Notes & Reviews:
Thrilling live performances from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, in brilliant audiophile sound! This release is the second in the "Pittsburgh Live!" series of multi-channel hybrid SACD releases on the FRESH! label from Reference Recordings.
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra plays these three masterly symphonic poems with virtuosity, great feeling, and a glorious patina of string tone, and the rich hall resonance is well caught by the SACD record.
This is quite a disc. Manfred Honeck's live performances from June 2012 bring so much to admire, not least a thrilling electricity, heaps of chutzpah, revelatory detail, and sparky temperament.
Usually I prefer a Czech recording in the Dvorak 8, where Czech musicians seem to add a extra measure of Czech character to this special music. Manfred Honeck knows Czech music (he has performed many times in Prague) and it shows here.
Maestro Honeck provides a very personal view of the Czech elements in the Dvorak 8. It is a fascinating interpretation, and the notes set forth his thinking.
The orchestral playing by the Pittsburgh, and the recording of the PSO, is virtuosic in the fullest measure. Every section of this great orchestra is at its best, and the variety of colors delivered by the strings, woodwinds and brass is way beyond expectations. Just listen to the opening of the 4th movement!
The Pittsburgh plays for Maestro Honeck with great dynamic range, from sparkling soft passages to thunderous crescendos, always with sophisticated tone and great power in reserve. The Pittsburgh is clearly one of the greatest orchestras playing today.
The combination of Honeck and his great orchestra is magical. The Pittsburghers clearly love their Music Director and deliver every nuance he seeks. That relationship is striking in live concert, and it is fully evident in this recording.
The Janacek Jenufa suite, arranged by Honeck, is a gem. The Pittsburghers deliver the same outstanding level of playing as in the Dvorak and the previous Richard Strauss disk. Janacek has a unique sound palette, and the PSO delivers some of the best Janacek sound I have ever heard.
Listen to these performances with a good sound system that can deliver the full dynamic range, and prepared to be thrilled.
Submitted on 09/03/14 by Judd Alfred