2019 Stereophile Magazine Record to Die For!2018 Grammy Award Winner!
• Best Engineered Album, Classical: Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5; Barber: Adagio
• Best Orchestral Performance: Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5; Barber: Adagio
Exciting Live Performances in Brilliant Audiophile 5.1 Surround Sound!
Reference Recordings proudly presents these two beloved works in definitive interpretations from Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, in superb audiophile sound.
In his fascinating and scholarly music notes, Maestro Honeck gives us great insight into the history of both pieces, and describes how he conducts and interprets each. He reminds us that Joseph Stalins Soviet government was offended by Shostakovichs previous works. Under threat of arrest or banishment to Siberia, Shostakovich devised a new, less-complex compositional style for the 5th Symphony, still full of irony and double meaning, to appease Stalin and appeal to the common people.
The Adagio of Samuel Barber is his most performed work, and one of the most popular of all 20th Century orchestral works. It is beloved for its beautiful simplicity and emotion. Manfred Honeck describes Barbers 1967 a capella version for mixed choir using the "Agnus Dei" text, and tells us his own interpretation is inspired by this text. He says it is "for me, without a doubt, the key to finding a deeper sense of this piece. Perhaps it is for this reason that the Adagio has enchanted and moved audiences around the world since its very first incarnation and has continued to do so in all subsequent versions born since."
This release is the seventh in the highly acclaimed Pittsburgh Live! series of multi-channel hybrid SACD releases on the FRESH! series from Reference Recordings. Each has received dozens of critical accolades.
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, and a strong commitment to the Pittsburgh region and its citizens. Austrian conductor Manfred Honeck became music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony in 2008.
With a long and distinguished history of touring both domestically and overseas since 1900, the 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 orchestral, solo, opera and chamber recordings have received more than 90 Grammy nominations and awards. For over 40 years, Soundmirror has recorded for every major classical record label, including Reference Recordings.
"[Manfred Honeck] interprets - he even anthropomorphizes the music. It works! The music comes alive in uncanny ways. I'm wary of interpreting too much into composers and their works, especially Shostakovich. Honeck's profound empathizing with the music - equally obvious from his own, extensive liner notes - denotes a passionate, detail-happy, and deeply caring performance. Honeck lets the orchestra rip, cry, shriek - but he tends at least equally carefully, tenderly to the extensive piano and pianissimo passages. The sound of the orchestra, dark and burnished while perfectly capable of piercing anguish, and the superb recording quality (never dry, still detailed, warm but without hints of artificial beauty) make this a wholly absorbing listening experience. The Barber Adagio for Strings is an added, indulgently performed, tragic coda altogether ravishing stuff." - Jens F. Laurson, Forbes (Forbes Best Classical Recordings of 2017 list)
"The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's renderings of Dmitri Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5 and Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings must constitute one of the most beautiful sounding recordings of these works; in that regard, the Grammy the release recently received in the 'Best Engineered Album' category feels wholly warranted. Of greater import, however, is the other award music director Manfred Honeck and his orchestra received for their efforts, namely the Grammy for 'Best Orchestral Performance'; countless recordings are available of both works, yet the performances by Honeck and the PSO are incredibly strong, so much so that they allow the listener to hear them as if anew." - Ron Schepper, Textura
"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
This recording of the Shostakovich Fifth is exceptional.Features:
• Super Audio CD
• SACD 5.1 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
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Manfred Honeck, music director
Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)
Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47
1. Moderato-Allegro non troppo
4. Allegro non troppo
Samuel Barber (1910-1981)
Adagio for Strings