John Huxhold and Eric Meyer review the Pittsburgh Symphony and Manfred Honeck Shostakovich/Barber recording in the new NativeDSD reviews blog, “Call For Reviewers”:
“Manfred Honeck is making a name for himself and his Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra for his carefully considered and nuanced approach to the music of Richard Strauss and, in this case, the Shostakovich 5th. The high, quiet strings in the first movement float serenely above a low bass; the second movement is slower and more deliberate than in other recordings and is not as playful (a grim Soviet bear dancing clumsily?). And of course, there is that powerful finale. Nothing sounds rushed or ill-considered; it’s an interpretation that can stand proudly with the best.
All of this is rendered by producer Dirk Sobotka and engineer Mark Donahue from Sound Mirror in a high resolution DSD download that recreates the acoustic of Pittsburgh’s Heinz Hall with a huge, rock-solid soundstage that is as deep as it is wide. Instruments do not appear from a flat wall of sound but project three dimensionally from their proper place in the orchestra. The high frequencies sound particularly sweet and are a subtle improvement over the SACD. The dynamic range extends from near-inaudibility to blazing brass and floor-shaking fundamentals with not a hint of strain or congestion.
There are many valid approaches to this symphony, but Honeck’s interpretation is among the most insightful. And the recording is simply stunning, especially considering that it was done during a live performance. Even in the quietest parts, there is nary a cough or breath to be heard. Even if you have multiple versions of this symphony, be sure to give this one a listen.”