American Record Guide
"Daniel Lippel is New York-based guitarist and chamber musician and a doctoral student at MSM, where he studies with David Starobin. He is a fine player, with good musical instincts and a sound technique. He shines brightly in the new works on the "Resonance" release, including Mario Davidovsky's little-heard Synchronisms #10 for guitar and tape, a riveting piece. Besides the Carter, the rest of the works here are by lesser-known composers. Peter Gilbert's Ricochet for guitar and electronics is particularly appealing on a first hearing, with infectious rhythms and delightful coordination between guitar solo and electronics."
Steven Rings, American Record Guide July/Aug 2006
Music Web International
"Daniel Lippel is a New York-based guitarist, who is intensely committed to challenging contemporary music. He performs both as a soloist and in different groups so far afield as the Zvi Migdal Tango Ensemble and Mice Parade, an indie-rock group. He also collaborates with many composers. The list of his teachers includes David Starobin, Jason Vieaux, David Leisner and John Holmquist, of whom especially David Starobin has played an important role as his mentor. Contemporary music is unfortunately mostly relegated to specialist festivals and minor venues. The major record companies mostly fight shy of anything written by composers still alive. It is to be hoped that this brave project will pay dividends in the end, for although all the music on this disc was written within the last fifteen years it should be readily accessible even to non-specialist listeners or guitar freaks. What is needed is an open mind and open ears.
Apart from using my mind and ears I have also culled information from the booklet notes, where in several cases the composers are quoted. My only regret is that the designer of the booklet, has not - as so often is the case - been able to withstand the temptation to print the text in white against a brownish background. It might look stylish but readability is low. But there my complaints end. The text, when I had found my magnifying glass and a suitable spotlight, is illuminating (sorry about the pun), the sound is well defined and realistic, quite closely recorded but still without the sort of extraneous noises that often afflict guitar recordings. The recording engineer - and also co-producer with Daniel Lippel - is Peter Gilbert, who is also the composer of the music on the last track on the disc.
Although written during roughly the same period the music here is nicely differentiated, each of the composers having an individual voice. It also seems that none of them is a guitarist and that may be one reason for the successful results, thinking more in terms of music as opposed to guitar music . The oldest of them, the doyen of American music, Elliott Carter, is represented by a short piece (less than 3 minutes), composed for David Starobin in 1997. It is filled with pleasant surprises and rhythmic vitality, swinging violently before, in the end, it dissolves into thin air. Here Carter very decisively marks the end of the composition with a very earth-bound full stop.
Mario Davidovsky, born in Argentina, who has been one of the fore-runners in the field of electronic music, combines a pre-recorded and altered tape with the live guitar. This piece was also written for Starobin and the use of unvarnished guitar sounds against the processed guitar sounds from the tape gives the music a feeling of unity. The electronics do not enter until halfway through the composition and before that the music flows in a lyric-melodic vein but spiced with violent outbursts of powerful chords and percussive effects. Fascinating!
In Nils Vigeland's La Folia Variants the well-known, late Renaissance theme is used, in the composer's own words, "more as a point of departure rather than a foundation". It is a quite extended work in three movements, where the central Sonata is powerfully contrapuntal while the concluding Dances are more lyrically reflective, the dance elements appropriately more in the line of the stylized dances of the baroque than the more flexible and rhythmically more intense dances of later periods.
Seoul born Soonjung Suh uses elements from traditional Korean music which he dresses in modern harmonies. Garak , meaning Melody, is partly an introverted composition but in the middle section also highly virtuosic.
In Judah E Adashi's Meditation , loosely based on the first three chapters of William Styron's Memoir , the silences between notes sometimes seem just as important as the notes. People of today are very often unfamiliar with silence but to me it seems that the moments of afterthought occur in the silences.
Just as Davidovsky's Synchronisms , which start the programme, Peter Gilbert combines the guitar with electronics, but uses them quite differently. In Ricochet, a premiere recording like most of the contents on this disc, we experience a constant combat between the electronically-produced sounds of the modern industrialized society and the solo instrument, which for its survival prepared with a pencil stuck between the strings at the fourth fret and tin foil being wrapped around the neck of the instrument, which is also differently tuned. The human mind obviously has to adjust to the technological surrounding and the composition seems to end somewhere in outer space. We don't really know whether the instrument gets the last word, but to my ears at least the last chord of the guitar lingers ever so little after the electronics have died away. Hopefulness? Daniel Lippel writes "resignation". Whatever, it is the composition - and the whole disc - is thought-provoking and stimulating. Much of the music is extremely demanding for the guitarist and I can't imagine it being better played.
Some people I know refuse to listen to music by other composers than those who have been dead for at least 100 years. This disc is not for them. Everybody else should definitely find this - as I said earlier - thought-provoking and stimulating.
Goran Forsling, Music Web International, May 2005
"On this recording Daniel Lippel pairs classic 20th century works by Davidovsky and Carter with new pieces by younger composers, two of which are premiere recordings. As the title suggests, Lippel chose works that focus on the guitar's unique tonality. Lippel's playing on the Davidovsky is intense and well articulated, emphasizing the angular nature of the phrasing. Listening to this piece I have often felt a certain disappointment when the electronics begin to gain prominence. I always loved the guitar writing, but thought that the sounds are a bit dated and cheesy...that's right, I said it. Nils Vigeland's La Folia Variants shows a thoughtful and carefully orchestrated approach, showcasing a rich and peculiar combination of harmonics balanced with the guitar's natural overtones. Soonjung Suh's Garak, Korean for "melody," makes a nice pairing with Elliott Carter's Shard. Garak balances irregularly timed runs and strumming with elements of Korean folk music in some of the melodic sections- a combination that thankfully sounds better on the CD than it does on paper. The fine performances and well-balanced program make this disc a standout and definitely worth purchasing."
James Hanna, Guitar Review, Issue #130, Spring 2005
"Well this is a treat. Guitarist Daniel Lippel has put together a wonderful debut CD featuring works by Mario Davidovsky, Nils Vigeland, Elliott Carter, Soonjung Suh, Judah E. Adashi, and Peter Gilbert. Except the Davidovsky and Carter, none of the works on the CD have been recorded before.
The first half of the CD contains the work of the three "older" composers: Davidovsky, Vigeland, and Carter. Of the three, Davidovsky's "Synchronisms #10" is the highlight. As in his other "Synchronisms" pieces, Davidovsky blends electronic and acoustic sources with aplomb and sensitivity. After a long guitar introduction, Davidovsky slips in the electronics almost imperceptibly, yet the music's subtly increased energy carries the guitar and tape into a thrilling duet of musical equals. Davidovsky may be a crusty, old-school modernist, but "Synchronisms #10" is, overall, a gentle, beguiling work filled with pleasures both simple and complex.
The second half of "Resonance" contains three works by composers who are all under forty. I particularly liked Adashi's "Meditation: Three Episodes from William Styron's 'Darkness Visible'." This is a very sensitive, tonal work in three short movements. The guitar writing may lack the bravura found in several other pieces on the album, but in its place Adashi gives Lippel the chance to sing out beautiful, delicate melodic lines. The chromatic inflections to the relatively traditional harmony are well felt and never sound cheap. Also welcome were the luxurious silences: these gave some well-deserved moments of reflection to what is a pretty intense CD.
Whether he's rippling through Carter or chilling out with Vigeland, Lippel's playing is consistently convincing and leaves little to be desired. He's as technically sound as anyone could possibly want, and his musicality makes everything sound as natural as improvisation. "Resonance" may be a little difficult to find, but it's definitely worth the search."
David Salvage, Sequenza21.com, February 14, 2005