recording artist, Friedel received critical acclaim for his recordings of music by Carl Nielsen with the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra (MSR) and Josef Bohuslav Foerster with the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra (Naxos), as well as a collection of Great Comedy Overtures with the Royal Scottish  National Orchestra (Naxos). A graduate of Boston University, Friedel has also studied at Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, the Hochschule für Musik in  Vienna and the Mannes College of Music in New York.
ANTON BRUCKNER (1824-1896)
I. Adagio – Allegro
II. Adagio: Sehr langsam
III. Scherzo: Molto vivace – Trio
IV. Finale: Adagio – Allegro moderato

MSR Classics
NIELSEN: Orchestral Works