Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Manfred Honeck, Music Director
Dvořák: Symphony No. 8
Janáček: Symphonic Suite from Jenůfa
Thrilling live performances from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, in brilliant audiophile sound!
SAN FRANCISCO – This release is the second in the “Pittsburgh Live!” series of multi-channel hybrid SACD releases on the FRESH! series from Reference Recordings.
For more than 116 years, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has been known for its artistic excellence. The PSO has a rich history of the world’s finest conductors and musicians. Past conductors include the legendary names of Reiner, Steinberg, Previn, Maazel,and other greats. This tradition was furthered in fall 2008, when celebrated Austrian conductor Manfred Honeck became Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
The PSO is critically acclaimed as one of the world’s greatest orchestras, and has completed more than 36 international tours, including 20 European tours, eight trips to the Far East, and two to South America. The PSO was the first American orchestra to perform at the Vatican in January 2004 for the late Pope John Paul II, as part of the Pontiff’s Silver Jubilee celebration.
The PSO also has a long history in the areas of recordings and radio concerts. As early as 1936, the PSO broadcast coast-to-coast, receiving increased national attention in 1982 when it began network radio broadcasts on Public Radio International. The PRI series with the PSO can be heard on Classical WQED-FM 89.3 in Pittsburgh. Many PSO recordings remain in print and available, and they have won critical acclaim and many awards..
This release and the entire “Pittsburgh Live!”series are recorded and mastered by the team at Soundmirror, whose outstanding orchestral, solo, opera, and chamber recordings have received over 70 GRAMMY nominations and awards! Soundmirror has recorded for every major classical record label, now including Reference Recordings.
“Well, this year [the Pittsburgh Symphony] trumped themselves with even more idiomatic performances and an even more naturally dynamic recording. … The realization and performance of the suite from Janáček’s Jenufa is brilliant…Conducted and played with appropriate style and verve and recorded in the best and most thrilling sound, this new disc immediately goes to the top of the list.” —Kalman Rubinson, Stereophile
“Manfred Honeck’s Pittsburgh Symphony Recording of Dvořák’s Eighth Symphony is among the most stylish, fastidiously prepared, excitingly interpreted and beautifully played orchestral performances I’ve heard in a long while, and the recording matches Honeck’s musical achievement…” —Rob Cowan, Gramophone
“For the second year in a row, my list includes Dvořák’s Eighth Symphony, a particular favorite of mine. This time the work is presented in a powerhouse performance by Manfred Honeck and his stellar Pittsburgh band captured in Reference’s usual state-of-the-art sound.” —Merlin Patterson
“Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra have quietly become one of the country’s hottest partnerships in repertory staples, thereby invigorating and legitimizing the very idea of a canon. Mr. Honeck’s trademark flexible tempos, along with the spectacularly refined playing he draws, enliven this Dvorak war horse. A suite from Janacek’s “Jenufa,” conceived by Mr. Honeck and realized by the composer Thomas Ille, is grimly convincing.” —David Allen, The New York Times
“I’m glad to have experienced a Manfred Honeck recording at last and I’m even more glad that it’s lived up to the expectations raised by seeing him live in Prague. In the booklet we are told that several more Honeck/Pittsburgh recordings are ‘in the can’ and that the intention is to issue a couple each year. I look forward to more examples of this fine partnership at work.” —John Quinn, MusicWeb International
“Stunningly played and recorded this winning release deserves significant praise.” —Michael Cookson, MusicWeb International
“…the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra members clearly project their enjoyment of the music through their individual instruments and in doing so, generate impressive sonics. And once again, the recording engineers have captured these sonics as naturally as possible. From the sweetness of the solo flute ushering in the symphony’s main idea at the 45 second mark of the opening movement, to the weight of the big double basses playing that series of descending scales at the apex of the slow movement, everything sounds as if you are sitting in the hall’s sweet spot. Audiophiles take note!” —Jean-Yves Dupperon, Classical Music Sentinel
“This is one of the finest recordings I’ve heard …upon first listen [to Jenufa] I found myself enthralled, swept up in the emotion Honeck evinces in the work. A pleasant pairing and – for me – great introduction to unexplored music.” —ArkivMusic
“This is one of the great orchestral recordings – trust me. Playing and production values are beyond criticism. … And there’s an intriguing coupling too – an orchestral suite from Janáček’s opera Jenůfa, compiled by Honeck with the help of composer Tomáš Ille. … If you’re not weeping at the suite’s apotheosis, you’ve got no soul. Buy or download multiple copies for yourself and your loved ones – they will thank you for it.” —Graham Rickson, The Arts Desk
“This album only confirms the fact that the Pittsburgh Symphony, always one of America’s greatest and most underrated orchestras, now tops the list in both interpretative finesse and recorded sound. … Never have I heard either of these works in such a stunningly brilliant aural perspective, and the effect—assuming you are listening on a good sound system—is thrilling. Don’t miss this one!” —Steven Ritter, Audiophile Audition
“There are few things more wonderful in the life of a record collector than a really great recording of a repertory warhorse. … along comes a performance by a conductor who loves the music, who has genuine ideas about how it should go and what it reveals, who leads a great orchestra in a performance that makes us listen to the piece afresh, and who reaffirms our belief not just in this particular work but in what it means to be a “classic”. Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra offer just such an interpretation. Honeck’s personal touches are numerous and completely winning. … Releases of this quality offer more than just an enjoyable listening experience. They are events of profound beauty and musical significance.” —David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday
“This is one of the most gripping performances of Dvořák’s 8th Symphony that I ever heard. Honeck and Pittsburgh excel themselves and definitely team up to one of those great partnerships like Solti and Chicago, Ozawa and Boston, Bernstein and New York, Szell and Cleveland, Tilson-Thomas and San Francisco.” —Alain Steffen, Pizzicato
“One of the keys to the success of this recording is the superior sound which you’ll best hear in SACD… When I played it through my stereo system the result was nothing short of spectacular. Yes you’ll hear the occasional rustling of the papers and a stray cough but at least to me I didn’t find it distracting at all. It sounds very similar to being in Heinz Hall. … You won’t be disappointed.” —Thomas Kiefner, Film Music: The Neglected Art
“The full SACD recording is superb. Dynamic and very detailed.…” —Anthony Kershaw, Audiophilia
“The combination of a thrilling performance by a world-class orchestra and conductor with the sonic brilliance of the recording sets a new standard for classical CDs.” —Henry Schlinger, Culture Spot LA