Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony’s new Beethoven: Symphony Nos. 5 & 7 gets a second (See the first) nomination for “Recording of the Month” from MusicWeb International!
“Using a large orchestra one senses an elevated level of musical intelligence together with an unyielding structural coherence that produces impressively selected tempi, dynamic contrasts and moulding of phrase. These are mightily compelling performances, buoyantly rhythmic with plenty of thrust when required. Striking too is the penetrating lyricism and level of emotional intensity. The full bodied tone of the brass registers strongly as does the unified strength and expression of the strings especially the rich, dark timbre of the cellos and basses so crucial in providing a rock-solid foundation. … Honeck brings the same level of spine-tingling engagement to the (Symphony No. 5) slow movement as his fellow countryman Karajan and his Berlin players in their 1962 Jesus Christus Kirche, Berlin account on Deutsche Grammophon. … In Honeck’s assured hands the extended opening (Symphony No. 7) Poco sostenuto – Vivace is irresistible in its compelling buoyancy and heroic power. There is an austere beauty to the much admired Allegretto together with a sacred feel to the undertow. Infectious is the sense of uplifting joy afforded to the dance rhythms of the Scherzo. The bold and unruly Finale is magnificently uplifting and moves forward with unrelenting energy. … On this hybrid SACD played on my standard unit I am delighted with the sonics provided by the Soundmirror recording team. There is excellent clarity and considerable detail is revealed with good presence and balance. Outstandingly performed and recorded this special Reference Recordings release can sit comfortably alongside the finest recordings in the catalogue.” —Michael Cookson, MusicWeb International