Erik Friedlander | Maldoror

Go To Artist Page

Recommended if You Like
John Coltrane John Zorn

Album Links
Brassland BuyMusic QtrNote Audio Lunchbox Apple iTunes

More Artists From
United States - NY - New York City

Other Genres You Will Love
Classical: Contemporary Avant Garde: Classical Avant-Garde Moods: Instrumental
There are no items in your wishlist.


by Erik Friedlander

Ten cello improvisations inspired by the surrealist poems of Lautreamont; intense, mystical and beautiful -- it is a journey into music's darkest heart.
Genre: Classical: Contemporary
Release Date: 

We'll ship when it's back in stock

Order now and we'll ship when it's back in stock, or enter your email below to be notified when it's back in stock.
Sign up for the CD Baby Newsletter
Your email address will not be sold for any reason.
Continue Shopping
Buy 2 or more of this title and get 20% off
Share to Google +1


To listen to tracks you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin.

Sorry, there has been a problem playing the clip.

  song title
1. May It Please Heaven
Share this song!
3:30 album only
2. One Should Let One's Fingernails Grow
Share this song!
3:08 album only
3. The Wind Groans
Share this song!
5:30 album only
4. O Stern Mathmatics
Share this song!
4:54 album only
5. The Palace of Pleasures
Share this song!
4:33 album only
6. Here Comes the Madwoman
Share this song!
2:53 album only
7. I Am Filthy
Share this song!
4:52 album only
8. Flights of Starlings
Share this song!
3:47 album only
9. He Contemplates the Moon
Share this song!
3:31 album only
10. A Sewing Machine and An Umbrella
Share this song!
3:45 album only
preview all songs


Album Notes
Visit the artist's site at

The first thing to know about Erik Friedlander is that he is a unique cellist whose work blurs genre borders. Is he a composer or improviser? Is this classical music or jazz? The LA Times put it best when they wrote, "Friedlander's performance clearly positions him as the first potential star performer on his instrument." Maldoror is his first solo recording.

Erik was born in New York City in 1960 and grew up in suburban Rockland County, son of the noted artist Lee Friedlander. Along with photographers Robert Frank and Garry Winogrand, Lee is recognized as one of the best street photographers of the 1960s. His work can be found in museums around the world. But Lee is also known by musicians and jazz aficionados for the cover photos he took for Atlantic Records. His passion for r&b and jazz greatly influenced Erik, whose earliest memories are of a household filled with the sounds of his father's subjects--Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, McCoy Tyner, Ornette Coleman, and John Coltrane. Erik started playing guitar at age 6 and added cello two years later. He began formal lessons at age 12.

Erik continued his musical studies at Columbia University in 1978. Upon graduation, he spent the next decade refining his cello technique through long hours of practice, supporting himself by playing in various orchestras and Broadway shows, recording commercial music for jingles and movies, and doing session work with artists like Laurie Anderson, Dar Williams, and Courtney Love's Hole.

Erik came into his own in the 1990s as he became an integral part of NYC's downtown jazz scene. He played with artists like saxophonist John Zorn, tenor player Joe Lovano, and trumpeter Dave Douglas; he toured and recorded with two of his own groups, Chimera and the still-extant Topaz. Erik has played on records released on labels like Tzadik and Avant, receiving notices in publications like the Boston Globe, The Wire, and Billboard which wrote, "Friedlander [is] one of today's most ingenious and forward- thinking musical practitioners."

Maldoror consists of ten improvisations inspired by the early surrealist poems of Lautroamont and recorded in Berlin's Teldex Studios. Intense, mystical, and beautiful, it is a journey into music's darkest heart.

In a darkened recording studio in old East Berlin, in a seance-like atmosphere, a time-traveling collaboration took place between the lawless black humor of the 19th-century poet Isidore Ducasse and the daring and sensitivity of the 21st century cellist Erik Friedlander. Producer Michael Montes, an audience of one, had carefully selected 10 excerpts from Ducasse's Maldoror which he believed would be particularly good for inciting musical inspiration. In the course of one hour the excerpts were placed in front of Erik one at a time. He responded to each excerpt with what you hear on this recording. The music is beautiful, mystical, intense--a journey into music's darkest heart.

Andre Bréton wrote that the Comte de Lautréamont's Les Chants de Maldoror is "the expression of a revelation so complete it seems to exceed human potential." Little is known about its pseudonymous author aside from his real name, Isidore Ducasse, his birth in Uruguay in 1846, and his early death in Paris in 1870.  Lautréamont's writings bewildered his contemporaries but the Surrealists modeled their efforts after his menacing visions of angels, gravediggers, hermaphrodites, pederasts, lunatics and strange children. Maldoror includes the full text of the poems that inspired Erik's improvisations, laid out in an elegant package by designer Heung-Heung Chin.


to write a review


Stunning, compelling, endlessly fascinating ...
I've had this for about 2 weeks now and can't be bothered to listen to anything else. Every hearing yields new findings, every mood I bring to listening time is enhanced; doesn't matter if it's a good, bad, happy, or sad mood; this music works with intense focus or as background. Amazing - the most fully engaged playing and technical skill - magical music to my ears.

CD Baby

Everybody loves the cello. But how many really know the capacity of its voice? In a stunning collection of contemporary classical pieces, inspired by the surrealist poems of Lautreamont, Erik Friendlander dives into the depths of possibilites, employing 20th century compositional techniques and then some, in a directed, clearly-envisioned whole. A technical study within itself of the less-known territories of this complex and multi-voiced instrument, this album takes the listener through creaking, windblown, eerie, landscapes to a sphere of neuroses and driving dimentia to rapid, cross-string bowing and breathless, urgent prophesy. Diverse, engaging and bold.

Christine Thomas

Haunting, wonderful...very intense. What a talented individual!
Very haunting music...the whole CD is great.

Stone Riley

Weird enough for me
This piece reminds me very strongly of an audio book of Beowulf that I listened to a few weeks ago. It has a powerful sense of the human voice telling vast deep tales. I'm playing it while painting pictures. I only wish it was twice as long.

Aaron Kerr

An experience
All of Erik Friedlander's albums have been really amazing, and this album was no exception. It was more than a solo cello cd, it was an experience, a journey. Thank you so much!


time travel
I felt like I was transported to another time with this music...WOW.

unhelpful brush

What initially struck me about this album is that it was a solo improvisational record that almost anyone can listen to and enjoy. While he shows his knowledge of extended technique, Friedlander never strays far from a melodic sense that is not the usual goal, or if not goal, at least outcome, of most improvisation of this kind. He's really pulled off something exceptional with this recording.

Phil S.

Absolutely wonderful!!!
This is an awesome c.d....especially when you read about how it was put together...very nice! Check him out on tour if you get the chance....he's currently touring solo in support of this very c.d. Excellent stuff.