Beethoven: Symphony No. 6; Stucky: Silent Spring
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Manfred Honeck, Music Director
Brilliant Performances, Dazzling Sound!
2023 GRAMMY® Award Nominee: Best Engineered Album, Classical
Reference Recordings proudly presents the Symphony No. 6 of Ludwig van Beethoven, with Steven Stucky’s Silent Spring, in exceptional performances from Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Maestro Honeck honors us again with his meticulous music notes. He gives rare insight into his conducting and interpretation, as well as the history and musical structure of Beethoven’s beloved Pastoral Symphony.
Steven Stucky’s Silent Spring was commissioned by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in honor of the 50th anniversary of the publication of the book Silent Spring, the seminal work by Pittsburgh native Rachel Carson. It had its world premiere performance in February 2012. The composer generously includes his own album notes about this work, which like the book can be heard as a call to action to love and save nature and the earth before it is too late.
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, known for its artistic excellence for more than 125 years, is credited with a rich history of the world’s finest conductors and musicians, and is deeply committed to Pittsburgh and its region. Since 2008, the Pittsburgh Symphony has been led by its worldwide acclaimed Music Director Manfred Honeck. Past music directors have included many of the greats, including Fritz Reiner, William Steinberg, Andre Previn, Lorin Maazel and Mariss Jansons. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has always been at the forefront of championing new works, including recent commissions by Mason Bates, Jonathan Leshnoff, James MacMillan and Julia Wolfe. The Pittsburgh Symphony has a long and illustrious history in the areas of recordings and live radio broadcasts dating back to the 1930s. It has toured frequently both domestically and overseas since 1900—including more than 40 international tours. The Pittsburgh Symphony continues to be critically acclaimed as one of the world’s greatest orchestras.
This release is the thirteenth in the highly acclaimed Pittsburgh Live! series of multichannel hybrid SACD releases on the FRESH! imprint from Reference Recordings. This series has received GRAMMY® Nominations in 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2022. Its recording of Shostakovich’s Symphony No.5 /Barber Adagio for Strings won the 2018 GRAMMY® Awards for Best Orchestral Performance and Best Engineered Classical Album. The Pittsburgh Live! series are recorded and mastered by Soundmirror, whose outstanding orchestral, solo, opera and chamber recordings have received more than 130 GRAMMY® nominations and awards.
Hybrid SACD contains 5.0 and Stereo SACD and CD stereo with HDCD (downloads are Stereo-only)
On This Recording
- I. Awakening of cheerful feelings on arriving in the country: Allegro ma non troppo (11:01)
- II. Scene by the brook: Andante molto mosso (11:49)
- III. Merry assembly of country folk: Allegro (4:57)
- IV. Thunderstorm: Allegro (3:28)
- V. Shepherd’s Song - Benevolent feelings of thanksgiving to the deity after the storm: Allegretto (9:56)
- I. The Sea Around Us (3:49)
- II. The Lost Woods (5:23)
- III. Rivers of Death (3:09)
- IV. Silent Spring (4:17)
Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 Pastoral
Steven Stucky: Silent Spring
“Throughout the symphony, passion is omnipresent, be it in a positive or ominous posture. Honeck unravels with his musicians to infinite perfection a modern version of a symphony that is all too often, with a couple of bangs in the fourth movement, played in a programmatic countryside setting, omitting the underlying notion that ‘’Beethoven’s deep and living relationship with God is clearly evident through his worship of nature’’. (Honeck’s words). Summing it up: This release is as striking as it is Honeck’s.” —HRAudio
“Every note, so it seems, is fired with purpose. … This is, then, yet more fine Beethoven from Honeck and his orchestra. The coupling with the Stucky is fitting. Taken with the album’s bracingly clean engineering and insightful liner notes (including the conductor’s in-depth discussion of his approach to Beethoven interpretation), and we’ve got ourselves another winner in this ongoing Pittsburgh/Beethoven series. Warmly recommended.” —The ArtsFuse
“a lively and energetic version of Beethoven’s Sixth that perfectly captures what I think Beethoven was trying to convey. This performance of Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony by the PSO is exciting and a must for anyone wanting to hear a fresh approach to this masterpiece. In many ways, listening to Honeck and the PSO perform Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony is like hearing it for the first time.” —Henry Schlinger, Culture Spot LA
“What better choice for summertime listening than Beethoven’s time-tested ‘Pastorale’? … Quick but soul-satisfying pacing by conductor and orchestra makes it all come together. … Stucky pays respect to Carson’s dark, uncompromising vision of environmental destruction in musical terms that are positively chilling.… disspirited birdsong in haunting brass and reeds, relentless motion, and stunning displays of sheer energy – serves to reinforce the subject.” —Phil Muse, Atlanta Audio Club
“This ‘live’ performance by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra under the direction of conductor Manfred Honeck of the iconic Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68, “Pastoral” by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), is nothing if not light-footed and yet muscular, airy and yet intricately detailed, naïvely good-natured and yet deeply expressive. Could it be that they’ve hit upon its spiritual nucleus?” —Jean-Yves Duperron, Classical Music Sentinel