Rafael de Acha adds the Pittsburgh Symphony and Manfred Honeck’s Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4 and Jonathan Leshnoff Double Concerto recording to his short list of Best of 2020:
“Commissioned and premiered by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Manfred Honeck, the ensemble’s superb Music Director, Jonathan Leshnoff’s beautiful Double Concerto for Clarinet and Bassoon affords PSO principals Michael Rusinek (clarinet) and Nancy Goeres (bassoon) the opportunity to shine as soloists in this gorgeous 20-minute-long, three-movement composition.
Leshnoff’s music is unabashedly accessible. From the onset of the composition the composer establishes a bucolic, dreamy tonal landscape that at once engages the listener with the ebb and flow of its melancholy utterances.
First the bassoon then the clarinet, alternate in a quiet dialogue built on a short melodic motif that is gradually echoed by the orchestra. It is a haunting entrance into the world of this concerto and its composer. …
I am tempted to name this work as one of the most intriguing 21st century compositions this listener has ever encountered, for which huge gratitude is due to Reference Records, to Maestro Manfred Honeck and his Pittsburgh players, to the two superlative soloists – clarinetist Michael Rusinek and bassoonist Nancy Goeres, and most of all to the immensely gifted Jonathan Leshnoff, from whom we beg for more gems like this one. … This recording is already in my short list of BEST OF 2020.”—Rafael de Acha, Music Notes