AllMusic‘s James Manheim gives five stars to Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra‘s recording of Beethoven: Symphony No. 9!
“His reading is fast, blazing, kinetic, with moments of high contrast, such as the ethereal third movement in its entirety, giving the listener breathing space. The first movement is quick, but Honeck relaxes the tempo just slightly as things proceed, making room for the brass to give their stentorian statements. The scherzo is very fast throughout, which has the effect of not stealing the delicate discourse from the slow movement, and the finale, though also fast, is never rushed. … The soloists shine, and they deliver in a difficult reading that, at its best, feels like the cry of exultation Beethoven envisioned. … there is real energy running through the performance and real joy. Reference Recordings has once again produced audiophile-quality sound whose depth and transparency are awesome even on everyday equipment.”—James Manheim, AllMusic