Beethoven Symphony No. 9 SACD

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

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A New Beethoven 9 from Manfred Honeck & The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra On SACD!

Stereophile: Performance 4.5/5 Stars / Sonics 4.5/5 Stars

2022 Grammy Award Nominee:
• Best Engineered Album, Classical: Beethoven: Symphony No. 9
• Best Orchestral Performance: Beethoven: Symphony No. 9

Reference Recordings® proudly presents Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in a new and definitive interpretation from Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. This new release is part of the Orchestra's 125th Anniversary joy!

This album was recorded in beautiful and historic Heinz Hall, home of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, in superb audiophile sound.

Maestro Honeck honors us again with his meticulous music notes, in which he gives us great insight into his unique interpretation as well as the history and musical structure of Beethoven's most famous symphony.

This release is the eleventh in the highly acclaimed Pittsburgh Live! series of multi­channel hybrid SACD releases on the FRESH! imprint from Reference Recordings. This series has received GRAMMY® Nominations in 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2020. Its recording of Shostakovich's Symphony No.5 /Barber Adagio for Strings won the 2018 GRAMMY® Awards for Best Orchestral Performance and Best Engineered Classical Album.

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, always dedicated to artistic excellence, has a rich history of the world's 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 Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has always been at the forefront of championing new works, including recent commissions by Mason Bates, Jonathan Leshnoff, James MacMillan and Julia Wolfe. The Pittsburgh Symphony has a long and illustrious history in the areas of recordings and live radio broadcasts dating back to the 1930s. And, with a distinguished history of touring both domestically and overseas since 1900 - including more than 37 international tours - the Pittsburgh Symphony continues to be critically acclaimed as one of the world's greatest orchestras.

This release and the entire Pittsburgh Live! series are recorded and mastered by the team at Soundmirror, whose outstanding orchestral, solo, opera and chamber recordings have received more than 130 GRAMMY® nominations and awards. For over 40 years, Soundmirror has recorded for every major classical record label, including Reference Recordings.

Since 1976, Reference Recordings has been one of the most innovative and respected independent labels in the music business. Reference Recordings releases have been highly praised for their dedication to high-quality sound in the service of great music. Founder Tam Henderson (multi-year GRAMMY® nominee for Producer of the Year), was joined in 1978 Keith O. Johnson (2011 GRAMMY® winner, and 12 additional nominations). Some 150 projects later, RR is still recording what many consider to be the finest-sounding classical, jazz and blues discs in the world.

From Reference Recordings, we can count on pellucid sonics, including here. You can "hear through" the textures even in the most violent tuttis, with no trace of congestion. In the finale's 'recitatives,' the divided low strings are wonderfully enveloping. The Adagio's airy woodwind chorales are almost tangible... The opening movement offers an almost dizzying panoply of shifting colors, cleanly reproduced. A buoyant, driving Scherzo includes all repeats, with a precisely gauged transition to the swift Trio. The vibrant Adagio doesn't ooze. The traditional Germanic nature colors, though, are absent. The finale is tautly paced. The tenor's march episode goes at nearly double the usual tempo, which the players, astonishingly, maintain throughout most of the following passage. The music, guided by the conductor's sharp ear, is attentively shaped and graded - the double fugue is impeccably balanced - and emerges in a broad, inexorable arc. Still, this will be controversial. The soloists are good. The orchestra is responsive and alert. The midrange strings are burnished yet clear. Brass interjections are rhythmically acute.
-Stephen Francis Vasta, Stereophile, May 2021
[Honeck's] reading is fast, blazing, kinetic, with moments of high contrast, such as the ethereal third movement in its entirety, giving the listener breathing space. The first movement is quick, but Honeck relaxes the tempo just slightly as things proceed, making room for the brass to give their stentorian statements. The scherzo is very fast throughout, which has the effect of not stealing the delicate discourse from the slow movement, and the finale, though also fast, is never rushed.... Most impressive is that Honeck holds the musicians and the singers together at his blazing speeds...The soloists shine, and they deliver in a difficult reading that, at its best, feels like the cry of exultation Beethoven envisioned. The slightly American accent of the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh is somehow not a detriment but an inducement here; there is real energy running through the performance and real joy. Reference Recordings has once again produced audiophile-quality sound whose depth and transparency are awesome even on everyday equipment.
-James Manheim,, 5/5 stars (The AllMusic 2021 Year In Review - Best Of 2021)


  • Super Audio CD
  • SACD 5.0 SACD Layer
  • SACD Stereo SACD Layer
  • This Hybrid SACD contains a 'Red Book' Stereo CD Layer which is playable on most conventional CD Players!
  • Recorded in High Resolution DSD
  • Recorded and mastered by Soundmirror
  • Made in Germany


Christina Landshamer soprano
Jennifer Johnson Cano mezzo-soprano
Werner Güra tenor
Shenyang bass-baritone
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Manfred Honeck music director
Mendelssohn Choir Of Pittsburgh
Matthew Mehaffey music director


Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

Symphony No. 9
  1. I. Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso
  2. II. Molto vivace
  3. III. Adagio molto e cantabile
  4. IV. Finale

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