A new MusicWeb International review finds Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony’s new Dvořák/Janáček SACD deserving of “significant praise”!
“This excellent disc is the second in the ‘Pittsburgh Live!’ series. Earlier this year I reviewed the first in the series (Strauss tone poems) and was delighted by the elevated quality of performance and sound. … With playing of such captivating expression in the opening Allegro con brio the PSO conveys a colourful, fresh outdoor effect. There is an especially exuberant feel to the Slavic march section and the movement ends with a tremendous draught of sound. In the manner of a miniature tone poem the delightful flowing rhythms of the Adagio strongly evoke a river journey, maybe on the Vltava, complete with changing scenery and weather. Expressively upbeat on the surface the Allegretto grazioso has the delightful character of a Czech waltz yet underneath Honeck convincingly uncovers a seam of yearning sadness. In the Finale, marked Allegro ma non troppo, the wonderfully rousing trumpet fanfare certainly gains the attention and the gorgeous main theme first introduced on the cellos at 0:34 has never sounded better. The set of variations sound exquisite concluding with a noisy and vigorous played coda. Throughout the score there’s a strong Czech spirit ensuring romantic warmth and dramatic thrust. … The sound quality on my standard player comes across as vividly clear, well balanced with a warm, natural presence. I can detect virtually no extraneous noise and there is no audience applause. Stunningly played and recorded this winning release deserves significant praise.” —Michael Cookson, MusicWeb International