TAS Rated 5/5 Music, 4.5/5 Sonics in the December 2023 Issue of The Absolute Sound!
Brilliant Performances, Dazzling Sound!
Reference Recordings® proudly presents Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5, in a significant new interpretation from conductor Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. It is coupled with Erwin Schulhoff's Five Pieces, newly arranged for large orchestra by Manfred Honeck and Tomáš Ille. The popular Austro-Czech composer Schulhoff 's (1894–1942) career ended in a concentration camp during the Nazi rise in Germany, but not before composing a number of pieces inspired by jazz and dance influences. His 1924 Five Pieces for String Quartet is the most performed. This album was recorded live in 2022 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 interpretation as well as the history and musical structure of Tchaikovsky's great Symphony No. 5. He gives special emphasis to the recurring "fate" themes so prominent in this symphony and in Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4.
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, known for its artistic excellence for more than 125 years, is credited with a rich history of the world's finest conductors and musicians, and is deeply committed to Pittsburgh and its region. Since 2008, the Pittsburgh Symphony has been led by its worldwide acclaimed Music Director Manfred Honeck. Past music directors have included many of the greats, including Fritz Reiner, William Steinberg, André Previn, Lorin Maazel and Mariss Jansons. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has always been at the forefront of championing new works, including recent commissions by Mason Bates, Stacy Garrop, Jonathan Leshnoff, James MacMillan, Wynton Marsalis, Jessie Montgomery 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. It has toured frequently both domestically and overseas since 1900 — including more than 40 international tours. The Pittsburgh Symphony continues to be critically acclaimed as one of the world's greatest orchestras.
This release is the fourteenth 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, 2020 and 2022. 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. 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.
It might seem that few listeners would be moved to add yet another version of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64, to their collections, but this is one of the strongest readings to come along in some years. Conductor Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony have specialized in big, bold interpretations of traditional Romantic repertory, and this one is no exception. It is an intense, brooding Tchaikovsky Fifth in the vein mined by the great Russian conductors of the middle 20th century (Honeck is not afraid to let the brass blare), and parts of it are really transcendent
Securing orchestral playing of unrelenting intensity and utmost exactitude, Honeck instead gives the symphony all the harrowing drama — the dread, the instability, the vertiginous sense of being on the edge — of a mental breakdown. It is not easy to listen to at times, and there is scant resolution at the close. But this Fifth, one of the greatest ever recorded, does make one conclusion inescapable, though it is more of a confirmation by now: There has not been a conductor like Honeck in a long time.
This latest SACD, on RR's Fresh! imprint, completes the conductor's series of Tchaikovsky's three best-loved symphonies with a compelling reading of the melancholy Fifth that's dramatically acute but never maudlin or predictable. The outer movements manifest blazing power, the third a fluent virtuosity, and the second will leave you emotionally spent. Soundmirror's Dirk Sobotka and Mark Donahue create sonics with a dark lushness well suited to Tchaikovsky's mood of existential despair, a somewhat distanced perspective that still offers plenty of detail.
- 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!
- Recorded June 17-19, 2022 at Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts, Pittsburgh, PA
- Recorded in DSD256 & Post-Produced in DXD 352.8kHz/32 bit
- Producer: Dirk Sobotka (Soundmirror)
- Sound Engineer: Mark Donahue (Soundmirror)
- Mastering Engineer: Mark Donahue (Soundmirror)
- Music Notes: Manfred Honeck
- Made in Germany
|Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)
Symphony No. 5
- I. Andante – Allegro con anima
- II. Andante cantabile, con alcuna licenza
- III. Allegro moderato
- IV. Finale: Andante maestoso – Allegro vivace
Erwin Schulhoff (1894-1942)
Five Pieces (arr. Honeck/Ille)
- I. Alla Valse Viennese: Allegro
- II. Alla Serenata: Allegro con moto
- III. Alla Czeca: Molto allegro
- IV. Alla Tango Milonga: Andante
- V. Alla Tarantella: Prestissimo con fuoco