2019 Grammy Award Nominee:
• Best Engineered Album, Classical
• Producer of The Year, Classical: Dirk Sobotka
Reference Recordings proudly presents these two iconic works in definitive interpretations from Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, in superb audiophile sound. This hybrid SACD release was recorded in beautiful and historic Heinz Hall, home of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
In his fascinating and scholarly music notes, Maestro Honeck gives us insight into the history of both pieces, and describes how he conducts and interprets each. He reminds us that the Eroica was a bold departure from earlier symphonies, a dance symphony with dramatic inventiveness, full of new elements that had never been heard before. He quotes Beethovens student Ferdinand Ries, who wrote Beethoven played recently for me (the Eroica) and I believe both heaven and earth must tremble when it is performed. Honeck puts his own inimitable stamp on this interpretation, giving the listener a chance to experience the novelties of the Eroica as if hearing it for the very first time.
William Caballero, Principal Horn of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and soloist on the Horn Concerto No. 1, provides a thrilling and masterful performance of this youthful Strauss work. Before joining PSO in 1989, he held Principal Horn positions with the Houston Symphony, Houston Grand Opera and Hartford Symphony. He has performed as guest Principal Horn with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, The Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the St. Louis Symphony. The booklet notes include his very interesting thoughts on the history and performance of the Concerto, in a question/answer format joined with Maestro Honeck.
This release is the eighth in the highly acclaimed Pittsburgh Live! series of multi-channel hybrid SACD releases on the FRESH! series from Reference Recordings. Their previous release Shostakovich 5/ Barber Adagio (FRSAM724) won the GRAMMY® in February 2018 for Best Orchestral Performance and Best Engineered Classical Album, and the series had back-to-back GRAMMY® nominations for Best Orchestral Performance. in 2015 and 2016 for Dvorák/Janacek (FRSAM710) and Bruckner 4 (FRSAM713).
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, known for its artistic excellence for more than 120 years, is credited with a rich history of the worlds finest conductors and musicians. Past music directors have included many of the greats, including Fritz Reiner, William Steinberg, Andre Previn, Lorin Maazel and Mariss Jansons. This tradition of outstanding international music directors was furthered in fall 2008, when Austrian conductor Manfred Honeck became music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony.
The orchestra has an illustrious history in the areas of recordings and radio concerts dating back to the 1930s. And, with a long and distinguished history of touring both domestically and overseas since 1900 including more than 37 international toursthe Pittsburgh Symphony continues to be critically acclaimed as one of the worlds greatest orchestras.
This release and the entire Pittsburgh Live! series are recorded and mastered by the team at Soundmirror, whose outstanding recordings have received more than 100 Grammy nominations and awards. For over 40 years, Soundmirror has recorded for every major classical record label, including Reference Recordings.
"This latest Fresh! Release from Reference Recordings marks another spectacular success for Manfred Honeck and the superb musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. It is one that even the most jaded of collectors of Beethoven symphonies should investigate without delay while Strauss aficionados will need no urging to do the same. Unreservedly recommended." - Graham Williams, HRAudio.net, 5/5 Performance, 5/5 Sonics (Stereo), 5/5 Sonics (Multichannel)
"I dare anyone to listen to this recording and not feel compelled to move with the music. Each movement builds momentum to glorious conclusions. There are also many little touches that one can appreciate, such as the repeat in the first movement and the almost immediate transition from the third to the fourth movements. As with Honeck and the PSO's interpretations of other great symphonies in the Pittsburgh Live! series, this recording of Beethoven's 'Eroica' symphony is a must for any serious connoisseur and collector... When listening to the disc, my suggestion is to listen to the Strauss first (as that is how it might be programmed in a concert), and then the Beethoven, because once the final E-flat chord of the Beethoven is played, the listener will be exhausted and spent and can only sit in awe of one of the masterpieces of Western music played magnificently by Honeck and the PSO. As with the other Pittsburgh Live! series recordings by Honeck and the PSO, this one sounds fantastic! They're not kidding when they call it Live! because the sound jumps out at you as if you were sitting right in front of the orchestra in Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh, where it was recorded. This recording is a tour de force and stands among the great sound recordings of Beethoven's monumental symphony." - Henry Schlinger, Culture Spot LA
"All in all, another triumph for this magnificent musical, creative and technical team." - Nick Barnard, Music Web International
"Dynamic. That's the best word to describe Manfred Honeck's performance of the Beethoven Third. It's dynamic in terms of Honeck's interpretation and in terms of Soundmirror/Reference Recordings' sonics." - Classical Candor
"The most interesting and innovative Beethoven recording since these forces set down the Fifth and Seventh, this intense 'Eroica' nods in the direction of tradition but sounds completely new, rethought from the ground up. Just listen as the horns break through the funeral march, at once a pained outburst of grief and a call to greater things." - The New York Times, The 25 Best Classical Music Tracks Of 2018
"Honeck's notes explain exactly what he does with the music and how he makes this 'boisterous, stormy dance' such an exhilarating listening experience. Beethoven's piercing, dissonant chords eight minutes in are an expressionistic scream here, and the extended coda is sheer bliss. What follows is as good; I was floored by the lower string chords nine minutes into the funeral march, and there's some sensational brass playing. And how well Honeck pulls us up from the abyss in the subsequent movements. As modern instrument performances go, this is up there with the best, and a worthy follow up to this team's disc of symphonies 5 and 7. It's coupled, unexpectedly but delightfully, with Strauss's Horn Concerto No 1, also in E flat. Sixteen minutes long, it's a youthful romp, written by the teenage Strauss as a gift for his father - who found it too tricky and refused to perform the work. Pittsburgh principal horn William Caballero's reading is big-boned and affectionate. The opening fanfare is bold in the extreme, but it's impressive to hear how well Caballero reins in his sound when needed. Brassy ebullience and cool sensitivity are perfectly balanced, and the final minutes are superb. All good then: I've yet to hear a disc from this source which is less than stellar. Do buy." - Graham Rickson, The Arts Desk
"We have had many great Beethoven cycles turn up over the last years (Järvi, Vänskä, Dausgaard), always showing that new things can be said just when we thought that there couldn't possibly be anything new left to squeeze out of old Ludwig Van. But the combination of modern pluck and luscious brawn that makes the Honeck-Pittsburgh combo unique successfully pushes on all our sensualities' buttons at once. Point-in-case this Eroica, which knocks you over and lifts you back up. Honeck is no literalist and he knows where effect merits a gentle adjustment to the score, yet the aesthetic is one that still fully appeals in a time dominated by historically informed performances." - ION Arts, The 10 Best Classical Recordings Of 2018
"A worthy release, urgently recommended." - Audiophile Audition
"Good barely covers it. All eight of the releases that the Pittsburgh forces have brought out on Reference Recordings, with the aid of microphone whizzes from Soundmirror, come with the highest of recommendations. Four have received nominations for the Grammy for best orchestral performance. One, of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5 and Barber's Adagio for Strings, won in 2018. " - David Allen, The New York Times
• Super Audio CD
• SACD 5.0 Multi-Channel SACD Layer
• SACD Stereo SACD Layer
• This Hybrid SACD contains a 'Red Book' Stereo CD Layer which is playable on most conventional CD Players!
• Made in Germany
• Recorded & Mastered at Soundmirror
William Caballero, horn (5-7)
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Manfred Honeck, music director
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Symphony No. 3, Op. 55 "Eroica"
1. I. Allegro con brio
2. II. Marcia funebre
3. III. Scherzo
4. IV. Finale
Richard Strauss (1864-1949)
Horn Concerto No. 1, Op. 11
5. I. Allegro
6. II. Andante
7. III. Allegro