REVIEWS

First-rate Requiem"

“Lawrence Golan and his orchestra lived up to the high standards of the visiting London Symphony Chorus and the challenges of the Verdi Requiem. With nearly 80 players (including a trumpet quartet in a side box) and 100 chorus members, the roof-rattling explosions of the Requiem made for a thrilling listening experience. And the presence of a first-rate quartet of vocal soloists brought heartfelt sentiment to the intimate expressions of this profound work. As one would expect from the Londoners - one of the world's great ensembles - the choral passages were sung impeccably. Their enunciation was ideal, whispered passages drew listeners in, ecstatic exclamations pinned them to the backs of their seats.”

-Marc Shulgold, Rocky Mountain News

 

“The 100-voice London Symphony Chorus and the Lamont Symphony Orchestra joined forces for a stirring presentation of this towering creation [the Verdi Requiem]. The chorus provided many standout moments, from its repeated ghostly enunciations of the opening word of the work, "requiem," to its thrillingly terrifying delivery of the famous beginning lines of the "Dies irae (Day of wrath)." On the podium, Lawrence Golan adroitly handled the diversity of musical forces gathered before him, drawing the best from each and sculpting a cohesive interpretation overall.”

-Kyle MacMillan, Denver Post

 

“A Special Night at the Symphony” “Lawrence Golan led The Phoenix Symphony in one of its best performances in recent years. The audience was rewarded with a truly exciting reading of Brahms’ Fourth Symphony. Golan gave us the fury in the music in a headlong rush that never slighted the musical details. When it was over, the audience provided a standing ovation as well as genuine whoops and hoots of real appreciation. And the orchestra members themselves must have recognized they did something special.”

-Richard Nilsen, The Arizona Republic

 

"The Lamont Symphony Orchestra consistently presents outstanding programs which bear little resemblance to the concerts given by other university orchestras that I am familiar with. The concerts are so good that they encroach on performances given by professional orchestras. If any of you readers doubt that statement, start attending some of the Lamont Symphony Orchestra concerts."

-Robin McNeil, OpusColorado

    - Click here to read more reviews from OpusColorado

 

“Friday night’s performance was truly quite exceptional. Lawrence Golan was very expressive, particularly in his facial expressions, and it was very clear that the musicians responded quite well to his direction. The balance was perfect. In the Mozart Symphony No. 21, the orchestra responded to Golan’s every effort beautifully. Early Mozart can be quite a remarkable experience under the hands of someone who truly loves it, and it is clear that Lawrence Golan is one of those individuals. It was also clear that the Denver Philharmonic Orchestra really appreciates his conducting. Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet gave the Denver Philharmonic Orchestra an opportunity to show that they can perform with incredible passion. The low strings, the harp, and the woodwinds were all quite remarkable. From where I sat, it was very easy to keep a close eye on all of the orchestra members, and they were absolutely riveted on Lawrence Golan. There was a real connection that was quite apparent. The evening was enormously successful not only because of the high quality of the performance, but because the hall was filled to capacity. I do not recall ever seeing it that full.” -Robin McNeil, In Denver Times

 

“The Moravian Philharmonic, led by Lawrence Golan, performs with passion and vigor, and Albany's sound quality is clean and spacious.”

-Stephen Eddins, All Music Guide

 

“Every conductor that can be named has recorded this work, and some have recorded it twice. Toscanini did two studio recordings, Pierre Monteux, Fritz Reiner, Charles Münch, and Eugene Ormandy all have done recordings, and, of course, they all had their individual styles. Leonard Bernstein’s interpretation of this symphony was certainly the longest at just under one hour. My own favorite recording of this symphony, until now, was conducted by Marko Munih and the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Ljubljana. Munih is very faithful to the score while imparting a great deal of emotion. Many other conductors seem to take a great deal of liberties, even with the composer’s markings. For example, Maurice Abravanel, in his recording with the Utah Symphony, delays the actual Allegro non troppo tempo indication immediately after the slow introduction for almost two measures. I hope that these brief comments will allow you to see what I expect from a recording of this remarkable work. In this current recording, conducted by Golan, the emotion is ever present, as is his fidelity to what Tchaikovsky wrote. This symphony places several traps for the conductor that require several moments of thought and study before the first rehearsal. For example, the second movement of this symphony is a waltz, but in 5/4 time, rather than the usual 3/4 meter. I have to point out that this movement is what makes Golan’s recording so remarkable. Many conductors perform this movement so that it has taken on the nickname “the limping waltz,” because of its unusual meter. In other words, it sounds as though it is a regular waltz with a missing beat. But in this recording, if one counts the beats, there are indeed five, but there is no way on this earth that this movement “limps.” It is fluid and mellifluous. In all of the movements, the tempos that Golan takes are absolutely perfect. Even in the slow introduction to the first movement, there is a sense of forward motion, which is missing in many other recordings. Golan gives the bridge to the recapitulation in the first movement special emphasis, so that when it comes, we truly arrive there. Again, this emphasis is provided by the tempo, which is not exaggerated, and the phrasing, which is controlled by dynamics. Thus, the architecture of the sonata form is apparent – and the sense of architecture is what is missing in other recordings. In the last movement, the feeling of lugubriousness, which makes other recordings feel so heavy, is simply not there. This is a world-class recording of this deservedly popular symphony. It is refreshing to hear a recording of a well-known work of concert repertoire done so honestly and so beautifully.”

-Robin McNeil, In Denver Times

 

“The performance was extremely passionate and under Golan’s conducting, it absolutely shimmered. Under Golan’s slightest urging, the orchestra played quite softly and had exquisite control of phrasing. The tempos were perfect, and the nuance with which Golan and the orchestra provided each phrase was remarkable.”

-Robin McNeil, In Denver Times

 

“Golan's unfussy  Pathetique is well-played by the Czech orchestra and well-thought-out by its conductor, and it stands up against many more-familiar recordings.

-Richard Nilsen, The Arizona Republic

 

“The audience loved it. The Phoenix Symphony, under the baton of resident conductor Lawrence Golan, sounded smooth when it needed to and edgy when required. The symphony's strings have measurably improved in recent years and can sound as good as anyone when rehearsed and practiced sufficiently.” -Richard Nilsen, The Arizona Republic "The audience was younger than that at most symphony and chamber music concerts. Golan's idea of introducing classical music to new listeners seems to be working."

-Portland Press Herald

 

“The Lamont Symphony Orchestra gave a very exciting performance of one enormous and very difficult work: The Planets by Gustav Holst. It was an absolutely enthralling performance. What was so noticeable was conductor Lawrence Golan’s ability to inspire the orchestra.”

-Robin McNeil, In Denver Times

 

“Golan makes memorable debut at Bach Festival”

“The [Boulder Bach] festival was excellent, enjoyable and well-constructed, and an auspicious opening to Golan's tenure.”

-Kelly Dean Hansen, Boulder Daily Camera

 

"Lamont Symphony lives up to reputation"

"One of the hottest tickets during the year has been the series of concerts by Lawrence Golan's splendid Lamont Symphony Orchestra. Last fall, a standing-room, turn-away crowd gathered for a performance of Beethoven's Ninth. On Thursday, another full house was on hand for an intriguing mixture of familiar and less familiar works."

-Marc Shulgold, Rocky Mountain News

 

"Golan clearly holds high expectations, judging from the challenging repertory heard Thursday. Three rare works from the 20th century were balanced by the serious demands of Brahms' Fourth Symphony. Golan chose crisp tempos, particularly in the thrilling third movement, driving his players with energy and clarity. This was a solid performance of difficult music."

-Rocky Mountain News

 

"The high quality of the Lamont Symphony Orchestra and Opera Theatre was evident at a recent performance of Mozart's Marriage of Figaro in Gates Hall last weekend. Even before the curtain went up, Lawrence Golan and his players sailed through the tricky overture like a bunch of old pros. Onstage, the singers acquitted themselves admirably, delivering this long and demanding opera with confidence and style."

-Rocky Mountain News

 

"The Chairman Dances: Foxtrot for Orchestra, from Nixon in China by John Adams, was quite marvelous, enough to make most listeners think twice about minimalism."

 -Christopher Hyde, Portland Press Herald

 

"Once in a while comes a theater experience that makes you glad your eyes and ears are in good working order. Both in concept and execution, USM's current production of The Marriage of Figaro is a strong argument for continuing support of college-level performing arts. ...Lawrence Golan conducts the Southern Maine Symphony Orchestra, a wonderfully talented group of 42 musicians who set the festive mood with the first familiar strains of Mozart's overture. To all who combine to bring audiences this treat, a heartfelt 'Bravo!' To those who haven't seen it yet, get thee hence.

-Cathy Nelson Price, Portland Press Herald

 

"The string orchestra under Lawrence Golan was virtually impeccable in some difficult selections. They not only avoided the pitfalls but brought out some nice details that tend to get lost in recordings. ...My Heart Will Go On, from Titanic, sounded better than it did in the film. ...The technical difficulties of Schoenberg's "Verklarte Nacht" are immense, but they disappeared in waves of emotion that could have sunk the Titanic"

-Christopher Hyde, Portland Press Herald

 

Lawrence Golan conducted with "commanding presence, solid baton technique and trustworthy musicianship. He had an indefinable gift for lifting his players into exciting articulation, sweeping phrases, and perfectly executed solo passages."

 -The Ellsworth American

 

 "A purist through and through, and with his knowledge of period performance practice, Golan gives the audience the most faithful rendering of the printed score, to which is added his inner feeling for the music."

-Face Magazine

 

"Lawrence Golan conducted the Portland Ballet Orchestra in a flawless performance of the well-known Tchaikovsky score."

 - Portland Press Herald

 

"Conducted by Lawrence Golan, the seven-piece instrumental ensemble [for Histoire du Soldat] was superb, invoking Stravinsky's compelling martial atmosphere, its colorful dissonance shining with a clear, rhythmic vibrancy."

 -Maine Sunday Telegram  "He avoids showmanship, but is a pleasure to watch, and the audience can actually be instructed about rhythm from his beat."

-Face Magazine

 

"Golan is a conscientious, precise conductor with expert, explicit podium style. Low-key and unassuming, he established suitable tempos, molded phrases and shaped dynamics."

 -The Island Packet

 

"For all of these tasks [involved with being Artistic Director and conductor], Golan is supremely qualified; the level of talent in ACO and their confidence in Golan is apparent from the first bars."

-Face Magazine

 

"Conductor Lawrence Golan led his orchestra through a labyrinthine opera filled with moments of sweeping intensity and hushed beauty."

 -The Biddeford Journal Tribune

 

"The guest conductor's musical presence was felt most keenly in the Grieg piece, which contained the most impressive string playing of the evening. The musicians shaped elegant, buoyant phrases that seemed to originate from within. Dynamics were architecturally shaped and gracefully nuanced."

 -The Island Packet

 

"This reviewer heard the world famous string ensemble, The Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, under Iona Brown, perform this piece in Florida a few years ago. The ACO performance here matched that."

-Face Magazine

 

"I found a very nice surprise the other day in a CD that I had never heard before, and one of the surprises was that it is not all that new. This is a CD which was released in 1997 and recorded by Dr. Lawrence Golan who, of course, is the conductor of the Lamont School of Music’s Symphony Orchestra, and who just happens to be (I’m sure, to no one’s surprise) a truly fine violinist."

-Robin McNeil, OpusColorado

    - Click here to read more at OpusColorado