Culture Spot LA‘s Henry Schlinger asks whether “we really need another record of Beethoven’s fifth or even seventh symphony”, and answers, “when it’s Manfred Honeck and the PSO, the answer is a resounding yes.”!
“Honeck’s fifth is fresh right out of the gate, beginning with the way he plays the first four fateful notes. As he indicates in the liner notes, “The use of the more deliberate tempo gives the opening bars a grandiose weight, power and vehemence. For me, it was essential to capture the greatest possible drama with this famous first statement so as to depict the heroic character of the movement.” And Honeck does, even slowing them down for maximum emphasis in the coda. And Honeck’s interpretation of the seventh is muscular even in the slow movement. While the tempo of the finale is faster than most, it doesn’t seem rushed, even though at times it seems as if Honeck might lose the orchestra. But he doesn’t. And then he speeds up the coda to a rushing and rousing conclusion. Honeck’s interpretations are always original and exciting, and his Beethoven is no exception. And let’s not forget the extraordinary playing by the PSO, without which Honeck’s vision would not be realizable. Moreover, as usual, the sound produced by Soundmirror is stunning, and really puts the “Live!” in Pittsburgh Live! Even if you own several versions of Beethoven’s fifth and seventh, you should add this PSO disc to your collection.” —Henry Schlinger, Culture Spot LA