Classical Music Sentinel reviews the Pittsburgh Symphony and Manfred Honeck’s Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4 & Jonathan Leshnoff Double Concerto recording:
“As in his famous ballets, Tchaikovsky’s affinity for irresistible melodies comes to the fore in this symphony’s slow movement, and conductor Honeck and the musicians of the orchestra well project it’s idyllic charm. And as far as thrills are concerned, nothing quite matches this symphony’s final movement. With a momentum more manic than the 1812 Overture it requires virtuosic playing from all the members of the orchestra, especially the brass section. And again the Pittsburgh brass players nail it. And at the 5:37 mark, when the brass declamation from the start returns, it’s punchy enough to push you backwards. And wow, does this orchestra ever show its mettle during the exhilarating race to the finish. Play it loud and feel the orchestral sizzle. Seriously, if you play this in your car, you’ll be bouncing up and down the road.
The work that follows, the Double Concerto for Clarinet and Bassoon by American composer Jonathan Leshnoff, heard here for the first time on a recording, is a clever and ear-catching three movement work full of intricate repartee between the two instruments, here played superlatively by Nancy Goeres and Michael Rusinek, the two principal bassoon and clarinet players of the Pittsburgh Symphony. It makes for a pleasant adrenalin-reducing measure following the Tchaikovsky roller-coaster ride.—Jean-Yves Duperron, Classical Music Sentinel