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Carson Cooman
Fanfare, November 2020

Back in 2014 (38:1), I reviewed the premiere recording of David Lang’s extended vocal work love fail by Anonymous 4, who had commissioned the piece. Though the piece itself seemed compelling, the performance (by the group at the very end of its performing life) was most definitely not. I speculated that with an excellent performance, the true virtues of the work would be revealed. That recording is now here, featuring the superb Lorelei Ensemble under the direction of Beth Willer. Lorelei uses eight singers, and Lang made a new version of the piece to take advantage of the larger group. I heard their rendition in live performance, and this superb recording is also excellent in every respect. This is one of my favorite of Lang’s vocal works—I think it’s extremely moving and (finally) tremendously performed. © 2020 Fanfare Read complete review

Choir & Organ, September 2020

The expanded version is a gift for the Lorelei Ensemble… A wholly remarkable modern composition and a faultless performance. © 2020 Choir & Organ

Raul da Gama
The WholeNote, August 2020

Finally, David Lang’s deeply introspective almost operatic meditation Love Fail fuels the endeavours of two accomplished chamber groups—the Lorelei Ensemble and the Quince Ensemble. The release of both concurrently is probably a coincidence but to imagine that this fact may not do either release any favours would be a fallacy. Both releases are superb and recommend themselves for different reasons. The Lorelei’s a cappella version affects with a performance that is forthright and deeply moving; unravelling in the ensemble’s wonderfully flexible approach, creating imagery that befits something of great density and import as well as something delicate and light. © 2020 The WholeNote

James Manheim, July 2020

The successful eight-voice choir is the black belt of choral singing. When it is done right, it opens up a range of expressive possibilities that can be chilling. Here it is done superbly. © 2020 Read complete review

Jonathan Blumhofer
The Arts Fuse, July 2020

…Lorelei’s performance—highlighted by solos from ensemble members Clare McNamara, Carrie Cheron, Sonja Tengblad, Sarah Brailey, and Emily Marvosh—is supple, full-bodied, and intense. Their singing is note-perfect and as emotionally invested in Lang’s writing as one might hope for. What’s more, the disc’s engineering is flawless. For fans of Lang and/or one of the country’s best choirs, this is a can’t-miss release. © 2020 The Arts Fuse Read complete review

Steven Winn
San Francisco Classical Voice, July 2020

The (mostly) a cappella performances do full justice to the dexterous musical grammar and emotional complexity of the work’s 15 sections. Lorelei artistic director and conductor Beth Willer leads her nine women singers through the seraphic calms and interior meditations on love’s rapture and suffering.

Voices are rarely raised. Dramatic silences figure importantly in tracing the course of tragic love. Only the harmonic richness of Lang’s writing invokes the terrain of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde. But in its dynamically circumscribed yet keenly attentive way, love fail cuts to the deep heart of the matter. © 2020 San Francisco Classical Voice Read complete review

Textura, July 2020

With artistic director Beth Willer conducting, Lorelei’s eight singers—sopranos Elizabeth Bates, Sonja Tengblad, and Sarah Brailey; mezzo-sopranos Carrie Cheron, Christina English, and Clare McNamara; and altos Stephanie Kacoyanis and Emily Marvosh—generate a rendering that’s naturally fuller and richer than Quince’s, which could be deemed austere by comparison. The additional vocal textures Lang has incorporated into the expanded choral arrangement of the work also enhances its sensual quality, especially when Lorelei’s voices blend so lustrously. © 2020 Textura Read complete review

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