Genre: Classical
Additional Artists: Manfred Honeck


Bruckner Symphony No. 9 Hybrid Multi-Channel & Stereo SACD

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

Availability: Expected On 03-31-2023
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The Ninth Release in SACD Series with the Pittsburgh Symphony!
Thrilling Live Performances in Brilliant Audiophile Sound!

2020 Grammy Award Nominee:
• Best Engineered Album, Classical: Bruckner: Symphony No. 9
• Best Orchestral Performance: Bruckner: Symphony No. 9

Bruckner Society of America 2019 Recording of the Year!

Critics’ Choice 2019

"The slow movement is the thing: broad in the manner of Furtwängler and Jochum, beautifully phrased, and captured in astonishingly vivid sound. As an ex-viola player with the Vienna Philharmonic, Honeck will have had this music in his blood for years; he grasps its rhetoric from the inside, scales its heights with confidence and understands its nobility." - Rob Cowan, Gramophone, December 20, 2019."

Reference Recordings proudly presents this iconic work in a new and definitive interpretation 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 deeply personal and scholarly music notes, Maestro Honeck gives great insight into the history and the musical structure of Bruckner's final composition, and describes how he conducts and interprets this masterwork. To conclude his notes he quotes Bruckner biographer Max Auer: "The Ninth Symphony surpasses all its predecessors in sublimity and consecration. If Arthur Schopenhauer describes the arts as an image of an idea, but music as an idea in itself, then Bruckner's swan song, his Ninth Symphony, appears to us as the idea of the beyond, of the deity itself. Already from the very beginning of the richly structured first movement, one feels surrounded by the twilight light of a Gothic cathedral—a mood that releases us from the heaviness and fatigue of matter and leads us to the afterlife."

This release is the ninth in the highly acclaimed Pittsburgh Live! series of multi-channel hybrid SACD releases on the FRESH! series from Reference Recordings. This series has received GRAMMY® Nominations in 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019. 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, known for its artistic excellence for more than 120 years, is credited with 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 been at the forefront of championing new American works, including recent commissions by Mason Bates, Jonathan Leshnoff, James MacMillan and Julia Wolfe. The orchestra premiered Leonard Bernstein's Symphony No. 1 "Jeremiah" in 1944 and John Adams' Short Ride in a Fast Machine in 1986. 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 100 Grammy nominations and awards. For over 40 years, Soundmirror has recorded for every major classical record label, including Reference Recordings.

"Manfred Honeck’s interpretation of the three-movement version of Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony is one of the most distinctive to have appeared for some years. ‘It is in the Ninth that Bruckner invites us into the presence of God’, Honeck writes in the booklet note, and goes on to explain his thoughts about the symphony in an essay extending nearly 18 pages...Altogether, it’s one of the most detailed booklet notes I’ve ever seen..."

"Considered as a whole, this new version is a compelling account of the symphony with considerable depth of feeling and intimations of the beyond. The closing pages of the symphony are especially sublime". -

Unlike the symphonies of Mahler or Shostakovich for example, in which so many passages convey a myriad of possible imagery or emotions, and at which conductors can come from so many different interpretive perspectives, a Bruckner symphony is 'absolute' music. You can't evince a different outcome from a harmonic progression or a sequence of chords. Its sound and proportions have to be just right. I would have to say that this 'live' performance achieves exactly that.
-Jean-Yves Duperron, Classical Music Sentinel
To get right to it, it's a masterpiece.
-Jeremy Reynolds, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The spiritual richness of Bruckner's symphonies is unmistakable, yet Honeck's interpretation breaks new ground in understanding the specific connection between musical ideas and religious meaning. It is a bold performance marked in part by extremes - the very loud and the very soft, slow pacing and tremendous speed (in the middle section of the second movement), and immense power and meekness. Yet it is the nuance with which Honeck and the musicians tell the story which most touches the heart. Honeck's Bruckner Ninth is a performance of the utmost devotion and conviction which reaches the most transcendent heights when speaking softly. The orchestra sounds fabulous, every section and every soloist playing perfectly attuned to the spirit of the music.
-Mark Kanny, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Conductor Manfred Honeck has become one of today's most insightful interpreters of the classics... Recorded live at Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh, his Bruckner Ninth is a wondrous achievement. Telling moments abound: the lyrical episodes in the opening movement that seemingly float in the air, the triumphant nobility the conductor summons at the first movement's conclusion, the tonal colors he coaxes from the strings throughout. For sheer aural delight, it's hard to beat the plush, velvety richness of the Berlin Philharmonic brass and strings in their superb 1976 recording under Herbert von Karajan. That said, Karajan's interpretation now sounds a bit grandiose or overly muscular. And the impressive PSO brass is beautifully balanced throughout, as are the versatile, responsive strings and woodwinds.
-Barbara Jepson, The Wall Street Journal
If you love this piece, you will have to have this. Period.
-Steven Ritter, Audiophile Audition
Honeck and his Pittsburgh players are in majestic form here in Bruckner's Ninth, with a performance that firmly holds the attention.
-Michael Cookson, Music Web International
The Ninth Symphony has been recorded many, many times, of course, but this new recording stands out clearly as among the finest we have heard. The Pittsburgh Symphony performs with a palpable level of commitment, which is conveyed with extraordinary clarity by the superb recording. Maestro Honeck's interpretation of the Symphony is particularly compelling and musically rigorous, as he outlines in his very thoughtful booklet essay and brings to life with the performance. As a result, we find this to be a recording that brings the listener on a wonderful voyage of musical discovery that captures the full scope of this masterwork in all of its grandeur, tragedy, and human power. All in all, we find this to be a recording of the highest quality. It is a most valuable addition to the discography.
-Bruckner Society of America, 2019 Recording of the Year


  • 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!
  • Mastered at Soundmirror
  • Made in Germany


Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Manfred Honeck Music Director


Anton Bruckner (1824-1896)

Symphony No. 9 in D minor, (1896; unfinished) ed. Nowak
  1. I Feierlich - Sehr ruhig
  2. II Scherzo: Bewegt, lebhaft - Trio: Schnell
  3. III Adagio: Sehr langsam, feierlich

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