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Classical - Released August 1, 2007 | PentaTone

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released September 21, 2018 | Reference Recordings

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Returning to the symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven in his Pittsburgh Live series on Reference Recordings, Manfred Honeck rigorously explores the Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, "Eroica," paired with Richard Strauss' Horn Concerto No. 1 in E flat major. Honeck's 2015 release of the Symphony No. 5 in C minor and the Symphony No. 7 in A major demonstrated his in-depth analyses of the scores and his careful consideration of evidence about performances in Beethoven's time, including documents and original sketches that revealed much about early Romantic practices. By observing the historical method and avoiding conventional approaches, Honeck has adjusted the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's sound and brought out details and sonorities that have often been buried in mainstream performances. Honeck also calls for brisk tempos, crisp articulation, and spry, dance-like rhythms, which alleviate some of this heavyweight symphony's pugnaciousness and brings a somewhat lighter touch to the "Eroica." Strauss' Horn Concerto No. 1, featuring a polished solo part by William Caballero, is suitable filler, matching the key and moods of the "Eroica" and sharing its robust energy, though by the time Strauss composed it, the influence of Beethoven had been filtered through Schumann and Brahms, so the work shows a conservative side in youthful reaction against Wagner. Reference Recordings' sound is as clean and focused as could be desired, and this hybrid SACD gives great presence to the players and leaves a vibrant impression. © TiVo
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Classical - Released November 19, 2013 | Reference Recordings

Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
If any music seems ideally suited for the multichannel super audio format, the lavish orchestral tone poems of Richard Strauss must be at the top of the list. This hybrid SACD of Strauss' Don Juan, Death and Transfiguration, and Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks is a sonic feast for audiophiles, and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra under Manfred Honeck delivers these orchestral masterpieces with high energy, vivid tone colors, and crisp details that are a sheer delight to experience. Honeck draws out the clearest sonorities and freshest timbres from his musicians, and the clear separation of parts makes the inner lines fully audible, despite Strauss' sometimes dense textures. While it is the conductor's responsibility to balance the orchestral sound and to ensure transparency so every note is heard, a great deal of credit must go to the engineers who obviously took the greatest care in placing the microphones, controlling volume levels, and mixing the sound for optimal clarity. The only downside to such a meticulous recording is that the physical exertions or humming of the conductor are easily heard, so listeners will have to get past them to enjoy the orchestra's terrific playing. © TiVo
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Classical - Released May 22, 2020 | Reference Recordings

Hi-Res Booklet
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Classical - Released May 15, 2020 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released November 13, 2015 | Reference Recordings

Hi-Res Booklet
Even though the program is a standard pairing of famous symphonies by Ludwig van Beethoven, and the live performances are by a modern orchestra, this intriguing hybrid SACD from Reference Recordings is a real adventure. The excitement lies in Manfred Honeck's clear-headed and musically sound interpretations and the astonishing performances by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, which are not based on conventional practices but on careful study of the scores and original sketches, documentation from Beethoven's time, and what has been concealed under layers of later traditions that were never intended. Honeck takes into account the various schools of thought that have given us a romanticized Beethoven, an objective Beethoven, and a historically informed Beethoven. But by regarding these conventions as secondary to the internal evidence of the Symphony No. 5 in C minor and the Symphony No. 7 in A major, and by adapting his orchestra to the norms of the early 19th century, Honeck exposes many exciting details that are often lost through overly homogenized orchestral blending, unimaginative use of dynamics, and excessively slow, reverent tempos. As a result, these performances are utterly transparent, the pacing is extremely brisk and lively, and the interpretations are as fresh as advertised on the cover. The brilliant reproduction is also a major contribution to this album's success, and it brings great clarity to these startling and revelatory recordings. © TiVo
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Classical - Released August 18, 2017 | Reference Recordings

Hi-Res Booklet
The performance of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47, heard here was recorded in 2013 but not released until 2017. Kudos to whoever kept applying the pressure, for it's an excellent contribution to the Shostakovich discography, even in the face of all the other versions of this work on the market. The booklet contains notes, apparently by Pittsburgh Symphony conductor Manfred Honeck himself; they needed a once-over from an editor or proofreader, but they offer insight into Honeck's approach to the work. The Symphony No. 5, entitled "A Soviet Artist's Response to Justified Criticism," was written after the composer's earlier, more progressive style was denounced by Soviet cultural apparatchiks. Plenty of pixels have been devoted to explicating the composer's state of mind in this situation, and how it was reflected in the music, but Honeck simplifies the issue somewhat: he points out that the natural place to turn for Shostakovich in this situation was to the music of Mahler, whose works were not conservative but did satisfy his critics' demand for conventional tonality. Once you look at the Fifth this way, Mahler seems to be all over it, from the smallest details to the grand scale of the opening movement with its beautifully worked out brass and wind passages to its vast large-scale contrasts. Sample this movement in the masterful, deliberate, but never plodding performance by Honeck, with the Pittsburgh brasses sounding as good as they have in years. The Barber Adagio for Strings is an inspired note on which to bring down the curtain, casting the tumult of the Shostakovich into a calm but tragic frame. The team that recorded the work claims long experience in the recording's venue, Pittsburgh's Heinz Hall, and the experience shows: the sound here is among the finest encountered on the new crop of independently released symphony orchestra recordings. Highly recommended. © TiVo
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Classical - Released May 15, 2020 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released May 13, 2016 | Reference Recordings

Hi-Res Booklet
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra used to be a major fixture on the American recording scene, but has not been heard from much in the early 21st century. Two events have come together to change that: the rise of the in-house symphony orchestra label and the arrival of Pittsburgh's hot new Austrian conductor, Manfred Honeck. This release shows what the fuss is about. If you were wondering why you had never heard of the Rusalka Fantasy of Antonín Dvorák, that's because it hadn't existed prior to Honeck, who made an orchestral arrangement of music from the opera and commissioned this abridgement of it. The work brings together some wonderful Dvorák melodies that are little known in most places. The main attraction is the Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74 ("Pathétique"), which here receives one of its strongest performances in years. The opening movement is extraordinary -- restless, yet sculpted down to the smallest details -- and throughout, the symphony has a sense of suppressed passion that works very well. The third movement is not the freestanding Russian march into which it is so often made, but forms a closely connected unit with the grim finale. The slow movement is a smooth, Mendelssohnian fantasy land. Other attractions are the detailed reflections by Honeck himself in the booklet and the live Super Audio sound from Pittsburgh's Heinz Hall, a model for this kind of release. Highly recommended. © TiVo
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Classical - Released November 11, 2014 | Reference Recordings

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Classical - Released October 1, 1963 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released October 19, 2018 | PentaTone

Booklet
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Classical - Released May 15, 2020 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released February 10, 2015 | Reference Recordings

Booklet
One of the most popular versions of Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 4 in E flat major, "Romantic," is the 1879/80 version, edited by Leopold Nowak, which Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra perform on this hybrid SACD from Reference Recordings. Notwithstanding the inroads some conductors have made in promoting the original 1874 version, which in many ways is a quite different composition, other conductors, like Honeck, still find value in this familiar revision, which has always been in the repertoire and which, along with the Seventh Symphony, has become Bruckner's most recognizable piece. Honeck gives this live performance a rather expansive interpretation, emphasizing the long sweep of melody and using a fair amount of rubato in his tempos to add dramatic shading, particularly by drawing out cadences for their full emotional effect. The orchestra is prepared for all of Honeck's gradations and nuances, and it is remarkably fluid in shifting from one mood to the next without seeming forced. Yet the most important aspect of this performance is the attention to tone colors, which Honeck clarifies and highlights with great delicacy, proving that in the right hands, Bruckner's writing for orchestra is astonishing. Of course, the super audio sound captures every aspect of the sound with fidelity, and the dynamic range is extremely wide, so listeners should be aware that the lowest volume levels might need some careful adjustments. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 1982 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released May 15, 2020 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released January 1, 1995 | EMI Classics

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Classical - Released May 15, 2020 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)